OVERVIEW OF THE PLOTT HOUND
The Plott Hound is an athletic medium breed with a gorgeous short coat that can be any shade of brindle, black, black with brindle trim or an unusual sandy, golden, dark fawn, or red fawn coloration. This is an intelligent and confident big-game hunting dog. They are known for their speed and spirit and are tenacious on the job while displaying an affectionate and loyal temperament at home.
Originally from the mountains of western North Carolina, a Plott Hound is first and foremost a hunting dog that needs to have its instincts fulfilled. They are also a good choice for farms. If a home pet is what you want, this will likely not be the right breed for you. If they get plenty of daily activity and time weekly to run out in the open, however, they’ll be happy as a protective family dog for the rest of the time.
Although they get along with children, they can be very boisterous as puppies which may be a little too much for toddlers. If they have grown up with cats, they will get along with them, but other cats and small animals can easily excite their ‘chase’ instincts.
Adult Plotts reach between 20 and 27 inches in height and weigh between 50 to 75 pounds.
One thing you’ll need to be aware of when welcoming a Plott Hound to your family is that they have a loud, drawn-out, ringing bark and can be noisy. Their distinctive voice lets hunters know they’re on the prey’s trail, but sometimes they also use it to let you know they’re bored. This is another reason they’re good farm dogs since your neighbors won’t be close enough to be annoyed by your hounds singing.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know before welcoming a Plott Hound to your home.
PLOTT HOUND FOOD AND HEALTH
Ensuring that your Plott gets a well-balanced diet is essential to keeping them healthy and keeping your vet bills down. As with all breeds, they are also prone to suffer from certain hereditary ailments.
If you get a puppy, choose a good breeder who can show you health clearances for the parents to prove that they have been tested and cleared of certain conditions. Certified clearances you should look for in Plott Hounds include hip and elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, and eye health from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
Plotts can be possessive of their food and do not take kindly to other dogs or animals nosing around their meals. Teaching your Plott to allow people to handle their bowls is an important part of their training you shouldn’t miss.
The amount of food your adult Plott Hound needs will range between two and three cups daily. This should be divided into two or three meals at set times and adjusted according to their activity levels. There are many healthy food options in dry, home-cooked, and raw varieties. Lean meat such as poultry and fish are generally good cooked options with veggies such as sweet potato and peas. Do not give your Plott puppy adult food. Puppy foods will provide specific guidelines for the quantity they need according to their weight.
Plotts can easily suffer from bloat which can be very serious, causing pain and vomiting. To prevent this, avoid the ingestion of large amounts of food and water by breaking up meals into two or three smaller ones, and don’t feed your pet high-fat foods.
Also be aware of foods that may cause skin allergies or stomach upsets such as wheat, gluten, or some dairy products.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR PLOTT HOUND
Plotts need a lot of attention and exercise. Start training your Plott from the moment they join the family. Waiting until they are six months old will make it a lot more difficult to teach your already headstrong pup. As young dogs, they will be cheeky and see what they can get away with. Start training as soon as eight weeks and get them to puppy kindergarten at 10 to 12 weeks. This is important to socialize them early on. If they are required to be fully vaccinated, you can begin training at home and socialize them among family and friends until their puppy vaccinations are completed.
These dogs need to be trained with patience, positive reinforcement, and consistent practice.
Never treat your pup with aggression. They have a good memory, especially when it comes to people or dogs that did them wrong.
Plotts are curious explorers and highly agile. This makes them great hunters but also great escape artists. They need to be well secured in a fenced lot or garden and should always be walked on a leash.
Long walks twice a day is the minimum needed to keep them satisfied. Long hikes and a chance to run freely in a secure open space are even better. If you take them hunting, they will like that best. They are also good water dogs and fit for almost any terrain from mountains to swamps.
Since they are strong dogs you’ll need an effective leash to keep them at bay, but never something that will hurt them. A collar can place great pressure against their neck and trachea, so a harness with a leash of 10 to 16 feet is a much better option. A harness that clips on rather than requiring them to step into it is best for adult dogs. These are generally also adjustable so you’ll be able to use them during different growth stages.
Even if you do have an adjustable harness, you will probably need to upsize their gear from puppy to fully grown age. Wearing a collar for pet identification is a good idea. Check it daily when they are puppies and teens since it can become too tight and hurt them very quickly as they grow. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and their neck for a safe and comfortable fit. If you can’t, it’s too tight.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR PLOTT HOUND
There are a few options when it comes to nap time and bedtime for your pup. They want to be with you and should sleep inside at night. That doesn’t mean that they can’t have an outside dog house as their own haven when they feel like retreating. In addition, crate training is important. You may prefer to set up a crate inside as a private hideout for them.
