Otterhound

Home > Dog Breeds > Otterhound
70-90 lbs
24-26"
England

Hunting otters with Otterhounds became popular with fishermen in the year 1360 because the otters were stealing their fish. They were bred to have the characteristics of a Collie (intelligence), Beagle (patience) Foxhound (stamina), Retriever (wisdom), Pointer (nose), Newfoundland (strength in the water), and Bulldog (courage). These dogs are large, weighing up to 115 pounds and standing about two and a half feet tall, with long, waterproof hair, a large nose for scenting, and strong legs for swimming. They come in seven colors and six different markings. These colors range from lemon to white, black, and tan and the markings include silver, grizzle, badger, and many more combinations.

Purpose
hunting otters, scenting
Date of Origin
1300s
Ancestry
griffon nivernais

Otterhound Health

Average Size
Height: 24-27 inches Weight: 90-110 lbs
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 70-90 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Congenital Heart Defect
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Thrombopathia
Occasional Tests
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Blood
  • Blood Test
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Otterhound Breed History

The Otterhound dates back to the 12th century when they were used to hunt river otters to prevent their food source (fish) from being depleted by the otters. After other food sources became more popular, hunting otters with Otterhound packs became a sport. This was usually a sport enjoyed by royalty and the very wealthy such as King John of Magna Carta. This became more popular because the otter was the only hunting quarry from April until September. Queen Elizabeth the first was the first woman to own an Otterhound pack. Early on, it was thought that the Otterhound was a mix of the Welsh Harrier and Southern Hound because they came from Devonshire and Wales. Others claimed the Otterhound was the offspring of the English Bulldog and the Old Water Spaniel. Still, others believed there was some English Foxhound and Griffon Nivernais in the breed. Of course, the majority of experts agree that there was at least some Bloodhound in the Otterhound as well. As the number of otters decreased, the popularity of Otterhounds dropped with them. Today, the Otterhound is the most endangered native breed of dog in Britain with only about 600 left in the world. The first Otterhounds came to the United States in the early 1900s and started the breed’s debut in a show in Oklahoma. In 1909, the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted Otterhounds in the hound group. The Otterhound Club of America was formed in 1960 and held the first National Specialty in 1981. Although there are some Otterhound fans in America, the breed is not very popular for hunting or showing. 

Otterhound Breed Appearance

The Otterhound is a large (about 27 inches tall and 115 pounds) and wooly hound with a waterproof coat and webbed feet to help hunt in water and on land. Their head is large and has a strong and dignified expression with a well-muscled body and long legs. They have a big nose, with large nostrils that gives them the ability to smell things better. Their furry ears are folded, pendulous, and long, set low below eye level. Slightly longer than they are tall, they have good substance and balance, making them a solid and durable look. Their deeply-set eyes are dark with a pigment that goes with the color of the coat and nose. Otterhounds come in many colors such as white, black, and tan; white; lemon; blue; wheaten; tan; liver and tan; gray; blue and cream; black and tan; and black. The markings include white and tan; silver; tan; lemon; white; liver; grizzle; black and tan; black; and badger.

Eye Color Possibilities
Hazel
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
Cream
Brown
Gray
Blue
Fawn
White
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Otterhound Breed Maintenance

Grooming your Otterhound should include a gentle brushing with a soft bristle brush once a week. The outer coat is harder so that you do not have to worry too much about mats, but the undercoat can get matted and tangled if you do not brush or comb your Otterhound at least once weekly. Pay particular attention to the underside, legs, underarms, and head. This will help prevent matting and shedding. While grooming, you should check for abnormal skin lesions or swellings as well as for ear infections. With their pendulous ears, they tend to get warm and moist, which is a good breeding ground for bacteria. Clean them once a week with ear cleaning solution. Your veterinarian can show you the proper technique for this procedure if you are not sure. During the grooming session, you should also check your dog’s eyes and trim their nails. You can use a toenail clipper specially made for dogs or a nail grinder for dogs. If you are not sure about it, you can have a groomer or your veterinarian do it for you. However, it is good to learn how to do it yourself.

Brushes for Otterhound
Slicker Brush
Comb
Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Otterhound Temperament

Training your Otterhound can be difficult because they are large and strong and tend to be stubborn. You have to show her that you are more stubborn than she is and things should work better after that. Socializing your dog is essential so they will get along with other pets and people. Otherwise, they may see cats and other small animals as prey. They are pretty smart dogs and eventually you will be able to tell her to pick out her favorite toy at the pet store and she will do just that. However, they will also learn how to open gates, crates, doors, and cabinets so you may have to baby-proof your house. If they get bored, they tend to bark at nothing and chew on everything. They are laid back, devoted, and friendly dogs with a gentle nature that will make an excellent family pet with the right socialization and obedience training. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Otterhound Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $1.9
Monthly Cost
$39 - $52

Otterhound Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 40 lbs
Height: 10 inches Weight: 35 lbs
12 Months
Height: 15 inches Weight: 65 lbs
Height: 14 inches Weight: 55 lbs
18 Months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 92 lbs
Height: 21 inches Weight: 72 lbs

Top Otterhound Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Otterhound breeders of 2017.
Blue Fairy Otterhounds
San Diego, California
Montizard
Louisville, Kentucky

Otterhound Owner Experiences