Plott Hounds Best Friend for Birders

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I mentioned my Plott Hounds in an article I wrote at Beautiful Wildlife Garden this morning, so I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about them here.

Plott Hounds are the state dog of South Carolina. They are also known as Tennessee Treeing Coon Hounds, because this breed has been bred to put raccoons (and bears) up a tree so that hunters could get them.

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This “treeing” ability is quite nice, because neither of our Plotts thinks that other animals belong in their mouths (like our 3 cats). They like to chase. That is all the fun in the world to them.

Plott Hounds are always brindle, have a white blaze on their chest, white socks at their toes, and webbed feet.

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Morgan came to us at 5 months old from a shelter in Pennsauken, NJ. I have to honestly say that I had never before heard of Plott Hounds, but she was chosen for us by Henry our 14 year old Beagle, who we adopted late in life (we were Henry’s senior assisted living facility).

Morgan lazy sit

Morgan will never be a show dog. She’s a lazy sitter and has lop-sided ears, but she’s a goofball and makes me laugh right out loud at some point every day.

Morgan smile

Morgan is sweet and loving, and likes nothing more than to shower your face and hands with slobbery dog kisses. I was amazed and thrilled that she had no “issues.” All of our dogs have always been shelter dogs, and because many people should never be allowed to own dogs, these shelter dogs always have issues and idiosyncrasies.

But not Morgan. She adapted well and learned every lesson we set for her. A true joy to be around. Because Henry was so old, she learned very well that when we’re inside the house we snooze on our comfy dog beds. But when we go outside, all bets are off.

After Henry passed, Morgan wanted to play–and Plott Hound play is real wrasslin’! They like to run, and roll, and throw others around. But I could not play with Morgan this way. I’m just not able to run while having her take my knees out from under me.

Snow Wrasslin

So back to the shelter we went. This shelter is amazing in that they have a full-time dog trainer on staff, and we had hired him for personalized dog training for Morgan. We said to him that Morgan needed a companion who could play with her the way she wanted to play, a dog whose energy was similar to hers so that she would get what she needed (and my knees would be safe from her attempts to roll me).

Steve, the amazing and wonderful dog trainer told us that a dog had just been returned to the shelter that day because his humans didn’t know how to take care of him.

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Issues. Otis had a lot of them when we first got him. He would submissive pee if we reached for him. He did not at all see people as friendly sources of love and affection. He was terrified–of us, of loud noises, basically of everything, except Morgan.

Steve told us that Otis would follow Morgan’s lead and that would help him gain some confidence.  So we continued training, now with both dogs. We worked and worked and worked, and I’m happy to say that Otis now comes to us by his choice for pets on his furry little head. He’s excited when we come into the house. He lets us reach for him, knowing that means ear scratches, head rubs, belly scratches, etc. But this trust took a very long time to build.

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Morgan and Otis are great birders–they don’t miss anything! And when they accompany me when I go out birding they sit patiently (for the most part) while I’m on a bird with my binoculars. But I’ve learned that if I watch Morgan and Otis to see what they’re looking at, I see a lot more birds.

Plotts on Beach

They’re amazing to travel with. They know how to behave in someone else’s home, so we can take them with us no matter where we go. And they always get invited back.

But when we let them off lead, what they love to do more than anything else in the world is RUN! And it’s unbelievable how fast they are, especially Otis because his legs are much longer than Morgan’s.

Plotts on the run

And mixed in with the running they love to wrassle. We call this Dinosaur Dancing because they rear up on their back legs, throw each other around by the loose skin around their necks, roll each other on their backs. It’s Wrestle Mania at its best.

Wrasslin Plotts

Personality wise, Morgan is bonded to people. She loves almost everyone she meets. And she loves affection. With other dogs though, she wants to be the boss, and this doesn’t always work out for her. But she’s learning how to get along, slowly but surely…..

Otis loves other dogs. He’s happiest when he’s at the park and can run and play with his other dog friends. He’s still not sure about other people, although he’s done much better lately (he’s been with us for two years now).

But for me, I wouldn’t trade my wrasslin’ Plott Hounds for anything!

Update: see how Morgan is doing after her torn cruciate ligament surgery

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  1. WOW Carole, they are just fabulous! We (my sporting group–Yellow Lab, Irish Setter and English Setter) weren’t familiar with the Plott Hound breed. The Lab and Irish used to pal up at the dog park with a couple of coon hounds who were really “rough and tumble” types. What fun dogs they seem to be! Love that you go the adoption route. Mine are also all adopted (tho the irish was a puppy when I got her….so her bad habits are all MY fault HA!) Thanks for sharing this story. I love dogs!

    • Carole Brown says:

      Loret, your pack sounds like a lot of fun, too. I had a Yellow Lab years ago and she really lived up to the Retriever in her. I could toss sticks and balls for hours and she never tired. Yes, the adoption route is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned. If I could I’d take all of the shelter pets home, but at least I’m doing my part with 2 dogs and 3 cats.

  2. Thanks for the stories and wonderful photos. I’ve never heard of the breed, but they look and sound like a lot of fun.

    I adopted a cat many years ago, Sam, who also had issues. Apparently abused, I couldn’t stroke his back without him turning on my hand and arm and trying to attack it at first. The vet thought he had been hit on the head because he had poor peripheral vision.

    As you say, gaining that trust took a long long time. But once he gave that trust, he was the sweetest, most gentle cat spirit you could meet. I had to watch where I walked because he would spontaneously throw himself at my feet!

    Thanks for bringing back those memories with your story of Otis. He’s one lucky dog!

    • Carole Brown says:

      Marsha, the fact that people mistreat and abuse dogs and cats is very sad, and that’s what I mean by saying some people should not be allowed to have them. Your Sam hit the jackpot by coming to you to help him recover from those wounds. I feel so honored that Otis has given us his trust. He had been badly treated too. I have to be careful about “talking with my hands” because certain hand movements still send him running for the door.

  3. Hi Carole,
    Thanks for introducing us to your dogs. I had not heard of the breed either but they’re very attractive. I see a lot of our adopted dog in them. We’re never sure of his mix, he looks like a yellow lab but with ears like your dogs and a LOT of loose skin which we call the waddle around his neck. I don’t know what life would be like without a dog. We have so much to learn from them.

    • Carole Brown says:

      Heather, I can’t imagine life without my pups either. We’re not really sure of the mix on the Plotts either. All we know for certain is that each of them had a Plott mother. It would not surprise me at all to find that Otis’s father was Whippet or Greyhound, because he looks like that when he runs. Morgan has some Chow somewhere in her past because part of her tongue is black, and I’m told that’s Chow specific. Other than that, we have no clue. All I know is that they make me very happy, and I learn a lot from them every day like you said.

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  5. lovely blog
    we always have recused dogs

  6. I have a Catahoula which looks similar to your Plott hound. This breed of dog originated in Catahoula parish Louisiana and is used to hunt hogs in the bayous. She is the best dog ever!

  7. Hey!!! I have a Plott Hound mixed with Black Labrador Retriever. What a handful!!!! He makes life so much more fun and adventurous! The traits of the Plott Hound are dominant and pose some challenges but I would NOT trade him for anything!! Also, aren\’t Plotts the state dog of North Carolina or am I mistaken?


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