Plott Hounds are large, scent hounds bred specifically for hunting boar. They are clever and confident hunting dogs with a fierce nature. These dogs are also affectionate and loyal to their families and owners.
This dog breed belongs to the western mountains of North Carolina. Plott Hounds are the only coonhound dogs not related to the foxhounds.
Two distinctive Plott Hound characteristics are their speed and spirit.
These ferocious hounds require proper training to behave well indoors and outdoors. Plott Hounds can also have health issues, requiring regular visits to a vet.
Characteristics of a Plott Hound
A Plott Hound personality is rugged and relentless, but at home, they behave pretty well.
The average Plott Hound size for a male is 20 to 25 inches tall at the shoulders and 20 to 23 inches at the shoulders for a female. Males are also slightly heavier than females, weighing around 50 to 60 pounds. Females are 40 to 55 pounds.
The estimated Plott Hound lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
A Plott Hound is a long-tailed hunting dog with a flashy coat. They are light-footed hunters prepared to catch any prey.
Their coats feature an array of brindle stripes. These stripes are black, combined with flaming orange, gold, russet, and some solid colors. A Plott's coat can also have markings or a saddle.
These hounds have medium-length ears that hang beautifully. The black leather of their nose, eye rims, and lips give them an intimidating demeanor.
Plott Hounds have strong hunting instincts that must be fulfilled to keep them in a good mood. They are protective and affectionate family dogs. They get along well with other dogs and children, but you should never leave a Plott Hound alone with them.
Plott Hound temperament is usually fierce since they always seek hunting opportunities. They are active dogs that require regular walks or runs.
They'd also like to run off-leash in a fenced area daily. Still, if you're a new Plott Hound owner, it's better to walk them on a leash.
Caring for Plott Hounds
Plott Hound's smooth and glossy coat has low grooming needs. You only have to brush its coat weekly with a soft-bristle brush to remove loose hair and excessive dirt.
These dogs require occasional bathing sessions, as it's easy for them to develop a doggy odor in a few days or weeks. You should also keep your dog's ears clean. Look for debris or excess wax in their ears and remove it with soft gauze or an ear-cleaning solution. Always talk to your vet or the dog's breeder to buy the best brand.
You'll need to follow a nail-trimming routine for your Plott Hound. They can also develop dental issues with time, so brush your dog's teeth daily with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
Most dog breeds are affected by disease-causing fleas, ticks, and heartworms. The Companion Animal Parasite Council suggests that every pet owner provide year-round prevention of ticks, heartworm, and fleas for their dogs and cats.
Plott Hounds are more likely to prevent several health issues with a core set of vaccinations for diseases such as rabies and DHPP (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza). After a complete checkup, the vet may recommend non-core vaccines for your dog to prevent diseases like kennel cough, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and/or canine influenza.
Healthcare professionals usually decide the timing and dosage of vaccinations depending on your dog's age. Regular appointments with the vet will help you stay up-to-date about your Plott Hound's vaccination schedule.
Plotts are tough, athletic dogs who require outdoor time and an extensive exercise routine to stay happy. According to the breed's standard, Plott Hounds are notable for agility, stamina, determination, endurance, and aggressiveness. These powerful and well-defined dogs combine their athletic traits with courage when hunting.
Plotts have high physical and mental stimulation needs, so you'll need to take them for long walks or have playing sessions to keep them healthy. Always use a leash in open areas.
Plott Hounds require companionship to stay in a good mood. They also like to perform the jobs they were bred for: hunting, searching, and rescuing. If you can't use them for hunting, still try to involve them in sports like Nite Hunts, Field Trials, Bench Shows, Hunt Tests, and Water Races.
Plotts are excellent hiking companions with great endurance levels.
The Plott is a confident, smart, and intelligent dog. They can be people's favorite dogs but can also be a little standoffish, as they're very focused. You should focus on socializing and obedience training your Plott when they're puppies.
Young Plott Hounds are more energetic and require a lot of attention. If you leave them unoccupied, they are more likely to get into trouble to keep themselves amused. These dogs can be food or toy aggressive, so you'd also need to focus on their training.
Plott Hounds can eat most every type of high-quality dog food, whether commercially prepared or home-manufactured. Remember, though, that your Plott may become overweight if you give them too much food.
Keeping a check on these dogs' calorie count is essential to keep them fit and healthy.
It's best to consult a vet about developing a comprehensive diet for your Plott. They will recommend meals and calorie counts based on your dog's age, weight, and nutritional needs. Provide your pet with clean and fresh water all the time.
Health Problems to Watch for With Plott Hounds
Plott Hounds are healthy dogs with minimum health issues, but they can have some conditions. Like other dog breeds, they are susceptible to hip dysplasia, ear infections, and bloating or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Some Plott Hound health issues are:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
Plott Hounds can develop bloating issues, including a complication known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). GDV happens when the dog's stomach fills up with air and becomes twisted. This prevents the blood from the stomach from returning to the heart and other critical body parts of the dog.
It is a lethal condition that can send your Plott Hound into sudden shock if they don't get medical help within one or two hours. GDV increases the dog's heart rate and weakens their pulse, leading to death.
If your Plott develops GDV, they may show these symptoms:
- Distended abdomen
- Retching, or reverse movement of the stomach and esophagus without vomiting
- Loud, painful whining
- Frequent drooling or salivation
Plott Hounds may display hip dysplasia, more commonly known as hip dislocation, as they grow older. In this condition, the ball-and-socket joint of the dog's hip moves from its original formation. The bones making up the joint grind and rub against each other, causing unbearable pain to the Plott.
If your dog doesn't get immediate hip dysplasia treatment, its condition may worsen and damage the entire hip joint.
Watch out for these symptoms in your Plott Hound:
- Reduced productivity levels
- Painful or difficult mobility
- Severe pain when sitting
- Increased shoulder muscles
- Diminished thigh muscle mass
Dogs with pendant ears, like the Plott, can develop ear infections over time. It's recommended to get your dog's inner, outer, and middle ear checked for infections.
Watch for these ear infection symptoms in your dog:
- Ear odor
- Head shaking
- Ear scratching
- Dark discharge from the ears
- Redness of the ear canal
- Swollen or thickened ear
- Crusting in the ear
Special Considerations for Plott Hounds
Plott Hounds bark so loudly that they can be heard for miles.
They are independent dogs and usually like to do things their way. These hounds can become stubborn and may rebel against their owners' commands.
If you have a young Plott, start training them early. These dogs are amenable to training, but keep the sessions short and use positive reinforcement techniques to help them learn tasks.
History of Plott Hounds
The Plott Hound is a unique coonhound breed that doesn't belong to the seven other foxhound breeds registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). In the early days, Germans treated Plott Hounds as boar hunters.
The Plott Hound history takes us back to 1750, when a German named Johannes "George" Plott brought some wild boar dogs to the US. These hounds had been bred for years because of their cleverness and stamina.
According to the census, George's son Henry used to live in the North Carolina mountains from 1801 to 1810. He was responsible for making the Plott Hounds popular as "game dogs" in the country.
Soon after, a Georgian hunter already breeding strains of "leopard-spotted dogs" came to know about the Plott Hounds. He came to North Carolina to borrow one of the top stud dogs of Montraville Plotts for breeding purposes. Montraville bred both strains but decided not to continue, giving away all the leopard dogs. It is believed that some other crosses also happened in the year 1900.
A neighbor of the Plotts in North Carolina, G.P. Ferguson, played a significant role in the popularity of this dog breed. He studied the Blevins hounds and the Cable hounds.
Finally, the United Kennel Club registered the Plott Hound in 1946, and the American Kennel Club recognized them in 2006.