A crate should be big enough so they can turn around and position themselves comfortably inside. Get a large bed that will support their body. As they get older an orthopedic bed is a good choice for joint support. Add a soft blanket and plush toy to their crate space to make it extra homely for them, especially when they are young. Never use the crate for punishment, it should always have a positive association as being their happy place.
If you have a crate inside for them as well as another dog bed where they can lie in the lounge or bedroom, you may not need a dog house as well. If you decide to try one, get something slightly raised off the ground with a removable lid. As with a crate, make it comfortable inside with a blanket or mattress and toy.
Plott Hounds shed a lot so always opt for mattresses with removable and washable covers.
BEST TOYS FOR PLOTT HOUNDS
Plotts have a need for lots of mental and physical stimulation. This means the range of toys they will love is vast.
Chew toys are a must for Plotts of any age. When they are teething, ensure you have some teething toys on hand to relieve achy and itchy gums without resorting to your shoes and furniture. As they grow, switch to slightly bigger and more durable chew toys that will last well past the first chew session. Appropriate chew toys include rubber toys, chew bones, and rawhide.
Tug toys and fetch toys are both winners. Your energetic pup will have no problem chewing through flimsy items, so choose thick and durable materials. A snowman-shaped Kong is a great toy and can be used for training. These throw toys bounce unpredictably and can hold a small treat inside. When your pup retrieves the Kong they are rewarded with a treat.
For mental stimulation, we recommend puzzle toys with adjustable difficulty levels. Trying to release treats or a ball from an enclosed dispenser will have your pup’s mind ticking with determination.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR PLOTT HOUND OWNERS
Plott Hounds have smooth, fairly short hair that is thick enough to protect them when hunting in wet or cold conditions and on rough terrains. Some have a double coat with a bottom insulation layer of short thick hairs and a slightly stiffer outer coat.
Plotts are fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming, although they do shed a lot. Plott Hounds with a double coat shed even more than single-coat pups. Brush them at least once a week with a rubber curry brush to evenly distribute skin oils for healthy coat maintenance. Double-coated pups will need brushing two to three times weekly. If your pup spends a lot of time indoors, you’ll want to brush them more often to prevent hairs from getting all over your furniture and clothing.
They naturally have a musty odor. Although regular baths can keep it under control, you will need to be prepared to live with it if you get a Plott.
While you’re brushing their coat, make a full grooming session out of it by checking your puppy’s nails, eyes, ears, and skin. Check for any rashes, irregularities, redness, or strange odors from the ears which can signal infection.
Ask your vet for advice to keep your puppy’s nails healthy. If your little hunter doesn’t wear them down naturally, they will need to be trimmed once or twice monthly. Since their nails have blood vessels in them, trimming without causing injury can be tricky so you may want to get the help of a professional groomer.
Lastly, your pup’s dental health is very important. Brush their teeth at least three times weekly with a toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. This is important to prevent gum disease and tartar build-up and to eliminate bad breath. Chewing on dry kibble and teeth cleaning toys can be helpful in between, but is never a replacement for regular brushing.
It is vital to get your pup comfortable with grooming from a young age and always make it a pleasant experience with plenty of positive reinforcement. This will make things a lot easier for both of you as they get older.
BEST PLOTT HOUND ACCESSORIES
With such an adventurous pup, there’s no shortage of fun accessories to stock up on.
There are, however, a few must-haves we recommend before splashing out on available items.
The best type of brush for grooming a Plott is a rubber-bristled curry brush. These help to remove dead hairs but also stimulate the production of natural oils as you brush, which keep their skin and coat healthy.
For long hikes or days out in the forest or mountains, you’ll want to ensure your pup stays well hydrated and keep enough supplies on hand. A collapsible water bowl is easy to keep in a small backpack. Alternatively, get a water bottle that has a foldable water bowl lid so you and your pup can both stay hydrated.
Getting your pet pal their own dog backpack is a wonderful accessory for very active families. The lightweight backpacks are contoured to fit comfortably and allow your hiking buddy to move their legs naturally without interference from straps. There is a ring on which to attach a leash and they’re generally waterproof with durable zipper pouches. If you’re out in low light conditions, get something with reflective strips so your pup stays visible.
For shorter walks or training, get yourself a multi-functional dog treat pouch. This allows you to carry a small water bottle, training treats, keys, cash and waste bags around your waist. You’ll be able to clip the leash onto the body waist strap securely so you can keep your pup close by without having to hold the leash with your hands.
To learn more about medium breeds like Plott Hounds, check out our breed hub page.