Breed Group: Hound
The sweet-natured Plott Hound is loving of family and exceptional with children. It is said the only way a Plott Hound would ever bite a person would be to protect a child. Normally friend and stranger alike are greeted with a friendly high-pitched howl. Bred to hunt in packs, they are usually accepting of other dogs, though not as inclined to do so as many other hounds used to hunt in packs. Other pets, especially cats, may not be as easily accepted. Some can be reticent with strangers. The Plot Hound is modestly active inside. It is outside when hunting the Plott Hound displays their great energy and tenacity in trailing and treeing game from raccoons to mountain lions to 500-pound black bear. While on a trail they bay continuously, changing pitch once their quarry is treed. They may also bay at the moon or simply for the sheer joy of it. This can become a difficult problem to solve in a residential setting. As a pet, Plott Hounds need an active owner who will make sure the dog gets the significant amount of exercise needed. With no road sense and his desire to trail, ventures off-leash must be in a securely fenced area or well away from civilization.
A large dog bred for stamina, power, and endurance, male Plott Hounds range in size from 20 to 25 inches at the withers and weigh between 50 and 60 pounds. Females stand 20 to 23 inches at the withers and weigh between 40 and 55 pounds. They have short to medium length coat that sheds little and needs little grooming. Coat colors include one of many brindle colors, blue, black, and buckskin with many dogs having black saddles. They do well in a temperate climate that is neither excessively cold nor excessively hot. They can be kenneled outdoors if given reasonable shelter.
More socialization is need than most breeds to encourage them to be less reticent with strangers. Little training is needed for hunting. As hardheaded as any hound, obedience training is a different matter. They make the transition from hunter to loving pet with ease and so long as the exercise needs and potential for baying are understood, Plott Hounds make a reasonable choice for a novice dog owner.
Although few reliable statistics exist for the Plott Hound, they are believed to be a healthy breed with Hip Dysplasia only rarely occurring. Because they tend to gulp their food quickly, they are also susceptible to Bloat. The lifespan of a Plott Hound is 10 to 15 years.
The Plott Hound ranks 106th on the list of the American Kennel Club’s most popular dog breeds. There are about 400 annual registrations.
In 1750, Johannes Georg Plott settled in North Carolina with five Bloodhounds he brought with him from his native Germany. He settled down, married, raised children and bred his dogs. His son, Henry, continued to breed the dogs as did the next seven generations of the Plott family over a span of more than 200 years. As the family spread throughout the Smokey Mountains, their dogs became known as Plott Hounds. By the 1920’s, an outcross was needed. A Plott breeder named Gola Ferguson chose another family hound, a black-saddled tan Blevins Hound, to inject new blood into the line. Two of the resulting dogs were so exceptional that when Ferguson bred them back to his Plotts, the breed was immediately improved. Some members of the Plott family themselves used these dogs in their breeding program. This cross is why today some Plotts have a black saddle. Raccoon hunters became interested in Plott Hounds and they are now classified as a coonhound, although they are still in demand by bear hunters today. The Plott was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1998.
The Plott Hound is the State Dog of North Carolina. The National (US) Parent Breed Club is the American Plott Association.
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