The Intelligent Plott Hound: Everything You Need to Know

The Plott Hound is a large scent hound known for being alert, loyal, and intelligent. It’s an uncommon breed, ranking 173 out of the American Kennel Club’s 201 breeds.

Mar 9, 2024byThalia Oosthuizen
the intelligent plott hound everything you need to know

There are so many dog breeds out there, we could write a book about them. Today, however, we’re going to focus on just one: the Plott Hound. This breed stands out as an extraordinary dog that effortlessly captivates the hearts of animal lovers globally.

Here, we’re going to share a wealth of information, so you can decide whether the Plott Hound would make a good addition to your family. Get ready for an enthusiastic exploration into the world of these remarkable and beloved dogs!

A Brief History of the Plott Hound

Plott Hound Standing with Owner on Grass
Image credit: Billings Gazette

The story of the U.S. is a story of immigration, and so is the story of the Plott Hound. It hails from a strain of the Hanoverian Schweisshund, a larger scent hound hailing from Germany. In the 18th century, the Plott Hound was introduced to the United States by the Plott family, from which the dog gets its name.

Led by patriarch Johannes Plott, the family aimed to breed the perfect hunting companion. Henry Plott, Johannes’s son, took up the challenge. He crossed his father’s dogs with English Coonhounds, aiming for a dog that could excel at hunting in the rugged southern Appalachian Mountains. The Plott Hound became a symbol of the family’s dedication to hunting and their love for the outdoors.

The Plott Hound eventually gained recognition beyond the family, earning the title of the state dog of North Carolina in 1989. Heck, it even has a cool festival tied to its German roots in Canton, North Carolina… Plott-Toberfest!

Stature and Presence: Physical Characteristics of Plott Hounds

Plott Hound Running and Jumping in Field
Image credit: the Spruce Pets

There are many traits that make this pup stand out, including his well-muscled build, brindled coat, and distinctive floppy ears. These physical characteristics are what make the breed recognizable and, quite honestly, adorable.

So, let’s take a closer look at these and see just why they help make millions of people fall in love with the Plott Hound.

These Are Medium to Large-Sized Dogs

Typically, Plott Hounds range from medium to large. While hound dogs come in all shapes and sizes, Plott Hounds were bred specifically to track large game, like boars and bears.

Their Brindle Coats Help with Camouflage

Plott Hound with Collar Sitting Outside
Image credit: the Spruce Pets

One of the hallmark attributes of the Plott Hound is its unique and beautiful brindled coat. This coat is a mix of dark streaks and light strips, which is quite stunning. Marked by dark and light stripes, the brindle pattern acts as a natural camouflage in the varied landscapes of the southern Appalachian Mountains.

This feature allows Plott Hounds to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, making them stealthy hunters. Their brindled coat is short and coarse, giving them extra protection against the elements and making grooming easy for owners.

Other Notable Features of the Plott Hound

There is one feature that we absolutely can’t overlook discussing. Those ears! Those cute floppy ears! They play a functional role in helping these dogs pick up on scents with precision, a key factor in their success as skilled hunters.

Plott Hounds Are Intelligent, Alert Companions

Plott Hound Dog Lying on Couch
Image credit: Dutch

Historically, the Plott Hound relied on more than its sense of smell to track prey; it also relied on its intelligence. This was crucial for problem-solving during hunts. The Plott Hound’s keen instincts, combined with its sharp intellect, created a harmonious balance in the field. While most Plott Hounds never see a hunting ground, in the household, these intelligent dogs use their smarts to their advantage, whether it’s stealing bread off the counter or tricking owners into extra walks.

Training Tips for Your Plott Hound

Plott Hound Panting and Sitting on Grass
Image credit:

Plott Hounds are smart, but also independent. Often, they take commands as suggestions—not orders. This leads to some people believing that these hounds aren’t as smart as researchers say. That’s simply not true. These smart dogs simply need a clear motivation to do something.

Here are our tips for training your Plott Hound:

  • Use treats, praise, and affection to reward desired behaviors. These pups respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement.
  • Ensure that rules and commands remain the same, providing a structured environment that helps them understand expectations.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging. Try to break training sessions into shorter, focused sessions to maintain their interest and prevent them from becoming disinterested.
  • Be patient and understanding during the training process, allowing them time to grasp new commands and behaviours.
  • Expose these pups to various environments, people, and other animals to help them develop into well-adjusted and confident companions.

