img/wilson01.JPG The Otterhound is an old British breed, as the names says: a hound. Bred to hunt in packs. In case of the Otterhound they hunted the otter in old days. King John I, King Henry II and queen Elizabeth I are said to have packs of Otterhounds. At that time the otter was a threat to the livelihood of those who lived on fishing, and an obstacle to the growth of welfare of the landowners. The Otterhound's job was to control that “pest”.

img/wilson02.JPG As industrialisation grew and environmental pollution increased the otter got in trouble. Also poaching was a problem. The number of otters fell dramatically and quite rightly led to a prohibition of hunting them in 1976. Immediatelly the otterhound was threatened too as he was bred and kept for work purposes only, namely controlling the otter population. Many packs were dissolved. The Master of the Kendal and District pack, however, decided to try and save the breed from extinction. Hounds were placed with private people, much unlike the traditions of the packs so far.

A small group of dedicated people worked hard with him to realise this. As a result in 1978 there were hounds at Crufts and in 1978 the British Otterhound Club was founded. By then there were hounds exported to the U.S.A as well. There too a club was founded: the Master of the Otterhound Association.

Otterhounds in the Netherlands

img/100_3126.JPG Dog breeders Ria and Tini van den Broek, of the Kweb kennels, fell in love with the breed around 1978. It took them a few years and lots of energy, time and effort to gain the trust of the British Masters. But in 1980 they succeeded and got permission to import two beautiful Otterhounds from the famous Dumfriesshire pack, owned by Captain John Bell Irving and worked by his huntsman mr. Billy Scott.

In 1983 the Dutch Friends of the Otterhound were founded. Up to 1999 numbers increased to around 60 hounds. These days we have around 40 hounds in this country. World wide there are no more than about 1200 hounds, the breed is in danger and more rare than the giant panda! In Great Britain the breed is on the list of endangered species.