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Otterhound Dog Breed: The Amazing Story Behind This Fascinating Dog

otterhound dog breed

Otterhound Dog Breed: The Amazing Story Behind This Fascinating Dog


Using dogs to hunt otters In the year 1360, fishermen started using otterhounds to protect their catch from being taken by otters, who were taking the fish.

They were designed to have the attributes of a Collie (intelligence), a Beagle (patience), a Foxhound (stamina), a Retriever (wisdom), a Pointer (nose), a Newfoundland (power in the water), and a Bulldog (courage).

These are enormous dogs that may weigh up to 115 pounds and reach approximately two and a half feet tall. They have long hair that is waterproof, a large nose for smelling, and strong legs for swimming.

They are available in seven different hues, each with six distinct marks.

These marks include silver, grizzle, badger, and a wide variety of other combinations, and the hues range from lemon to white, black, and tan, with tan being the most common.

History Of The Otterhound Breed

The Otterhound is a breed of dog that has been around since the 12th century. Back then, they were used to hunt river otters to protect their fish supply from being eaten up by the otters.

When there was a greater demand for various types of food, the hunting of otters with otterhound packs became a popular sport.

In most cases, only royalty and extremely rich people, such as King John of Magna Carta, were able to participate in this sport. Because the otter was the only animal that could be hunted from April until September, this practice gained increasing popularity.

The Otterhound pack belonged to Queen Elizabeth I, who was the first woman to ever own a dog. Early on, it was hypothesized that the Welsh Harrier and Southern Hound contributed to the development of the Otterhound because both of these breeds originated in Devonshire and Wales, respectively.

Some people thought that the Otterhound was the product of a cross between an English Bulldog and an Old Water Spaniel. Still, there were many who held the opinion that the breed contained elements of both the English Foxhound and the Griffon Nivernais.

Naturally, the vast majority of specialists are of the opinion that the Otterhound also possessed at least some Bloodhound in its genetic makeup.

The decline in the number of otters coincided with a corresponding decline in the popularity of otterhounds. With only about 600 individuals alive in the world, the Otterhound is currently the native dog breed in Britain that is most at risk of extinction.

The first Otterhounds arrived in the United States in the early 1900s, and a show in Oklahoma was when the breed made its public debut for the first time.

Otterhounds were first acknowledged as members of the hound group by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the year 1909.

The Otterhound Club of America was established in 1960, and the year 1981 marked the inaugural year of the National Specialty. Even though there are Otterhound lovers in the United States, the breed is not very well known for either hunting or displaying.

Otterhound Breed Appearance

The Otterhound is a huge and wooly hound that stands about 27 inches tall and weighs about 115 pounds. It has a coat that is waterproof and webbed paws to assist it in hunting both in water and on land. Their bodies are well-muscled, and their legs are long.

Their heads are enormous, and they have an attitude that is powerful and dignified. They have huge noses with wide nostrils, which enhances their sense of smell and allows them to smell things more clearly.

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Their tufted, pendulous, and elongated ears are positioned far below eye level, giving them an elf-like appearance. They are somewhat longer than they are tall, and in addition to having good solidity and balance, this gives them an appearance that is sturdy and long-lasting.

Their eyes are set quite deeply, and they have a black pigment in them that matches the color of their coat and their snout.

Otterhounds can be found in a wide variety of coat colors, including white, black, and tan, white, lemon, blue, wheaten, tan, liver and tan, gray, blue and cream, black and tan, black, and even black.

The markings consist of white and tan, silver, tan, lemon, white, liver, grizzle, black and tan, black, and badger. Other possible markings include black and grizzle.

Otterhound Breed Maintenance

When it comes to grooming your Otterhound, once a week you should give him a little brushing with a brush that has soft bristles.

If you do not brush or comb your Otterhound at least once per week, the undercoat has the potential to become matted and tangled. However, because the outer coat is more resilient, you do not have to worry as much about the possibility of mats.

Pay very close attention to the head, as well as the head’s underside, legs, and underarms. This will assist in preventing matting and shedding to some degree.

While you are grooming, you should perform a thorough inspection of your pet’s ears and look for signs of ear infections as well as strange skin bumps and lesions.

