The Otterhound is a relatively rare British dog breed with bloodhound ancestors that were developed exactly for what their name implies: to hunt otters! Find out if the Otterhound dog is right for your household.
Cool facts about Otterhounds
- The Otterhound dog breed has British and French Bloodhounds in its ancestry. In turn, he is one of the ancestors of the Airedale Terrier.
- This is a relatively rare breed; there are only about 1000 or so Otterhounds in the world with 300-400 being in the US. Even before otter hunting sport was banned in England, there weren’t too many of these dogs around. After otter hunting was banned as a sport, the Otterhound began its transition as a pet and show dog.
- Foxhounds and Otterhounds often hunted together in packs. There is much debate about which breed makes a better hunting companion.
- In Holland, an Otterhound named Banner starred in a musical Annie and was even featured on the sleeve of the record.
- Fanciers of the breed believe that the Otterhound combines a Bulldog’s courage, a Newfoundland’s strength in water, a Pointer’s nose, a Beagle’s patience, and a Collie’s intelligence – such a marvelous dog he is!
The Otterhound is a large dog with a straight, strong body and a deep chest. He moves with a loose striding action and is its body is well-made to move around comfortably in the water.
- Male dogs – Height 61-69 cm or 24 to 27 inches. Weight is between 30-52 kg or 66-115 lb.
- Females – Weight is around 80 lb and they are shorter than males.
They have a medium shaggy coat with a dense, waterproof topcoat and protective undercoat. Colors include all scent-hound colors such as red, wheaten, grizzle, sandy, and blue with white markings on the head, feet, tail, and chest.
The temperament of an Otterhound
Although large and formidable-looking, the Otterhound has a friendly and amiable personality. He is a mild and even-tempered dog that is affectionate but will not demand affection. They love to accompany their owners everywhere and will gladly participate in everything that is going on around them. Their height gives them an advantage – they can easily steal food from the tabletop. So make sure your Otterhound knows the rules of the household, through proper training from the very beginning.
With other household pets, including dogs, Otterhounds are generally quite good. They get along quite well but all interactions must be supervised at least in the beginning. It is also important to socialize your pet to other household pets right from the beginning. They are large and heavy dogs, so make sure that they don’t accidentally injure smaller animals. In general, these large dogs do well in the countryside in large homes or farms and are certainly not meant for apartment dwellers.
The same is the case with kids. Otterhounds get along well with children provided they have been socialized from an early age. Kids should also be taught to be kind and respectful towards dogs, be it any breed. Discourage tail-pulling, hitting, and other bad behaviors in kids and make sure they know how to give a dog space and respect it deserves. In general, though, it is best not to buy or adopt an Otterhound if you have a frail, elderly person, or a very young baby or toddler in the household.
Being pack animals, Otterhounds love the concept of a family. So, it is important that you teach your pet who the pack leader is, from the very beginning. Because they are hunting dogs, they have an ultra-sensitive nose which they won’t hesitate to use. Therefore, you must make sure to secure your yard to prevent your dog from dashing out into the traffic. Young dogs will also use their noses to get into everything. So you must supervise your puppy or at least keep him confined.
These friendly dogs love to make music! That is what their barking/howling sounds like. They literally vocalize, and together with their pack, can create a cacophony of sounds!
An Otterhound needs more exercise than most breeds and a simple walk around the block will not suffice. That is why; he is more suitable for an active owner with an active lifestyle. Take your dog for jogging, running, or swimming, daily for at least an hour. You can also encourage your kids to play a game of fetch with him. A run around a secure, fenced-yard is also great for your Otter.
Otterhounds are quick to learn but they are also extremely sensitive dogs who will not like a harsh tone of voice. They will react negatively to negative training, so you must keep all the training positive and reward-based. They are generally patient and positive towards training but tend to be a bit willful. That is why; they need a firm, patient, and experienced dog handler to train them.
The general grooming requirements of an Otterhound are not too stringent; you only need to brush their coat 2-3 times a week, especially during the shedding season. Doing this regularly will keep the Otter’s coat free from mats and tangles. Dogs that spend a lot of time in the water must be inspected regularly for ear infections. Make sure you dry your pet’s ears thoroughly after swimming.
You must also trim their nails from time to time and give your pet a bath about once a month. Inspect your pet’s eyes for eye infections. Daily brushing of teeth is recommended to prevent oral issues and cavities.
Health concerns and lifespan
Otterhound fanciers would be glad to know that this breed does not suffer from too many health concerns, unlike most breeds. Issues like gingival bleeding, a tendency to easy bruising, platelet aggregation defect, and other bleeding disorders have been noted in the breed. They are also prone to atopic dermatitis. Otterhounds have a fairly long lifespan of 10-13 years with few living up to 15 or 16 years. Puppies mature slowly, both physically and mentally.
Where to find an Otterhound
You can begin your search for an abandoned Otterhound by checking with local animal shelters or dog rescue groups. Alternatively, you can buy a purebred Otterhound from a reputed breeder. Check out reliable breeders of the Otterhound on the website of the Otterhound Club of America. The price of a purebred Otterhound is about $2000.