The Plott is a powerful, muscular hunting hound and the state dog of North Carolina. It is the only coonhound without foxhound ancestors.
The breed’s appearance features a black nose, black lips, brown or hazel eyes, medium-length ears that are set high, a moderately heavy, long tail, and round, solid feet — some of which may have webbed toes — but not all Plott hounds will have this feature.
The short to medium coat is smooth and comes in colors of buckskin, any color brindle, black and may have saddle, white or other markings. Double coats are not common but are possible.
Males weigh between 50 to 75 pounds or more and have a height average of 22 to 27 inches. Females are slightly smaller with weights around 40 to 65 pounds and a height of between 21 to 25 inches. The average life expectancy of a Plott is 12 years.
The Plott’s ancestors were developed in Germany and were a favorite of gamekeepers.
Johannes George Plott and his brother left Germany for America in 1750 with 5 of their hounds, which at the time were referred to as Hanoverian Schweisshund (bloodhounds). Johannes survived the trip but his brother did not. Johannes starting using George as his first name and settled in the mountainous area of Bute County, North Carolina.
In North Carolina George raised a family and continued to breed his dogs. His son became involved in the breeding program, which continued through 7 generations (around 200 years).
The dogs were used to hunt bear, mountain lions and wild boar and were exceptional at their tasks. They were also effective at treeing and coon hunting. Over time the breed became known by the family name, Plott, after being called Plott’s hounds for some time.
The black saddle marking was the result of an out-crossing by Gola Ferguson. A Plott was crossed with Blevins, tan dogs with black saddle markings. The offspring were bred back into Ferguson’s line with exceptional results. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2006.
Plott hounds originally hunted mountain lions, bear and wild boar. Today they are still involved in hunting and are usually used to hunt bear, boar and raccoons. They are also companion pets and may participate in conformation and tracking.
This breed’s temperament is loyal, intelligent and alert.
They are eager to please and learn quickly. They are good with older children and other animals if socialized at a young age. Socialization and obedience training are highly recommended for this breed because they can be dominant pack dogs. They need strong people to reinforce leadership.
When they are hunting Plotts are extremely aggressive and fearless and won’t think twice about taunting a bear or boar. At home they can be possessive of food or food bowls. They can also be loud dogs; they are known to have a long, lingering bark or bay.
This video of a Plott hound named Buddy Beauchaine provides an example of their long barks and baying:
These active dogs need daily exercise. Two to 3 walks a day is suggested to help them expel energy; they are active hunters with strong instincts and stamina, and regular exercise will keep negative behaviors to a minimum.
Because they have a tendency to wander off and hunt, Plotts should be exercised on a leash or within a secure area when outdoors. While their stamina could allow them to
keep up with a jogger, they are scent hounds who want to stop and smell when outdoors. Plotts can live outdoors but are not recommended for apartments, plus they would much prefer to be closer to their family members.
Brushing once or twice per week is sufficient to maintain the coat of a Plott. Bathing can be done as needed, and dry or foam shampoo works well.
Plotts working in a hunting capacity should be checked after returning for ticks, injuries and debris in the ears or paws. Regular maintenance of the teeth, nails and ears should be performed regularly.
Common Health Problems
The Plott has few health problems. While they are susceptible to any condition that affects all dogs, they have been known to suffer these commonly:
- Hip dysplasia
If you plan to obtain a Plott from a breeder, ask for health clearances on the hips of the parents of the puppy you intend to buy or adopt.
Is the Plott the Right Dog for You?
Plott hounds are active hunting dogs. They have strong instincts and a desire to hunt, so they need to be exercised every day and would make a great companion for an active, outdoor family. They get along with children and other animals, although they are recommended for households with older children. They can be possessive of food and bowls. Socialization and training is strongly recommended and should start as soon as you bring your Plott home.
Grooming is minimal. Brushing the coat once or twice per week is sufficient, although active hunting Plotts should be checked over when they return home for ticks, injuries and debris.
There are few health problems, although these dogs have a tendency to eat quickly and are susceptible to bloat. Slow down their eating as much as possible and restrict physical activity after each meal.
Plotts are not recommended for apartments because of their high need for physical activity and for their long, baying bark. They are not the quietest breed, but they do enjoy spending time with their families and being outdoors and most often become vocal after picking up a new scent.
If you can commit to this breed’s exercise needs and want a dog with few health problems or grooming requirements, consider a Plott for your next pet.
Adopt, Don’t Buy
Start with our search to see if a Plott is available near you, and the Plott Rescue (below under the additional resources section) lists the Plott hounds available by state.