Plott Hound Breed Magazine - Showsight


They are the suspected culprit in con- taminating the spinach crop with e-coli bacteria in 2006. As a result of their pil- laging, there is no set season to hunt feral pigs—it’s open season all year long. Feral pigs can be extremely aggressive. Hence, the need for a tough, aggressive, fearless hound to hunt them; exactly the qualifi- cations met by the Plott. In addition, he can compete with the traditional coonhound breeds in that oh- so-crucial “voice” of hunting hounds. Although this trait has no measureable standard, it still ranks high in importance for Plott owners. Joe Burkett, DVM, a longtime Plott breeder, speaks of what he listens for in his dogs: “For me, the ideal remains a beautiful hound that opens and trails with a bawl on track and finishes the chase with a distinctive chop at bay or on tree. The voice change in tone, pitch, and volume communicates to the houndsman the progression and state of the chase.” For those of us who remain relatively ignorant of many of these scenthound terms, Burkett explains, “Most Plotts are ‘chop mouths.’ They use short, sharp barks when they ‘open,’ meaning they’ve located the scent of their quarry and begun to trail. Plotts may ‘bawl’ while trailing, using a longer, more prolonged voice. Each hunter must recognize his dog’s ‘change over bark’ when the quarry is cornered or treed, and the dog reverts to an excited ‘chop.’ Plotts will not have the long, protracted ‘bawl’ of a Black and Tan Coonhound or a Blue Tick. The fact that the Plotts are used for ‘coon hunting’ is simply another chapter in their versatile character. I suppose that, to me, they have always been Plotts, not strictly coonhounds! Being a Plott always said something more to me than being just a coonhound.” Although in the eastern half of the country he hunts mainly raccoon and feral pigs, the Plott can still use that “bawl and chop” on large carnivores in the western lands of the US, Canada, and parts of Mexico. Writer Richard B. Woodward notes, “Outdoorsmen from as far away as Africa and Japan hold the Plott in near-mystical esteem as perhaps the world’s toughest dog. Bred to track, run down, tree, and if necessary, grapple with a baying 500-pound bear eight times its size, it is often overmatched but rarely chastened by that fact. Inspect the coat of one that has worked in the woods for a year or more, and you will likely find slash marks from a bear’s claws or a hog’s tusks. Plotts will routinely stay on game, alone or in packs, for days at a time. Willing to

A Plott intent on following a trail over rough terrain will not be deterred. The Plott is a most determined hunter. photo, Wikimedia

Two unidentified members of the Plott family with their hounds before a hunt. photo courtsey of

The fame of the Plott family’s hounds spread throughout the Smoky Mountain region of the Southeast. So proud of this homegrown scenthound were the citizens of North Carolina, that in 1988, the Plott Hound became North Carolina’s official state dog. One of the Plott’s notable attributes remains his versatility. The New World offered more than bears for sportsmen who hunted with Plotts. Western North Carolina, before the Revolution and for decades after, held a wide variety of large game; cougars, wolves, and bobcats as well as the bears. The toughness of the Plott and his ability to track a cold trail so impressed local land owners that they came to the Plott family to buy hunting dogs and breeding stock. As the nine Plott children grew up and moved into adjacent regions and states, they took their hounds with them, furthering the fame and popu- larity of this new breed. VERSATILITY OF THE PLOTT The Plott’s versatility became evident as the large predators were mostly eliminated from the Southeast of the US through hunt- ing and habitat loss. Sportsmen turned to raccoons, a varmint that was both plentiful and adept at egg stealing and crop raid- ing. The Plott’s keen nose and relentless Champion littermates, CH Simmons IN Storm’s Gotcha with her littermate GCH Simmons IN DayDream’s Gotcha winning the Pairs Championship at a UKC show. The Pairs Class is similar to the AKC Brace Class in that the dogs should be as similar as possible. Amanda Alexander handled Storm while Elwod Simmons handled Dream. Both Storm and Dream retired at Amanda’s kennel. photo courtesy of Amanda Alexander

Due to their drive, courage, and toughness, Plott’s still hunt large game today. photo courtesy of

tracking drive, coupled with great endur- ance, made him a superb coonhound. How- ever, he is much more than that. Although wild boar may not have reached the mountains of North Carolina when George Plott first settled there, they would soon arrive. Feral pigs had already entered North America thanks to Span- ish expeditions, both as a food source as well as for hunting sport. Hernando de Soto and Juan Ponce de León introduced Eurasian domestic swine to Florida in the early 16th century. Other European immigrants introduced various species of hogs throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and due to the lack of fencing, many of those went feral. Given that sows can typically have 14 piglets in a litter, it didn’t take long for feral hogs to proliferate throughout the Southeast. Thus, another primary use of the Plott today is on wild boar—feral pigs that have exploded in population numbers. Biologists estimate that five million feral pigs now roam the US. They currently proliferate throughout the Southeast, California, Hawaii, and into the Midwest and even the Northeast, presenting a real threat to agriculture. Feral pigs can dev- astate 40 acres of forest in a single night and destroy acres of crops within hours.


Powered by