The hound that made the Plott name a legend

Posted by | January 12, 2006

Plott Coon Hounds are the only breed of the original six breeds of coon hounds without British influence in their ancestry. The other five breeds can trace their ancestry back to the fox hound, but the Plott Hound is the exception. And of only four dogs known to be of American origin, it’s also the only known breed to have been developed in North Carolina, where it is currently the state dog.

During the great migration of German, Scotch-Irish, Moravians, and other Europeans to America in the eighteenth century, Johannes George Plott, a sixteen year old boy, and an older brother (unnamed in family records) left Heidelberg, Germany to board the ship ‘Priscilla’ from Rotterdam, Holland, for Philadelphia. There were 209 German immigrants on board.

Von Plott (left), a descendent of the original developers of the Plott hound breed in Haywood County, NC, with a group of hounds at Lake Waccamaw, NC; man on right is probably Von’s brother John Plott. Circa early 1950s.

They were accompanied by five Hanoverian hounds—three striped and two yellowish. The brother died during the voyage and was buried at sea, but Johannes arrived in Philadelphia on September 12, 1750, where he anglicized his name. Jonathon traveled to New Bern, North Carolina and then inland to Cabarrus County. He married Margaret Littleton, bought a farm, and they began raising five sons and four daughters—and hunting dogs. Plott supposedly kept his strain entirely pure, making no out-crosses. In 1780, the Plott pack passed into the hands of Henry Plott.

At the age of 30, Henry, along with wife Lydia and brother-in-law Jonathan Osborne, left home to settle in Haywood County, or what was then Buncombe County, on Pigeon River near where Canton is now situated. There Osborne and Plott seem to have bought a farm in partnership, made one crop, and dissolved the company, or partnership. Osborne went back to Cabarrus, but came again later, and Plott with Lydia went farther west, took up a state grant on the waters of Richland and Dick’s Creek, the latter afterwards known as Plott’s Creek, and settled down as a permanent home. The exact spot of his location is now the home place of John A. Plott, a great grandson. Henry and his pack of Plotts were often called in to help his neighbors rid their farms of wildlife that was attacking their livestock.

Henry Plott and Lydia Osborne Plott reared a family of eight sons and three daughters. Henry died in 1839. It is for this famous hunter and his descendants that the U. S. Park Service named three peaks in the Balsam Mountain range and erected an interpretive sign at mile marker 457.9 along the Blue Ridge Parkway (the Plott Balsam Overlook) honoring Henry and his descendents. It reads

“Before you lies the massive Plott Balsam Range. On one of its eastern slopes Henry Plott, a German immigrant’s son, made his home in the early 1800’s. In this game-filled frontier, hunting dogs were a prized possesion. Here Henry Plott and his descendants developed the famous Plott Bear Hounds carefully selecting for the qualities of stamina, courage, and alertness the breed possesses today.”

For the next 200 years the dogs were bred by generations of Plott family members and were referred to as the Plott’s hounds. The dogs worked at hunting bear and raccoon in the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, and Great Smoky Mountains of the Eastern United States. The Plott family rarely put the dogs on the market so they remained rare outside the southern United States. The dogs were recognized for the first time in 1946 by the United Kennel Club.

These hounds come in many different colors. There are buckskins, blacks, brindles, browns, reds, and/or a combination of any of these colors. Plotts are hardy and have superior hunting instincts. They are very effective in the search for coyotes, wolves, and wildcats. The breed was carefully developed to be strong, courageous and persistent. They were able to make good family companions but were seldom kept as one, as most owners acquired the dogs for the hunt. It was initially used as a wild boar hound, but has also been used for big game hunting. Plotts are known for being very gritty and this is why they are used on big game such as bear so often rather than for raccoon.

Old Jonathan Plott would probably be surprised to find a valley and a mountain and a range of mountains, as well as a creek, bearing the family name. He probably would be even more surprised and amazed to find that it has been the dogs he brought from Germany that have made the name Plott a legend. The Plott Hound was officially adopted as North Carolina’s State Dog on August 12, 1989.

The Annals of Haywood County, North Carolina, by W. C. Allen, 1935.

15 Responses

  • Cynthia Plott Duke says:

    To my knowledge, no documented proof that Margaret’s maiden name was Littleton.