Because of their hanging ears, they are prone to become warm and damp, which is an ideal environment for the proliferation of bacteria. Utilizing ear cleaning solution, do so once every week to ensure proper hygiene.

If you are unsure how to perform this process, your veterinarian will be able to demonstrate the right way to do it for you.

You should also inspect your dog’s eyes during the grooming session, and you should cut their nails at the same time. You can use a nail grinder designed specifically for dogs or a toenail clipper designed specifically for dogs.

If you are unsure how to perform it, you can ask a professional groomer or your veterinarian to help you out with it. However, it is beneficial to understand how to complete the task on your own.

The Temperament Of An Otterhound

It may be challenging to train your Otterhound since they are enormous, powerful, and notoriously independent thinkers.

You need to demonstrate to her that you are more obstinate than she is, and things should begin to go more smoothly after you do so.

You must socialize your dog so that it will get along well with other animals and people. If you don’t prevent it, they can consider cats and other small animals to be prey.

They are rather intelligent dogs, and ultimately you will be able to tell her to choose her favorite toy in the pet store, and she will do exactly as you say.

Eventually, you will be able to tell her to do this. However, toddlers will also learn how to open gates, crates, doors, and cabinets, so you might want to baby-proof your house before they become older.

They tend to bark at nothing and gnaw on everything if they become bored.

They are calm, faithful, and friendly dogs with a kind demeanor that, with the appropriate socialization and obedience training, will make an ideal addition to any family as a member of the household pet.

Living Needs

Otterhounds will show a whole new level of playfulness when they are outside, even though they will enjoy spending time with you indoors. Due to their size, they will do best in a home that has a yard that is enclosed by fencing.

These energetic dogs enjoy mentally stimulating forms of play such as fetch and even agility activities; therefore, having access to a yard will allow you to engage their minds as well as offer them lots of opportunities to explore the outdoors and sniff about.

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Because Otterhounds have such an acute awareness of their surroundings, it is not uncommon for them to follow their noses in quest of new companions.

Be careful to keep a close eye on your otterhound at all times, even when he is in a yard that is surrounded by fencing. And remember to always maintain a leash attached to his collar whenever you take him outside.

Otterhounds are known for their louder-than-life barking, so living in an apartment may not be the ideal option for them. This is not only because of their lively nature and larger-than-life size but also because of their barking.

This breed tends to be very talkative, so any household that takes them in will need to be prepared for their outgoing personality.

It is not unusual for otterhounds to carry on lengthy discussions with their owners through a variety of sounds such as baying, barking, grunting, sighing, and groaning. Even more, he will “sing” along with you!

Before you introduce an otterhound puppy into your family, you should make sure that everyone is prepared for a new and extremely energetic companion.

Otterhound puppies are known to be quite playful. These puppies do best in busy homes where they have playmates with whom they may engage in activities such as swimming, hiking, or running.

Care Needs

If you have an otterhound living in your home, you need always have a brush on hand: To maintain his excellent condition and keep his shaggy coat in good shape, he will need to be brushed once a week with a gentle slicker brush.

Check his famed beard with a comb to make sure it isn’t matted, as he frequently submerges his entire snout into his food and water bowls (we can relate!).

Also, check for any matting in his coat. Because of this, it is a smart idea to give his face a quick wipe down with a towel and brush it every once in a while.

According to Choczynski Johnson, “Owners should be aware that moist food, peanut butter, and other morsels can readily attach to the coat,” and she adds that this is a common problem.

She also mentions the possibility of a dark brown stain developing on the jar fur of an otterhound, which is a characteristic of the breed “porphyrins, which are natural pigments found in saliva, are most often to blame.

Pet owners should consult their veterinarian if they notice an odor, erosion, or pustule around their pet’s mouth.”

Because of the length of their ears, otterhounds are prone to developing ear infections; therefore, it is important to inspect and clean their ears frequently.

Also, keep their nails clipped in the same way you would with any other dog so that they don’t make noise as they walk around the floor. When you use positive reinforcement in training your otterhound, he will learn much more quickly.

You can speed up your dog’s learning by providing him with a regular supply of tasty goodies, but an even more efficient technique is to lavish him with praise whenever he does a task well.

