The Plott Hound is a very rare dog breed in America, and few people have met one. They are more common in mountainous areas where owners use them for hunting. Plott Hounds are unique in that they descend from German hounds rather than English Fox Hounds. They are incredibly skilled at hunting bears, coyotes, wolves, wild boars, and cats. But what does this mean for a family?
Plott Hounds make lovely family pets but need a particular type of family. They are intense dogs that need a lot of time and attention. Plott Hounds require company most of the day as they dislike being alone. And they also need a lot of vigorous exercise to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Their owner needs strong will and experience to get the best out of their stubborn and independent personalities.
In this breed guide, we look at everything you need to know about them to help you decide if you and the Plott Hound make a good fit. If you think the Plott Hound is a good fit for you and your family, expect there to be a waiting time before welcoming one into your home. But, as you’re about to find out, they are worth the wait. So, let’s take a closer look.
Unlike the other breeds that descend from English Foxhounds, the Plott Hound descends from German Hanoverian Scenthounds. Their journey began in 1750 when Johannes Plott immigrated from Germany to North Carolina. With him, he had five Hanover Hounds.
Plott settled in the mountains and started a family. Back in Germany, Plott hunted wild boar with his pack, but in Carolina, there were bears. So he focused his training and hunting on giant game. To carry on the tradition and bloodline, his son, Henry Plott, bred the five hounds with other local hounds to create a big-game hunter. These dogs are the Plott Hounds we know today.
The United Kennel Club recognized the Plott Hound in 1946, and they became the official dog of North Carolina in 1989. In 2006 the AKC entered them into their books and placed them in the Hound Group. They are relatively rare in America still, although they are more prevalent in mountainous regions where their hunting skills are appreciated, especially Appalachia and the Smokies.
The Plott Hound is a loyal pooch who adores their family. They could happily spend all their waking and sleeping hours with you. This is an excellent canine choice if you are looking for a four-legged sidekick. Remember that being needy is an intense trait that not every owner appreciates. Plotts are prone to separation anxiety, so you must be with them for most of the day.
Because the Plott Hound thrives in your company, they reward you with boundless love, energy, and fun when you are with them. They make great exercise companions and playtime buddies. They are fun for the whole family. Plott Hounds are pack animals and enjoy the company of other dogs in the home. This makes them an excellent option for multidog households. However, they can be wary of new dogs outside.
Plotts are also very alert and attentive, making them brilliant watchdogs – the slightest move outside, and they let you know. They are very vocal dogs and bark until you acknowledge them. This is not the breed for you if you are after a quiet pooch or have noise-sensitive neighbors. They are wary of new people, but if their owner welcomes them into the house, they warm up to strangers quickly.
There is a slight distinction between Plott Hounds bred to hunt big game and those bred as coonhounds. Big game hunters tend to be more alert, sharp, and aggressive in their hunting tactics. This might influence the strain you pick if you are looking for a family pet, as big game hunters can play a little rougher. Speak to your breeder about what type of Plott Hounds they breed.
Size & Appearance
Plott Hounds are medium-sized dogs prized for their athletic ability and stamina. Not only are they brilliant hunters, but they also look like muscular and tough athletes. They weigh between 40 and 60 pounds and measure between 20 and 25 inches tall at the withers. Males are usually larger than their female counterparts. They have a thick and relatively long tail which you need to watch out for. An excitable Plott tail can pack a punch!
Plotts have medium-sized ears that hang to their jawline, slightly pendulous but not too much. When alerted, their ears rise at the tips considerably. They look like hounds with deep chests and powerful legs. If you want to show your Plott Hound in the show ring, they must conform to the criteria set out in the breed standard. If you want them as a family pet, do not worry too much about these standards.
Coat & Colors
Most specimens have a single-layered coat. It is thick enough to protect them from the elements, which is essential for an outdoorsy hunting breed. It is rare for Plott Hounds to have a double coat. But if they do, the undercoat is short, soft, and thick, with the outer coat being longer, smoother, and stiffer.
Plott Hound coats come in a wide range of brindle patterns, including yellow, buckskin, tan,
brown, chocolate, liver, orange, red, light or dark gray, blue or Maltese, dilute black, and black. Some Plotts are solid black or have a black saddle pattern, and even rarer are pure buckskin colors without any brindle pattern. Their eyes are always brown or hazel.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Plott Hounds are relentless athletes who require much exercise, more than the average family can offer them. You must lead an active lifestyle and be able to take your hound with you. They need at least one to two hours of vigorous exercise daily to stay physically and mentally healthy.
They also need regular playtime with their family throughout the day. Playtime keeps their mind stimulated and gives them their interaction fix. Invest in a wide range of durable dog toys that can take their rough play style. Although they can live with children and make brilliant family pets, the Plott Hound is best for older children, considering their tough play. Children need to be dog-savvy and should never be left alone with them.
Plott Hounds are not compatible with apartment living. They are hunting dogs used to vast, mountainous areas, so they need space. Access to a secure yard is important to keep their sanity, and they need plenty of outdoor time. And do not underestimate their ability to escape your yard. You need tall and tough fencing because if they see something worth hunting, they’ll do their best to get it.
