The Otterhound: A Complete Guide

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The large and rough-coated Otterhound was originally bred for hunting otter in England.

Built for work, he has a keen nose and renowned stamina. He is also affectionate, amiable, and loving with his humans.

He is an uncommon breed, with fewer than 10 Otterhound litters born each year in the United States and Canada.

The Otterhound is an ancient breed, developed from Bloodhounds in England and other types of dogs.

Although the Otterhound is believed to have been in existence for hundreds of years, it’s quite a rare breed today.

There are fewer than a thousand Otterhounds, with just approximately seven litters born each year in the US and Canada. If you want to own an Otterhound, expect some difficulty in finding one.

No one knows for sure why it’s so uncommon, but it certainly isn’t because of the Otterhound personality.

Sometimes called the “class clown,” the Otterhound has a sweet, affectionate, and fun-loving personality. He’s also independent and does not demand a lot of attention.

The Otterhound is the kind of dog that will greet you with much enthusiasm when you walk through the door and then go back to finishing his nap right after.

Otterhound Puppies – Before You Buy…

Otterhound sitting in yard
The Otterhound is better suited to a family with older children.

What Price are Otterhound Puppies?

The price of Otterhound puppies is approximately $500 to $600.

How to Find Reputable Otterhound Breeders?

If you decide that an Otterhound is a dog for you, finding an Otterhound puppy or adult can prove to be a challenge.

Expect to be asked a lot of questions by any Otterhound breeder and wait for several months for a puppy.

If you want an Otterhound puppy, talk to breeders and find one you feel comfortable with, Afterwards, tell them that you’d like to be on the list of prospective homes for their next litter.

Official breed clubs and rescues also maintain a list of member breeders who can help with your search for an Otterhound.

If you’re not sure but think that this dog can be a good addition to your family, you can check with breeder referral or rescue groups.

Most Otterhound breeders have more than one hound, as do many rescue volunteers, and most are happy to have people potentially interested in the breed come to meet their dogs.

Occasionally, older Otterhounds need new homes. A few are rescues from shelters.

In adopting a mature dog, you miss out on the joy and fun of a young dog’s antics. But you also miss out on chewed shoes, broken furniture, and wet spots on the floor.

3 Little-Known Facts About Otterhound Puppies

  1. Otterhounds are energetic and loud barkers. Just don’t expect them to be guard dogs because they’re just too friendly for that.
  2. Don’t allow your Otterhound off-leash in unfenced areas. You just don’t know when something will catch their attention and runoff.
  3. Otterhounds enjoy being outdoors, but they’re best suited to living daily life inside the house with their families.

Physical Traits of the Otterhound

The Otterhound is a large breed. Even small females weigh about 65 pounds, and large males can weigh 125 pounds. They’re definitely dogs who take up space in the household.

Otterhounds are great with kids. But because they are big dogs with a bouncy personality, they can become too rowdy for very young or small kids. They can also be too rambunctious for frail seniors.

The Otterhound has a distinctively shaggy look. His head appears to be very large and long. His ears are long and folded, giving them a draped appearance.

He’s physically strong, with a long, striding gait. He has the very sensitive nose of a hound.

Because the Otterhound was bred to hunt on land and in water, he has a rough double coat and large, webbed feet.

The Otterhound comes in various colors, but the most common is black and tan grizzle which usually gets light as the dog grows older.

Although some Otterhounds are quiet, most seem to like the sound of their own voices, so it’s wise to teach your Otterhound a “quiet” command.

The Otterhound also has a wide range of vocalizations, from grunts to groans. Some even like to “sing” and vocalize with other dogs or with people.

Otterhound sitting looking serious
The Otterhounds are bouncy and fun-loving dogs.

Otterhounds are usually good with other dogs and animals if they are raised with them or introduced carefully.

The Otterhound benefits from a lot of socialization, especially as a puppy. It’s good for him to be included in all aspects of your life.

Otterhounds tend to be opinionated. Training them requires patience, especially since they become very playful when they don’t want to comply with what you’re asking them to do.

Because of their large size, training is absolutely necessary.

Despite their size and strength, however, the Otterhound has a “soft” personality. He doesn’t respond to harsh training methods.

It’s best to be even more stubborn than he is while keeping the training sessions short, fun, and positive.

The Otterhound loves food, so use this love for food as a motivator in their training.

Otterhounds can learn to escape from any confinement to get into the kitchen where they open cabinets, drawers, and even the refrigerator just to steal a tasty tidbit!

How Big is a Full-Grown Otterhound?

Male Otterhounds are approximately 27 inches tall and weigh about 115 pounds. Females are approximately 24 inches tall and weigh about 80 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Otterhound?

The life expectancy of Otterhounds is 10 to 12 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Otterhound   

The Otterhound is very friendly with a lot of affection for every member of his human family.

He loves children, though he can play a little rough due to his large size. He is devoted to his family, but not overly so.

He’s likely to extend happy greetings when you come home at the end of the day, but don’t expect him to follow you from room to room. He’s too independent for that.

The Otterhound’s characteristic independence makes training challenging. You need to convince him that he wants to do what you’re asking. This is entirely possible, as long as you are patient and skilled.

The Otterhound is not the best candidate for a guard or watchdog. He’ll issue a loud warning bark to intruders or strangers, but that’s it.

As with every dog, the Otterhound needs early socialization when they’re young. This helps ensure that they grow up to be a well-rounded dog.

Otterhound looking happy outside
The Otterhound is energetic and barks really loud.

The Otterhound’s Diet

The recommended daily amount for Otterhounds is 3 to 4 ½ cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

How much your dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference.

Do not overfeed the Otterhound. Feed in meals rather than leaving food available at all times.

Limit treats and encourage activity. Keep food safely locked away, too, to prevent thievery!

How Much Exercise Does an Otterhound Need?

The Otterhound needs plenty of exercise. This dog has a lot of energy and stamina.

Jogging for three or four miles is like a walk in the park to him. If left alone for long periods of time without enough exercise, the Otterhound will resort to finding ways to entertain himself.

A vigorous daily workout of jogging or swimming for several miles is needed to keep him physically and mentally healthy.

But because of the negative effects of strenuous exercise on their joints and bones, exercise should be limited to Otterhound puppies and adolescents.

Swimming is the best exercise for younger dogs because the risk of joint injury is minimal.

Otterhound Health and Conditions

About half of all Otterhounds have hip dysplasia, and about 30% have elbow dysplasia.

They can also suffer from skin problems, which include itchy allergies, growths, and tumors.

Epilepsy is a growing concern in Otterhounds as well. Blood-clotting diseases are also still a minor concern in Otterhounds.

Some health problems are inherited. If both parent dogs of your Otterhound have certificates that prove they had been tested and cleared of these conditions, your Otterhound has a reduced risk of acquiring them.

My Final Thoughts on the OtterhoundOtterhound guide

Otterhounds are bouncy and fun-loving dogs.

But because of their size and tendency to be clumsy, they should be supervised when they are with smaller children.

They love children and wouldn’t hurt them intentionally, but their size and exuberance might cause them to knock a small child to the ground.

The Otterhound is probably better suited to a family with older children, ages 10 and up.

If properly trained and socialized, the Otterhound gets along well with other dogs.

However, be careful when you introduce him to smaller pets.

The hunting instinct of the Otterhound is strong, and he will most likely run after animals that he perceives as prey.

Despite his size, strength, and impressive bark, the Otterhound isn’t really suited to guard duty because he’s far too friendly to take the job of a watchdog seriously.

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