A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.
UTILIZATION: Big, strong hound primarily built for long day’s work in water, but able to gallop on land.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: It is generally felt that the Otterhounds ancestry includes a French influence combined with original English hound strains. He is a kindly fellow with a typical loud baying call which he can use to good effect when he needs to indicate that he has found a prey that interests him, though today his primary purpose of hunting otters is banned. The breed has keen scenting ability. When following the scent of an otter on land the scent is called a drag and in water a wash. An Otterhound can follow a drag for up to twelve hours and when following a wash may swim for five hours. In addition to his oily coat he has webbed feet.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Large, straight limbed and sound, rough-coated with majestic head, strong body and loose, long striding action. Rough double coat and large feet essential. Free moving.
IMPORTANT PROPORTION: Distance from nose end to stop slightly shorter than from stop to occiput.
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: Amiable and even tempered.
Signs of aggression or nervousness should be heavily penalized.
HEAD: Clean, very imposing, deep rather than wide, expression being open and amiable. Whole head except for nose well covered with rough hair, ending in slight moustache and beard.
Skull: Nicely domed, neither coarse nor overdone, rising from stop to slight peak at occiput. No trace of scowl or bulge on forehead. Stop: Distinct, though not exaggerated.
Nose: Good wide nose, wide nostrils.
Muzzle: Strong, deep.
Lips: Plenty of lip and flew, but not exaggerated.
Jaws / Teeth: Jaws strong, large, well placed teeth with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Cheeks: Clean cheekbones. Eyes: Intelligent, moderately deep-set eye; haw showing only slightly. Eye colour and rim pigment variable according to coat colour (a blue and tan hound may have hazel eyes). Yellow eye undesirable. Ears: Unique feature of the breed. Long, pendulous, set on level with corner of eye; easily reaching nose when pulled forward, with characteristic fold. Leading edge folding or rolling inwards giving curious draped appearance -an essential point not to be lost. Well covered and fringed with hair.
NECK: Long, powerful, set smoothly into shoulders. Slight dewlap permissible.
BODY: Very strong.
Top line: Level.
Loin: Short and strong.
Chest: Deep with well sprung, fairly deep, oval ribcage. Ribs carried well back allowing plenty of heart and lung room; neither too wide nor too narrow.
TAIL: (Stern) Set high, carried up when alert or moving, never curling over back and may droop when standing. Thick at base, tapering to point; bone reaching to hock and carried straight or in a slight curve. Hair under tail rather longer and more profuse than that on upper surface.
Shoulder: Clean and well laid back.
Forearm: Strongly boned, straight from elbow to ground.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Strong and slightly sprung.
Forefeet: Large, round, well knuckled, thick padded, turning neither in nor out. Compact but capable of spreading; Web must be in evidence.
General appearance: Very strong; well muscled when viewed from any angle, standing neither too wide nor too narrow behind. Hind angulation moderate. In natural stance, hindlegs from hock to ground perpendicular.
Thigh: Heavily muscled.
Lower thigh: Heavily muscled.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out.
Hind feet: Hind feet only slightly smaller than forefeet. Large, round, well knuckled, thick padded, turning neither in nor out. Compact but capable of spreading; .Web must be in evidence.
GAIT / MOVEMENT: Very loose and shambling at walk, springing immediately into a loose, very long-striding, sound, active trot. Gallop smooth and exceptionally long striding.
Hair: Long 4-8cm, dense, rough, harsh and waterproof but not wiry; of broken appearance.
Softer hair on head and lower legs natural. Undercoat evident and there may be a slight oily texture in top and undercoat. Not trimmed for exhibition. Presentation should be natural.
Colour: All recognized hound colours permissible: whole coloured, grizzle, sandy, red, wheaten, blue; these may have slight white markings on head, chest, feet and tail tip. White hounds may have slight lemon, blue or badger pied markings. Black and tan, blue and tan, black and cream, occasional liver, tan and liver, tan and white. Colours not permissible: Liver and white, a white-bodied hound with black and tan patches distinctly separate. Pigment should harmonize though not necessarily blend with coat colour; for example a tan hound may have a brown nose and eye rims. A slight butterfly nose permissible.
SIZE: Height at the withers: Males approximately: 69cm.
Females approximately: 61cm.
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Aggressive or overly shy.
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
- Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.