Otterhounds are not sold in pet stores and are not available from many sources so consulting often with the breeder of your dog or bitch will help you determine if your Otterhound should become a part of the breeding population. For AKC breed statistics for years 2008 through July 2020, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Do not breed your Otterhound for any of the following reasons:
You love your pet’s personality and want to have puppies like him or her.
You think it would be a good experience for your children to see the “miracle of birth. Whelping a litter of Otterhound puppies is very difficult. Many problems can arise that put both mother and pups at serious risk.
You plan to make money on the litter. Most breeders lose money raising litters. Their goal is to improve the breed and accept monetary loss as part of the endeavor. The fact is that breeding a bitch, whelping and raising a litter to an appropriate placement age is extremely expensive.
It will provide a nurturing or sexual experience for your pet.
THE ABOVE ARE ALL WRONG REASONS TO BREED YOUR PET OTTERHOUND.
A litter should be bred only after much thought, study and research and with the help of an experienced breeder, who is a mentor.
IF YOU DECIDE TO BREED YOUR OTTERHOUND, MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
Have flexible working hours.
Be able to function on little or almost no sleep. It may be necessary to supplement feed puppies if the mother is unable to or doesn’t produce enough milk.
Have a least one person to stay with the puppies at all times for a minimum of two and a half to three weeks.
Be prepared to deal with illness or death of any puppies you place or decide to keep.
Be prepared to deal with the death or illness of your Otterhound bitch.
Be prepared to keep puppies you can’t place and the possibility of caring for geriatric dogs.
Be aware that puppies are extremely noisy and require hours of cleaning up after and socializing.
Be aware that you are responsible if you place puppies that are not healthy. You need to be prepared to pay for any health issues which arise due to genetic defects.
Be aware that you will need to take puppies back if they do not work out in the homes you have placed them in.
Be prepared to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in vet bills if something “goes wrong” with the litter.
Double check the contract for the pet you bought and make sure there are no restrictions on breeding your Otterhound.
The Otterhound Club of America’s Recommendation on the Question of Breeding your Otterhound
New Otterhound owners sometimes wonder if they should breed their new companion. As a buyer, you have been carefully vetted by your breeder but the responsibility for keeping and breeding an intact Otterhound is an awesome one. It is not the best choice for everyone for many reasons. Because the number of breeding Otterhounds in the world is very limited, the answer is not as easy as it is for a more popular breed. Your breeder may sell you a puppy with a limited registration that states that no progeny from this hound may be registered. Alternatively, your breeder may ask you to refrain from spay/neuter at an early age for several reasons:
Growth plates on puppies do not close until the animal has reached his/her full potential at about 18-24 months of age. It is optimal for Otterhounds to grow to their potential.
One cannot ignore current research that there is an increased risk from osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism and other less frequently occurring diseases with neutering male dogs. Though mammary cancer is virtually eliminated by spaying females by the age of 2.5
years, the incidence of the above listed health concerns are increased.*
Your breeder may want to consider the use of your male dog in his/her breeding program to avoid the overuse of one male from a particular litter as each hound has a unique set of genes to provide. Your breeder will also be able to advise you about the use of your male to the general population of Otterhounds and thus may ask you to show your hound so that others may be able to see him and consider his use.
Breeding is not a casual undertaking. The Otterhound carries genetic defects as do all breeds. Ours include but are not limited to: hip dysplasia, Glanzman’s Thrombasthenia (GT) (a bleeding disorder) and epilepsy. Though some issues can be avoided by careful screening, not all can be eliminated. The Otterhound Club of America advises against breeding an Otterhound before all genetic testing can be completed which means at least 24 months of age and usually later to observe the incidence of genetic disease among littermates, parents, grandparents and their siblings as well. The more knowledge available, the better choices can be made.
Breeding is a huge commitment. As Otterhound breeders, we are responsible for all puppies produced for their lifetime. Our breeders are asked by our Code of Ethics to do testing for hip dysplasia, genetic testing for GT and to submit blood to the University of Missouri epilepsy study though no results can yet be determined. Temperament must be considered for this trait is also hereditary. As with all American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized purebred dogs, there is an approved breed standard for the Otterhound. The standard of perfection is a word picture of how the Otterhound should look, move and act. Although a perfect Otterhound has never been produced, responsible breeders strive to produce dogs that conform to this breed standard. Otterhounds with serious deviation in appearance, structure, movement and temperament should never be bred. A copy of the breed standard can be found at the end of this publication. Your breeder can help you assess the conformation of your Otterhound throughout his development.
