Otterhound Club of America Collection
18 Linear Ft in 35 boxes
Originally processed by Kari Delane; edits and additions made by Brynn White, 2016
The collection has been partially maintained in its original order starting with a journal of records from 1942 kept by Dr. Hugh Mouat. Other loose materials have been organized into groups based on format and/or content:
- Hugh Mouat papers, 1942-1975
- Club Administration, 1970-2006t
- Print Publications and Ephemera, 1970-2007
- Photographic Materials, 1940-2000
- Videos, 1981-2006
- Show Ribbons and Notable Dogs, 1931-1997
The Otterhound Club of America was founded on 13 August 1960 by thirteen Otterhound owners. These owners gathered at Dr. Mouat's home in Amsterdam, N.Y., following the judging of the Southern Adirondack Dog Club Show. At this meeting, officers were elected making Dr. Mouat president, Leon Fry vice president, Margaret Bloomer secretary and Samuel Schiller treasurer. Part of the club's purpose was to "encourage and promote the breeding of OH's, striving as nearly as possible for perfection." Other goals included creating an AKC-approved standard for the breed, holding shows under the rules of AKC, and the general protection and advancement of the breed.
Dr. Mouat, known now as "Mr. Otterhound," was the real impetus behind Otterhounds in the United States. He became interested in the breed in 1934 when a pair of breeders brought some Otterhounds they had acquired into his vet office. He started the country's first ambitious breeding program in 1937. Though there are AKC records of the exhibition of six Otterhounds in a show in Claremont, Oklahoma, in 1907, the first breed champions did not appear until Ch. Bessie's Countess and Ch. Bessie's Courageous, Otterhounds from Dr. Mouat's first litter, earned the title. On 13 December 1950, Dr. Mouat was presented the award of honor by Dog World Magazine for his efforts to preserve the Otterhound. He kept close records of his famous kennel, Adriucha Kennel, and wrote "How to Raise and Train an Otterhound," which was published in 1963. The first Otterhound fun match was held at Dr. Mouat's home in 1971. This event has been held annually since and has become a favorite OHCA gathering. Dr. Mouat profoundly influenced the presence of Otterhounds in the United States and the OHCA.
The OHCA submitted its constitution and bylaws to the AKC in December 1961, but the AKC deemed them unacceptable due to lack of individuality. There were only 57 members of the OHCA and only 45 AKC-registered Otterhounds (History of the Otterhounds). In an attempt to strengthen the breed, two dogs were imported from the United Kingdom in that year. These imports were likely from one or both of the two most famous packs of Otterhounds in the United Kingdom, Dumfriesshire in Scotland and Kendal and District in the Lake District of England.
In 1968, the Western Otterhound Fanciers (WOHF) was founded by 10 Otterhound owners on the West Coast. The organization aimed to increase awareness and presence of the breed on the coast and support show entries. A monthly newsletter, the WOHF Whistle, was also a function of the club. WOHF and OHCA collaborated to create a standard for the Otterhound, which they completed in 1971. The standard was approved by AKC and published in the AKC Gazette in November 1971. WOHF was a successful regional club until 1973, when it was dissolved by vote in order to give full support to the OHCA.
A new constitution and by-laws for OHCA were voted on and accepted in the spring of 1974. These were sent to the AKC on 14 June 1974 and were formally accepted by AKC on 22 August 1974. The club held its first national specialty in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1981. At this event, Ch. Follyhoun First in Line was Best of Breed, and Ch. Follyhoun Fair Warning went Best of Opposite. The club has also held a regional specialty in Louisville, Kentucky, every year since 1994.
There was continued work put into the first Illustrated Standard, which was published in 1971. One change includes the name of the breed itself from Otter Hound to Otterhound in 1987. Thereafter, continual debate over phrasing took place, and minor wording revisions were made several times in the 1980s. The most recent standard was approved in 1995.
Another activity the club participates in is the rescue of Otterhounds. This is not a big undertaking, due to the small number of unspayed and unneutered Otterhounds in the United States. The club does voice frustrations over being contacted for the rescue of shaggy strays that are not actually Otterhounds. However, the OHCA has successively rescued several Otterhounds in the last few years.
The club has also conducted two health surveys, which were distributed to Otterhound owners across the United States in 1996 and 2003. These surveys indicated that most Otterhounds are in relatively good health and have no major health problems until old age. The club encourages DNA testing for all Otterhounds in order to eliminate health issues in breeding stock.
The club now consists of about 100 members in the United States and some international members living in Canada and Europe, especially the United Kingdom. There is no Otterhound Club in Canada, though there is one in the United Kingdom with which the OHCA corresponds. Today, there are less than 1,000 Otterhounds worldwide and less than 350 in the United States.
Scope and Content
The collection contains records of the club and breed history beginning with Dr. Hugh Mouat’s papers dating back 1940s. Mouat kept meticulous kennel records from the first Otterhound breeding program. The journals record detailed information on Mouat’s Otterhounds including: pedigrees, ownership records, import records, show records, recordings of each litter and notes on the health of each Otterhound. There is also an original copy of his 1963 pamphlet “How to Raise and Train an Otterhound."
The club administration materials include the secretary's files, which hold membership lists; various meeting minutes from 1985-1996; the codes of ethics; Illustrated Standard and related documents; English Otterhound Club, board, membership, general and presidential correspondence; National and Regional Specialty files; health surveys; and more. Further correspondence, dog show (National Specialties, A Matches, B Matches, local shows) and other subject files (such as financial record, health pedigrees, English OH Club relations, and voting results) are also present.
The print publications and ephemera includes books, such as a rare private printing of historic otter hunt photos, Otterhunting Memories ; show catalogs for most National Specialties between 1984 and 2005 as well as select Regional Specialties and local club shows; illustrated standards; clippings; distribution materials such as posters, stickers, and advertisements; and the club newsletters from 1971 to 2007 (“The Otterhound Club of America Bulletin” was published seasonally until it became a bimonthly publication in 1976. Around this time it also changed names to “The Otterhound Club of America Newsletter”, and then shortly thereafter to “The Voice of the Otterhound Club of America”, which remains its present name, published bimonthly).
The photographs and negatives in the collection date back to the 1940s. There are entire albums dedicated to Ch. Adriucha Zola's Priza UD (wh. 1969), a Utility dog in the the Otterhound Hall of Fame. There is a large assemblage of photographs of various Adriucha Otterhounds in an album entitled "Book on Otterhounds," which also contains early photographs of Dumfriesshire Kennels in Scotland. Another album is dedicated to the Otterhounds of Dr. Kweb, who renewed the tradition of the hunt in the English tradition by pursuing muskrats instead of otters; this album provides a glimpse of what an otter hunt may have looked like. Other folders hold photographs of Dr. Mouat and his Otterhounds and the Crufts Dog Show in 1988. There are also two albums dedicated to "Dorrie" and "Bunky", two Adriucha Otterhounds who have not yet been identified beyond their call names.
The video materials chronicle National Specialties beginning with the first show in 1981. Also present is coverage of other shows, and other Otterhound-related content, such as a Martha Stewart video about the breed.
The show ribbons and notable dogs materials consists of ribbons dated between 1934 and 1974, though some may be as late as 1980. Select ribbons were awarded from the club's National Specialties, and Morris and Essex and Westminster, but the bulk are from earlier, local shows. Envelopes in the collection addressed to Dr. H. B. Leonard from New York, indicate that many of the ribbons may have belonged to him. Further materials include pedigrees and export and sale certificates.
A gift from Louis C. DeShon, Club Historian (2007) of the Otterhound Club of America.