The Otterhound is an old British dog breed, with Bloodhound ancestors, and one of the ancestors of the Airedale Terrier.
The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated hound with an imposing head. Originally bred for hunting, it has great strength and dignity, with a strong body and long striding action. This makes it able to perform prolonged hard work. Otterhounds generally weigh between 80 and 120 pounds (36 to 54 kg). They have extremely sensitive noses which make them inquisitive and perseverant in investigating scents. Consequently, they need particular supervision. They are friendly dogs with a unique bass voice which they use frequently.
The Otterhound hunts its quarry both on land and in water and it has a combination of characteristics unique among hounds; most notably an oily, rough, double coat and substantial webbed feet.
The use of otterhounds to hunt otters ceased in the Britain in 1978 when it became illegal to kill otters, at which point otter hunts switched to hunting mink or coypu.
The breed lives to between 10 and 13 years old, although some have reportedly lived to be 15 or older.
The Otterhound requires considerable exercise. They can be good family dogs but need to be kept in a secure property since they can jump fences up to 5 feet high.
An endangered breed
There are only an estimated 1,000 or so Otterhounds in the world and somewhere between 350 and 400 in the US. Even in the early 20th century, when otter hunting was most popular as a sport, Otterhounds were not numerous. They are now considered the most endangered dog breed in Britain since only 51 were born there in 2006. They are on the list of Vulnerable Native Breeds as identified by the UK Kennel Club, and as much as possible is being done to save the breed.  Indeed, experts now view otterhounds as more endangered than the Giant Panda.
- ^ "Otterhound", Kennels.co.uk
- ^ a b "The puppies rarer than giant pandas", The Daily Telegraph, 5 March 2007, page 9
- ^ "Yesterday's Dogs?, Daily Mail