However, they need to feel you are up to handling them. They might disregard you completely if you come across as weak or incapable. Ideally, prospective Plott owners need doggy training experience under their belt to be successful.
Plott Hounds need intense socialization from a young age. If they are not socialized properly, they can be standoffish with unknown humans and animals. Leading to a difficult personality and fear-related aggression. To build their confidence and allow them to grow into pleasant and well-balanced doggos, you need to introduce them to as many sights, sounds, and experiences as possible.
Plott Hounds are also known for their toy and food possessiveness. If you notice any aggressive or guarding behaviors, you need to address them immediately. This is another reason Plotts need an assertive owner and should only live with older, dog-savvy kids. But with the correct upbringing and training, this should not be an issue.
Plott Hounds benefit from crate training, too, because they are prone to separation anxiety. Choosing the best dog crate is the key to successful crate training. They also need proper leash training. This hound should never be let off the leash in a public space, so you must invest in a high-quality leash to keep them safe.
Plott Hounds are generally healthy dogs that typically live between 12 and 14 years. But, like all breeds, they are prone to certain diseases and health conditions. Your Plott might not suffer from any of these conditions, but if you are thinking about welcoming one of these hounds into your life, you must be aware of them.
Pendant ears like this pup have are prone to infection. This is because they are rarely exposed to air, making them a warm and sweaty breeding ground for bacteria. Clean your hound’s ears regularly to keep ear infections at bay.
Gastric dilatation-volvulus, commonly known as gastric torsion or bloat, is a rare but life-threatening condition you need to be aware of. Although little is known about what causes it, active dogs with a deep chest, like the Plott, are more susceptible to it. Avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after exercise, and feed them several smaller meals rather than one large meal a day. If your dog shows any signs of bloat, take them to your vet immediately.
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common health conditions found in the canine kingdom, and it is more prevalent in medium to large-size dogs. It occurs during the development stage and results in loose hips that cause discomfort, pain, and mobility problems. Responsible dog breeders should screen their dogs for healthy hips, so ask your Plott breeder about hip certificates.
Plotts do well on high-quality diets, whether you choose a kibble or a fresh option such as The Farmer’s Dog. Ensure you provide them with an age-appropriate diet (puppy, adult, senior). This is especially important during the puppy stage because it can help to prevent hip dysplasia from developing.
Plott Hounds rarely become overweight, considering how active they are. If you notice your Plott piling on the pounds, you should seek advice from your vet because there could be an underlying health reason for their weight gain. But if you suspect the weight gain is caused by greed, you need to reduce the food they eat, get them moving more, or both, to protect their health.
The Plott Hound’s grooming schedule is minimal. All they need is a weekly brush with a soft-bristle brush or a hound mitt to remove loose hair and dirt. Weekly brushing also helps to stimulate their skin to keep it healthy and strengthen the bond between the pooch and its owner. Bathe your Plott as and when they get too dirty, or once every three to four months.
Keeping your Plott Hound’s nail short is essential to prevent sore pads. Although if they are as active as they should be, they should wear down naturally. Dental hygiene is important too. Brush their teeth several times a week to prevent periodontal diseases from developing. And lastly, inspect your hound’s ears regularly for debris and excess wax, and clean them if necessary.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
It’s really important to work with a reputable breeder who does everything they can to produce healthy and happy puppies. Plott Hounds are rare breeds, so finding a responsible breeder might be tricky and further away than you think. Still, please do your research, look for experienced Plott breeders with independent reviews, and meet up with them in person.
Because Plott Hounds are rare, you can expect there to be a waiting list for puppies. The AKC’s list of Plott Hound breeders is a great place to start your research. The price of a puppy depends on the breeder and how much demand there is, among other factors. According to research, the average price of a Plott Hound puppy is around $1,000. You also need to consider the additional costs of welcoming a pup into your home, such as securing your garden, purchasing everything they need, medical expenses, and more.
Rescues & Shelters
Unfortunately, because Plott Hounds are rare, they are even rarer in rescue centers. Plus, many breeders stipulate in the puppy contracts that dogs must be returned to them rather than sent to shelters.
Head to your local shelters and speak to the staff there, who might be able to point you in the right direction to a nearby shelter with a Plott. Otherwise, check out Plott rescue websites that can tell you where there are Plott Hounds up for adoption.
As A Family Pet
- Plott Hounds are very independent-minded and need a strong leader.
- They need a few hours of vigorous daily exercise.
- You must invest in tough and durable toys to keep their mind stimulated.
- Plott Hounds hate to be left alone for too long.
- They make brilliant watchdogs and are very vocal.
- These dogs need proper socialization and training.
- They enjoy the company of other dogs.
- Plott Hounds are boisterous and do better with older and dog-savvy children.
- Never let your Plott Hound off-leash in a public area.
- Plotts are wired to hunt big game and coons.
- Their grooming regime is minimal, thanks to their single short single coat.
As you can see, the Plott Hound requires a different family compared to a common and easy-going Golden Retriever. Instead, they need an experienced and active family with the time and resources to train and exercise them adequately. Strong-willed owners with experience training independent dogs are essential if you want to get the best out of your Plott Hound. But if you tick all their boxes, we think they’ll tick yours too.