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What is the most fearless dog?

Plott Hounds: The State Dog of North Carolina

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.

– Louis Sabin

Perhaps Johannes Plott was thinking something along the lines of the above quote when he came to America from his home near Heidelberg, Germany in 1750, accompanied by five dogs. Plott eventually made his way west across our state, moving from present-day Warren County to Cabarrus County and eventually settling in Lincoln County in 1784. Johannes changed his name along the way to George; he raised a family and continued raising and breeding dogs as his own father had done in Germany. George’s son Henry moved to current day Haywood County around 1800, and the Plott descendants continued to refine the breed that would become known as the Plott hound. The dogs are known for their tracking and hunting skills and are recognized for being fearless, even in the face of bears and wild boars. The reputation of these working dogs spread to neighboring counties and eventually surpassed the boundaries of our state.

The Plott became the official state dog of North Carolina on August 12, 1989, after state senator Bob Swain from Buncombe County proposed the legislation (see below). The American Kennel Club, which recognized the Plott Hound as its own distinct breed in 1998, describes the dog as “The Plott, a hound with a curious name and a unique history, is a rugged, relentless hunting dog who is a mellow gentleman at home but fearless, implacable, and bold at work. This eye-catching scenthound is North Carolina’s state dog.” The Plott is one of only a handful of breeds recognized by the club as originating from the United States. In 2008, Plott Hounds first competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The Plott Hound breed was greatly influenced by and well suited for the terrain and game of Western North Carolina, and in turn, greatly influenced the livelihoods of their owners and families in North Carolina and beyond. We are one of only thirteen states to recognize an official state dog breed. August 26 is National Dog Day, a great time to reflect on what the Plott and all the other dogs that call North Carolina home can teach us. Today may we all follow the courage and stamina of the Plott Hound and may you strive to be the person your dog thinks you are!

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SENATE BILL 832

Short Title: State Dog. (Public)

Sponsors: Senators Swain; Guy, Marvin, Plyler, Tally, Ward, and Winner.

Referred to: Rules.

  1. A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
  2. AN ACT TO ADOPT THE PLOTT HOUND AS THE OFFICIAL STATE DOG.
  3. Whereas, it is generally known that the dog is man’s best friend; and
  4. Whereas, the Plott Hound breed originated in the mountains of North
  5. Carolina in 1750 and is the only breed known to have originated in this State; and
  6. Whereas, the Plott Hound is a legendary bear dog known as a most
  7. courageous fighter and tenacious tracker as well as a gentle and extremely loyal
  8. companion to the hunters of North Carolina; and
  9. Whereas, the Plott Hound is regarded as having the most beautifully colored
  10. coat of any hound and a spine-tingling, bugle-like call; and
  11. Whereas, the State of North Carolina is fortunate to have the Plott Hound,
  12. which is one of only four breeds known to be of American origin; Now, therefore,
  13. The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
  14. Section 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new
  15. section to read:
  16. Ǥ 145-13. The State dog.
  17. The Plott Hound is adopted as the official dog of the State of North Carolina.»
  18. Sec. 2. This act is effective upon ratification.

Photo: The author and her Springer Spaniel, Sghetti, who thinks that every day is National Dog Day

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Raleigh, NC 27601

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The Dachshund

Background
Some suggest that the Dachshund’s earliest roots go back to ancient Egypt because of engravings of small, short-legged hunting dogs. But the Dachshund we know and love today is a product of German breeding. Originally used to hunt badgers because of their ability to track and their fearlessness, Dachshunds were for years been popular in royal courts around Europe, such as that of Queen Victoria.

The name literally means “badger dog” in German, though Dachshunds were also used to hunt rabbits and foxes, to locate wounded deer, and hunt in packs for wild boar and wolverines. Needless to say, although the Dachshund’s bark is bigger than its bite, the breed is well-known for being fearless and standing its ground!
The breed became popular in the U.S. in the early 1900s and is now in the top 10 most popular breeds in the US.

Sizing up (or down)
They’re all short with cute stubby legs, but Dachshunds actually come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and kaninchen (“rabbit” in German). A full grown standard Dachshund averages 15-28 lbs. while the miniature typically weighs less than 11 lbs. The kaninchen usually weighs around 8-10 lbs.

Other physical characteristics include:

  • Height: 8-11 inches
  • Lifespan: 12.7 years
  • Coat: Smooth, longhaired, or wirehaired
  • Color: Red, black, or tan; single-colored, spots, or multi-colored

What are they like?
Dachshunds are brave, vibrant little clowns and are a lot of fun to have around! Because of their small size and ability to adapt to new environments, they travel fairly well. Their loyalty borders on being over-protective, but it’s only because they are friendly little dogs that love to follow you wherever you go.

They have a strong digging instinct, so you’ll often find Dachshunds burrowing into piles of laundry or even couches and chairs (it’s really cute!). They’re spunky and energetic, but they don’t need a huge space to blow off steam. However, when they’re outside, they’re great hunters and often show the prey drive that once made them popular as hunting dogs. Because of this, they may not be the best candidates for being trusted off a leash; they’ll often run after the first scent or sight they find and not come back when called.

There are a few health concerns that you should know about if you’re interested in welcoming a Dachshund into your family:

  • Obesity – Dachshunds love to eat and can easily put on too much weight. They should be muscular, lean dogs with very little body fat.
  • Spinal problems such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) because of their long spinal column and short rib cage. Dachshuns should be kept very lean, as heavier dogs are more prone to this type of problem.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Luxating patella (kneecap dislocation)
  • Epilepsy

Right for you?
Dachshunds can be great dogs for the right person or family, but there are always things to consider when thinking about welcoming a new dog into your home.

  • Ruff ruff! Dachshunds love to let you know that they’re there. If you’re not a big fan of barking, the Dachshund might be the wrong breed for you.
  • Little Napoleons. Because of their short stature, they may be fearful around children unless raised with them. They can also be over-protective of their owners and standoffish in new situations with new people.
  • Oops! Dachshunds can be more difficult to housetrain than other breeds (especially because they are NOT fans of going out into wet, cool weather). Even with a lot of work, they aren’t 100% reliable when it comes to accidents in the house.
  • Attention! You need to be around a lot or have the cash to put them in a boarding facility. Dachshunds need to be with their pack and don’t like being left alone. They do, however, do very well in pairs.
  • Cost. Because they are prone to back injuries, Dachshunds often run up large bills at the vet.
  • Discipline is important. If you’re a sucker for cute puppy eyes, it might be hard not to let a Dachshund have his way. However, Dachshunds can take over your house if you’re not careful. You’ll have to put your foot down and establish yourself as the pack leader.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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