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Before taking on an Otterhound and bringing it into your family it’s important that you obtain as much information about the breed as possible.
The Otterhound Club is the very best place to start and breeders and owners will give you advice on the breed and make sure you know and understand all there is to know that will help and guide you in your decision. It is very important for you to meet and spend some time with Otterhounds as they are a large boisterous hound and certainly not for the faint hearted!
Otterhounds are “scent hounds” and have been bred over hundreds of years for their ability to use their nose to track. Therefore when exercising – unless they have been impeccably trained to come back on recall it is often better that they’re kept on a flexi-lead unless you are in a securely fenced area.
Being a rough-coated breed they should be groomed weekly paying special attention to ears and beards.
It is assumed by many that as a breed they need masses of exercise which is not actually the case. They are large, boisterous hounds and enjoy long walks over moors and beaches but show them a nice large, comfy couch and their couch-potato tendencies will become apparent.
As for all large breeds puppies should be exercised very carefully during the first nine to twelve months of their life whilst their bones and joints are forming to prevent injuries.
There are only a small number of litters born each year and they are one of the recognized British Vulnerable Breeds. It is quite usual to have t wait for a puppy and it is normal for breeders to invite prospective owners to visit several times to see grown hounds and puppies. This gives the potential new owner(s) time and space to be sure that the Otterhound is the breed for them and for the breeder to be sure that the new, prospective owners are well-matched for their puppies into whose hands their lives and welfare will be entrusted.
As with almost all pedigree breeds Otterhounds have some health problems and a good breeder will take time to discuss these with you. You are also encouraged to research the breed carefully and to ask lots of questions.
Currently the main problems focus on Hip and Elbow Dysplasia conditions which are a combination of many factors and not just genetics. You should ask the breeder from whom you plan to buy a puppy whether both the sire and dam have been scored under the KC/BVA Scheme, what the results are and ask to see the official scoring paperwork.
Epilepsy is another area of Otterhound breed health undergoing research and a lot of careful study. It is important to discuss this along with the fitting statues and history of the puppies’ sire, dam and all close relatives.
Otterhounds have the loveliest of natures and are guaranteed to bring a lot of happiness into you life and all who get to know them.