OtterhoundThe rough-coated and large Otterhound was initially bred for hunting otter in England. Developed for work, the dog breed does have renowned stamina and keen nose. He is a playful clown, affectionate and friendly with his family as well. He is an uncommon dog breed, with fewer than ten Otterhound litters born every year in the Canada and United States.


Important Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs

Height: 2 feet to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder

Life Span: 10 to 12 years


Do you think life with a boisterous, shaggy, large dog would be ideal? If so, the Otterhound breed can be the dog for you.

The Otterhound dog is an old breed, bred in England from Bloodhound and other types of good dog breeds. Although the breed is thought to have been in existence for about more than 500 years, he is a quite rare dog today. There are presently less than one thousands Otterhounds, only 350 to 500 of them living in the USA. Actually, just 4 to 7 litters are born every year in Canada and the United States.

Why is this dog breed not so common? Nobody knows for sure, but it is surely not because of the Otterhound personality. The Otterhound has got a sweet, fun-loving, affectionate personality. The breed is independent, too, not requiring a great deal of attention. After greeting you with eagerness, the Otterhound dog may finish the nap he was taking when you came.

The Otterhound belongs to large dogs. Even the weight of a small female about 65 pounds, and a large male can weigh 125 pounds. He is definitely a dog who takes up space in the household. Otterhound dog is excellent with children, but because of his bouncy personality and large size, he may be too rowdy for small or very young kids. He can also be too active for weak seniors.

The dog breed possesses a distinctively shaggy appearance. His head looks to be quite long and large. And his ears are folded and long, giving him a draped look. The breed is physically strong, with a striking, long gait. He does have the fairly sensitive nose of a hound, and it is likely to lead him off to inspect his surroundings.

Because he was developed to hunt in water and on land, he does have large, webbed feet and rough, double coat. You can find him in many different colors, the most common being a variation of tan grizzle and black, which usually becomes lighter as the breed gets older.

He has the typical and almost musical bark of the hound. This loud, deep, extended bay is music to ears of the hunter, but it may not play as well with the neighbors. Although some dog breeds are quiet, most look to love the sound of their own voices, so it is wise to teach your breed a “quiet” command. Speaking of voices, the Otterhound possesses a wide range of vocalizations as well, from groans to grunts. Some even like to “sing” and vocalize with people or with other dogs.

Otterhound is often good with other animals and dogs if he grows up with them. The breed benefits from a great deal of socialization, particularly as a puppy, and it is excellent for him to be included in all exposure of your life. Otterhound has the tendency to be opinionated, so training needs patience, particularly since he become especially playful when he doesn’t want to comply with whatever you desire him to do. And because of his big size, training is completely necessary.

In spite of strength and size, however, the breed has got a “soft” personality; the breed does not respond to methods of harsh training. It is best to become even more obstinate than he is while keeping the sessions of training short, positive, and fun for both of you. The Otterhound loves food so it can be a great motivator during training. Be aware that his food’s love can lead him astray. There are stories about Otterhound who has learned to escape from any captivity to get into the kitchen, where he opens drawers, cabinets, and even the refrigerator to steal tasty stuff.

The Otterhound requires exercise and a great deal of it. He does have a lot of energy and stamina. Jogging for 3 or 4 miles is like a walk in the park to him. If he remains alone for long periods of time in the backyard, especially without sufficient exercise. The Otterhound will find different ways to please himself, ways which are apt to displease you like excavating your newly planted flower garden or nonstop baying.

He is hardworking and can be trained to compete in agility and obedience. He excellent in tracking, and the percentage of Otterhound dogs who earn tracking titles of American Kennel Club is often higher every year than for any other dog breed. In spite of his size, impressive bark, and strength, the breed does not really suit guard duty. He is far too friendly to take the task of a watchdog seriously.


Need to Know about Otterhound

Otterhound needs a lot of exercises, and not just running after a ball in the backyard. A robust daily workout of swimming or jogging for several miles is required to keep him mentally and physically healthy. However, because of the unfavorable effect of tough exercise on growing bones and joints, you must limit exercise among pups and adolescent Otterhound. Swimming should be the best exercise for younger dog breeds because the risk of joint injury is quite less.

Otterhound dog is an enthusiastic and loud barker. But never expect your breed to be a guard dog, he is too friendly for that. Don’t let your Otterhound off-leash in unfenced places. When he may catch an enticing scent and run off you never know. Otterhound loves to be outdoors, but he suits living daily life inside the home with his families.

A fenced yard is a must. The Otterhound has been well-known to jump fences as high as 5 feet, so make sure that your fencing is at least six feet high. The Otterhound is really loving, but he is independent too. He will not follow you around, requesting attention. When you get home, the breed will probably greet you. The dog breed will return to his favorite snoozing spot if the dog breed does not require exercise.

The Otterhound enjoys food and may become overweight if you do not monitor his diet. Also, his unbelievable sense of smell makes him able to locate those special goodies you have hidden in the cabinets, and his cleverness and size make him able to find a way to get at them. A large dog, larger expense. A big dog costs more from food to veterinary care to grooming.

In order to get a healthy dog, never ever try to purchase a puppy from a puppy mill, irresponsible breeder or pet store. Always contact a breeder who has the reputation to test her breeding dog to ensure he is free of genetic diseases that they may pass onto the pups, and that they have nice natures.


Otterhound History

While it is quite obvious that Otterhound originated from Bloodhound, some say that he may also be related to French Griffon because of the typical fold of his ears. The dog breed grew in England to hunt and destroy otters that were decimating the fish in the rivers of England.

Otter hunting, mostly loved by the nobility, was the first held sport in Britten which used packs of scent hounds. In the 12th century, it was first mentioned during the reign of Henry II. The Otterhound dog, however, wasn’t mentioned as a particular dog for another 200 years.

