Known for its fearless hunting style and loyalty to owner, the Plott Hound was bred in North Carolina, and is one of four breeds originating in America. In 1989 the North Carolina General Assembly named the Plott Hound the official State Dog.
Elias Plott, a German gamekeeper, gave his two sons five Hanoverian Hounds to carry with them to America in 1750. Only one son, Johannes Plott, survived the voyage to North Carolina. Once in North Carolina, Johannes Plott Anglicized his name to George. In 1759 George purchased land in what is now Warren County, but within a year he moved to Cabarrus County. There Plott continued raising a family and breeding his dogs until moving to Lincoln County in 1784. Henry, George’s son, continued to breed the Plott Hounds when he moved to what is now Haywood County around 1800. Elias Plott’s great-grandson, Motraville, was born in 1850 into a family that had earned a regional reputation for being good dog breeders. According to historian Ansley Wegner, customers commonly traveled during the mid-to-late 1800s from places as far as Georgia to purchase Plott's hounds from the family.
The Plott Hound was traditionally known for its ability to tree a bear or bay a boar (many hunting dogs are capable of chasing large game up trees or into brush to help hunters have a better shot). The breed, however, was also used for coonhunting. Ranging in size from twenty to twenty-five inches tall, the Plott Hound typically weighs between forty and sixty pounds. Plott Hounds have coats that are usually a shade of brindle (a light-colored hair streaked with a darker hair), yet some are solid black or have distinct markings.
In 2009, a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker was placed at Hazelwood Elementary School in Waynesville to honor the Plott Hound. The Plott Hound is the mascot at Hazelwood Elementary.
“AKC Meet the Breeds: Plott” http://www.akc.org/breeds/plott/ (accessed May 3, 2010); Ansley Herring Wegner, “Historical Hound” Tar Heel Junior Historian, Vol. 48: No. 1 (Fall 2008); “Highway Marker Honors State Dog” http://news.ncdcr.gov/2009/06/01/highway-marker-honors-state-dog/ (accessed May 3, 2010).
By Jessica Lee Thompson, North Carolina History Project
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Bear hunters from Belhaven, NC with their game and Plott hounds in November 1947. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.
The name of this Plott hound is "Old Heavy." Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.
One of the Plott's Plott Hounds with a young girl. Although aggressive hunters, Plott hounds are known for their loyalty to their owners. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.