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The Plott Hound, (C. l. familiaris , )was officially adopted as the State Dog on August 12, 1989. (Session Laws of North Carolina, 1989, c. 773; G.S. 145-13). It is the only dog breed that is officially recognized as having originated in North Carolina and one of only four breeds that began in the United States
The Plott Hound breed originated in the mountains of North Carolina around 1750 and is the only breed known to have originated in this State. Named for Jonathan Plott who developed the breed as a wild boar hound, the Plott Hound is a legendary hunting dog known as a courageous fighter and tenacious tracker. He is also a gentle and extremely loyal companion to hunters of North Carolina. The Plott Hound is very quick of foot with superior treeing instincts and has always been a favorite of big-game hunters.
The Plott Hound typically has a beautiful brindle-colored coat and a spine-tingling, bugle-like call. It is also one of only four breeds known to be of American origin.
In 1750, two young brothers left Germany and emigrated to America with three brindle and two buckskin Hanoverian Hounds. One boy died on the way but the other, sixteen year old Johannes Georg Plott, settled in Bute County, North Carolina and later in Lincoln County. He Anglicized his name to George, built a home, married, raised his family and bred his dogs. His son, Henry, continued the breeding program and for the next seven generations (over 200 years), the Plott's were mountain men who bred the family dogs and used them to hunt bear, and from the 1930's on, occasionally boar. As Plott men built homes and raised families all over the Smoky Mountains, their dogs became known by their family name and were referred to as the Plott's hounds. During that time hounds of similar breeding and type were raised by other mountain families and were likewise called by their owner's family name.
After many generations, the Plott Hounds needed an outcross. A Plott breeder named Gola Ferguson carefully choose another well respected family hound, the tan, black saddled Blevins, and made the cross. Two of the resulting progeny were so exceptional that when Ferguson bred them back to his pure Plot family even used these dogs in their breeding program and, because of this cross, some brindle Plott hounds have a black saddle.
As the fame of the Plott Hounds spread, coon hunters began to take an interest in those with treeing instinct. Because there are many more coonhunters in our country than there are bear and boar hunters, the Plott came to be classified as a coonhound. Even so, the Plott's traditional work is to track and bring to bay or tree big game such as bear, boar, and mountain lion and many Plotts today are still performing their original function.
Capable of speedily traversing diverse types of terrain and water in all seasons, the Plott is a bold, aggressive trailer with an open, unrestricted voice. Plott "music" is distinguished by a loud, ringing chop on the track and the tree, although bawl or squall trailing mouths are also acceptable.
The Plott hound is a medium-to-large dog, averaging 50 to 60 pounds, of somewhat stockier build and with shorter ears than typical hound breeds. Its head tends to be more massive and its jaws more imposing, and, although it trails as well as the best of hounds, its voice tends to be less melodious. It is a powerful and tenacious fighter, held in high esteem wherever large game is hunted with dogs, such as in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Most specimens of Plott hounds are of a dark brindle color, but black and buckskin color phases are not uncommon.
In 1998 the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Plott hound as a distinctive breed. The Plott has been North Carolina's state dog since 1989, but having been bred for hunting and tracking, it is not often seen walking on a leash around a suburban neighborhood. People who love Plott hounds describe the dogs as gentle with people and loyal to their owners. But if you were walking a Plott hound on a trail, and the dog caught the scent of a wild animal, it likely would want to take off on a hunt. Bold and energetic, Plotts want to work, no doubt about it.
The law designating the Plott Hound as the official North Carolina state dog is found in the The North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 145, Section 145-13.
State Symbols and Other Official Adoptions.
§ 145-13. The State dog.
The Plott Hound is adopted as the official dog of the State of North Carolina. (1989, c. 773, s. 1.)
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Plott Hound
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C. l. familiaris