Webster is the definition of rarity in the canine world — and also success.
“He was the first otterhound to be a grand champion,” said owner Angela Constable of Simi Valley, showing Webster at Saturday’s Silver Bay Kennel ClubShow at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
According to otterhound.org, fewer than 800 of the breed exist worldwide — outnumbered even by the Giant Panda. Constable says 350 of the British-descended animals live in the United States.
Seven are entered this year at the Del Mar event, including Webster’s 6-month-old son Dudley. The show ends at 5 p.m. Sunday with selection of Best of Show.
Boasting hundreds of awards, 8-year-old Webster is less than seven points away from “silver grand champion” status in the American Kennel Club, where he’s now a bronze grand champion.
An ancient breed “uniquely designed,” Constable said, otterhounds have unusual webbed feet with a double coat of fur and long ears. Their deep jaw (with 1 1/2-inch molars) originally let them capture otters without damaging their teeth.
They hunt in the water, and Constable said the otterhound can pick up a scent 12 hours after the “water had washed over the otter.”
But the semiretired Webster — whose registered name is Aberdeen’s Told You So — has an eccentricity based on sense of smell.
On his daily walks, he sometimes bumps into trees and parked cars. Not because his hair obscures his eyes, but because his nose is glued to the ground, said Constable, a sociology professor at Cal State Northridge.
Dogtime.com says the otterhound is sometimes called the “class clown” because of his fun-loving personality.
Hundreds of dog lovers shared the fun of the annual show Saturday — with 1,564 dogs in 170 categories — from a single entry in Affenpinscher to a pair of Xoloitzcuintlis.
That compares with the 401 canines entered in Silver Bay’s first show in the 1930s.
It was 20 years ago this week that the show made the big time — hosting the Pedigree Brand Junior Showmanship National Invitational aired on ESPN.
“In 2003, SBKC held its first agility trial, an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and team work. A segment for the “Jeopardy!” TV show was filmed at its 2009 show,” says the club website.
Admission to the show is free, but parking is $13. The show also features a “Meet the Breeds” event between the Exhibit Hall and Bing Crosby Hall, where families can learn about dogs and their personalities.
Rare Breed at Del Mar Dog Show: The Webbed-Foot Otterhound was last modified: February 27th, 2017 by Chris Stone
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