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Plott Hound Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

Plott Hound Mix Brindle at the dog park

Plott Hound Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

The Plott Hound is a sleek, spry, and devout companion known for their short brindle coats and athleticism. Bred to hunt big game, the determined Plott loves running and playing outside but also curling up at your feet after a vigorous play session. They’re smart enough to run circles around an unsuspecting novice owner and require a patient, measured approach for training but are so worth it once you get on the same page. Let’s learn a little more about this proud scent hound down below, including what they’re like and how to best care for them.

Breed Overview

Height:

20 to 25 inches

Weight:

40 to 60 pounds

Lifespan:

12 to 15 years

Colors:

Brown brindle, tan brindle, black brindle, blue brindle, black, liver, fawn, cream

Suitable for:

Active families with older kids, runners, outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, active singles

Temperament:

Confident, alert, friendly, affectionate, loyal

Plott Hounds are the only AKC-recognized coonhound breed of six to not be descended from English Foxhounds. Instead, they were developed independently by Johannes Plott, a German immigrant who came to the US in 1750. Plott bred the Hanover Hounds he brought with him to be a more lithe but still powerful big game hunter to track bears and boar.

Plott Hound Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Plott Hound Puppies

plott hound puppy
Image Credit: Karen Sanders Studio, Shutterstock

Plott Hounds aren’t a very popular breed, so you could have trouble finding one. We suggest searching social media for groups devoted to them—there are always a couple. The AKC marketplace is another good resource, connecting you with accredited breeders from across the country. Yet another possibility is Chewy’s adoption network, where you can find Plott Hounds of all ages and backgrounds.

Good breeders aren’t hard to find, but they are hard to tell from shady breeders at a glance. Ethical and reputable breeders have stringent health standards for their dogs and maintain a clean, spacious environment for their puppies. Buying from a dodgy puppy mill simply isn’t worth the trouble.

Tips for Finding an Ethical Plott Hound Breeder

  • Visit the breeder. Puppy mills prefer to meet in public, but good breeders welcome visitors to their facilities—avoid the former at all costs.
  • Ask about health. Reputable breeders always have their dogs screened for health problems and will answer honestly about the potential for any issues later in life.
  • Meet the parents. If they’re on-site, you should meet your puppy’s parents to get a rough idea of what they’ll look and act like when they’re older. Ask for pictures if either parent isn’t present.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Plott Hound 🧠

The Plott Hound is characterized by their courage, loyalty, and friendliness, and they’re inclined to be watchful and protective of their family. Plotts are uptight and alert when they’re out of the house but goofy and downright clownish at home, where they can let their fur down. At times, they have an intense independent streak that can turn into pigheaded stubbornness. They have a good heart and are family-oriented but with enough confidence to go off on their own escapades.

Plott Hounds are naturally wary of strangers and vocal, which makes them great watchdogs. You could call them standoffish but on the polite side of the spectrum. Born bear hunters, Plotts aren’t afraid of any man or creature and will happily be your furry champion in any disputes. They can be a bit much at times, but Plott Hounds are so rewarding that you can’t help but love them.

Brown Plott Hound dog sits in the grass in a park
Image Credit: DaveWalker, DaveWalker

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, Plott Hounds can be a good fit for the right active family if you have experience owning dogs or if you’re serious about learning. Plotts are very affectionate and mellow toward their family, but with an intense loyalty that makes them a fantastic watchdog.

We recommend supervision if you have young children because while Plott Hounds are very tolerant of children, they can get a little snappish. Early socialization is imperative to helping the Plott Hound feel more secure and to teach them the boundaries of proper interaction with kids.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Sometimes, but Plott Hounds usually do best with other dogs. Their prey drive is very strong, so they’re apt to chase cats or smaller pets. This can be overcome with early socialization but requires a ton of supervision to prevent mishaps. We suggest Plotts for homes with other dogs, and it helps a lot if they’re raised around other animals from puppyhood.

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Things to Know When Owning a Plott Hound

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Plott Hounds have a stocky but lithe physique and need plenty of high-quality nutrition to keep them fueled and in great shape. Start with a top-notch dry food with protein content between 18% to 22% for an adult Plott, with puppies needing 25% to 30% to fuel their growing bodies. Pass on cheaper kibbles loaded with grain, which makes your dog full but lacks the other nutrition they really need.

Plott Hounds are big fans of meat, and you can feed them some every day without any ill effects to boost their protein intake. Fan favorites include lean chicken, lamb, turkey, and beef. Raw diets are also popular among Plott owners. Along with meat, you can add some fiber-rich veggies to your dog’s meals in small portions. Some good choices include sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots.

Fruits should be served sparingly because most are high in sugars, but a few are particularly great for dogs. Apples have vitamin C and fiber and are low in sugar, for instance. A few other options include watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, mango, peaches, pears, and blackberries. Each has its own unique nutrients that help supplement a complete and balanced diet when fed in moderation. However, they need to be fed in a specific way, so ask your vet and do your research before offering new foods to your dog.

