Otterhound – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Do you think that rare Otterhound could be your canine friend? If so, check this guide first before you decide to get this dog. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Hound Dogs
24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

When dog fanciers think about the big and affectionate breed, they usually think about Otterhound.

This breed dates from medieval England, where it was bred primarily for otter hunting, hence the name.

This unusual breed has a dense shaggy coat, big eyes, and webbed feet that help with swimming.

As you may guess already, they are massive water lovers. Their affinity for swimming is strong and is definitely something that should be nurtured. This is a big hound dog, who comes with a waterproof coat.

The chest is broad, while the shoulders are powerful, enabling all day long swimming. In fact, they are so exceptional swimmers that they could swim all day long.

Otterhounds come with a large black nose that is sensitive and so well-developed that it can follow an otter’s underwater scent.

This is something that not many breeds can brag about, no matter how great swimmers they might be.

Quick Facts

Real name: Otterhound
Origin: United Kingdom
Breed type: Hound Dogs
Weight: 88 to 100 pounds
Height: 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 2 – 14 puppies
Color: Many color combinations, including blue, grizzle, red, and wheaten
Coat: Double coat with soft undercoat

Otterhound History

Otterhound was originally bred in England, and the dog that is today known to us originated as a cross of other breeds in the 1700s and 1800s. However, dog fanciers believe that this breed is much older than some records claim.

They claim that records on this breed can be found from far to 1200 A.D. when King John of England ruled the country.

Another claim is that his father Henry II probably used these dogs for the hunt as early as 1170. These dogs were developed to hunt for otters, which is how they got their name.

Otterhounds are athletic dogs with a great sense of smell and agility. The Otterhound that we know today is a product of different breeds, including Bloodhound and several rough-coated French hound breeds.

Did you know that Otterhound is the rarest breed of dog?

In 2018, only 24 puppies were registered in Great Britain. At the time, this made them rarer than the giant pandas. With so low numbers, the Otterhounds are the most endangered native breed in Britain.

Otterhound Physical Appearance

The Otterhound was one of a kind appearance. Thanks to their shaggy look, they are easy to spot and recognize. Their appearance is rather distinctive.

The Head is large and long, while ears follow the same standard with being more folded. Physically, the Otterhound is a powerful dog, with a long gait.

Their nose is excellent and extremely sensitive. This means that a single smell can push him to explore his surrounding for hours. It also means that walks should always be on a leash because a smell can easily distract them.

These dogs were bred to work and hunt on land and water, and their built supports that. That is why they have double coats and large webbed feet, that serve for better swimming. Webbed feet enable more powerful moves when in water.

Males are around 27 inches and weigh about 115 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and slimmer, being taller around 24 inches and weighing about 80 pounds.

Otterhound Personality

The Otterhound is a sensitive dog with a strong need to perform a task.

They are highly affectionate and will adore every family member. They may be a bit rough with children, but not on purpose. It’s just because their energy is explosive, plus they are large.

This is why dogs and children should always be supervised no matter how well they know each other.

The Otterhound will show how excited he is when you are home, but he won’t follow you from room to room. In fact, this is a breed that will give you much-needed and well-deserved space.

They are a bit independent, and being too clingy isn’t something that they are comfortable with. This is why training them may be a bit of a challenge.

This is also the main reason why this breed isn’t recommended for first time dog owners.

They thrive with owners who know how to handle large size dogs and who are patient enough and skilled.

If you are searching for a watchdog this is the breed to have. They will be more than fast to inform you when a stranger approaches your home.

A loud barking will inform you that someone is around, and will chase any intruder off. As with any dog, the Otterhound needs early socialization and proper training.

Otterhound Training

Training an Otterhound will be a challenge if you don’t know how to train a dog. Even if you have experience as a dog owner, you may need additional support when it comes to training.

Puppy classes are a great training option when it comes to shaping your Otterhound into a well-behaved canine citizen. It may be pricey in the beginning but it will pay off in the long run.