You can also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend with interactive toys and puzzle games. This will keep them mentally active and prevent boredom.

Loyal Companions: Insights into Plott Hounds’ Temperament

Older Plott Hound Walking in Grass
Image credit: WCU

Plott Hounds fit seamlessly into many types of families, whether it’s a single-owner household or one teeming with kids. They’re extremely affectionate with their families, never missing an opportunity for snuggles or playtime. Because these hounds were bred to hunt in groups, they love being with other dogs.

That being said, they’re very independent and even sometimes aloof. For some, this is mistaken as a lack of affection. But that’s simply not true. Despite their strong will, Plott Hounds’ loving disposition makes up for their stubbornness by leaps and bounds.

Addressing the Physical Needs of Your Plott Hound

Plott Hound Dog Standing on Decking
Image credit: Reddit

To ensure the well-being of your Plott Hound, it’s essential to meet both their physical and mental exercise needs. Plott Hounds are known for their energetic disposition and high activity levels, making regular exercise a crucial component of their overall health and happiness.

Engaging in breed-specific activities that stimulate both their minds and bodies is key.

Let’s look at what you should keep in mind:

Brisk Walks and Playtime

Incorporate regular brisk walks into your Plott Hound’s routine, providing them with an outlet for their energy. Playtime, whether in your backyard or at a dog park, allows them to engage in physical activities that contribute to their overall well-being.

Outdoor Adventures

Plott Hounds thrive on outdoor activities. These outings cater to their energetic nature and provide a change of scenery, keeping them mentally stimulated.

Agility Training

Plott Hound Puppy Lying on Floor
Image credit: Pinterest

Plott Hounds enjoy agility training, which sharpens their physical coordination and challenges their intellect as well. Set up simple agility courses in your yard, incorporating tunnels, jumps, and weave poles for a fun and mentally stimulating experience.

Scent Games

Tap into their natural chasing instincts by engaging in breed-specific sports, like scent games. Hide treats or toys around your home or yard and let them use their keen sense of smell to find them. This will provide mental stimulation as well as satisfy their desire to use their tracking skills.

Making sure your pup gets regular exercise helps with their physical health and contributes to a well-balanced and happy dog, too. So just be dedicated to creating a consistent routine for your four-legged exercise buddy. Your Plott hound will definitely be eager to join you on your outdoor adventures, so you never have to worry about having a loyal companion on your day out.

Wellness Matters: Common Health Issues in Plott Hounds

Plott Hound Dog Standing in Snow
Image credit: World Dog Finder

Now, you want to make sure your pup has a long and healthy life. That means you must understand their common health concerns and create a proactive and preventative health plan. Though they are known for their robust nature, they do have some afflictions that they seem to be more prone to than others.

They include:

  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when the dog’s hip joint doesn’t properly fit into its socket. This can cause pain, limping, and a limited range of motion. It can be mitigated in larger dog breeds with nutritional supplements.
  • Bloat (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition where a dog’s stomach fills with gas, flips over, and cuts off circulation to major organs. With prompt veterinary care, this condition is treatable. So, it’s vital to know the signs of GDV.
  • Ear infections. Due to their unique ear structure, regular cleaning helps prevent infections. Using vet-approved ear cleaners and following your veterinarian’s guidance ensures your dog remains healthy.

Regular veterinary checkups can prevent these issues and ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life.

Create a Consistent Preventative Care Plan

dog show plott hound
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Here are some tips for keeping your dog healthy:


  • Brushing your Plott Hound’s teeth. Providing dental treats or toys contributes to oral health, preventing dental issues and ensuring fresh breath.
  • Regular coat brushing. This will keep your Plott Hound’s fur healthy and shiny. It also helps you identify any common skin issues.
  • Cleaning their ears. As noted, cleaning your dog’s ears will mitigate bacteria growth and prevent infections.

By adopting a holistic approach that includes proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and attention to grooming needs, you’re actively contributing to the overall health and happiness of your cherished Plott Hound.

Plott Hounds Make Great Additions to Households

Plott Hound Lying on Lawn Panting
Image credit: Chewy

So now you understand why so many people love this breed! The Plott Hound’s intelligence, alertness, loyalty, and unique physical attributes make them outstanding companions. Whether you’re drawn to their hunting heritage or seeking a loving family pet, the Plott Hound is a breed that offers a blend of versatility and devotion. Consider welcoming one into your home, and you’ll discover a steadfast friend for life.

Thalia Oosthuizen
byThalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading