- AKC registered in 2006
- Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
- Size: medium
- Energy: high
- Recommended Crate Size: 42” dog crate*
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Table of Contents
The Plott Hound is much more than just a hound dog! Of the seven hound dog breeds, he’s actually the only hound dog in America that doesn’t have foxhound roots.
He’s also one of the least known dogs in the United States even though as of 1989 he has been the state dog of North Carolina. But he isn’t worried about it.
He knows he’s one of the best bear hunting dogs in the world and if the rest of the world doesn’t know, that’s alright by him. Sometimes such skills are better-kept secret, especially when his modern-day duties include working for law enforcement.
Although Plott Hounds aren’t the most popular dog, maybe it should be. His humble roots and excellent bear hunting skills are only the beginning of the awesome facts about this dog. If you are thinking about getting one, read on to find out more.
This unique and rather large scent hound dog has quite a story. This interesting hound dog is named the “Plott Hound” for a very sentimental, historical reason.
Coming out of Germany, this breed came to America by way of German immigrant Johannes George Plott in the late 19th century. The Plott family is the namesake of a beautiful mountain range in North Carolina called the Plott Balsams.
These hounds were originally bred to hunt bear and they were masters at it. Courageous and quick, they earned a fabulous reputation as being the best of the best. That is why they were chosen to sail with their owner to America.
Once they got to America, they were used for hunting as well. There were five dogs total and at that time, they were actually known as Hanoverian Hounds.
Over the course of time, Johanne George Plott’s son ended up settling in the mountains in Western North Carolina, accompanied by the dogs. The breeding of the dogs continued until he passed away. The pack went to Henry Plott then.
A man who was living nearby in the state of Georgia had a collection of finely bred ‘leopard spotted dogs” and the two agreed to mate the breeds.
This was the first and only time on record that such crossing occurred although other events could have taken place in 1900.
Plott Hounds were recognized in the first registry in the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1946 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) membership in 2006. The first Plott Hound exhibit at the Westminster Show took place in 2008.
The Hound made a name for himself in the legal department when he joined forces with the Guilford County Sherriff’s Department and took on K9 duties. Being the hunter that he is, he is known for doing a terrific job of keeping law and order.
Trailing, tracking, and treeing are what this breed is about. The natural talent for hunting big game has been a part of his heritage since the breed began and it runs thick through his blood as rightly it should. He is a scent hound through and through.
Plott Hounds are a distinguished fellow with a muscular and athletic build. You can tell how agile and strong he is just by a glance. He is of medium build and oddly enough, does not have the baggy, wrinkled skin that is typical of hounds.
Adult females run about 20 to 23 inches at the shoulder and weigh in around 40-55 pounds. Males measure approximately 20 to 2d inches at the withers and weigh between 50 to 60 pounds.
Even this dog’s coat is designed for dynamic speed. Sleek, medium short and fine in texture, it doesn’t slow him down a bit. It is a brindle color and oftentimes has a marking on it which owners use to help identify him when the hunt is in progress. Due to the fact that the mark is used for this traditional and useful purpose, it is not penalized during conformation shows.
The Hound’s coat is glossy and smooth and brindle in color. It can consist of black with lighter hairs or can have a dark colored background coloring. It may be finely streaked, have a stripe-like effect, or sport a pattern.
Acceptable shades include tan brindle, black brindle, liver brindle, brown brindle, red brindle, yellow brindle, gray brindle, and slate gray with blue brindle which is called “Maltese”. White may be allowed on the feet or chest but never anywhere else, according to the Association.
The brown-eyed Plott Hound carries his head high as a good hunting hound should. His neck is noticeably muscular.
His topline is proportionally sloped from his shoulder area down to his hips. His floppy hound dog ears tend to be broad and are set high on the top of his head.
This hound dog is the ultimate in the appearance you would desire from a hunting dog. He’s got it all in one powerfully wrapped package.
It is highly recommended that you feed your Plott Hound a healthy, high-quality diet that is specialized for his specific individual needs. You should talk with his veterinarian to find out what his nutritional needs are and find out exactly how often and how much food to give him.
Plott Hounds are quite active so he’ll be burning off calories if he’s where he can. Especially when he’s young he may need more calories, perhaps even being fed small meals more often.
This may continue until he is six months old. His quantity and frequency of feeding are likely to change throughout his life so be sure to consult his vet for more information.