Otterhounds are highly sensitive dogs; therefore, when teaching them obedience and new skills, giving them head pats and telling them “good boys!” will go a long way.

Health Issues

Otterhounds are a breed of dog that tend to be generally healthy, and their life expectancy ranges from ten to thirteen years.

However, just like with any other canine, its human parents will need to be on the alert for certain problems that are associated with the breed.

According to the Otterhound Club of America (OCA), otterhounds are susceptible to a condition known as bloat, which occurs when the stomach swells and twists.

Bloat is a potentially fatal ailment. They are also susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, just like other large breeds of dogs.

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Otterhounds may be predisposed to inheriting a platelet disorder known as Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia, according to Choczynski Johnson. She explains that the process of blood clotting is caused by platelets in the blood.

“Because of a mutation in the gene that codes for glycoprotein IIb, which is a platelet surface receptor, Otterhounds are predisposed to have problems with blood coagulation.

Breeders of otterhounds have the option of sending their dogs to Auburn University for DNA testing to establish whether or not their pups are carriers of the genetic flaw that causes this condition.”

And due to the fact that he can counter-surf, you will need to keep a careful eye on your otterhound’s weight to prevent him from becoming overweight.

Otterhound Overview

  • 24–27 inches
  • 80–115 pounds
  • 10–13 years
  • large (61-100 lbs.)
  • families
  • children
  • dogs
  • friendly
  • playful
  • outgoing
  • medium
  • occasional
  • medium
  • active
  • howler
  • low
  • hound
  • medium
  • black
  • gray
  • gold / yellow
  • blue
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • cream
  • white
  • fawn
  • bicolor
  • black and tan
  • blue and tan
  • liver and tan
  • easy to train
  • tolerates being alone
  • tendency to chew
  • high prey drive
  • high potential for weight gain
  • loves water
  • cold weather tolerant
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
Fun Facts

Otterhounds were originally brought to the United States in the year 1903. Six years later, in 1909, the American Kennel Club gave the breed its official recognition as a breed.

Because otterhounds are so uncommon, it is possible to confuse them with Labradoodles or other poodle mixes. According to Choczynski Johnson, an otterhound can be identified by the distinctively large ears that he carries.

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)

What Is The Current Population Of Otterhounds In The UK?

The Otterhound Club of Britain is making a strong push to encourage people who are thinking about getting a dog to get an Otterhound so that they can ensure the breed’s continued existence.

They are much more difficult to find than giant pandas or white rhinos, as there are fewer than 1,000 of them in the entire globe and only 300 in Britain.

In The United States, How Many Otterhounds Are There In Total?

The Otterhound is an ancient breed of dog that originated in England, where it evolved from Bloodhounds and other sorts of canines.

Even though it is thought that the Otterhound has been around for more than 500 years, the breed is still very uncommon in today’s world. At this time, there are less than 1,000 Otterhounds in existence, with only 350 to 500 of them living in the United States.

What Is The Total Population Of Otterhounds Around The World?

After some time, otter hunting went from being a job to a recreational activity. Otterhounds were used for hunting by the evil King John, and Queen Elizabeth I was given the title of first “Lady Master of Otterhounds.”

It is thought that there are just a thousand Otterhounds left in the entire world at this time, making them the breed with the lowest population in Britain.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy An Otterhound?

Because Otterhounds are such a rare breed, finding one and affording one as a puppy can be challenging and expensive. When purchasing a puppy from a breeder, you should anticipate spending between $1,500 and $3,000.

How Much Does The Otterhound Shed?

It is important to keep in mind that Otterhounds do, in fact, shed; however, some of the hair that falls out is caught in the long, disheveled coat rather than falling out onto the floor.

Unless, of course, you trim the coat short; in that case, their shedding hair does fall out on the ground. Therefore, when you clip, you end up with more hair on your floor but less hair to brush.

Are Otterhounds Suitable Pets For Households With Cats?

The majority of the time, these canines get along well with everyone, including children, strangers, other dogs, and even cats, and they are especially affectionate toward the members of their own families.

Otterhounds are known for their loving nature and upbeat attitude, but they are also known for their strength.

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