Rare and American, the Plott is one of the least familiar coonhound breeds around today. But why? Author and enthusiast of the breed, Cormac McCarthy, once said this of the Plott Hound: “they are just without fear.”
Indeed, that is the buzz surrounding this breed from those who them best. Resilient and courageous, willing to put the work in against big game beasts.
However, those same people will tell you this breed is completely different at home. They are calm, loyal and loving.
So where does the breed come from and what makes them a sound choice for your home?
Here is what you need to know about the Plott.
The American Plott Association calls this hound, “a breed apart.” This seems to be the sentiment many people who know this breed echo often. There is something impressive in their compact and muscular stature. Aside from their physical traits, they have the inner bravery to go up against beasts hundreds of pounds bigger than themselves.
Moreover, the breed is said to be historically reliable and protective. So where did this breed come from and why haven’t you heard of them?
For a breed that has been in America from 1750 and on, that is a good question. Furthermore, it is more likely, that the Plott family was doing their best to make the breed as viable as possible rather than mass produce and promote it.
It all began during the mid-18th century, an ambitious group of German migrants came over from Rotterdam, Holland. One of the men out of the 200 migrants was Johannes Plott. Allegedly his brother was en route with him and his five Hanover hounds. Unfortunately, the brother didn’t survive the trip leaving Johannes, then a teenager, all by himself. Landing in Philadelphia, Johannes would waste no time in creating his own legacy.
Eventually Johannes would land in New Bern, North Carolina. He would start a family, buy a farm, and start living off the land with his hounds. This s where the Plott Hound comes into the picture. From day one, the breed was a big game hunting dog capable of taking on game like boar and bear. What’s more is that the breed became a viable treeing coonhound dog as well.
Johannes had a son by the name of Henry, who would further breed these dogs and keep them pure. For the next 200 years and counting, the breed has been a force in the Smokey Mountains and along the Appalachia.
However, the breed was still relatively a mystery to the dog kingdom. It wasn’t until 1946, that the breed would gain recognition by the United Kennel Club. This would help to promote the breed slightly, but the Plott was still unheard of.
In fact, most Americans and yes, folks of North Carolina, have not heard of the Plott Hound. That’s okay, though, because a council in 1989 made the decision to grant the breed official state dog of North Carolina status.
In 2006, the American Kennel Club would follow suit of the UKC and grant recognition to the breed. Today, the breed is still busy as a coonhound, and in certain communities, a K-9 dog. They may be vigilant and viable big game hunting dogs, but people also appreciate their protective and loyal attributes as companions.
According to the AKC, the Plott is the 158th most popular dog in America today.
A Plott Hound is a medium size breed. According to the American Kennel Club, a male should stand between 20 to 25 inches. Females will stand between 20 to 23 inches,
With regards to weight, a male will weigh between 50 to 60 pounds — as females will weigh from 40 to 55 pounds.
Plotts are bright, upbeat and friendly. Typically, the breed is fine with smaller children, if you raise them along together. However, they usually have an inclination with older children and their master adult.
As a family dog at home, this is a calm and loving breed. Affectionate and yearning for close contact. Ultimately, this breed has always been good with bonding one on one and is reliable. The Plott Hound prefers to stay by your side. They don’t like to be alone for long periods of time.
When they are young, and if you raise them with other dogs, this is a breed that does well with other dogs. Cats may present a challenge. Strangers they’ll do fine with.
The Plott is more suitable for warmer weather conditions. They do enjoy running and exercising. This is a breed that needs a role and purpose with the family.
As hunters, this is a breed that has a lot of determination. As hunting dogs in the mountain, they are incessant about their duties. Serious and bold, there isn’t much of a challenge the breed won’t stand up to. They operate under little to no fear and enjoy a challenge. This is an intelligent dog, that is smart enough to decide what risk is okay to take and what risk they shouldn’t face.
All in all, the breed is very protective and loves to wander. This is their curious nature. They can be a one dog family or co-exist with other canines. The Plott Hound may be a beast on the trail with their keen senses and amazing abilities for tracking down a scent, but at home they live harmoniously as sweet, affectionate and faithful companions.
It is hard to find information regarding the health of the Plott Hound. Perhaps that is a good thing. You may be happy to find out that the breed has a small list of things hampering their health. however, that doesn’t mean the breed is immune to certain complications like other breeds. They are a generally health breed, according to their association.
