The Plott Hound
The Plott Hound is a pack-hunting dog that was developed over 200 years ago in North Carolina and was used to hunt bear and wild boar. Today, they are still used as hunting dogs as they have proven their worth as pack hunters. Owners of these dogs often participate in tracking and other dog sports. Plott Hounds need plenty of room and are best suited to living in the country and deep farm areas.
General Overview of the Plott Hound
The Plott Hound is a coonhound type of dog, however, unlike other coonhounds this one is not descended from the foxhounds. Being a pack hunting dog this breed is used mostly for hunting bigger game such as wild boars and bear.
The Plott Hound is an uncommon breed which originated in the United States. His bloodline, however, is that of the German bloodhounds. Particularly the Hanoverian Schweisshund. It was Johannes George Plott who introduced these dogs to the western North Carolina area in 1750 from their German descendants. It is after Mr. Plott that these dogs derive their name.
This hound dog is known for his streamlined body which is very powerful. Other characteristics of this dog are his loyalty, intelligence, and eager-to-please nature.
The original purpose that this dog was created for was that of hunting bigger game than other hounds. That is why the Plott Hound is very adept at hunting bears and wild boar. Game which can seriously injure and kill other dogs during a hunting expedition. Because of the type of game that they hunt they are very fierce hunters and great fighters when the need arises.
Because of his aggressive nature in his hunting these dogs tend to have a very aggressive behavior. Proper socialization is needed to control this type of dog. Exposure to different sights, sounds, experiences, people, and environments should be started as early in life as possible. The trainer also needs to be firm, consistent, and use positive reinforcement techniques. This is also true of the dog owner which is why this dog is not recommended for first-time dog owners as the dog will take control of their human owners if they are not properly trained.
The Plott Hound is also a fearless animal and much more protective than other hound dogs. They are very loyal to their masters and will protect their property in a very fierce manner. However, they are usually quite affectionate and friendly to people that they meet. This includes children and they do well living in a home with older children who know how to interact with dogs.
The Plott Hound is possessive of their food dishes and no one should ever try to take the dish away while the dog is eating. They should be left to feed in an area of the house that is away from people and other pets.
Because the Plott Hound is a pack animal they do very well in homes with other dogs. Being pack animals they will enjoy the company that other dogs, as well as people, offer them.
The Plott Hound is not a quiet dog. Their bark is sharp and high-pitched. When they capture the scent of a prey their bark will become even higher-pitched. Consider this point if you have neighbors that live in close proximity to you.
Plott Hounds have an even temper and disposition. They require a fenced-in yard to prevent them from roaming. Fences need to go underground to prevent them from digging under and escaping. The fence also needs to be high enough as they can jump over fences up to 5.5 feet high. A fence of 7 feet is a good height for securing these animals.
Below is a listing of some of the highlights and characteristics that should be considered before getting a Plott Hound.
- The Plott Hound absolutely requires proper socialization. This is a very dominant breed of dog and need to have their aggressive behavior controlled.
- The Plott Hound needs to be trained at a very early age. Although they are quite eager to please their humans, without proper training they will develop dominance and aggressions problems.
- The Plott Hound is an uncommon breed. Because of this the waiting list for puppies is quite long. You need to be prepared to wait if you wish to acquire a Plott Hound.
- These dogs require at least an hour each day of vigorous exercise to get rid of their excess energy. Because of this they do not do good as apartment dogs unless you are very active yourself and don't mind taking your dog everywhere you go.
- Plott Hounds are natural hunters and require a properly fenced yard to run around in. They are also great escape artists and require that the fence go underground at least three feet and to also be high enough so that they don't jump over it.
- These dogs must always be kept on a leash as they will stray into traffic looking for prey to hunt.
- Plott Hounds require owners who are experienced and consistent. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners. These dogs will take control of their owners if they get the chance to do so.
- Because of their pack hound nature they get along very well with other dogs and in home with a lot of people. They do not do well as solitary animals as they require the constant companionship of living in a busy environment.
- These dogs do well with older children who understand how to behave around dogs. They are not recommended for homes with young children.
- The Plott Hound requires a good brushing on a weekly basis. Other grooming requirements should be carried out at the same time.
History of the Plott Hound
Plott Hounds are descended from the Hanoverian Schweisshunds of which five were imported into North Carolina by German immigrant Johannes Georg Plott in 1750. The Plott Hound's German ancestors were used to hunt boars. In the U.S. the Plott Hound was used to hunt bears of which there were plenty in North Carolina at that time. When Johannes died it was his descendants who continued to breed and develop these dogs. Because of the direct family connection these dogs eventually became known as Plott's after Mr. Johannes Plott.
The popularity of these dogs for hunting bear caused them to spread throughout the Smoky Mountains. Each hunter at that time continued to breed and develop them by adding their own touches to the breed. Eventually they were also trained to hunt wild boar as well as bear. And because of their strength they were also conditioned to hunt mountain lions and raccoons.
