The Curs and Feists Coon Hounds

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While breeders of different coonhounds were refining their breeding programs back in the 1700s and 1800s, rural America needed a hardy dog that would hunt, and also be protective of the family. Pioneering settlers in the Southern states bred their own working dogs. The result is the Cur dog, of which there are now a number of different breeds.

All of these varieties are derived from a scenthound of some kind, possibly the red bone coonhound, and their bloodline includes a mix of other breeds of dogs. For example, the Texas blue lacy Cur likely has greyhound or whippet forefathers, and it’s speculated that there may even be coyote. The Catahoula Cur dog is likely a mix of a type of French scenthound and Spanish mastiff, and there is a (however unlikely) chance there are some red wolf genes in there too.

Another hardy dog bred to be a good hunter and protector is the Feist. The Feist was likely bred from fox terriers, greyhounds and beagles, all brought over to the United States with English miners. Like the Cur dog, there are many types of Feist, but they are smaller than other hunting dogs, barely reaching 18 inches from feet to shoulders.

Both the Curs and the Feists coon hounds are primarily bred to be hardy, fearless hunters and protectors that can endure a days or even weeks hard work non-stop. The Cur dog is an all-purpose tree dog, with a medium nose. Curs are used to hunt and chase raccoons and other varmints, mountain lion and bear, and in Louisiana and Texas they are also used to hunt wild pigs. They are great stock dogs, working well with cattle in particular.

Protective and courageous, they will guard the home, but they are gentle and loving members of the family. They are similar to coonhounds in temperament, in that their nose rules their behavior, but they are less stubborn and more responsive, so an absolute delight to have indoors. They are bred to be hard working dogs, and therefore, like the coonhounds, need to be worked or exercised regularly, preferably as a hunter or stock dog to prevent boredom and associated destructiveness.


Feists are rugged little dogs and make great squirrel dogs, for which they are now primarily bred for hunting. They’re also efficient at chasing other small quarry such as rabbits and rats, and great to have around the home and property because they will eliminate all vermin, and keep them away as well. As

Feists are smaller, they’re able to get into rabbit and other small varmints burrows and nests and seek out litters of babies, before they become a problem. These dogs have an immense amount of energy, like the fox terrier, and they have a keen sense of smell.

Feists also hunt with their eyes and ears alert, and because they form such a tight bond with their handler, they’re very responsive to commands, even while pursuing an animal. They fit in well at home, especially as they’re smaller, and the strong relationship they build with their main hunting buddy can extend to the rest of the family, possibly including a cat who can stand its ground!


Both the Cur and the Feist are free of any particular health vulnerabilities, and live long lives, approximately 12-16 years.

Overall, both the Cur and the Feist dogs are extremely robust, able to work hard, play hard and they can be a loving member of the family they will guard and protect.

If the Cur or Feist isn’t for you, consider one of the other Coon Hound Breeds.