The Scottish Terrier - A Complete Anthology of the Dog
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The Otter is now often hunted with packs of nondescript hounds. A Bull-terrier, crossed with the rough Scotch or Skye Terrier, makes an excellent dog for this purpose. There are a few packs, however, where the true breed is preserved, and many more where the hounds are in part descended from it. In real Otter hounds the forehead is high, the ears long, full and pendulous, and set far apart on the head.
The coat is rough and wiry, but comparatively smooth on the upper part of the head; above the jaws it is thick, as in the Deerhound or Scotch Terrier. The colour varies in different packs, but is generally sandy or reddish. This breed, unlike other hounds, is savage and quarrelsome, and it is sometimes difficult to keep the peace in their kennels. This hound, by an oversight, was entirely overlooked in the first edition of the Dogs of the British Islands, although there are few breeds of a more distinct character and type.
Packs of these hounds possess a great advantage in being able to show sport during the summer, and by some it is alleged that otter hunting and angling may be made to dovetail with each other on alternate days of the week; but this is scarcely practicable, inasmuch as the artificial preservation of the otter, in any considerable numbers, is antagonistic to the preservation of the fish on which he wastefully feeds.
The angler consequently shows him no mercy, and on good rivers the appearance of an otter is the signal for a foray against him with gun, trap, and spear. In Cumberland, Devonshire, and some parts of Wales there are, however, many large brooks and embryo rivers, where the fish run too small for good sport with the rod, and yet afford the otter sufficient food.
Here hunting him is prosecuted with great zest, and no one can possibly object to such an amount of preservation as will not supply the adjacent districts with more than a casual visitor, whose appearance is soon signalled to the master of the nearest pack, and a short shrift is given him when once his spraint is discovered there. It is alleged by many good sportsmen that the otter does little or no damage to a fishery, but the above is the general impression among the angling fraternity.
The otter hound is no doubt a lineal descendant of the southern hound, with his coat roughened by a long process of selection and careful breeding. He evidently has not been crossed with any breed other than hound, or he would have lost some one or more of the characteristics peculiar to the hunting dog, either in shape of body, length of ear, style of hunting, or tongue.
In all these, qualities he is a southern hound to the letter, with the addition of a rough coat, the history of which is not known. In many cases a pure foxhound has been used with success against the otter, and, as far as the mere hunting goes, he fulfils the task set him admirably; but it has usually been found that in a very short time the wet tells on him, and he either becomes rheumatic or is attacked by disease of the chest in some shape.
It is not the long hair of the true otter hound which saves him from these penalties, but the thick woolly under-coat, with which he is furnished for the same purpose as in the colley and Dandy Dinmont terrier. He also strongly resembles the southern hound in his style of hunting, which is low and slow, but very sure, his nose being of the tenderest kind, and often owning an air bubble or vent at the distance of some yards.
Like him, he is apt to sit down on his haunches and throw his tongue with delight at first touching on a scent, as is shown in the engraving in a most characteristic manner. Thompson will be working with the renowned Cocker Spaniel Rose to bring their character to life.
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