In conclusion, breeding dogs is a real responsibility. One must have knowledge of what makes top quality animals, understanding of pedigrees and genetics and have proper facilities to keep and socialize the puppies and to take them back, if the situation demands it. A breeder must have the financial resources for shots, food, breeding costs and vet care for the bitch and her puppies. A breeder needs to decide what he/she considers the most important traits of an Otterhound and how one’s own dog fits those and what one wants to produce from a breeding.
According to the Otterhound World Health Survey done in 2009, the average size litter is 6 puppies but can be 10 or more. It’s a huge undertaking to find suitable homes for all of these puppies. You must be prepared to keep puppies if you have been unable to make placements for this rare breed hound as substandard homes would lead to big problems for you and for our breed club. As a group of Otterhound breeders, we have and will continue to be very careful with placements of our pups.
*”Long Term Health Risks and Benefits with Spay/Neuter in Dogs”, Laura Sanborn, M.S., May 14, 2007
Breed Statistics from AKC
This version includes everything AKC shared last February updated through July 2020. Please note that this mid-year report only has 7 months of data for 2020 and therefore the most recent Year-over-Year comparisons are skewed and have been omitted from some of the charts.
As with previous distributions of this data, please feel free to share the attached information with your club membership as you see fit in order to stimulate discussion about registration and possible changes or improvement initiatives per the original rationale for sharing (below).
Original rationale for this data sharing this information (from email dated 11/07/2017): Although registration numbers have been on the rise now for a number of years after nearly two decades of continuous decline, some breeds are not rebounding as well as others. The Board and staff have discussed this matter, and we are reaching out to each Parent Club to determine how AKC registration processes and procedures can be improved to better support breeders and to explore how AKC could further assist Parent Clubs in their mission to develop and steward their breeds. Additionally, the Board has asked that certain registration information be shared with each Parent Club in order to provide a statistical snapshot of the current state of each breed and to stimulate discussion within and between clubs and staff regarding possible improvement initiatives.
As noted in the previous distributions of this information, the attached includes the counts of litters, litter complement, and dogs registered for each year since 2008. The reports also include the counts of unique dogs and bitches that were bred or that participated in a sport. Those counts are finite and will change only minimally over time and generally only due to cancellations of litters, dogs and/or awards. However, the reports also contain numbers that are “To Date” which will often change each time we produce these statistics (see definition below).
Please notice that the number of unique dog/bitches in conformation has increased compared to previous reports. This is due to an omission of Specialty and Parent Specialty events when data was originally pulled. Spotted by Dr. Harvey Mohrenweiser, Delegate for the Standard Schnauzer Club of America, this has been fixed and is correct going forward.
Definitions: Complement: This is the count of pups from each AKC litter. To Date: There are a number of rows that indicate “to date,” such as “Total Complement in Conformation (to date).” All rows with “to date” information are refreshed every time we reprocess this report. This is so you will have an accurate picture of the puppies produced in any given year. For instance, of the 1.7 million puppies produced in AKC Litters in 2008 (a.k.a., the Litter Complement for 2008), over 47,000 or 2.8% have thus far gone on to participate in conformation as of July 2020. Every time we update this chart, the system looks at all litters from 2008 to see if any additional dogs have started in conformation. Obviously, there will not be many 2008 pups entering Conformation or Breeding for the first time in 2020, but there will be many updates to the information known about pups born in more recent years. Unique: “Unique” indicates the number of individual dogs participating in an activity such as breeding or exhibiting, counting each unique dog only once. For example, the same dog might have participated multiple times in a sport during a single year, but is only counted as one unique dog for that entire year.
“Competing In” vs “Placing In” : While we are able to accurately count unique dogs participating (i.e., entering) in Conformation and Companion events, we do not have complete entry data for all Performance events for the time period. Therefore, you will notice that for Performance Events we provide counts of unique placing in performance.