When you buy yourself a Plott Hound, you should always purchase from a credible breeder. Steer clear from puppy mills. Most of the time, mills operate unethically as far as breeding conditions. You should obtain the proper documentation and health clearances from the breeder. Never be afraid to do your diligent research, read the reviews online and ask the tough questions.
Additionally, you’ll want to schedule routine visits with the veterinarian. This will help maintain your dog’s well-being and assure good health.
One of the items showing up on this breed’s radar is Hip Dysplasia. The good news is that this condition appears in the breed minimally. In fact, you won’t them on the list done by the authority, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Hip Dysplasia is the malformation of the hip joint that causes rubbing and discomfort. It is painful and can lead to other serious issues, thus, it can hamper your Plott’s ability to work or hunt.
If Hip Dysplasia is a possibility, so isn’t Elbow Dysplasia. This is the abnormal development of the elbow, which is the most common form of elbow pain in dogs. Lameness and pain are common signs and symptoms for the breed suffering from this condition.
Gastric Torsion or Bloat is a serious and life threatening condition. This is what experts call the twisting inside of the stomach due to an excess of gases that have no way in releasing itself. If the condition persists, it can be fatal. Reducing your Plott Hound’s servings during feeding can help reduce the chances of Bloat and also obesity.
Finally, if you do your homework, and help your dog along the way, there is no reason to believe your Plott can’t live between 12 to 14 years.
If you don’t live an active lifestyle, then you could still own a Plott Hound. However, you’ll want to stay on the ball about getting your Plott enough exercise. Also, many recommend someone with experience in dealing with this breed. You’ll need to ensure at least an hour of exercise or outdoor time. Always have a leash when walking this dog as they do have a strong prey drive and a lust to wander about. Moreover, if you have smaller pets like mice, birds, and even a cat, you may want to supervise or separate the animals.
Early training and socialization is a must with this breed. They can become territorial, especially with their food and toys. You’ll want to disrupt these behavioral traits as a puppy. The breed does well with other dogs, if you raise them together as puppies.
Smaller children may have a harder time winning over the affection of this dog. It isn’t set in stone, however, and some Plott owners say the breed does well with all children ages. Typically, the breed is an adult or older children type of dog.
Leaving them behind for long periods of time consistently is obviously not a good idea. You’ll want to either invest in a companion, or get a different dog. This can invite boredom, which can result in destructive habits and aggression.
Apartment living is probably not the best idea or fit for this breed. They do tend to be vocal, and demand a bigger space. The farm or a ranch is much more suitable for a breed with this energy requirement.
You’ll want to inspect their ears regularly to avoid any bacterial infections. Trim their nails routinely to avoid overgrowth or splitting. Finally, bathe as you see necessary and brush their teeth two to three times per week to prevent tartar buildup.
Plott Hounds are said to be eager to eat, which means they aren’t picky. A meat first ingredient formula and high quality kibble is the best way to go with this breed. Chicken, turkey, beef, and fish are great sources of protein.
Since the breed is highly active, they will require replenishment of the calories they burn. For instance, a dog that is a light working breed from 40 to 60 pounds will require between 1300 to 1800 caolires per day.
Most will recommend feeding the Plott 2 to 3 cups of top quality kibble. You can break that up into two or three meals to help reduce the chances of Bloat or obesity.
As always, you should provide your Plott Hound with fresh drinking water, especially as an active breed.
A Plott Hound is a seasonal shedder, which means regular grooming. They do have a short to medium length coat, which is smooth, glossy and fine in texture. However, the coat should be thick enough to protect them from rainy conditions or water.
The American Kennel Club states the breed has 13 coat color options: Black, black brindle, blue brindle, brown brindle, buckskin, chocolate brindle, gray brindle, liver brindle, maltese, orange, brindle, red brindle, tan brindle, and yellow brindle.
There are four acceptable markings including” White chest and feet, graying muzzle and jaw, brindle trim, and black saddle.
For a breed that has been around for over two centuries, it is amazing that the Plott hasn’t made more of a name for itself. However, that all figures to change as the breed begins to appear at dog shows and increase in popularity.
That aside, this is the perfect dog for someone who enjoys the mountains, or lives on a farm, and needs a reliable and faithful companion. With their amount of intelligence, keen senses, and loyalty, it is only a matter of time until the Plott gains the attention they deserve.