The Plott is a no-frills dog originally bred to follow cold trails at speed over rough terrain and through water in all weather, and to grapple with large animals once cornered. The breed is streamlined and agile, yet powerful with great endurance. The hair is short to medium in length, fine to medium coarse in texture. The Plott is bold and confident, not backing down from a challenge. The dog’s voice is open and unrestricted, with a loud bugle-like chop or bawl.
Now the official state dog of North Carolina, the Plott’s roots spring from Germany, where Hanoverian Schweisshunds were valued for their ability to hunt wild boars and track game even over week-old trails. In 1750, 16-year-old Joahnnes Georg Plott brought five of these dogs with him to his new home in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Plott family bred their line of cold-trailing brindle dogs for seven generations, the dogs distributing across the Smoky Mountains as their family grew. Other mountain men incorporated the Plott blood into their own lines of dogs, but stories disagree as to the extent, if any, other strains were introduced to the Plotts. It was not until the early 1900s that documented crosses with other lines were made to improve the Plott strain. At that time Gola Ferguson crossed his Plotts with a strain of black-saddled hounds known as Blevins or Great Smokies, producing “Tige” and “Boss,” two hounds of such talent that even the Plott family incorporated their blood back into their line. This introduced the black-saddled brindle pattern into the breed. Almost all Plotts can be traced back to one of these dogs. In 1946 the breed finally received the official name of Plott Hound when it was recognized by the UKC. It is the only UKC coonhound breed that doesn’t trace back to foxhounds. In 1989 it was designated the official state dog of North Carolina. In 2006 the AKC admitted the Plott into the Hound Group.
The Plott’s first nature is to sniff up a cold trail and follow it to the end, yet the Plott makes the transition to family dog with ease, being eager to please and loyal. This is an extremely courageous breed, and, as befitting any good hound, can be headstrong. Plotts can be wary of strangers, but generally warm up quickly. They are not as gregarious with other dogs as some hounds, and can may be protective when pushed. They may trail and chase other animals, and so should have conscientious guardians.
Plotts are easy keepers, but must have a securely fenced yard. They need canine or human companionship and an opportunity to exercise outdoors in play or on well-supervised woodland hikes. They enjoy swimming. Coat care is minimal.