  • Cynthia Plott-Duke says:

    Elias Plott was one of Johannes “George” and Margaret Plott’s children. Elias is mentioned in George’s Last Will and Testament. Two of Elias Plott and Margaret Charity Conard-Plott’s sons were Rudolph “Conrad” Plott and Elias “Wagner” Plott. Some theorize that Rudolph “Conrad’s” middle name was after his mother’s maiden name and Elias “Wagner’s” middle name was after a grandmother. Some folks theorize that Margaret’s maiden surname was Wagner. The bottom line is that NO documented proof for Margaret’s maiden name has been sourced; ergo, it is accurate to say that Margaret’s maiden name is “Unknown”.

  • Brian and Cindi Fox says:

    We have had many different full breed dogs thru the years. Our Plott hound is the nicest, most interesting, smart and all around greatest dog we have ever had. We tell everyone we know about him.

  • Andrea Williams says:

    love to see this about my family history. My grandmother was Rushie Plott.

  • Been hunting plott hounds since 1970
    Have been very successful at bear and hog hunting with my plott dogs over the last 45 years. Currently Im down to three dogs.
    Still love to hear a good race if you know what I mean!!!
    Glenn Jones
    Kodak, TN

  • Glenda Hill (avery) says:

    My father glenfird ray avery and uncle glen junior avery their mother was cora plott. Thats as far as i can go. They made mention of the plott hound many times.

  • Brad Sizemore says:

    The plott dogs I have hunted have been good dogs. Les Bolin had some of the best I ever hunted.

  • Cynthia Plott-Duke says:

    For more up-to-date information on Johannes George Plott, who is credited for bringing the Plott Hounds to America, please go to the following link at “With modern technology abilities to upload digital scans of archives, with dedicated efforts of various genealogy society volunteers cataloging and transcribing documents, and with mutual cooperation, we are finding the hidden treasures of our full Plott heritage. We are excited and thrilled with each new discovery. ”Also, for members of the Plott clan, there is a Plott Family Reunion Facebook group that provides up-to-date Plott research discoveries at:.

  • Keith says:

    Have a Plott hound mix, brindle and black, with white paws and chest. He is a very smart, alert and athletic guy! You can see the intelligence behind the eyes… very neat dog, and VERY scent-driven! I get lots of compliments on his demeanor and looks… have always been a Labrodor guy, being an upland bird hunter, but after having this guy, when he’s gone, he will be replaced by another!

  • […] Plott Hound History […]

  • judy grant says:

    Just found out today that my 4time great grandmother was Martha E. Caldona (Donie) Plott, married to William P Holloway. Among their children was my great great grandmother Mollie Ethel Holloway, who married Arthur James Myers.

    Their first child was Thelma Ruth Myers, married to Whitfield Harrison (my great grandparents). Their first child was Margaret Helen Harrison, married to Clayton Hensley Jr. (my grandparents). Their first child was Linda Diane Hensley, married to Richard Alan Webb (my parents).

    I am their first child Judy Dianne Webb, married to Jasper Warren Grant II. Our daughter’s name is Kristin A’laine Grant, married to Keith Wayne Gray Jr (our first child is Jasper Warren Grant III.) Kristin and Keith’s first child is Naomi. Nothing to do with dogs, just lineage if y’all wanted to know more of the Plott descendants.

  • Noel thomas says:

    I think Nora Plott, my mom’s cousin, had a hand in raising these dogs.

  • Stian Petterson says:

    Dear Sir/madam
    I found your website, through some of my friends!
    Do you have any dogs for sale ? Any adult dogs, one or two dogs which is ready for hunt. Or one adult, and one younger one ?
    I am planning to import two dogs for use in Sweden on bear. The Swedish
    bears doesn’t three the way some of the black bears do, but I guess this is
    just a training issue. We have som plots today, but these are a mix without
    certificate far back from Steve Moore.
    Looking forward to you reply !
    All best!
    Stian Petterson

  • Dave Tabler says:

    No, I don’t breed Plott hounds.

  • […] Plott Coonhound is the only coonhound breed that does not originate from foxhounds. They originate, in fact, from five Hanoverian hounds brought by the Plott family from Germany in […]

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