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Mandy Middleton

When Mandy Middleton first started competing in AKC events, almost no one knew what breed she was showing.

That breed — the Mountain Cur — is rare in the U.S., despite its patriotic roots. Considered the All-American pioneer dog, Curs were a necessity to frontier families, who relied on them to catch wild game and guard against intruders. The breed was added to the Foundation Stock Service (FSS) in 2017.

It’s no surprise that Mandy’s dogs Rebel and Dozer are the only Mountain Curs — and only FSS breed — competing at the 2021 AKC Rally National Championship on July 9.

Finding a Cur

Mandy was introduced to the breed when she rescued a dog named Diesel in 2011. At the time, she assumed the dog was a mixed-breed, and it wasn’t until later that she learned he was a Mountain Cur.

“He has been the best dog I’ve ever owned, even though he’s very stubborn,” Mandy says. “It was when I found out what he was that I bought another and was hooked.”

Mandy and Diesel tried Rally, and Diesel excelled in the sport until his knees and hips got bad and he had to retire. But Mandy had so much fun that she couldn’t stop with Diesel — she went back to Rally with her other dogs, everything from a German Shorthaired Pointer to a Treeing Walker Coonhound mix.

But none of her dogs quite matched what she had in Diesel. She decided on the Mountain Cur due to their extreme versatility and intelligence.

The hardest thing for Mandy about competing is finding competition within the breed, especially for conformation shows.

“Now that I’ve had them in the ring for several years, there are a lot more people that recognize the breed,” Mandy says. “Whereas when I started, no one had a clue what a Cur was. I enjoy educating the public on my breed and letting people meet my dogs and have made many friends over the years through them.”

Competition & Versatility

Currently, Mandy and her dogs compete in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, FastCat, Lure Coursing, Hunting, and more.

“I absolutely love this breed because I can do almost any sport with them that I want to do,” Mandy says. “They are highly versatile and extremely intelligent.”

At the upcoming Rally National Championship, Mandy’s goals are to have her dogs perform to the best of their ability and to represent their breed. “Placements of course would be awesome, but we’re mainly going to have fun and compete,” she says.

Above all, one of Mandy’s favorite things about competing with her dogs is showcasing the breed and educating the public on the somewhat unknown but extremely versatile canines.

Related article: Dog Athlete of the Month: Rally Champions Brianne and Aurora
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