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Plott hounds are a hunting breed with a fearless and fun personality. They enjoy adventure and are full of energy but still enjoy hanging out with their pet parents on the couch after a long day. Plott hounds are sweet, gentle dogs that love spending time with their family and enjoy spending tons of time outside. Of course, they need tons of space to run and play to burn off all their energy, and they love to play chase. With training and socialization, Plott hounds can be great family dogs and companion animals who love to follow you wherever you go. Wondering if a Plott hound is the right dog for you? Keep reading to learn more about this excitable breed.
- History And Origin Of Plott Hounds
- Physical Attributes Of Plott Hounds
- Behavioral Characteristics
- Caring For A Plott Hound
- Health Of Plott Hounds
- Plott Hound FAQs
- Final Notes
History And Origin Of Plott Hounds
Plott hounds came to America in 1750 with the Plott brothers. One of the brothers passed away, and the other, George Plott, arrived with five Hanover hounds, settled in the North Carolina mountains, and used his dogs for hunting. His son later bred the family dogs with local animals to create another breed of hunting dog, originally called “Plott’s hound.”1 The original hounds were used for hunting bears in the area and had the same characteristics as hunting dogs from Germany, where the Plotts emigrated from.
Unfortunately, the origin of the original pack is unknown, but they were hunting dogs similar to bloodhounds. George Plott passed his dogs on to his children until they eventually became Plott hounds. Eventually, George’s son, Henry, who still lived in North Carolina, began breeding the dogs to create the only breed developed in the state, which is why the Plott hound is North Carolina’s official state dog.1
Plott’s dogs were great farm dogs that protected humans and livestock and helped hunt predators in the area. However, at home, they were gentle with children and other animals, even being able to herd cows, pigs, and horses. Outside of the farm, these dogs hunted mountain lions and bears. Once word was out about Plott’s dogs, more hunters became interested in them as big-game hunting dogs. As a result, the breed continued to become popular.
Today, Plott hounds are bred with other dogs, but many are purebred. Unfortunately, even though Plott hounds have an impressive and interesting history, they’re still not a well-known bread nationally or internationally. Most Plott hounds are still hunting dogs, while others have been adopted by families for their fun-loving personalities.
Physical Attributes Of Plott Hounds
Male Plott hounds range from 20-25 inches, while female Hounds are 20-23 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds and have a life expectancy of 12-14 years.2 You can use our puppy size calculator to determine how big your Plott hound puppy will be when they’re fully grown.
You may recognize Plott hounds from their size and brown to light brown coats with a striped pattern. They also have medium-sized floppy ears and can be mistaken for chocolate labradors from time to time.
Plott hounds’ eyes are expressive and black-rimmed with hazel or brown colors, and their noses are long and square-shaped, similar to other types of hunting dogs. They have short coats, making them easy to maintain, which keeps them dry and protected while outside. Their fur is considered slightly coarse but still soft.
Plott hounds have long, tapered tails they use to express themselves. For example, an excited or inquisitive Plott hound may have its tail above their back and slightly curled to signal they’re interested in something.
The Plott hound is a friendly dog, even with children, other pets, and strangers. However, they should be socialized because they can be dominant even though they’ll get along with most other dogs since they’re a pack-oriented breed. Many Plott hounds do well in multi-dog homes, making them a great option if you want to add another dog to your household.
Plott hounds should begin training as soon as possible because they’re energetic, which can cause undesired behaviors when they don’t get enough playtime and exercise. If you get a Plott hound, plan to spend at least one hour a day walking them to give them enough exercise. For this reason, they’re not well-suited to apartments, although many of them can adapt as long as you’re willing to give them the exercise they need for their physical and mental health.
Plott hounds are not ideal dogs for first-time owners because they have tons of energy and require attention and exercise daily. Although they’re easy to train, they’re not easy for all types of people to train and can become dismissive of commands if they’re not properly trained. However, they’re incredibly bright and playful, quickly warming up to all types of people.
Since these dogs were bred to hunt, they’re vocal, so you can expect to hear them often bark at animals outside that they want to chase. They have a high prey drive and will chase animals anytime they smell them. Therefore, if your dog is ever going to be off leash, you must train them as soon as possible to ensure they won’t run off chasing prey.
Ultimately, Plott hounds are intelligent, energetic, and social. They make great family dogs but only if pet parents are willing to put in the work for training and commit to daily exercise.
