Southeastern PA

DelVal freshman works to save Otterhound dog breed

For 3-year-old Cammy, owner Barb Follett is her breed's best friend.

Follett, a freshman at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, just showed the Otterhound at the Westminster Dog show. While there, Cammy won best opposite sex in her class.

Cammy's dog breed is dwindling, however.

"Well it started out there weren't many, only a couple hundred kept in the Royal Hunt packs," she explained.

Bred for hunting otters in the early 1800s, the breed dwindled when England stopped the hunts in the late 1970s. There are only about 350 in the United States and fewer than 800 worldwide.

Follet, a New Jersey native, is boosting the breed. The vet major is the only Otterhound breeder under the age of 50 in the United States.

Fifty new pups need to be born every year to keep numbers stable. In 2013, there were only 13 born in the United States.

Follet has bred five this year and says they're important to keep around.

"They are a piece of history. Queen Elizabeth I was the first lady master of the Otterhound, they are just so much fun," she said. "They are the clown of the hound group, happy go lucky and love life. They are a scent hound so you have to be the pack leader."

"They kind of have a Chewbacca look," 69 News Reporter Bo Koltnow pointed out.

"Yes," she agreed.

"Do you think Chewbacca is part Otterhound?"  Koltnow pressed.

"Could be yeah," she chuckled.

In this galaxy or in one far, far away Follet is working to ensure the breed is here to stay.


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