A large, strong hound, designed to work in water, the Otterhound has a water-resistant, oily, rough coat that comes in all the usual hound colours (see the breed standard for full details). Adult male dogs stand at about 69cm and females at 61cm and the approximate weight range is 36-54kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Little
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Hound
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Medium
Otters are now rare and are protected, but they were once deemed to be vermin that endangered precious fish stocks in ponds, and so dogs were bred to hunt them. The earliest record of this dates back to the reign of Henry II in the 12th century. A type of Otterhound dog similar to the one we know today emerged in the 18th century. Hunting otter was banned in England in 1978 and without a purpose the breed has gone into decline and the Otterhound dog breed is now considered vulnerable and endangered.
A friendly, good-natured dog, the Otterhound is large and can be boisterous, so although he can get along well with children, care should be taken around very little ones in case of accidents. He is a fun, happy-go-lucky hound that loves the great outdoors and he needs an active home.
As with many breeds, the Otterhound can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Otterhound, unsurprisingly, loves to romp about in water and is not the ideal dog for the houseproud! He will take off after a scent, so a reliable recall is essential before you let him off the lead. When growing, exercise should be controlled, so he does not over-exert himself and strain his joints; when grown, two hours a day should suffice.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Otterhound can be prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The Otterhound's coat is about 4-8cm long. Thick and rough, the double coat can feel oily to the touch. He should be groomed a couple of times a week, ensuring the beard is kept clean, and the pendulous ears should be checked regularly to ensure they are clean and healthy.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information