His high energy level will need to be adequately fueled so keep that in mind when choosing his food. Also, as with all pets, be certain to have lots of fresh water available to him at all times.
Being an outdoor hunting hound, Plotts doesn’t require a lot as far as grooming. His coat is slick and sleek, medium in length so there are no tangles and mats to fuss over. They are very light shedders so a once per week brushing with a hound mitt is a good idea so his coat stays shiny, any dead hair is removed, and his skin stays healthy.
His ears are long and floppy so they can become infected fairly easily. Check them for any signs of wax building up and keep them clean and dry. You can use a cotton ball and a cleanser your veterinarian may recommend but never use a cotton swab.
Keep his teeth brushed. Once a week is sufficient. This will promote good dental and gum health and will keep cavities, gum disease, and bad breath at bay.
Watch for any cracks on his toenails. Also, keep an eye out for any excessive growth. They should naturally wear down due to him being outdoors on the terrain but if need be, trim them or have them professionally trimmed.
Never talk harshly to your Plott or it’s “game over”. He takes rough tones very personally and his dominant stubbornness will take over. This breed hunt bears, so keep that in mind. A mutual respect is a must.
You’ve probably seen pictures of old hound dogs lazing on the sofa or sleeping in front of a fireplace. That hound...is not his hound.
Plott Hounds have more energy than most any other kind hound. He was bred to go after bears, wild boars, and even coons.
He’s a working dog and his job is a very demanding, physical one that requires his body to rise up to the challenge. He needs a lot of exercise in order to maintain his happiness and his health. He will go downhill without it.
A dog who is quite capable of spending an entire day tracking and treeing pray has the need to burn off plenty of energy. If you are into jogging, this tireless runner is awesome by your side. If not, long walks are an excellent option.
He will also trot next to you if you cycle. Going mountain climbing? He will be the best hiking companion ever and offers a lot in the way of protection as well.
A Plott who isn’t allowed to get his energy out will become destructive. He will chew, dig, or bark until he releases some of it. It is by far easier to give him room to run and to encourage him to exercise rather than to make him pent it up.
This dog is intelligent. He is used to figuring out a bear’s next move or second-guessing where a wild boar is headed. The hunt that runs through his blood requires a lot of smarts so be sure to exercise his mentality too.
Playing interactively with the Plott is a wonderful idea. Make sure he understands that playtime will be gentle but active. It’s a great way to bond with him...right down his alley!
Pet Crates Direct recommends a 42” dog crate* for most adult Plott Hounds.
The Plott Hound is known for being confident, and...why wouldn’t he be? He excels in all he sets out to do, and he is fully aware of that fact.
He is cunning and sharp which sets him up to be the awesome big game hunter that he is. He is also tenacious and fierce, a champion in no uncertain terms. Anything less would ensure his demise.
This dog has an unusually loyal streak and is quite affectionate too. He loves his people. He is active and fearless which are traits not easily changed with this breed.
Sometimes he doesn’t know his own strength and for that reason, isn’t the best dog to have around young children. If children are older, however, he is fine with them and will be a good guardian protector, especially if there happens to be a bear lurking nearby.
This is a family dog, best suited for those who live on a bit of land. He is especially suited for a hunter and makes a great hunting partner and companion as well. He needs action and exercise and is not happy nor healthy without it.
Plott Hounds are friendly with most all two-legged creatures as long as they are not bear or boar. He does best with the pets he lives with or is accustomed to, however.
He tends to not welcome newcomer animals. With proper procedures in place, he may be able to adjust as an adult but that is not to be depended upon.
He’s a pack animal so he does well with other pets in the household and thrives on multiple dog situations. Though typically he is alright with strangers, he does have a protective streak so it’s important he knows a friend from a foe.
You may find that your Plott is possessive of his food. This is common and can be addressed during training.
You may find that feeding him separately is wise too. This trait was developed because he was in the wild, often with a pack. Hunting his food was the way he stayed alive and the pack rules entailed that the leader, the dominant one, would eat first.
Sometimes there is a little confusion now that dogs are fed and don’t hunt down their own food. He is not trying to be rude, he’s just living out what is in his genes. That’s not to say that the behavior cannot and should not be changed, however.
This breed barks. It is an important part of the hunt to alert his handler of a sighting or treeing but when he’s around neighbors and not on the hunt, this can become annoying very quickly. That is another reason he is best on a nice plot of land.
