What Is the State Dog of North Carolina?

The plot hound, North Carolina's state dog.
The plot hound, North Carolina's state dog.

North Carolina is a state that covers an area of 53,819 square miles in the southeastern region of the United States. With a population of 10,273,419 in 2017, North Carolina ranks as the ninth most populous US state. Some of North Carolina's state symbols include the dogwood (state flower), the cardinal (state bird), and the Pine Barrens tree frog (state frog). In 1989, the state government selected the Plott hound as the official state dog.

The Plott Hound's History

The origin of the Plott Hound is traced to Johannes Plott, who moved from Germany to North Carolina in the eighteenth century. The dog breed is named after Plott family, as well as the Plott Balasams mountain range in North Carolina. When Plott immigrated to North Carolina, he brought five Hanoverian hounds, a breed of dog that had been bred for their stamina and hunting ability, and typically used to hunt wild boars and bears. A hunter from Georgia eventualy crossbred his variety of "leopard spotted dog" with Plott's dogs, introducing new characteristics to the breed. The hounds may have also been crossbred by G.P. Ferguson, a neighbor of the Plott family in North Carolina. The American Kennel Club recognized the Plott Hound as an official breed in 2008, more than 60 years after the United Kennel Club had recognized the breed.

The Plott Hound's Appearance

The Plott Hound's appearance was significantly influenced by ancestral breeds that were primarily bred for hunting. Plott Hounds are typically agile and muscular, which indicates their ability to run long distances at high speeds. The hound's coat is generally brindle-colored, with fur that is short or medium in length. The National Plott Hound Association states that the dog's fur should be brindled, meaning it has some striping, in one of the following colors: yellow brindle, brown brindle, tan brindle, black brindle, grey brindle, red brindle, or maltese brindle. The National Plott Hound Association only accepts white hair on the chest or feet. Males are usually larger than females, and measuring up to 25 and 23 inches at the withers, respectively. Males typically weigh more than 60 pounds, while the females weigh roughly 55 pounds.

The Plott Hound's Behavior

Plott Hounds are considered to be intelligent and loyal dogs, and are well known for their hunting abilities. They are one of the most energetic hound breeds, as their ancestors were chosen for their stamina. Plott Hounds are also good with children and fiercely protective.

Due to the unique characteristics bred into them, Plott Hounds can be used for specific activities. For example, their hunting and tracking abilities make them suitable as police dogs. Similarly, Guilford County, North Carolina is known for using Plott Hounds as guard dogs.


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