Make training sessions fun, short, and packed with treats. Yet, be careful when it comes to treats because you don’t want to serve too large portions.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States, and you don’t want your Otterhound to be part of this group. It’s possible for dogs to lose weight by proper nutrition and proper care and exercise program, but it will demand extra time and dedication.

As soon as the socialization window ends, which is usually after vaccination, you should expose your Otterhound to the world. This means that your Otterhound should meet other dogs, approach strangers, and explore different sounds and sights.

Dogs learn by exploring, while they are young. Even adult and senior dogs can learn new tricks, as long you invest enough into the training process.

Otterhound Exercise

The Otterhound loves being active. This breed just loves when there is a job to be done. Proper exercise is crucial, especially for active dogs, if you want to keep your Fido active and strong.

Plus, exercise is a great way to keep your dog’s joints strong. The Otterhound is a breed of great energy and stamina. As such, he will need jogging for three or four miles daily should be enough to help him burn that extra energy.

Otterhound Grooming

They may appear messy, but serious grooming is needed to bring that famous Otterhound look in life. The outer coat that is two to six inches long is rough and thick and will require weekly brushing.

If your Otterhound has a soft outer coat, you may want to brush him two or three times per week to avoid mats. Their coat is best kept ‘au naturel’, and shouldn’t be clipped.

You may need to wash this breed more often than other breeds, but discuss this with your veterinarian first. Make sure that you use shampoo specially created for dogs.

Trim or grind his nails once per month, brush his teeth if needed, and check gums regularly.

Use brushing time as a way to check the skin for fleas or any sign of skin infection.

If you choose to take your Otterhound to a professional dog groomer, do your best to still brush him from time to time. This is a great way to bond with your Otterhound.

Otterhound Physical Health

Otterhounds are often described as healthy dogs. Their owners claim that no major health issues aren’t detected in these dogs. Still, this doesn’t mean that your Otterhounds won’t get sick at some point in the future.

You may provide the best care possible, and Otterhound may still get sick, due to a number of reasons, like a fight in a dog park.

Yet, to be sure that you got a healthy Otterhound puppy you must find a good and reputable breeder first.

It is easy to recognize both puppy mills and responsible dog breeders. The second one will present you medical documentation on the breed, let you meet the bitch, show you the facility, and won’t give you the dog before they are 100% sure that you are a good fit for their puppy.

The first one will just give you the dog. You want to avoid the puppy mi8lls for many reasons, with health reasons being on top place.

So far, some of the noticeable conditions in the breed include:

  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Canine Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia (CIT)

Otterhound Physical Care

To enable your Otterhound to live and long and healthy life, you will have to provide proper care. This is a large dog with high activity levels and as such aren’t recommended for apartment life or family homes without yards.

They need a huge space and more than average space for running.

On the other hand, if your home has a large yard and your family members are active this dog will love it.

They will enjoy jogging sessions and frequent swimming. They may sleep outside in temperature and cool climate if the shelter is adequate. However, they will still need their humans to keep them warm.

If left alone for too long or without a task, they will become bored. When bored they will bark and become destructive. They may start digging heavily or even trying to escape.

Don’t let him off leash if the area isn’t fenced. They are interested in everything around them, so running away is always possible.

Is Otterhound For You?

Large size dogs are great family addition to those who have experience with dogs. If you are a first time dog owner, you might want to choose a smaller size dog, or more of a lap dog, until you master the dog’s needs.

It’s common for people to take upon more challenging breeds as their experience grows. This may be an easygoing breed, but they are still large, and will need a strong and experienced handler.

This breed is for you if you want a dog who is large, has a shaggy appearance, is enthusiastic, and needs a fair amount of exercise. On the other hand, this isn’t the breed for you if you don’t want to deal with vigorous exercise needs, strong chasing instincts, and stubbornness.

If you are sure that this is the breed for you be ready to wait, Finding this breed isn’t easy and even when you find a responsible dog breeder, know that there is probably a waiting list.

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