The breed was utilized, along with small terrier, to hunt otters along the rivers and banks of ponds. Terrier did flush the otter from its den. The Otterhound dog took over when the otter ran to the water. The nose of Otterhound is very sensitive that he can follow not only the “wash”, but the “drag,” as well the trail of the otter on land. The dog breed has been well-known to remain on 12-hour-old trails and to swim and wade as far as 20 miles in one day.

With his weather-resistant outer, rough coat; somewhat oily undercoat; webbed, big feet; determination and, size, and strength, the Otterhound did his task really well which finally otters have declared a secured species in England. In 1982, Otter hunting tuned out to be illegal.

However, the Otterhound picked up a lot of remarkable admirers. Actually, it is said that more kings fancied the Otterhound than any other breed. Included among the royal fanciers of Otterhound were Edward II, Henry VIII, Henry VI, Richard III, King John, Charles II, Edward IV, Henry II, Elizabeth I, and Henry VII.

The popularity of the Otter hunting reached its peak in the years straight away before World War I. There were more than 500 hounds at that time, in 24 packs, which hunted otter in England. Most of these dog breeds were not actually purebred Otterhounds. However, because many hunters went on with crossbreeding to make the prowess of their dogs better.

In 1900, Otterhound dog appears to have been brought to the USA. In 1907, he has first entered the conformation show in Claremont, Oklahoma. The Otterhound Club of America was formed in 1960, and in 1981, the first National Specialty took place. The American Kennel Club formally recognized Otterhound in 1991.


Otterhound Personality

The Otterhound is a friendly dog with plenty of love for everyone in the family. He loves kids, but he can play roughly owing to his big size. He is dedicated to his family members, but not overly so.

When you come home at the end of the day, he may extend happy greetings, but do not anticipate him to follow you from room to room. The breed is too independent for that.

The trait independence of Otterhound makes training challenging. You need to convince him that he desires to do what you ordering. This is entirely possible, as long as you are patient and skilled.

The Otterhound has a good nature and not as good as a watchdog. He sounds a loud warning bark to invaders, but that is about it.

Like every dog breed, Otterhound requires early socialization, exposure to a lot of different sounds, people, sights, and experiences when he is young. Socialization always assists to make sure that your puppy grows up to become a well-rounded dog breed.

Registering him in a puppy kindergarten class should be a great beginning. Regularly, inviting visitors over, and taking your puppy to the busy stores, parks which allow dogs, and on leisurely goes to meet neighbors will help him to improve his social skills as well.


Otterhound Health

You can find the Otterhound normally fairly healthy. But just like all breeds, he can also have certain health conditions. Not every Otterhound will have any of these diseases, but it is really crucial to have awareness of each of them if you are about to buy this breed.

Before getting to buy an Otterhound, it is crucial to investigate the health concerns that affect both parents of the puppy. Both the parents must have clearances of health from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia and von Willebrand’s disease from Auburn University for thrombopathia. And certifying that the eyes are normal from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), you can also have health clearances through visiting OFA web site (

  • The breed can suffer from the following diseases:
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Canine Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia (CIT)

Note: This health information is all about providing our visitors with a type of general knowledge. In order to be aware of any health issues or any diseases and conditions, do consult your veterinarian.


Otterhound Care

Because of his big size and great activity requirements, the Otterhound dog is not advised for families without yards or apartment residents. The ideal, however, for active families who can take the breed jogging or swimming every day. He is relatively inactive when inside the house if he has enough exercise.

In cool and temperate climates, the breed can sleep outdoors if he does have proper shelter. However, since he enjoys to remain near his family, despite his independent temperament, he can be bored and digging, trying to escape, or start barking if he is alone for too long. Invisible electric fences are not suitable for keeping the Otterhound.

Socialization and training are vital for the Otterhound, starting with puppy classes. Mix socialization with training by taking your puppy with you wherever the breed is allowed, be it the lumber yard, on long walks in busy parks, outdoor events, or the pet supply store. Anyplace where there are many humans to meet and sights to see is a proper place to take the dog.

Never let your Otterhound off his leash in places like these, even if you think he will reliably come when you call. His habit is to follow his nose, and that, coupled with his independent temperament, means he may give take off after any absorbing scent.


Feeding Otterhound

Recommended daily amount: 3 to 4.5 cups of good quality dry food every day which is divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult Otterhound eats, depends on his size, build, age, metabolism and activity level. The dogs are individuals, just like a human, and they do not want the same amount of food. In simple words, a highly agile and active dog will, of course, need more than a dog who is a couch potato. When you buy the quality food for your dog also makes a difference. The better the food for your dog, the further it will go towards nourishing the dog and the less of it you will need to shake into your dog’s bowl.

If you are not sure, whether he is overweight or not look down on him first and then you will be able to see his waist. Now keep your hands on his back and your thumbs on his spine, along with the fingers that spread downward. You will be able to feel his ribs but not see without pressing hard. If you can’t, he definitely will need more exercise and less food.


Otterhound with Children and Other Pets

Otterhound dog breed is an active, fun-loving dog, but because of his size and tendency towards clumsiness, you should supervise the breed when he is with small kids. He loves kids and would not intentionally hurt them. But his size and exuberance may cause him to knock a small kid to the ground. The Otterhound dog probably suits a family with older kids, ages 10 and up.

If he gets proper training and socialization, the Otterhound gets on well with other dogs as well. When introducing him to small pets, use caution. The hunting instinct of the Otterhound is strong, and he may run after animals he perceives as prey.



Male Height: Stand 27 inches tall at the shoulder

Male Weight: 115 pounds

Female Height: Stand 24 inches tall at the shoulder

Female Weight: 80 pounds