That Black Saddle

The only American hound without British ancestry is the Plott Hound, and with thirteen acceptable colors and four markings, only the Borzoi, Dachshund, Greyhound and Whippet come in more colors among hounds. Brindle is the most common coloring in the breed, a remnant from the breed’s most immediate ancestors, the old Hanoverian Schweisshunds of Germany (five of which were brought to North Carolina by Johannes Georg Plott in the mid 18th century).  As attractive as the brindle is, patterned with streaks and specks of dark and light markings, one of the most attractive color combinations in the Plott is black-saddled brindle pattern.

Gola Ferguson, Plott hound, Blaine Blevins,color, pattern, 

The only copyright free photo we could find was this image of a young female from a dog show in 2016 which we share via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The genesis of this combination began with Gola Ferguson, a neighbor of the Plott family in North Carolina, and Blaine Blevins, both of whom bred their own lines of the breed.

In the 1920s, it was felt that the old strains were in need of new blood. Gola had studied the Blevins hounds and decided to cross his hounds with Blaine’s, though to what extent he used the Blevins bloodline in his breeding program isn’t certain. What is more assured is that the breeding produced “Tige” and “Boss,”  two hounds that would become legends throughout the Great Smoky Mountains.

Bred back to Plott type hounds, the old breed was revived, and to this day, almost all modern registered Plotts trace to one or the other of these lines. Even members of the Plott family, who knew a good hound when they saw one, bought dogs from Gola to improve their own breeding program.

The cross with the Blevins hounds not only brought the Plott Hound breed additional scenting talent, it introduced the black-saddled brindle pattern.

You see, decades before, Blain had crossed his hounds with black-and-tan hounds, most likely Black and Tan Coonhound, and it is from this gene pool that brindle and black saddle came.

Image: “Riley” a Plott Hound by Teri Martin is available as a print here

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