The Otterhound is a large dog with a truly rugged appearance. He is built to gallop when on land and spend his working time in water. The Otterhound’s rough, double coat is weather resistant and he can bring much of the countryside home after a long ramble. He has a distinct loud, baying call which was used to indicate he had found his prey. This dog needs energetic owners who are not particularly house proud. A large house and garden would be a distinct advantage.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 17.7% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS33
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Much time and work will be needed to keep the Otterhound’s coat free of dirt and debris.
- Hip Dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 45.5 (this is alarmingly high – parents should be as low as possible).
- Elbow Dysplasia
Identified by the UK Kennel Club as part of their Breed Health and Conservation Plan.
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia (GT) Type 1
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer (Lymphosarcoma, Haemangiosarcoma)
- Auto-immune Disease (ears and skin)
- Heart Disease
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: