The Otterhound has a dense, long, and shaggy coat, which is harsh in texture. The coloring of the coat can vary, and includes black and tan, liver and tan, wheaten, tri-colored, grizzle, or red. He has a sweet and innocent expression, which is added to by his floppy fringe. He also has distinctive webbed feet. The height of the Otterhound is around 23-26 inches for females, and 24-28 inches for males, and the weight of these dogs is around 65-100 pounds for females and around 85-115 pounds for males. He is a large dog, and has a sturdy and athletic build underneath that shaggy coat.
The Otterhound is a dog that is very independent and strong minded, yet is also extremely affectionate and loving. These dogs love to play and exercise, and should be in an environment where there is plenty of space to enjoy activity. He also needs to be with a family that has the time to commit to a pet. These dogs love to get involved with family activities, and especially love to swim. Determined and enthusiastic, the Otterhound will go to any lengths to investigate a scent, and his keen sense of smell means that he picks up on scents with the greatest of ease. This does mean that he should be kept in a safe and secure area at all times when not on a leash, as otherwise his dedication to following a scent could lead him into danger.
The Otterhound can be both loud in terms of his deep bark, and messy, which means that he is not ideally suited to those that like their homes to be spick and span all of the time. His bark does mean that this dog can make an effective watchdog. His stubborn and independent streak can make training something of a challenge, and this breed is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. The Otterhound gets along well with children, and with proper socialization should get along okay with other dogs - he should be socialized early on with cats and should not be trusted with smaller animals, as he does have strong hunting instincts. With strangers the reaction of the Otterhound can vary, and some may be reserved whereas others may be friendly. The Otterhound is quite a rare breed, and therefore those looking for a puppy may have quite a wait.
Although the shaggy coat of the Otterhound may look high maintenance, the grooming requirements for this breed are not excessively high, although you will need to dedicate some time to it. You can brush his coat twice a week, and every few months you may wish to get the coat clipped. You should make sure that his ears are clean and dry to reduce the risk of infections, and also clean his beard regularly for hygiene reasons. The Otterhound is a medium shedder, and may shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, which means that he is not the ideal choice for allergy sufferers.
The Otterhound is an old breed that has been crossed with Bloodhounds, Griffons, Harriers, and rough-haired Terriers. The otter is the dog's preferred prey, and they will avidly search and sniff for otters in lakes and ponds at their leisure. These dogs have been bred to control otter populations for many fishermen throughout history, and they were often involved for hunting in packs for the natural trout supply in rivers and lakes as well.
Notable kings in Brtian enjoyed raising Otterhounds as part of their sporting and leisure lifestyles; King John, Charles II, Edward II and IV, Richard III, Henry II, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I were all involved with raising and operating hunting packs of Otterhounds during the 19th century. The Otterhound has an acute sense of smell and can recognize any time when an otter has passed an area as far as the night before. While the otter population diminished in the early 20th century, the Otterhound'
s popularity also slowly disappeared.
Since 1978, the otter became a protected species and neared extinction. As a result, the Otterhound's existence was severely threatened and it was only because of the concentrated efforts of breeders that this dog was saved. The Otterhound has commonly been used as a show dog, and can be well prepared for competition. It has a great swimming ability by nature, and will rarely stop after hours and hours of swimming. Since it has a naturally protective coat, the Otterhound can dive into water and seek prey underwater and in very cold and wet conditions. It has commonly been used to hunt mink, bear, and raccoon. The Otterhound has a very strong sense of smell that is well-suited for drag hunting and searching.
Today, the Otterhound makes a strong family companion and is very attentive, loyal, and affectionate. It enjoys an active lifestyle and fares well in a variety of environments.
The Otterhound has a naturally positive personality with a strong and noble appearance. They try very hard to be good, and are joyful by nature. Although they look dignified and very noble, they are often misconceived as they have an almost "childish" playfulness and attitude. It is helpful to know this in training as they respond well to play and this can be incorporated in their training program. Still, these dogs are independent by nature, and it can be difficult to train them if they are trained after their puppy and formative years.
Training can take some patience as these dogs tend to be very stubborn. However, by combining play and training will be most effective in encouraging change. These dogs grow in size very rapidly, and it is best to train them at the youngest age possible. These dogs may become too "soft" if they are not trained appropriately, and thus need some harsh correction on occasion. They are natural retrievers, and will learn quickly when they are happy and in a playful environment. As a result, taking them outside for games such as Frisbee or fetching a ball can be helpful in "breaking the ice" and encouraging them to respond to your requests.
Highly intelligent and naturally bright, it's important to remember that these dogs have a strong sense of smell. They will go to great lengths to locate food, so it is important to train them on how and where they should be exploring and foraging. They have been known to open refrigerator doors and even yard fences on their searches for food, and it is important that they are trained to respect areas of the household. Encouraging positive habits through mindful training is most effective in overcoming their tendency to search areas without restraint.
Otterhounds can be successfully trained to become obedient and submissive to their owners. They excel as tracking dogs, and are wonderful "therapy" dogs with their sweet and friendly natures. They do their best when they are mostly active, and have a good-natured personality with children and other dogs. Still, it is important to outline and emphasize boundaries for these dogs as early as possible. These dogs respond well to encouragement, attention, and affection. They can learn new tricks fairly easily, and will adopt new skills in a very short period of time. These dogs do not make good guard dogs, but can be wonderful watchdogs if the owners need a dog that simply oversees the home. Since they do require plenty of exercise, helping them stay active will result in a happy and attentive dog as well.
Overall, it is important for owners and masters to have a sense of humor with these dogs. These dogs tend to be messy and can become destructive if they are bored or ignored. The dog needs to learn and grow in its early years, and will respond well to affection and attention. They will also adopt to different environments relatively easily and become quite protective of their territory.
The Otterhound has a life expectancy of around 10-14 years. This is generally a hardy breed, but there are some health problems to look out for. This includes seizures, bleeding disorders, bloat, vWD, and HD. The parents of the Otterhound puppy should have OFA certificates.