5 Common Squirrel Dogs Used for Hunting

5 Common Squirrel Dogs Used for Hunting
Black-mouthed cur. (Shutterstock image)

Here's a look at five breeds of squirrel dogs commonly used in small-game hunting.

To many people, the words "cur" and "feist" equate to the word "mutt."

In the world of squirrel hunting, however, curs and feists are registered dogs of pure breeding. Veteran dog trainer Jim Rhea details five of the most popular breeds.


  • Coloration: typically brindle, black or yellow.
  • Weight/info: usually 35-40 pounds. Once known as the Ledbetter cur, this old breed originated in the mountains of Tennessee. Ears must be short, cur-like. Normally silent on track, barking only when a squirrel is treed.

squirrel dogs


  • Coloration: typically yellow with black areas around the mouth.
  • Weight/info: 35-40 pounds and up. These dogs are more "open-mouthed" on track, similar to hounds, barking while tracking a squirrel. Differ from mountain curs in having longer ears, a trait attributable to their hound ancestry. One of the newer breeds.


  • Coloration: a spotted or striped pattern combining gray, black, yellow, other colors.
  • Weight/info: typically 40-45 pounds. Can be trained for wild hog hunting, cat hunting, and working with livestock.


  • Coloration: black and white, black with tan.
  • Weight/info: typically 20 pounds, cannot exceed 27 pounds. Often confused with rat terriers, but the ears of feists break over rather than sticking straight up. Usually bark only when treed, unless running a squirrel seen on the ground.

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