It wasn't until the early 1900s that the scenting ability of the Plott Hounds was improved. This was due to the insightful crossing of the Plotts with some black-and-tan hounds by a Mr. Blevins which also developed the black-saddle brindle pattern that you see today.
Modern-day Plott Hounds have their pedigrees traced back to two well-known hounds named Tige and Boss. These dogs were direct descendants from the dogs that were developed by Mr. Blevins.
Plott Hounds weren't registered with any kennel clubs until 1946 when the United Kennel Club registered their first Plott Hound. Then in 1989 the state of North Carolina officially declared these dogs to be the official state dog. Today the Plott Hound is also registered with the American Kennel Club. They are also starting to make their way into the show ring.
Today the Plott Hound is still a relatively uncommon dog. Most often found in the deep country side of North Carolina where they still hunt bear, wild boar, mountain lions, and raccoons.
Plott Hounds are not the largest hound dogs around. Males stand between 20 and 27 inches (50.8 to 68.58 centimeters) tall at the shoulder with a weigh between 50 to 75 pounds (22.68 to 34.02 kilograms). Females are a little smaller standing 20 to 25 inches (50.8 to 63.5 centimeters) tall and weighing only 40 to 65 pounds (18.14 to 29.48 kilograms).
The Plott Hound is a very kind, confident, bright, and courageous dog. They are also very loyal to their family but wary of strangers. They do warm up quickly to strangers. As a pack dog they get along great with other dogs although they are not as friendly toward them like most other hound dog breeds.
Depending on the type of game they are bred to hunt for, you will see a great difference in their temperament. The bigger and stronger the game that they hunt, the more confident and courageous they will be as their survival greatly depends on this trait. You will also notice that these dogs are self-thinkers. A firm hand with consistent guidance is required of the master. Also, being a very courageous and bold dog he is very protective of home and family which makes him a great watchdog.
Many factors affect the temperament of these dogs including training, socialization, and heredity. When choosing a puppy from a little it is best to not choose one which is a bully or one which is very timid of people preferring to hide in the corner. Look for the pup that is curious, playful, and willing to approach people and be held by them.
It is a good idea to meet at least one of the parents when choosing a Plott Hound puppy. The temperaments of the parents are a good indicator of how the pups will act when they are adults. If at all possible it is also a good idea to meet other siblings as well as other relatives of the pup. This will allow you to get a broader sense of the type of temperament that the pup will have when it gets older.
Plott Hounds need to start their socialization training very early in life. Introducing them to various sights, sounds, environments, experiences, and people when they are young will help to ensure that the pup will grow up to be a well-rounded dog.
A good course of action for these dogs is to enroll them in a puppy kindergarten class. Having lots of visitors over to the house and taking him to places where there are lots of people and other dogs will help to polish the Plott's social skills.
The Plott Hound is generally a very healthy. This does not mean, however, that they are not susceptible to certain medical conditions.
It is important, as with all dogs, that when choosing a new puppy you do so through a good breeder. Good breeders keep track of family tree medical records. They will be able to show you proof of health clearances as well as proof that the Plott has been tested for and cleared of any particular condition including hereditary conditions. As with most dogs you should have access to clearances from the Orthopedic Foundations for Animals for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, as well as von Willebrand's disease. Also check to see that the dog has been cleared for thrombopathia and that it has had its eyes certified as normal.
Plott Hounds are most susceptible to a condition called gastric torsion (bloat). This is a condition which is caused by a sudden influx of gas and air in the stomach. Animals with this condition will have a distended stomach which will eventually twist and cause death if it is not treated promptly.
Caring for the Plott Hound
Indoors these dogs have moderate energy. Outdoors is another matter altogether. They require several acres of properly fenced in yard for them to expend their energy. If you can't provide this requirement then be prepared to take them for two one hour walks each day. This dog prefers to walk slowly so he does not make a good jogging companion.
When they are not in a fenced in area they must be kept on a leash. If not they will wander away. They also have no fear of traffic and can get seriously injured if they are not kept on a leash. Once they find a scent to follow they are basically oblivious to anything else. At this point the only thing that is on their mind is to get the prey.
The Plott Hound is a fairly easy animal to train because of their high level of intelligence and eager to please temperament. This also makes them a very dominant animal which makes them not suited for first time dog owners or owners who have had more submissive dogs in the past. They require positive reinforcement at all times. Never use harsh corrections when training these animals as this will make them stubborn and sulky.
To prevent aggression problems the Plott Hound must be socialized. Enrolling them in a puppy socialization class is a good idea and a great start to their training program. Exposure to many kinds of community stimuli will help to reinforce their social skills.
The Plott Hound is an animal that is very possessive of its food dishes. They will attack other animals as well as people who attempt to touch the dish or who are too close for comfort. Owners must train the Plott to allow people to touch and remove their food dishes. This is an important element for these dogs as they have been known to cause some serious injuries to both people and animals that were too close to their food dishes.
