Every Monday we will be focusing on a different minority breed to discuss, to raise awareness of vulnerable British and Irish breeds. Taken from the Kennel Clubs Vulnerable Breed Group 2020, starting with the Otterhound.
The Otterhound belongs to the Hound group and is a traditional hunter with a thick, oily weatherproof coat and webbed feet, making him fit for his original function, the Kennel Club only recorded 44 registered dogs in 2019. We began to see a decrease in this breed after 1978, when the banning of Otter hunting was implemented - meaning the dispersal and even destruction of some packs. A small group of people managed to keep the breed going with the addition of pack hounds (French & English) in the ancestry.
Otterhound Fun Facts:
They have been around for over 700 years originating around 1300!
They were very popular with fisherman, after otters were stealing all their fish.
They were bred to have the intelligence of a Collie, patience of a Beagle, stamina of a Foxhound, wisdom of a Retriever, strength of a Newfoundland and nose of a pointer.
They come in 7 different colours - Black & Blue, Black & Tan, Grizzle & White, Liver & Tan, Particolour, Red Grizzle and White & Black.
They are nicknamed as the 'Class Clown' of breeds as they tend to display foolish behaviour when they are enjoying themselves.
The Otterhound dates back to the 12th century when they were used to hunt river otters to prevent their food source (fish) from being depleted by the otters. After other food sources became more popular, hunting otters with Otterhound packs became a sport. This was usually a sport enjoyed by royalty and the very wealthy such as King John of Magna Carta. This became more popular because the otter was the only hunting quarry from April until September. Queen Elizabeth the first was the first woman to own an Otterhound pack.
Training your Otterhound can be difficult because they are large, strong and tend to be stubborn. You have to show them that you are more stubborn than they are and things should work better after that. Socialising your dog is essential so they will get along with other pets and people. Otherwise, they may see cats and other small animals as prey. They are pretty smart dogs and eventually with the correct method they can become highly trained dogs. However, they are known to teach themselves how to open gates, crates, doors, and cabinets so you may have to hound-proof your house. If they get bored, they tend to bark at nothing and chew on everything. However, as pets they are laid back, devoted, and friendly dogs with a gentle nature that will make an excellent family pet with the right socialisation and obedience training.