Plott Guide

Hound Dog Breeds

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The Plott is a no-frills dog, built to follow cold trails at speed over rough terrain and through water in all weather, and to grapple with large animals, including bear, once cornered. It is streamlined and agile, yet powerful with great endurance. The hair is short to medium in length, fine to medium coarse in texture. When trailing, the Plott is bold and confident, not backing down from a challenge. Its voice is open and unrestricted, with a loud bugle-like chop or bawl.

Bred for generations as a bear and coon dog, the Plott's first nature is to sniff up a cold trail and follow it to the end. Yet the Plott makes the transition to family dog with ease, being eager to please and loyal. This is an extremely courageous breed, and, as befitting any good hound, it can be headstrong. Plotts can be wary of strangers, but generally warm up quickly. They are not as gregarious with other dogs as some hounds, and true to their bear-hunting heritage, can be ferocious fighters if pushed. They may tree the family cat!


FAMILY Scenthound

AREA OF ORIGIN United States


ORIGINAL FUNCTION Cold trailing, bear hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION Cold trailing, bear, boar and raccoon hunting, night hunts

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 20 - 25 Weight: 50 - 60

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 20 - 23 Weight: 40 - 55

OTHER NAME Plott Hound, Plott Coonhound

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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Plotts are easy keepers, but must have a securely fenced yard. They need canine or human companionship, and an opportunity to hunt or at least go for some woodland hikes. They enjoy swimming. Coat care is minimal.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: CHD
• Suggested tests: hip
• Life span: 11-13 years
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Now the official state dog of North Carolina, the Plott's roots spring from Germany, where Hanoverian Schweisshunds were valued for their ability to hunt wild boars and track wounded game even over week-old trails. In 1750, 16-year-old Joahnnes Georg Plott brought five of these dogs with him to his new home in the Great Smoky Mountains. Although there were no wild boars there at the time, the dogs and their descendants proved themselves to be great cold trailers of large animals, especially bear. They didn't just find bear, but could hold at bay or even bring down a 500-pound bear. The Plott family bred their line of cold-trailing brindle dogs for seven generations, the dogs distributing across the Smoky Mountains as their family grew. Other mountain men incorporated the Plott blood into their own lines of dogs, but stories disagree as to the extent, if any, other strains were introduced to the Plotts. Some maintain an early cross with a "leopard-spotted bear dog," and others claim crosses to cur dogs for better treeing ability. It was not until the early 1900s that documented crosses with other lines were made to improve the Plott strain. At that time Gola Ferguson crossed his Plotts with a strain of black-saddled hounds known as Blevins or Great Smokies, producing "Tige" and "Boss," two hounds of such talent that even the Plott family incorporated their blood back into their line. This introduced the black-saddled brindle pattern into the breed. Almost all Plotts can be traced back to one of these dogs. Although used primarily for bear, boar and mountain lions, many Plotts were also adept at treeing raccoons, and coonhunters — far more populous than bear hunters — found them ideal for their needs. In 1946, the breed finally received the official name of Plott Hound when it was recognized by the UKC. It is the only UKC coonhound breed that doesn't trace back to foxhounds. In 1998, the AKC admitted the Plott into the Miscellaneous class.
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