The Plott, a hound with a curious name and a unique history, is a rugged, relentless hunting dog who is a mellow gentleman at home but fearless, implacable, and bold at work. This eye-catching scenthound is North Carolina’s state dog. The hound with the curious name (we’ll get to that) and unique history (we’ll get to that, too) is a streamlined, long-tailed, light-footed hunter standing as high as 25 inches at the shoulder. The flashy coat comes in an array of brindle-stripe patterns, from black flecked with gold to flaming orange and russet, in addition to some solid colors. The medium-length ears hang gracefully, and the leather of the nose, lips, and eye rims are black, setting off an inquisitive and confident expression.
Unique among the six AKC coonhound breeds, Plott Hounds are descended not from English Foxhounds but from German “Hanover hounds.” In 1750, a German immigrant named Johannes Plott arrived in North Carolina. Accompanying him were five Hanover hounds he brought from the old country. Plott settled in the mountains, where he raised a family and hunted bears with his hounds. His son, Henry, bred the family pack to local stock and produced a big-game hunter originally known as “Plott’s hound.”
Temperament: Loyal / Alert / Intelligent
Height: 20 to 25 inches
Weight: 40 to 60 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
Plotts are generally healthy dogs. A responsible breeder will have had the dog’s parents screened for health concerns such as hip dysplasia. Pendant ears such as the Plott’s can be prone to infection, so the ears should be checked regularly. The teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the Plott a long, healthy life.
The Plott’s smooth, fine, glossy coat can be any shade of brindle (a streaked or striped pattern of dark hair imposed on a lighter background), solid black, or have a saddle or markings. It requires minimal maintenance, with just a weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or a hound glove to remove dirt and loose hair. An occasional bath can help keep him from having a doggy odor. The Plott’s ears should be regularly inspected for debris or excess wax and cleaned if needed with soft gauze and an ear-cleaning solution’¿the dog’s breeder or the veterinarian can recommend a good brand to use. The nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally.
Plotts are tough, relentless athletes requiring lots of exercise and outdoor time. The breed’s standard says: “Noted for stamina, endurance, agility, determination, and aggressiveness when hunting, the powerful, well muscled, yet streamlined Plott combines courage with athletic ability.” Daily vigorous exercise such as long walks or runs or play sessions with his owner will help to keep the Plott mentally and physically healthy. Because the Plott is extremely prey driven, he should always be walked on leash.
The Plott is intelligent, alert, and confident. He can be a tail-wagging, people-loving dog, but may be a bit standoffish, since he is extremely smart and focused. Puppies should be socialized thoroughly with gentle exposure to a wide variety of people and other animals. Prospective owners should plan on an energetic puppy who requires a lot of attention. Because of his intelligence, the Plott needs mental stimulation to keep him occupied, or he will find ways to amuse himself that may be undesirable. Plotts may become food or toy aggressive, and need to be trained to avoid these behaviors. Owners should be prepared to hear the Plott’s “voice” in the home at times.
The Plott should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.