Plott Hound historical marker

Plott Hound (P-87)

State dog. Prized for big game hunting skills. Breed refined in 1800s by Henry Plott & family. Their home 2 mi. SW.

Location: SR 1173 (Plott Creek Road) at US 23 southwest of Waynesville
County: Haywood
Original Date Cast: 2008

In the mid to late 1800s, people from as far away as Georgia would travel to Haywood County to get puppies from the Plott family. They would arrive with sacks on the backs of their mules or horses to carry home the prized hunting dogs. The Plotts bred hard-working, tenacious, and loyal dogs that would hunt bears and wild boars with boundless courage. The dogs, once black, brown or brindle, are now usually brindle (meaning stripes of varying color). They stand 20 to 25 inches at the shoulder, weigh about 45 to 55 pounds, and are strong and fast. The Plott Hound, as the dog is now known, has a distinctive high-pitched bark that is effective in alerting hunters to treed prey.

The Plott hound is the only officially recognized breed of dog to have been developed in North Carolina. It is one of only four dog breeds native to the United States. The foundation stock for the dogs that became Plott hounds came to America with Johannes George Plott in 1750. Family tradition is that the five dogs were a gift from Plott’s father, Elias, a gamekeeper near Heidelberg, Germany. Elias Plott bred the canines to be “multipurpose” workers—they needed to be exceptional big game hunters as well as farm and herding dogs. It is likely that the elder Plott used the Hanoverian Hound in developing his exceptional dogs; and he may very well have mixed in the Weimaraner. In North Carolina the Plott family further refined the breed into the dog that we know today.

Little is known of the first nine years of Johannes George Plott’s life in America. After the ship’s record of his travel, Plott does not appear in public records again until 1759 when he purchased land in the former county of Bute (now Warren) under the name of George Plott. Within a year he moved to Cabarrus County, and to Lincoln County in 1784. Plott’s son Henry was responsible for the further refinement of the Plott hound. Henry moved to Buncombe County (now Haywood) about 1800 and within a few years the area was known as Plott Valley, the mountain, Plott Balsam, and the waterway, Plott Creek. The region is still home to many Plott descendants.

It was there that the Plott family’s dogs began to hunt bears in the mountain wilderness much as they had done in the Black Forest of Germany. By the time Montraville Plott was born in 1850, the dogs were well established and highly prized in western North Carolina. He continued to refine the breed’s temperament and performance, and word spread about their superior working and hunting talents, their courage and tenacity. Plott was dedicated to his dogs and he passed along his devotion to the breed to his children and many of his friends. Two of his sons, John A. and Henry Vaughn “Von” Plott, along with a few other devoted hunters, are credited with capturing the interest of hunters nationwide in the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1998 the American Kennel Club recognized the Plott hound as a distinctive breed. The Plott hound has been the North Carolina state dog since 1989, but because of their having been bred for hunting and tracking, they are not commonly seen walking on leashes around suburban neighborhoods. Plott enthusiasts describe the breed as bold and energetic hunting dogs, gentle with people and loyal to their owners.

Bob Plott, Strike and Stay: The Story of the Plott Hound (2007)
Plott Dog fansite:
Jerry Leath Mills, “Plott Hound,” in William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)
Richard B. Woodward, “Great Plott!,” Slate Magazine, Feb. 12, 2008,

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