Caring For A Plott Hound
Plott hounds are a relatively low-maintenance breed in that they have short, coarse fur that doesn’t need to be professionally trimmed. Instead, pet parents should brush their coats twice per year during the change in seasons to help their winter or summer coats come in. These dogs barely shed, so you don’t have to brush them every day. Plott hound ears are prone to infection because they’re floppy, allowing bacteria and moisture to build up over time. It’s recommended to clear their ears often and check them for any signs of infection or wax buildup.
Plott hounds don’t require regular baths. But, of course, if they get muddy playing outside, you should wash them immediately. However, their coats tend to stay clean, and they only need a bath once every few months. However, you’ll need to clip their nails regularly.
Of course, your Plott hound will need training as soon as possible because they’re hunting dogs that can run off to catch prey if you’re not careful. Since they’re smart dogs, training should be easy, but since they’re independent, they can appear stubborn at times. Plott hounds respond to positive reinforcement-based training, and you may have to train them to stop barking at everyday occurrences like the mailman or squirrels outside.
Of course, even the most highly trained dog can still catch a scent and run off to hunt. Therefore, keeping your Plott hound in a fenced yard is best when they’re not on a leash.
Plott hounds also require a balanced diet and plenty of exercises. These dogs should eat large-breed dog food designed for their life stage. Because they’re active dogs, your dog may need to eat more. If you’re ever unsure how much to feed your dog, you can talk to your vet to devise the right diet plan.
Plott hounds are not naturally anxious dog breeds, but they can become anxious depending on their individual history and lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Because Plott hounds have high energy levels, they need at least one hour of exercise daily. You can split this up between a couple of walks throughout the day or give them a full hour walk in the morning. You can also let them play in the yard or teach them how to fetch to help them burn more energy. Plott hounds also need mental stimulation, so consider scent games that allow them to hunt for treats in the yard or around your home.
Health Of Plott Hounds
Plott hounds are relatively healthy but prone to a few health conditions. Of course, all dogs are different, so not all Plott hounds will experience the same potential health issues. The breed is prone to hip dysplasia and ear infections. They may also experience bloat because of their deep chests. Therefore, you should always check your dog's stomach to ensure it hasn’t twisted because it can be life-threatening. Dogs that eat quickly are more prone to these stomach issues.
Plott Hound FAQs
Do Plott Hounds make good family pets?
Plott hounds make great family pets because they’re gentle with children and other pets. However, you should invest considerable time into training and socializing your pet and teaching children how to handle pets to ensure everyone is happy in the same household. Plott hounds can be possessive over their stuff, including food bowls and toys, which can be a problem for young children.
What makes Plott Hounds special?
Plott hounds are special for multiple reasons. Not only do they have one of the most incredible histories, but they’re loyal and devoted to their pet parents. Even though they’re high energy, they enjoy spending time with their families and are easy to care for and train. They also have a beautiful coat and oversized floppy ears that make them adorable pets if you’re looking for a large breed.
Are Plott Hounds a high-maintenance breed?
Plott hounds are not considered a high-maintenance breed. Their fur doesn’t require trimming; they only need a bath once every two months. However, they require tons of exercise and mental stimulation because they have high energy levels. Therefore, you’ll need to walk a Plott hound for at least an hour every day.
Do Plott Hounds need a lot of exercise?
Yes! Plott hounds were bred to be hunters, meaning they need to run and play every day. Plott hounds should get at least one hour of exercise every day, but some dogs may need more depending on their behavior. Since they’re hunting dogs, they also enjoy tracking games, so you can use scent games to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day.
Plott hounds are an incredible breed with an interesting history. Not only do they have beautiful coats and large floppy ears, but they’re easy to train and make great family dogs, especially if you have another dog in your household. Of course, since they’re hunters, they need plenty of expertise and mental stimulation throughout the day. However, if you can ensure your dog’s basic needs are met, they’ll be great dogs who love spending time with you, no matter what.
Taking care of your Plott hound is easy as long as they get the required exercise, but some are prone to health issues like ear infections and hip dysplasia. So whether you’re taking care of a Plott hound puppy or you’re worried about your adult dog, Dutch has your back. With a Dutch vet, you can easily train your dog and treat any illnesses that arise to help your Plott hound live a happier, healthier life.
Flaim, Denise. “Plott Hound History: Behind the Breed.” American Kennel Club, 29 Oct. 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/plott-hound-history-behind-breed/.
“Plott Hound Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/plott-hound/.