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Otterhound is big, boisterous, and affectionate. He has a dense shaggy coat, webbed feet, an acute sense of smell, and an affinity for swimming.

Overall Status

Height 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder
Temperament Even-Tempered, Amiable, Boisterous
Weight 65 to 125 pounds
Life Expectancy 10 to 15 years
Coat Color Black and Tan, Blue, Gray, Red, White
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Otterhound is an average shedder who loses hair year round and must be brushed one to two times per week in order to avoid mats. Those individuals with soft coats must be brushed two to three times per week.

Clipping the coat is not a good idea. Once the dog's coat has been cut off, it can take up to two years to grow back in properly. Otterhounds are messy when it comes to eating and drinking, and his beard should be washed and dried daily to prevent tangles and unpleasant odors.

The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal.

Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

Exercise Tips

Otterhounds need mental as well as physical exercise. A large, securely fenced yard is a good beginning, but some hounds will lie under a tree in a fenced acre rather than self-exercise. Long walks to sniff the world and visit passersby are good for both owners and hounds.Obedience classes,tracking, andagilityall provide mental stimulation as well as good exercise.

Feeding Tips

Otterhounds are voracious eaters and should be fed on two meals of high-quality dry or canned food each day. Care should be taken to not over-feed these dogs. Due to their large barrel chests, they are also known to suffer from bloat and gastric torsion.

Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to gettingoverweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level.

Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not.

Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Health Tips

The average life span of the Otterhound is 10 to 13 years. Breed health concerns may includebloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus), elbow andhip dysplasia, multifocal retinal dysplasia, epilepsy, sebaceous cysts, panosteitis (shifting lameness),allergies,arthritisand Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia, a serious and potentially fatal bleeding disorder.


Otterhounds were never bred to be kept as companions and are therefore not the easiest of dogs to train. Training them requires a firm hand and a great deal of patience. They are also a good-natured breed and do not respond well to harsh training methods.

A firm but gentle approach always works best with this breed. It is also important that an Otterhound’s owner display consistent leadership as this dog can turn willful and stubborn if faced with a meek or passive owner.


The Otterhound's exact origin is not known, but some believe it originated in France. This rather old breed was developed by crossing theBloodhoundwith rough-haired terriers,Harriers, and Griffons. When fishermen realized that otter were preying on the fish supply, they used packs of Otterhounds to hunt the otter, hence where the dog got its name.

The Otterhound has a sense of smell so acute that it can smell in the morning an otter that passed through the water the night before. In the 20th century, the otter population dropped and since the dogs were no longer in high demand their numbers dropped as well.

In 1979 sea otters were added to the protected species list and the Otterhound numbers dropped dangerously low. A group of breeders dedicated themselves to saving the breed. While the breed is still rare it is no longer endangered. They have been successfully used to hunt bear, raccoon and mink. It has a good sense of smell and is ideally suited to drag-hunting or searching.

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