Plott Hounds are best for active and experienced pup parents who can make time for several daily walks (fair warning: sniffing will be involved) and have a fenced yard. When socialized from a young age, they get along well with kids but may not be the best fit for cats as this hunting breed loves to chase.
Plott Hound Traits
What makes a Plott Hound a Plott Hound? Let's find out how they stack up.
Plott Hound Temperament
Plott Hounds are hunting dogs at their core, which means they’re lively and energetic with stamina to spare. They crave physical activity and the mental stimulation that comes from long walks and outdoor sniffing sessions.
Raising a Plott Hound puppy is largely about making sure they get enough exercise since their energy level is high. With plenty of daily activity, though, these dogs can be relaxed and are happy to chill with you around the house. They may get into mischief now and then since they’re curious and independent, but if you keep them active, they’re likely to stay out of trouble.
The Plott Hound breed is mild-mannered by nature but is best behaved when they’re socialized at a young age. They’re also bold and intelligent, and while they may be happiest blazing trails outside, they have no qualms about cuddling with you and your crew on the couch.
Like other hound dogs, they’re vocal and have a low, bellowing bark. Be prepared to hear their voice often, particularly if squirrels are around to chase and howl at. Born hunters, these dogs have a high prey drive and will give chase the minute they smell something of interest. Be sure to always walk your pup on a leash to keep them (and neighborhood cats) safe. Plott Hounds also have a stubborn streak that may turn up from time to time. Since they’re so eager to please, headstrong behavior usually doesn’t last long.
Overall, the Plott Hound temperament is best described as intelligent, energetic, bold and inquisitive, social, devoted to their families and trustworthy and good with kids.
How to Care for a Plott Hound
Plott Hounds are a healthy breed, and you can expect to spend a moderate amount of time tending to their needs. Since they have a lot of energy, the bulk of that time will be spent bonding with your pup over training and playing. But happily, these dogs don’t shed much, and their grooming needs are minimal, so it’s a fair trade-off.
Plott Hound Health
Plott Hounds are a robust breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, and with thoughtful care, they can enjoy a long and healthy life. Happily, the breed doesn’t suffer from many health issues, but it’s good for potential parents to be aware of them, so they can help their pup live the longest life possible.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia—when the ball portion of the hip joint doesn’t fit well in its socket—can be a problem with Plott Hounds. It usually shows up when they’re about 1 year old and can become a bigger issue later in life when the hips degenerate. This condition is painful for your pup. Since hip dysplasia is hereditary, be sure to get a copy of the parents’ hip screenings. Treatments range from weight reduction to physical therapy to surgery, depending on the severity.
- Ear Infections: Ear issues can be hereditary as well, so if you’re getting your Plott Hound from a reputable breeder, ask whether their parents have a history of ear problems. Regular cleanings will reduce the risk of ear infections, but some Plott Hounds are more prone to infections than others. Depending on the source of the ear infections, your vet can prescribe medicated ear drops or antibiotics to clear it up.
- Gastric Bloat and Torsion: Because of their deep chests, Plott Hound are susceptible to bloat and gastric torsion—essentially a twisted stomach. Gastric torsion is life-threatening. If you notice your Plott Hound has a swollen abdomen, is restless or in distress or exhibits rapid breathing, call your veterinarian right away. To prevent bloat, feed your pup smaller meals throughout the day and use a slow feeder to keep them from woofing down their meals.
Plott Hound History
The official state dog of North Carolina, Plott Hounds are rugged working dogs who were originally bred to hunt big game, like bear and mountain lion, in and around the Great Smoky Mountains. Their intelligence, speed, keen sense of smell and echoing howl made them excellent hunting dogs.
Out of all the hound dog breeds, the Plott Hound is the only one without British roots. Some historians believe they trace their lineage back to medieval bloodhounds, specifically boar-hunting Hanoverian Schweisshunds, which have the same floppy ears, trademark brown and gold coloring and brindle coat. Plott Hounds arrived in North Carolina in the mid-1700s with their German family, the Plotts. Their dogs were often called upon to help neighbors track predators that threatened their livestock, as they excelled at following a scent through the swamp, woods and mountains.
Even with a reputation for being fierce and fearless hunters, Plott Hounds also served as farm dogs, helping their humans herd pigs and cattle and protecting the homestead. They were found to be affectionate companions and gentle with children. The American Kennel Club recognized the Plott Hound breed in 2006.
Despite being great family dogs, Plott Hounds are a fairly uncommon breed today—but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a sweet pup to bring into your home. You can search for litters on the American Kennel Club’s website. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $700 for a puppy. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. Or, if you’d like to adopt an older dog, contact one of the Plott Hound rescue organizations that specialize in finding homes for this unique breed.
Do Plott Hounds shed?
Plott Hounds shed their coats twice a year, in the spring and fall, and need almost daily brushing when that happens. However, they don’t shed much in between.
What were Plott Hounds bred for?
Plott Hounds were originally bred to hunt big game in North Carolina. These working dogs were sometimes used to herd livestock, too.
Are Plott Hounds good family dogs?
Plott Hounds are a friendly, affectionate and loyal breed, which makes them good dogs for families. They’ll follow you anywhere, especially if you’re going outside, and properly socialized dogs are happy to play with kids and other pets. (Although, they will still chase a cat.)
What are the most popular Plott Dog names?
The most popular Plott Hound names are Bandit, Bella, Boss, Brownie, Buddy, Coco, Cooper, Diesel, Hunter, Jack, Toby, Layla, Lucky, Lucy, Lulu, Luna, Max, Milo, Molly, Roxy, Sasha, Stanley, Stella and Zeus. Get more dog names here.
What are the most common Plott Hound mixes?
The most common Plott Hound mixes are:
- Plott Hound-Labrador Retriever mix
- Plott Hound-Boxer mix
- Plott Hound-Beagle mix
- Plott Hound-Australian Shepherd mix
- Plott Hound-Mastiff mix
Plott Hounds give active, outdoorsy families the best of both worlds: a playful, energetic companion who’s also happy to sprawl out on the floor and relax. They’re great with kids, loyal friends and always up for a good time. These dogs are vocal, but excessive barking can be discouraged with training. This is a breed who’s low on nervous energy and high on adventure and fun.
Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. John Brandy, DVM with Village Veterinary Hospital in Canastota, NY, and Michael Konstantaras, Dog Behavioral Therapist and Master Trainer at Bark Busters in Stamford, Conn.
Photo credit for “How do I look?” by ExtremeDogBreeds.