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Group: Hounds
Breed Family: Hound

As the name implies, the Otterhound was bred to hunt otters, considered at one time to be a great nuisance, for they preyed on fish in rivers and streams.

While some believe that the Otterhound developed from a cross between the Southern Hound and the Welsh Harrier or the Bloodhound, its exact origins are still a matter of debate. It did, however, originate in France, and is very similar in appearance to the old Vendeen Hound, or what we know today as the Nivernais Griffon.

The breed’s origins in England are very early indeed, for Henry II was the earliest known master of the Otterhounds, and Queen Elizabeth the first lady master. Described as early as the fourteenth century to be "a rough sort of dog, between a hound and a terrier," the dogs were first used to hunt otter out of necessity, and then as a sport, for it was the only kind of hunting possible between April and September. Otterhounds were kept in packs, and by the nineteenth century many famous packs had been developed, including the Hawkstone Pack which was reputed to have killed some 74 otters between 1870 and 1890. The heyday for the Otterhound was from the mid- to late nineteenth century in England, when eighteen to twenty packs hunted regularly.


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