The history of North Carolina’s state dog

Plott Hounds. I Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Special Collections.

Recently, Martha Stewart released a list of The Most Popular Dog Breeds in Every State of the US, and can you guess which pooch Tar Heels love most? According to Martha, the Beagle claims the top spot in the Old North State. 🐶 While rescue is my absolute favorite breed, I was a little surprised the Plott Hound didn’t make the cut, considering it’s NC’s official dog. Let’s get acquainted with the state’s canine representative.  

Plott Hound fast facts:

  • They typically weigh between 40-60 lbs + live 12-14 years.
  • They are known for their alert, intelligent + loyal temperament. 
  • They were originally bred by Germans to be hunting dogs.
  • The breed was officially named NC’s state dog in 1989.

So how did they come to be? Legend has it that the dogs came to the region by German immigrants who brought along their Hanoverian hounds. Notably, Johannes George Plott made his way to neighboring Haywood County in the mid-1700s, where he began breeding dogs to be wild boar hunters. Plott reportedly kept the strain pure, and in 1780, he passed his Plott Hounds along to his son, Henry, who settled along the Pigeon River, near where the town of Canton is located today. 

Henry and his family ultimately set up their permanent home in a section which is now known as the Plott Creek area (between Richland + Dick’s Creek). The Plott family and the neighboring communities relied on the hounds to protect their livestock and rid their farms of wildlife attackers like wolves, wildcats, and coyotes. Henry’s dogs were so beloved in the community that the National Park Service erected an interpretive sign at mile marker 457.9 honoring him + his family.

Today, the Plott Hound is both a hunting dog + beloved pet, and can be found in homes across the US. Wanna see these adorable pups in action? Check out this video.

If you have been itching for a new furry BFF and want one of these magnificent dogs, we recommend checking out Wayward Plotts, a Southern Appalachian advocacy + rescue group.