The valiant Plott Hound has characteristics that are bred into him which are useful to his hunting heritage but can easily conflict with modern life.
It is highly recommended that he not be taken too far out of his element or he will not reach his ultimate development and be the marvelous dog he was intended to be.
This dog was born to join in the hunt. He has been trained since his very beginnings so when done properly, training is a cinch. Especially when focusong in positive reinforcement methods.
He is a self-starter when it comes to working in the field and will require little to no actual training class. He’s what you might call...a natural.
Obedience training, however, is something that must be instigated. He will pick up on it quite quickly though if it is implemented early in his life.
You will need to establish yourself as the alpha leader, in a kind and direct manner, or he will have dominating tendencies. It is imperative to let him know who rules the roost.
Socialization is imperative to teach your Plott and the earlier, the better. Expose him to different individuals and animals and also to different surroundings.
Have him where everything is calm and quiet and also where there are noise and high activity. If he will be accompanying you on a hunt, you’ll want to familiarize him with gunshots.
Treats and praise are what this dog thrives on during training. He aims to please and listening to his owner is part of his hunting skills.
Barking is built into this dog. With heavy training, you may curb it a bit but his barking is nothing short of instinctive. It’s best that he be in a place where his barking is of little concern or nuisance.
Older Plotts may balk at training if they have never experienced any. It is best to teach them when they are young but an experienced trainer will be able to train an adult for the first time with consistency and patience.
The Plott typically enjoys a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. He’s a very physically fit fellow and usually is quite healthy. There are some medical woes you’ll want to watch out for, however.
Bloat is a condition this breed often succumbs to, unfortunately. This is medically known as gastric dilation and volvulus. In short, it is a dilation of the stomach and is quite painful and can be fatal.
The stomach actually dilates and then, it turns and twists. There is increased pressure within the abdomen which can easily and quickly set off the cardiovascular system and prevent nutrients from being delivered within the bloodstream.
Cellular damage and death can occur. It’s vital to watch for symptoms which include anxiousness and depression, abdominal pain, excessive drooling, and a rapid heartbeat.
A weak pulse may also accompany the symptoms. If you suspect your dog is suffering from bloat, call your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence.
Hip Dysplasia is another medical issue that is fairly common in Plotts. This occurs when the hip joint is deformed from a gene abnormality or it can happen due to the environment of which he is in.
The hip slides in and out of the socket and it can cause great pain and even lead to limping and lameness. For extremely severe cases, surgery may be an option.
Of course, there can be medical conditions that are acquired on the hunt. Everything from cuts and contusions to the breaking of bones or a tangle with another animal is possible.
In the event your Plott Hound suffers an injury of significance, get in touch with his vet. Take him in as soon as possible if the injury involves a lot of bleeding or pain.
The Plott is fairly healthy and is used to having some problems. He has a high pain tolerance but that’s not to say you should let him suffer unnecessarily.
When you get him from a breeder, be sure it is a reputable one with references and who is able and willing to provide his parent’s health records to you. Doing so can help prevent a world of health trouble on down the line.
A good check-up is in order as well. While no measures can be taken to completely assure any dog’s pristine health, there are things that can at least raise the chances that you are getting a healthy Plott who can hopefully live a long and happy life.
Is a Plott Hound a Good Fit for Me?
The Plott Hound is a unique and spirited dog that thrives within his element. He is, for sure and for certain, an outside dog.
If you can accommodate him with ample room to roam and possibly a spot to hunt, this dog will shine. But if confined, he’ll be like a fish out of water. If you live in a residential neighborhood or, heaven forbid, an apartment or condo, this dog is definitely not the best choice for you.
This dog isn’t for everyone. If you are a first-time dog owner, even if you do live on some land, the Plott Hound very well may not be a good match for you. You will need to be a confident leader to bring out the best in this breed.
If you have very young children or children who are rowdy, count this dog out. He needs humans who are calm, cool, and collect. Older children should be fine.
If you have other pets, he should do well when brought in as a pup. If he is an adult, it might be a different story. Plotts generally do alright with cats as long as they are brought up at the same time.
When a Plott Hound is a good fit, it is obvious. There is a bond like none other between him and his people. His story in America began because of the fact this hound’s human family believed in him enough to give him much coveted, precious room on the boat.
Their aspirations for him were many. They believed in him. He did not disappoint them and if you are the right one for him, he will not disappoint you either.