By Jags Goldie Last updated: 27th October 2022



Jags Goldie
Last updated: 27th October 2022

The Otterhound (pronunciation: AH-tur-hound) is an old breed of large scent hounds developed for hunting game on land and water. It comes with a strong body, a large-sized, fairly narrow head, long, pendulous ears, deeply set eyes, square muzzle, powerful shoulders, strong-boned, straight legs, deep, thick webbed feet, and a high-set tail. It is considered a rare breed since no more than 10 litters are born in one year in Canada and the US.

Otterhound Pictures

Quick Information

CoatDouble, slightly oily, long, harsh outer coat, soft undercoat
ColorRed, wheaten, sandy, blue, grizzle, blue and tan, black and tan, tan and white, tan and liver, black and cream, white markings may occur
Breed TypePurebred
CategoryHound, Scenthound, Companion
Lifespan10-13 years
WeightFemale: About 80 lb
Male: About 115 lb
Height24-27 in
TemperamentCheerful, exuberant, friendly, good-natured
Litter Size4-7 puppies
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inUnited Kingdom
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationAKC, ACR, ACA, APRI, ANKC, CKC, FCI, DRA, NAPR, KCGB, NZKC, NKC, UKC

Video: Otterhound Puppies Playing


Although the exact origin of Otterhounds is unclear, there are speculations about the breed evolving from the French Griffon. However, the modern Otterhounds’ ancestry can be traced back to crosses among the Bloodhounds, Griffons, and Harriers during the 1800s.

When the otters started preying on the fish in the ponds and rivers, the fishermen used the Otterhounds and some small terriers to hunt these aquatic animals. After the decline of otter population during the 20th century, killing them became illegal, leading to a significant drop in the numbers of these hounds.

Brought to the US in 1900, they first appeared in a dog show in Oklahoma in 1907. The OHCA (Otterhound Club of America) was established in 1960 to promote and preserve the breed, which gained official recognition from the AKC in 1991.

Temperament and Behavior

An affectionate dog with plenty of love and devotion for all the members of its family, the Otterhound will happily include people and household pets in its pack. It may greet you when you arrive home, but it will not demand constant attention.

Although it will alert you to anything unusual in its territory with its deep voice, it does not make an excellent candidate for a guard dog.Though it emerges as an excellent playing companion for children, its rambunctious personality, does not make it suitable enough for families with small kids or seniors.



Otterhounds need vigorous daily activities like brisk walking, jogging, or swimming. Because of their excellent sense of smell, they would happily follow an enticing scent. A game of chase or fetch in a fenced yard is something that your dog would love. They enjoy taking part in dog sports like agility, obedience, and rally.


Their weather-resistant coat should be brushed once to thrice a week to prevent mats. They do not need to have their hairs clipped, as they look best with their natural coat. Otterhounds tend to drag their food with the beard, which can develop a bad odor. Therefore, you need to wash their beard on a regular basis.

Health Problems

The Otterhounds are known to be affected by some health conditions including malformation of hip and elbow joints (hip and elbow dysplasia), bloating, ear problems, epilepsy, and seizures.


Otterhounds do not respond to harsh training methods. You need to be firm, patient, gentle, and consistent in your approach.

As a puppy, the Otterhound benefits from early socialization. Take your pup on a leash to the dog park, the pet store, the lumber yard, any outdoor event, or anyplace where it will meet lots of people and other animals. The more experiences it encounters, the more easily it will adjust to new experiences as an adult.

Otterhounds have one of the most distinctive and loudest barks of the hound. Although this deep, extended barking is useful for a hunter, it might not be music to your neighbors’ ears. So make sure that you teach your dog to respond to the quiet command in a calm environment free from distractions. When your dog starts barking, say the word “quiet” and hold a tasty treat in front of its nose. Then offer the treat once it stops and begins sniffing.


Give your Otterhound three to four-and-a-half cups of quality dry food on a regular basis. The kibble should have meat as the primary ingredient. Avoid overfeeding since these hounds are prone to gaining weight quickly.

Interesting Facts

  • The Otterhound produces a wide range of sounds, including grunts and groans. Some individuals are known to “sing” with people or other dogs.
  • It has such a keen sense of smell that it could track an otter that swam through the pond or the river the night before.
  • It is considered the most endangered breed in the UK since its estimated population is 600 worldwide.
  • The Otterhound was crossed with terrier breeds for developing the Airedale Terrier.

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