Otterhound general features, temperament, health

Otterhound dog breed face

FCI # 294, Origin: Great Britain, Group 6.1 Scenthounds.

Height: 24-26 in, Weight: 66-115 pounds

Grooming: High, Shedding: Medium, Coat: Wiry rough coat with the weather resistant undercoat.

Color: Any hound colors are allowed.

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 10-12 years

Breed: Although there is some??mentioning??of the otter hunt and Otterhounds, related to the time of King John, who ruled England from 1199 to 1216, the first description of the dogs, that constituted a flock of Otterhounds, appeared only at the time of Edward II (1307 - 1327). Fortunately, this description was made by William Tweasey, hunter. He describes them as wire-haired dogs - "between the Hound and Terrier."

Hunting otters never belonged to the main types of hunting in England, but apparently it was quite popular for a very long time. First, hunters got involved because the otters were too actively exterminating the fish in rivers and streams, and later this kind of hunt gained popularity due to the fact that it was the only kind of hunting, avaliable from April to September.

The greatest popularity of the Otterhounds in England came in the middle and lasted to the second part of XIX century. In those days there were existing 18 - 20 flocks that were regularly hunting through the entire season. The most famous in the number of otters, that has been caught, was the flock of??Honorable??Jeffrey Hill of Hockstone, that from 1870 to 1890??successfully??got exactly 704 otters. Yet all the experts agree that the most well-trained pack of the Otterhounds, that ever hunted in England, was a pack of Skwire Lomax of Klitroe. It was at the highest top of the Otterhound's fame, in about 1868. Skwire was an ardent supporter of the strict observance of rules of the game, and although it's results were also interesting for him, he turned the focus on the work of his pack. They say that the dogs were so well trained, that they were obeying immediately to only the slightest waving of the owner's hand.

Otterhound's origins are shrouded in mystery, but the earliest authors put forward a number of logically substantiated opinions about his origin. According to Stonehenge, the ancestors of the modern Otterhound are: the Southern Hound and Welsh Harrier, which is ??evidenced by the fact that it was always a lot of Otterhounds in Devon - the main stronghold of Southern Hounds - and in Wales.

The most acceptable opinion is expressed by E.Buckley, who attributes the wool of an Otterhound to the Water Spaniel (a somewhat different type than the currently known breed) and courage - to a Bulldog. Some other authors mention the Bloodhound, arguing that domed skull, and long ears of Otterhound are the most significant sign of the Bloodhound's blood. In fact, Turbervil, who chronicled the hunt for otters back to 1575, makes no distinction between the Bloodhound and the Otterhound.

One of the most reasonable is the suggestion of a French origin of the Otterhound, made by Marples, who, in describing of Otterhound, said that this breed is almost an exact copy of some old French hounds. These dogs were very much similar in coat and in the constitution. Otterhound is a large dog, weighting up to 52 kg. He has a hard, dense and oily hair, which allows him to spend plenty of time in the water. The combination of blue and white colors have always been preferred, but generally in the range of colors of this breed are also many shades of black and tan. Otterhound is an excellent??swimmer, his webbed paws help him to move in the water.

Otterhound dog breeds

The main focus has always been given to the working qualities of the Otterhound, and unfortunately on the exhibitions in England this breed was not well known. Still, some owners of a large packs were sometimes sending several dogs to the major exhibitions. Flocks of Carlisle and Kendall for example, were known for their show dogs.

Flocks of Carlisle and Kendall for example, were known for their show dogs.

In the United States the Otterhounds first appeared around 1900. Their debut was at the show held in Claremont, Oklahoma, in 1907. There is the evidence of the Otterhound's registration, these were two dogs that belonged to H.S. Wardner from New York. It happened that Wardner was one of two exhibitors in 1907, and certainly it was him, who became the first American breeder of Ottehounds.

Although the Otterhound never enjoyed wide popularity in the United States, his intelligence and fine character have won him many loyal friends. Lack of physical beauty is compensated by his working qualities and his selfless devotion to his master.

General Features: Otterh??und is a big wire-haired hound with an imposing head, his whoe image tells about the enormous strength and independence and his strong body and sweeping motions are well suited to work throughout the day. He has a very keen sense of smell, and he is always very interested to recognize smells.

Otterhaund pursues his prey on the land and in the water, and therefore he needs a combination of features that are not found in the other hounds - the most remarkable thing in the Otterhound is his hard, double coat and his strong webbed paws.

Otterhound dog breed photo

At the exhibitions Otterhounds should not be punished if they are shown in their working condition: lean, muscular, with a natural (untidy) coat.

Otterhound's head is large, rather narrow, thickly covered with hair. The dog in height at withers 66 cm must have a distance from the nose to the highest point of head 28 - 30 cm, and the muzzle and skull should be approximately in the same length.

Expression of the Otterhound's eyes is open and friendly. Eyes are deep-set.

Ears are an essential feature of this breed - long, hanging and folded like straw (cutting edge formed or curled like drape - in a lock). Ears are set low, at eye level or below, held tightly to the Otterhound's head, if stretched forward, ears must reach the tip of the nose or go even farther.

Coat is another essential feature of the Otterhound. Quality of coat is more important than it's length. Guard hairs are thick, rough and tough, wiry. The coat is softer on the head and lower legs. Very important feature - the waterproof short and thick undercoat.

Any color or combination of colors are allowed. Nose should be dark and fully pigmented - black, liver or gray-blue, depending on the color of the dog. Color of the edges of the eyelids should be in harmony with the color of the nose.

Temperament: The Otterhounds were most likely bred ??from the ancient Southern Hounds and the Bloodhounds, from whom they inherited a great flair, allowing them to work on the trail left by an animal about 36 hours ago.

The Otterhounds - those that are known to us today - appeared only at the end of the XIX century. Otterhounds are a very friendly and sociable dogs, far away from any kind of aggressiveness. They could become the ideal family dog, if their natural inclinations were not so clearly pronounced: Otterhounds differ not only with a strong need to run, but also with the loud barking, when they begin to "work on the trail" in any case they where given such an opportunity. Such behavior requires pretty much of a self-control and patience from the Otterhound's owner, in addition, during the training of Otterhounds one should take into account their inherent certain degree of stubbornness.

It is still quite possible to have an Otterhound as a family dog, but only if you can provide him enough work to do - and this work should definitely be related to his hunting skills. One must also consider the Otterhound's passion for the water and remember to give him a chance to swim from time to time.

The wiry, rough coat of the Otterhound does not shed, it has a slightly wavy structure and a natural cover of fats and grease. After walking in the coat of your Otterhound you may find quite a lot of dirt and pieces of plants, so the dog should be regularly combed by the brush, which also prevents the dumping of wool. After the Otterhound has eaten, it is recommended to wipe his "beard".

Health problems: Some Otterhounds may be prone to bloat, so it is good not to overfeed them and give3-4 smaller meals a day, rather than 2 big meals. In some lines Otterhounds may suffer from hip dysplasia.