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Dobhar-chú facts for kids

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Grouping Legendary creature
Sub grouping Lake and river
Other name(s) King Otter
Country Ireland
Habitat Water

The Dobhar-chú ( lit. "water dog" or "water hound") or King Otter is a creature of Irish folklore. It resembles both a dog and an otter, though it sometimes is described as half dog, half fish. It lives in water and has fur with protective properties.


Physical description of the resembles an otter but said to be about five times as large (perhaps 10–15 feet), with white pelt, black ear tips and a black cross on its back.


Dobharchú is an obsolete Irish word for 'otter'. The modern Irish word for water is 'uisce' although 'dobhar' is also (rarely) used. 'Dobhar' is a much older form and cognates are found in other Celtic languages (e.g. Welsh, 'dwr', water). 'Cú' is 'hound' in Irish (see, for example, 'Cúchulainn', the hound of Culainn).The Dobhar-chú is also known as the "dobarcu", and anglicised as "doyarchu", "dhuragoo / dorraghow" "anchu".


A headstone, found in Conwall cemetery in Glenade, County Leitrim, depicts the Dobhar-chú and is related to a tale of an attack on a local woman by the creature. The stone is claimed to be the headstone of a grave of a woman killed by the Dobhar-chú in the 17th century.

The monument is a recumbent flag of sandstone about 4 ft. 6ins. by 1 ft. 10 ins. It shows a recumbent animal having body and legs like those of a dog with the characteristic depth of rib and strength of thigh. The tail, long and curved, shows a definite tuft. The rear of the haunch, and still more the tail, are in exceptionally low relief, apparently due to the loss of a thin flake from the face of the slab. So far the description is canine. The lettering, and carving are in relief.

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