Otterhound is a big affectionate and even-tempered dog breed originating from England where they were originally were used for otter hunting. Because of their dense water-resistant coat, webbed feet they were perfect for this role. Their powerful shoulder muscles allowed them to swim without getting tired. These dogs have excellent stamina and a keen nose. With their nose, they were able to follow otter scent underwater.
This is at the moment endangered breed and is because the Otterhounds never have been numerous even when the otter hunting was at the highest point.
FUN FACT: Currently there a less than 800 Otterhound in the world and you can find them mostly in the UK.
24-27 in (61-69 cm)
80-115 lb (36-52 kg)
Otter hunting was a sport mostly enjoyed by nobility in England. Otterhound was used for otter hunting at ponds and rivers. The nose of these dogs was so sensitive it could track otter scent for almost 12 hours. With their water-resistant coat and webbed feet, they were perfect for this role. Because they did their job so well they were protected as a species in England.
Because these dogs were so good at what they do, river otters nearly went extinct, and because of that hunting them was outlawed. They are big hounds that were primarily built for working in the water all day.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Standard describe these dogs as large, rough-coated with majestic head and a strong body.
- Group 6 Scenthounds and related breeds. Section 1.1 Large-sized hounds. Without working trial
- Height at the withers: male - 27 in (69 cm), female - 24 in (61 cm)
Otterhound has a shaggy dense coat that is water-resistant. The outer coat is long and rough while the undercoat is wooly and oily. Because of that kind of coat they were able to go in and out of the water without the undercoat absorbing the water.
Their coat sheds and you will have to brush your dog regularly to keep hair under control and to prevent mats. It is recommended that you wash their beard daily because they drag beard in food, on the floor and if the beard isn't clean it can develop a bad odor.
The rest is basic care – trim their nails when you hear them clicking on the ground, brush their teeth to secure fresh breath, and to prevent gum diseases. Because they have ears hanging down, regularly check them for any sign of redness or bad odor which can indicate infection. Because these dogs love water they are more likely to develop an ear infection.
These dogs require a decent amount of daily exercise to be happy. This breed is not recommended for the couch potato who is not an active person. Otterhounds will mostly enjoy long daily walks, jogging, and especially swimming. If you provide them with enough exercise they will be calm when they are at home.
Otterhounds have a strongly developed sense of smell and they will take a chance and follow any scent they find on the way and that is why is important that you never let them off-leash if they are not in the fenced area. Training is essential for this dog breed to secure a happy and well-behaved dog.
FUN FACT: Otterhound is endangered more than the Giant Panda.
During training never use hard methods because these are sensitive dogs that need patient and calm owners who will know how to properly approach the training. Food is always a good thing to use to motivate your dog during training sessions.
Otterhounds are generally good dogs but they will still need proper socialization to learn how to approach and react to many different situations they find themself into. From the puppy age expose your Otterhound to many different sights, sounds, people, and dogs. That will help him better understand everything around him.
Otterhound and kids
Otterhounds love children and they are an excellent choice for households with kids. The only thing you will need to watch out for is because of their size they could accidentally knock and hurt the child. Because of that, you should always supervise their playtime.
Otterhound and other animals
Otterhound generally gets along well with dogs, but you will have to be careful around smaller animals because of the high prey drive they will in most cases chase smaller animals. Even with the right socialization, this might be a problem.
These are healthy dogs but like most of the dog breed, they are prone to some problems that every (future) owner should be aware of. Most you need to watch out for hip dysplasia and bloat (stomach twisting). To secure that you end up with the dog with the best possible health you need to find responsible and official dog breeders because responsible breeders regularly test their breeding dogs, to prevent any inherited diseases.
If you decide that this is the right dog for you, be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list because these dogs are extremely rare. The most important thing is to find a responsible and official Otterhound dog breeder because you can be sure that your puppy will be healthy and that he won't have any inherited diseases. Don't be attempted because of the waiting list to find a bad dog breeder and buy a dog immediately because you will in most cases regret that decision.
World Dog Finder team