The Plott Hound is also not a crate animal. If you do need to crate them it should never be longer than a few hours. Long exposures to crating will cause these animal to become stubborn and destructive. Once they have learned these types of behaviors it is next to impossible to break them of this type of behavior.
Plotts are pack animals. They need to be around people and other dogs. This type of social engagement will reinforce their socialization skills.
Because of their tendency to wander, as well as their lack of road sense, the Plott Hound must be leash trained. This, along with proper house training, socialization, consistent rules, and firm handling, will provide you with a very well-rounded Plott Hound that is loyal, friendly, and entertaining.
The Plott Hound requires 2 to 3 cups of very high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. Never allow them, or any dog, to be a self-feeder. Doing so will cause the animal to over eat and become overweight and lazy.
The amount of food that your Plott Hound will actually require will depend on his build, age, metabolism, and level of activity. Each dog is an individual. Because of this they all require different amounts of food.
A well-fed dog of good weight will have a visible waist. You should not be able to see his ribs when looking at him. Nor should you not be able to feel the ribs when you run your hands over his sides.
Because these dogs a prone to bloat it is probably better to feed them three times per day instead of two. And never let them do any exercise or vigorous activity for about an hour after feeding.
Coat and Grooming
The coat of a Plott Hound is smooth. The texture of the fur ranges from fine to medium coarse. This thick double coat provides the Plott with plenty of protection against the elements. Such a coat is a necessity for a dog that was bred for hunting in the mountains of North Carolina.
They can be found in a variety of colors but mostly come in shades of brindle. This is a coat that is patterned with specks and streaks of alternating light and dark markings. The color of the brindle can be chocolate, tan, orange, gray, blue, buckskin, yellow, liver, brown, and black. The buckskin shade itself can a light cream, yellow ochre, sandy red, fawn red, golden tan, or dark fawn. Occasionally you may even find a bit of white on the chest and feet of the Plott Hound.
The Plott Hound is an easy animal to groom. They should be brushed at least once a week with a good hound mitt which is a glove with nubs or bumps on it. A rubber curry brush is also a good choice as it will leave the coat very shiny. Shedding is not a problem with these dogs as the weekly brushings will remove most of their loose fur.
Frequent baths are not necessary. Only bathe your Plott Hound when it is absolutely necessary. Only use a shampoo that is formulated for dogs when giving them a bath. Dogs will lick themselves when wet and human shampoos can be toxic to the animal. Dog shampoos also will not strip away the natural oils that protect the animal's skin and coat.
Plott Hounds have long floppy ears that prevent adequate air circulation in the ear canal. Because of this the ears need to be checked often for any signs of infections or parasites. Any odor emanating from the ears may possible indicate that the ear is infected and you should have a veterinarian look into the ear. The ears also require weekly cleaning with a cotton ball moistened with an ear cleaning solution made for dogs. Your veterinarian can recommend the proper solution to clean the ears.
Plott Hounds also require that their teeth be brushes a couple of times per week to remove tartar and bacteria buildup. If not removed these will lead to some serious dental problems for your Plott. Regular brushings will also help to keep your dog's breath fresh.
The nails also need to be checked regularly and trimmed when they are too long. A good indication of when the nail are too long is when you can hear them clicking on hard surfaces as the animal walks. If the dog is very active they nails will probably be worn down naturally.
The grooming process should be started when the dog is a young pup. This will get the dog use to being groomed and handled. Since dogs are very sensitive about having their feet touched you should handle the paws often while grooming. Also look inside the mouth as this will allow your dog to get used to having their mouth opened which is a plus for you if you have to give your dog medication at some point in life.
While grooming your dog you need to also check the skin for sores, rashes, inflammation, and other signs of possible infections such as tenderness and redness. Also check the nose, mouth, ears, eyes, and feet for any potential problems and have them looked after immediately as things can go from bad to extremely bad almost overnight. When checking the eyes make sure that they are clear with no redness or discharge. Following this regiment will allow you to spot potential problems early and get them treated immediately before they become serious.
Other Pets and Children
The Plott Hound is a pack dog. Because of this he will get along well with other dogs. For other types of pets you must constantly supervise the dog and train them properly so that they will not consider them game. Just remember to keep other dogs and animals away from their food dishes.
Plott Hounds also do well around children. It is up to you to teach the child how to behave and interact with a dog. The child should be taught not to tug on the animal's ears or tail, not to push the animal, and not to poke them.
Finding a Plott Hound
The Plott Hound is a relatively uncommon dog and because of this there is not one dedicated group that works specifically with these types of dog. If you are interest in acquiring a Plott puppy your best bet is to do a search online for breeders and to contact your local kennel club.
Plott Hound Puppy Pics
Plott Hound Puppy Pics