Plott Hound Breed Magazine - Showsight


History of the Plott

By Erma Alexander

hound-like when compared to the Bloodhound, the Black & Tan Coonhound or the other scent hounds for that matter. It is far more like a German Shorthaired Pointer than a Bloodhound. While the Plott is NOT a “head breed”, the head- piece does distinguish it from the other coonhound breeds. From the Plott stan- dard, “ Ears- Medium length, soft tex- tured, fairly broad, set moderately high to high. Hanging gracefully with the inside part rolling forward toward the muzzle. ” The standard goes on to give a length range that unlike the old black and tan standard, does not promote length of ear but lack thereof. In fact, in an effort to remove the “hound-like” appearance in some Plott strains, a disqualification was added. “ Disqualification- Length of ear extending beyond the tip of the nose OR hanging bloodhound like in a long, pen- dulous fashion .” None of us today know the exact mixture that made a Plott. What we do know are the important traits that our Plott forefathers thought a Plott should have. As long as we breed for a bal- ance of these traits we will keep “Plott”ing along however if we place more weight on one trait over others we end up with prob- lems. For example; we really want a dog that aggressively engages the bear, hog or lion. We breed for a terrier-like tenacity that will eventually lead to a lot of injured or dead dogs. On the other hand, if we con- tinuously breed for scenting abilities we may end up with dogs that will not active- ly engage the game which in turn either gets other dogs injured or killed or loses the game being hunted. These traits are all well and good but do they translate to physical characteristics? The high-eared, almost terrier-like look of some Plotts give them an aggressive look that to me denotes that very trait, while a Bloodhound-like long ear look suggest a softness and ability to track. John Plott wanted a more medium type nose and high set, medium length ears to go with it. Eventually, this is what made it into the breed standard. These observations of mine do not mean that a shorter eared dog can’t strike, trail and tree a cold track in no way shape or form. What I want you to

focus on is the look. A Bloodhound LOOKS like it can smell into tomorrow if it wanted to. An Airedale Terrier LOOKS like it would tear the hide of a bear, boar or sofa if given the chance. Whether they will, can or do is not up for debate. The desired look of these Plotts, have with- stood the changes in hunting and sport for the breed and are basically the same today as they were in John Plotts day. As I stat- ed earlier, the Plott is NOT a head breed although when judging for breed type the head-piece will and should play an impor- tant role.

taste however, I find white extending beyond the chest and up the throat very offensive. Even with that, I would not let color be my final point of judgment. While on the topic of color, you may see Plotts or other coonhound breeds with freeze brands on their flanks. These are for iden- tification purposes only and should not count against the dog. If they obscure your ability to judge the dog in question have the handler turn it around as they are typ- ically on one side of the dog. This mark- ings allow the owners to quickly separate packs when gathering the dogs after a hunt and they discourage theft of dogs that sell for large sums of money. The most important part of the Plott breed standard is the general appearance. When a Plott walks into the show ring, or pops out of your dogbox on a leash this is what I expect to see: “ A hunting hound of striking color that traditionally brings big game to bay or tree, the Plott is intel- ligent, alert and confident. Noted for sta- mina, endurance, agility, determination and aggressiveness when hunting, the powerful, well muscled, yet stream-lined Plott combines courage with athletic ability .” The temperament of the breed can seem aloof but they should never be fearful. Many times in my seminars I use the phrase, “if it looks wrong, it probably is wrong.” I naively assume that the judges I see are dog people and I will continue to err on that side of things. Maybe you have been hunting with dogs before and maybe you have not. You need to picture the Plott doing its job and then say, can that dog right there do that job? If the answer in your mind is yes, then you are looking at a Plott. A great reference tool for this breed can be found in Strike & Stay, The Story of the Plott Hound, by Bob Plott. It is a very informative book on the Plott family and I believe it can be purchased at www.bob- . If you are just a hound person it is a must have for your library. If you are a Plott person it is a fair and comprehen- sive history of your breed. If you are a hound judge or a potential hound judge it is a photographic bible in learning the desired look of this breed.

The tangible hallmark of the Plott breed if there is one, is the color. That is a big IF since there are so many variations to the color that are acceptable. I say tangi- ble because anyone can point to a beauti- ful brindle hound-like dog and assume Plott. It is easily recognizable although the true hallmarks of this exciting breed are mostly intangible. Their courage, tenacity and versatility have no limits and no means to easily measure. Color we can work with. “ Any shade of brindle (a streaked or striped pattern of dark hair imposed on a lighter background) is pre- ferred. ” This means if two equal dogs are exhibited, the one with brindle should place over the one without. I hope we all know that there is no such thing as two equal dogs and the color should seldom have impact on judging. The AKC standard thankfully allows the solid black and solid buckskin colored Plotts. “ Some white on chest and feet is permissible as is a gray- ing effect around the jaws and muzzle .” I suppose “some white” is highly subjec- tive and better left to your own personal


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