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calendar   Friday - March 30, 2012

Doggy Days

Last of the few, first of the new?

2 new litters of rare otterhounds could save dying dog breed

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Britain’s rarest breed of dog - which is more endangered than the giant panda and the white rhino - could have been saved after 19 puppies were born this month.

Just 20 British Otterhounds were born in the UK during the whole of last year so the arrival of the pups - born into two litters to owner Maria Lerego in Ledbury, Herefordshire, - has provided a vital lifeline to the dying breed.

There are less than 1,000 Otterhounds left in the world and about 300 of those are in Britain.

The numbers are far less than the 2,000 or so giant pandas left in the world and the 17,000 white rhinos.

Otterhounds date back to the 12th century when they were bred to hunt otters which were then seen as a pest.

Ms. Lerego is apparently of the only breeders in the country, doing her best to keep this largely unknown breed of working dogs going.

She believes Britain needs to keep its own native breeds going and is pleased she has received a lot of interest from people wanting to buy a puppy. The dogs sell for around £800, she says.

‘The breed is still very much at risk if the numbers keep declining as they are at the moment but it is a much happier situation than five years ago,’ she said.

‘There are so few Otterhounds because they had never been available to the general public, so the public didn’t know they existed.

‘They make excellent pets, they are a very sociable breed and they are intelligent. ‘They are very easy going characters and quite laid back. If you gave them the choice of a hunt or an afternoon on the sofa, they would pick the sofa.’

Otterhounds are renowned for their excellent hunting skills and strong work ethic.

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otterhound with Ms. Lerego: 80lb-120lb as adults, a big dog for big spaces

If the ottie looks more than a bit terrier-like to you, it’s because it is. Otterhounds are a mix of several kinds of hound, mostly. Lots of mostly. Cross breed them with a Welsh terrier and you get an Airedale, a 65lb Standard Poodle sized terrier that looks like a giant Welsh terrier. Welshies are small, usually only about 20lb for the males. Don’t ask me how you cross a Welshie with an otterhound, but I think ladders are involved. All three breeds were originally worked as hunters.

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With a bath and a trim they can clean up somewhat, but they are naturally rough coated dogs.
They don’t shed, but they do snore.
Pictured: Champion show dog Belle River Dixieland Jazz.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/30/2012 at 08:50 AM   
Filed Under: • Animals •  
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