Breed of the Week: Otterhound

otterhound

The big, friendly Otterhound is our featured breed this week! This large and very hairy dog loves to spend every minute of the day outdoors getting dirty and rolling in the mud. He’s a rugged and rambunctious dog that loves to play!

 

The Otterhound originated in England in the 1300’s. The breed was created to hunt otters (to stop the otters from taking all of the fish). A specialized breed was needed to hunt the otters as the dog needed good scent-tracking abilities, able to fight the otter (weighing upwards of 20lbs), and able to withstand the freezing waters that the otters were in. With the Otterhound being a very old breed, there is a lot of debate over their early history, particularly with the size and look of the original Otterhound. Some experts believe the Otterhound was simply a term used to describe any fierce scent-tracking dog able to hunt otters. Others believe the Otterhound was originally a terrier type breed rather than hound. Today, the Otterhound is considered a ‘Vulnerable Native Breed’ by the AKC (American Kennel Club). There are approximately 600 Otterhounds remaining in the world!

 

This breed was built to be outdoors! They do best in homes with lots of space to run around, making them great farm dogs! This friendly breed gets along great with other dogs, but is better with big dogs as the Otterhound may be inclined to chase small pooches due to their high prey drive. Otterhounds generally are born with a very easy-going and sweet personality, which is good as this breed is notoriously stubborn and often slow to train. They get along best with owners who have the mindset of ‘Dogs will be dogs!’. As long as this dog gets lots and lots of exercise, they rarely have anxiety or major behavioural issues. But one quirk this breed often has (especially if bored or lots of pent up energy) is baying. They have that distinctive hound ‘bay’ instead of a bark, and man are they ever loud!

 

Do you love brushing and bathing dogs in your free time? If you do, the Otterhound is perfect for you! This large dog has a lot of hair and needs frequent hair trimming, brushing and bathing. The Otterhound’s goal every day is to get as dirty as possible, so you will definitely need to be prepared for daily upkeep of their coat.

 

The Otterhound is suitable for very active and outdoorsy families or individuals. They are not recommended for homes with small children as young Otterhounds can be quite rambunctious and knock kids over. They need a very patient and consistent owner who is willing to take the time to train them and give them enough mental and physical stimulation (they were bred to be high-energy working dogs). This dog is definitely not suitable for small apartments or living in a busy city. They thrive on the outdoors and being too cramped will give you an unhappy Otterhound! If you’ve got lots of space, patience, and don’t mind a bit of a dirty house, the Otterhound could be your loving and playful companion!

Managing Your Dog’s Weight

dog-with-scae

Have you noticed a little extra pudge on your dog lately? Or maybe you’ve started to notice them losing weight. Our furry friends can’t manage their weight on their own, they need our help to provide them with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Here we will discuss how to help manage your dog’s weight and keep them happy and healthy!

 

When we are looking to lose a few extra pounds, most people will start going for an extra walk, talking the stairs when possible, basically just increasing how many calories we are burning throughout our day. The same goes for your pup! You can’t just tell Spot to drop and give me 10 push ups! You have to get moving with them! Small changes added to your daily routine can go a long way. Increase your walks together by 10 minutes. Add in an extra game of fetch or Frisbee. The added bonus to helping our dog’s get more exercise is we often get healthier along with them!

 

Not only do we need to look at how much calories our canine companions are using throughout the day, we also need to consider what calories they are putting into their bodies. And when I say ‘they’, I actually mean ‘we’; often times the owner is the culprit to providing too many treats or table scraps which can add to your dog’s waistline. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, the first thing to do is eliminate table scraps. If you want to continue giving your dog treats, give up any unhealthy treats and instead use your dog’s kibble! This helps you give him smaller portioned treats and assuming you have a high quality kibble for your dog, it will provide him with much better nutrition than those cheddar bacon treats! Alternatively, you can also use ‘raw’ treats such as washed and peeled carrot pieces.

 

It’s important to not only discuss when your dog is looking a little too roly poly, but also to take notice if your dog has started losing weight. If you notice dramatic weight loss in your dog over a short amount of time, make sure to book him in for an appointment with your regular vet for a check-up. If his weight loss is accompanied by any other symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite, increased thirst, you should take him to the vet immediately to ensure there isn’t a more serious health problem. When you notice weight loss in your dog, try to think of reasons why, did his food change? Has he been out exercising more? Always try to use your best judgement if his weight loss makes sense, or if it requires a vet visit. Weight loss in dogs under 8 months generally is not normal and should be addressed with a vet immediately.

 

Just like us humans, dogs like to have lazy days too (especially certain breeds). Too many of those lazy days combined with too many yummy snacks can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and potentially lead to health problems down the road. To keep your pup at his best, ensure that he is eating proper portions of high quality food. Combine that with adequate exercise every day and your dog will be healthy for years to come!