Plott Hound Laying in the Sand
Image Credit: Croft Fite, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Plott Hounds need at least an hour of heart pumping and tail-wagging exercise every day to stay happy and healthy. Some need more depending on their individual temperament. They’re avid runners but easily take to nearly any athletic pursuit they put their snout to. They’re not afraid of the water, love exploring nature, and aren’t averse to a dog park frolic either. We recommend playing scent games by luring your Plott Hound with a favored treat or bone with an alluring scent—it engages their nose, which is really a marvel to see at work.

On a daily basis, you can break this up into walks or trips outside as you want but try to keep to an hour or more each day. Without enough exercise, Plott Hounds are likely to vent their frustrations with destructive behaviors, like chewing or digging. Furniture, shoes, and chasms in your yard are all fair game and just a couple of things to expect if you miss a walk. They will let you know!

Training 🦮

Plott Hounds can be challenging to train because they’re independently minded and love to go off on their own adventures at the behest of their nose. They’re wickedly intelligent and can easily run rings around unprepared dog owners, so be careful. Firm, patient training with clear boundaries and a no-nonsense attitude work best for this breed rather than a more easygoing and permissive style.

Use positive reinforcement during your early training sessions to lay an easily understood groundwork for your Plott Hound. Start like this: Call your dog by their name, and if they respond, shower them with praise, belly scratches, and a delicious treat. When you move on to obedience and leash training, you want to combine this approach with ignoring bad behavior. For instance, when your dog tugs or barks when they’re on the leash, become a statue and ignore the behavior. When they behave calmly, repeat with enthusiastic praise and a treat.

Over time, you reduce the treats until your dog has a solid positive association with certain behaviors, like being calm around other dogs or not barking at squirrels. Avoid scolding your Plott Hound, as they act tough but are sensitive to harsh words and punishments. Punishment is counter-productive when training, so try to avoid it the best you can.

Socialization is also crucial for Plott Hounds. Begin by taking your Plott as a puppy to see all sorts of new places, animals, and people. With exposure, their fear will diminish and they’ll learn how to be a well-behaved dog, including how to safely interact with other people and animals. This breed is inclined to be suspicious, so it may take some work. As long as you remember to prioritize positive reinforcement and to remove your dog from triggering situations, you should be fine.

Plott Hound in the woods
Image Credit: Lucile Purnell, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Plott Hounds are very easy to maintain on the grooming side of things, with a short coat that doesn’t shed a ton throughout the year. We recommend running a soft brush through their fur weekly to remove any dead hair and to promote healthy fur/skin, not to mention keep your furniture clean! If you suffer from allergies, the Plott is a fair choice that only sheds heavily during the spring and fall.

We’d suggest buying a good vacuum with a HEPA-rated filter to capture the most allergens possible if this is a concern. Plott Hounds also need their pendant ears regularly cleaned to stave off woefully common ear infections. Lastly, we recommend using a gentle dog shampoo to give them a good bath every 6 weeks or as needed. Strive to not over-wash them because too much soap can strip their natural skin oils and dull their fur.

Health and Conditions ❤️

We’re happy to report that Plott Hounds are a generally healthy breed with few major health problems to speak of. Like every breed, though, they’re prone to developing certain health conditions more often than others. Good breeding helps keep these to a minimum, but you can never be 100% sure what can crop up. Let’s check out some of these health issues down below so you can stay informed.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections: Like other breeds with pendant ears, Plott Hounds are likely to suffer ear infections if their ears aren’t kept clean on a regular basis.
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat: Also known as gastric torsion and more common in deep-chested dogs like Plotts, this life-threatening condition happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and twists.
  • Dysplasia: Like all big and active breeds, the Plott Hound can develop painful and arthritic dysplasia in their joints. Most vets recommend limiting strenuous exercise during adolescence to prevent this.

Male vs. Female

Male Plott Hounds grow a little bigger and more stout than females. Females cap out at 20 to 23 inches tall and 40 to 50 pounds, while males grow from 23 to 25 inches tall and 50 to 60 pounds, on average. Males may also be more rowdy or outgoing than females, who tend to be docile and social in personality. As always, though, individual personality aside from sex can vary a lot.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Plott Hound

1. They Come in a Stunning Variety of Colors

The standard Plott Hound is brown brindle, but there are countless brindle patterns throughout the breed: red brindle, blue brindle, black brindle, golden brindle, yellow brindle, buckskin, fawn brindle, and even some solid colors, like black.


2. All Plott Hounds Come From Five Dogs

Johannes Plott brought just five Hanover Hounds from Germany to North Carolina. These five became the progenitors of the modern Plott Hound as Plott’s family carefully selected a strong, lithe dog with great endurance.


3. Plott Hounds Are Natural Bear Hunters

Plotts have the perfect storm of traits you want in a big game dog. They’re fearless, intelligent, very loyal, have a pinpoint-accurate nose, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous. Plott Hounds were some of the very best bear-hunting dogs on the East Coast, specifically in the North Carolinian mountains. They still make excellent hunting dogs to this day.

Plott Hound dog breed
Image Credit: Will Hughes, Shutterstock.

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Final Thoughts

Plott Hounds have the courage of a lion but the friendly, kind heart of a true family dog. They take some upkeep as far as their exercise needs and training but have a heart of solid gold that makes it worthwhile. They do best in active homes with older kids and perhaps a dog, but we don’t recommend them for homes with cats or other prey animals.


Featured Image Credit: WatersPix, Shutterstock

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