Otterhound

The Otterhound is a dog that was bred to work, and its body proves it. It is a rough-coated hound whose body is thickly boned and filled with dense muscle, making it strong and able to do a hard day’s work. Its sensitive nose leads it over land and through water, and its rough double coat and webbed feet help it to maneuver through all different types of hunting environments. The large head consists of an equally large and strong muzzle with a scissors bite capable of a powerful and crushing grip. The eyes are dark and deeply set and the ears are long, folded, and set at or below the level of the eyes. The body is very strong and somewhat stocky, ending in a wide, curved tail. The feet are large and webbed. The outer coat is dense, rough, and coarse, giving it the illusion of being broken; the coat is longer on the back than on the legs and head. Wooly, oily hair makes up the undercoat, which tends to shed away in the summer months. Any color or combination of colors can be found on this breed.

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Fast Facts

Hound
11 - 13 years
England
Antiquity
115 lb
80 lb
27"
24"
Oterhound, Otturhound, or Otter hound
None

Otterhound Temperament

The Otterhound is a great family pet who is enthusiastic, gentle and fun loving....

It may not realize its size at times and can be clumsy, so despite the dog’s great love for children, it should be supervised while playing with them. Although affectionate and intelligent, they can be hard to train, so a firm, loving and patient hand is essential. The Otterhound is exceptionally friendly toward other dogs as well as people, making it a constant people pleaser but a lousy guard dog. The breed enjoys baying occasionally but does not bark excessively, and most people would describe the dog as a generally laid back and amiable companion.

Caring For a Otterhound

The Otterhound is an active dog who is only quiet indoors if given sufficient exercise....

That being the case, it is not recommended for apartment life. Although it is a good family dog, it does not need to be inside with you at all times; the dog does fine in a large well-fenced yard with a good shelter. The Otterhound is an excellent jogging companion but must be kept on-leash at all times unless it is in a confined area, as its powerful nose will lead it to chase a scent and forget everything else around it until it has found its prize. The dog’s coat should be brushed twice weekly to avoid matting and should not be clipped, though the dog will benefit from a regular beard washing; Otterhounds are average shedders. Inherited health problems in this breed can include canine hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, epilepsy, thrombocytopenia and elbow dysplasia.

Otterhound History

A Brief History of the Otterhound

In 12th century England, fishermen were finding that the population of otters was increasing while the population of fish was decreasing....

This otter invasion created the need for "otter dogges," skilled swimmers who could chase down otters and locate their dens, where a terrier cohort would typically finish the job. The Otterhound as we know it today, however, was not developed until the 18th century. The dog has been documented to be the result of cross breeding between the Bloodhound and several French rough-coated hounds. Otter hunting reached its zenith in England around the turn of the 20th century, but the sport all but disappeared after World War I, when water pollution took a heavy toll on otter populations. Otter hunting was eventually banned in England and the existing packs of Otterhounds were sold to private parties or to mink hunters. Early in the 20th century, Otterhounds were brought to America, where they were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1907. In 1937, Dr. Hugh Mouat, a veterinarian, began the first serious Otterhound breeding program in the US in an effort to boost the numbers of this noble breed. Today, there are fewer than 1,000 Otterhounds worldwide.