Next week I travel to Ohio for my husband's high school reunion. While there we'll take Jitterbug (yes, that's her name) to a breeder for evaluation. Assuming she passes muster we'll head down that slippery slope of dog breeding.
Choosing to have a rare breed of dog (or of any living thing) carries responsibilities with it. Do we just let it do down into extinction and memories in a book or try to save it? I own an Otterhound. You will be forgiven for never having heard of them before. There are 14 in Canada last count, 350 in North America, about 1,000 in the world. Otterhound Club of America
Otterhounds were developed in the late 1100's and King John had 2 of the first packs. Over the years Bloodhound has been added plus a few other things to give them the look they have now. When Airedales were created Otterhounds were used to get the size. Otterhounds are the only water hounds there are and have fully webbed feet, plus bay like a bloodhound. Because of their size, sloppiness and houndiness, they are not popular with families as pets. Because of their houndiness, though, the family becomes their pack so they are, in reality, great family dogs. Just don't let them off leash....
My adventure with Otterhounds started 9 years ago when our half Irish Wolfhound was dying of cancer. I wanted something with the same look, but not a full size Wolfhound, and it had to be purebred. I wanted to get back in the show ring. We bought our first one from Calgary, using the pretense of a birthday present to get him in the house. My ex loved him and Nanuu is still doing well at age 8. Even though he did fairly well in the show ring, I discovered he wasn't a great example of the breed, plus there was epilepsy in his siblings. Because the gene pool is getting so thin over here, I decided to try old stock from England and imported Jitterbug 3 years ago. She arrived in Montreal at age 10 weeks weighing 20 pounds.
She is, to put it bluntly, built like a brick shit-house. This girl is line-backer material. She weighs a hefty 106 pounds and helped break my foot last year when I fell over her. She likes to stop right in front of you when you're moving and is the original immovable object. She is also extremely clumsy which is a breed trait. And, unfortunately, her hips are not great, which leads me to my present dilemma. To breed or not to breed. Do we lose her genes or add them to the pool? I doubt if any of her siblings will be bred.
So, after consulting with her dad's owner, I will take this step of having her evaluated by someone who "knows". I don't want to be kennel blind, but I think she's fabulous, but that could just be Mom talking.
Now that my foot is basically healed I even have her entered in a show next month. My regular handler's brother will have to take her around, that is a whole other story, but he'll be good to her. I can't run fast enough in the ring to do it myself, so therefore must pay someone else.
I so love people coming up to me asking what in the world she is. On one road trip we stopped to get gas just over the border into New York state. A fellow customer saw my "Got Otterhound" sticker on the back of my car and rushed over asking if I had one. Since JB was travelling with us I was able to produce her. This fellow was so very happy to finally see one in the flesh. And he exclaimed happily when she got back into the car "Look she's moved the car too!". That's my fat-bottomed girl, great baby-bearing hips. She's an Otterhound and I love her for all her Otterhound ways.