Type: Scenthound

Height: Males: 24 - 27 inches; Females: 23 - 26 inches.

Weight: Males: 75 - 120 lbs.; Females: 65 - 100 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 7 - 10 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: Indoors - Low. Outdoors - High. When given a scent or a trail, these dogs become very active and engaged.

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Low

Description: The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated hound with an imposing head showing great strength and dignity. They have a strong body and long striding action fit for a long day's work. They have an extremely sensitive nose, and are inquisitive and perseverant in investigating scents. Their scenting skills are almost the same as that of the Bloodhound. They are somewhat shaggy, with medium length fur and wheaten, tan or black in color. They have long drop ears and a friendly disposition. The Otterhound is known for their big sloppy kisses and soft hearts. They make an excellent family companion though sometimes they may think they are a lap dog. Otterhounds were once used for hunting otter, but their name no longer applies today. But they still retain strong instincts to follow scents outside and track down different animals. The Otterhound is a stubborn and independent breed, and will not easily do as you say. They are athletic, happy and do fine in a kennel. They can become destructive if they are not properly trained. Otterhounds love water and love to be around people.Otterhound

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Colors: All hound colors appear and are permissible. They are generally colored grizzle, wheaten, black and tan, liver and tan or tricolor.

Coat: Long, dense, rough and harsh, but not wiry. They have a woolly undercoat, and an oily waterproof outer coat. The fur is medium length, and hard and crisp to the touch.

Temperament: Otterhounds are athletic, independent, boisterous and friendly. They are very stubborn and can become destructive if not trained. This breed is okay to be kenneled, though many Otterhounds live indoors nowadays. Otterhounds have incredibly good noses, and love to use them to search out scents when they are outside. They are good with children and other dogs, and enjoy being with people. They are rather cheerful and content to do as they please, although they are very devoted to their masters. They like to bark and to roam, but are very enthusiastic.

With Children: Yes, they are affectionate with children.

With Pets: Yes, Otterhounds are a pack animal by nature but need to be socialized to cats, as they used to be used to hunt otters.

Special Skills: Hound and family pet.

Care and Training: Moderate brushing is required for the Otterhound's double, shaggy coat. Their coat should also be stripped occasionally. Ears, teeth and nails need attention occasionally. Exercise should consists of daily walks, play, plenty of space to run and an occasional swim. They need a soft but consistent hand as they are not the most obedient dog.

Learning Rate: Low. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Low.

Special Needs: Exercise, fenced yard, grooming and a leash.

Living Environment: A home with a fenced yard is essential, as they like to roam and to bark. Though they do better in a country environment. Regular exercise is a must and should include the opportunity to swim. An owner of a Otterhound needs to be confident, assertive, dominant and have the time to train them in some type of job whether it be hunting, agility or tracking.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, bleeding disorders, seizures and bloat. Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the largest killer of all breeds except for cancer. It affects most dogs, but Otterhounds can be more susceptible to it because of their deep chests. Bloat is also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion.

History: There is no definitive answer to the origin of this breed, but it is said the Otterhound may have originated from the Bulldog, the Harrier, the Water Spaniel and Bloodhound and possibly the wolf. They are also thought to be descended from the French Nivernais Griffon. The first written record of this breed is from the reign of Edward II (1307 - 1327) where it is mentioned that this type of dog was used in packs to hunt otter. The breed was imported to Britain before 1870, and after 1870 the Comte le Couteuix de Canteleu gave a whole pack of this breed to the British Richard Carnaby Forster, who then gave them to his daughter. His daughter, Lady Mary Hamilton, in turn sold the dogs in 1906 as "Hamilton Otterhounds". The current breed was developed in England. Otterhounds were used for, obviously, hunting otters. They would jump into cold rivers to go after an otter, while the hunter followed the swishing of the water from the dog. The breed has such a good nose that it is just under the skills of the Bloodhound. After otter hunting was banned, however, the breed lost its original purpose and a kennel was set up in Britain to preserve the breed. This was the Otterhound Club, set up by the Master of the Kendal and District Otterhounds in the Lake District of Britain. They made their way to America in the early 1900s. Currently, they have served as a pet and show dog.

First Registered by the AKC: 1910

AKC Group: Hound Group

Class: Hound

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 6), KC (GB), UKC