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CHAPTER VI.
THE OTTER HOUND.

THERE is no finer type of the canine race in this country than the otter hound. His hardy, characteristic expression, shaggy coat, and rough wear and tear appearance, have always reminded me of that ancient British warrior so often depicted in our boyish story books, but who, perhaps, with his coat of skins, his shield, and hirsute face, was the invention of the artist rather than the actual inhabitant of our island. It has been said that the otter hound is a cross between the Welsh harrier, the southern hound, and the terrier. Perhaps he may be so, but more likely not, for a good well-grown specimen has more coat than any ordinary terrier or the rough Welsh hound, and he is bigger than either, and of the southern hound likewise. My own opinion is that he has been crossed with the bloodhound at some not very remote date. The black and tan colour often appears in some strains, and his voice in many cases resembles the full luscious tones of the bloodhound more than the keener ring of the foxhound. Some twenty years or so ago, Mr. J. C. Carrick, of Carlisle, was desirous of getting a new cross into his hounds, and, with that intention, obtained a hound—a southern hound it was called—from the Western States of America. No pedigree could be obtained, but it was a particularly handsome animal, and more like the picture of the southern hound in Youatt's book on the dog than anything I ever saw. Mr. Carrick was afraid of the fresh blood, so the Virginian importation did good duty on the show bench in the variety classes instead of demoralising the blood of hounds that was quite as pure as that of any other variety of the dog. I forget who recommended a cross between a bulldog, an Irish water spaniel, and a mastiff, as the most likely way to produce otter hounds. Certainly an ingenious idea, and worthy of the writer, who thus easily got out of a difficulty which more learned men than he had failed to solve. We have the otter hound, let that suffice, and let his valued strain be perpetuated, and the popular masters of our packs long continue to give the best of all sport to those somewhat impecunious individuals who are not provided with the means to keep a hunter

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