THE OTTERHOUND 87
with the now recognised Otterhound as an offshoot of the
Southern Hound ; but be that as it may, there has been a special breed of Otterhound for the last eighty years, very
carefully bred and gradually much improved in point of appearance. They are beautiful hounds to-day, with heads as typical as those of Bloodhounds, legs and feet that would do for Foxhounds, a unique coat of their own, and they are exactly suitable for hunting the otter, as everyone knows who has had the enjoyment of a day's sport on river or brook.
The greatest otter hunter of the last century may have been the Hon. Geoffrey Hill, a younger brother of the late Lord Hill. A powerful athlete of over six feet, Major Hill was an ideal sportsman in appearance, and he was noted for the long distances he would travel on foot with his hounds. They were mostly of the pure rough sort, not very big ; the dogs he reckoned at about 231 inches, bitches 22 : beautiful Bloodhound type of heads, coats of thick, hard hair, big in ribs and bones, and good legs and feet. -
Major Hill seldom exhibited his hounds. They were seen now and then at Birmingham ; but, hunting as hard as they did through Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, and into Wales, where they got their best water, there was not much time for showing. Their famous Master has been dead now many years, but his pack is still going, and shows great sport as the Hawkstone under the Mastership of Mr. H. P. Wardell, the kennels being at Ludlow race-course, Bromfield.
The leading pack in. the Kingdom for the last sixty years, at any rate, has been the Carlisle when in the hands of Mr. J. C. Carrick, who was famous both for the sport he showed and for his breed of Otterhound, so well represented at all the important shows. Such hounds as Lottery and Lucifer were very typical specimens ; but of late years the entries of Otterhounds have not been very numerous at the great exhibitions, and this can well be explained by the fact that they are wanted in greater numbers for active service, there being