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 Photo of Otterhound
Photo: By Jill Terry

Otterhound Books

Group: Hound - Breed Standard


The Otterhound is an old British dog breed, with Bloodhound ancestors, and who is in turn one of the ancestors of the Airedale Terrier.


Approximate height at shoulder: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 61 cms (24 ins).

The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated hound with an imposing head showing great strength and dignity, and the strong body and long striding action fit for a long day's work. It has an extremely sensitive nose, and is inquisitive and perseverant in investigating scents. The Otterhound hunts its quarry on land and it has a combination of characteristics unique among hounds; most notably a rough, double coat and substantial webbed feet.


The Otterhound is a bold and exuberant dog. Friendly, cheerful, loving and devoted, he makes a good companion.
This breed is quite good with children, but may be clumsy with small children and therefore is not recommended for infants. They are a friend to all other dogs, family pets, children and people in general, however it will chase non-canine animals (it can get along with cats in the family). They are affectionate, intelligent, and independent with a mind of their own. The Otterhound is a low-key dog that can function as a quiet companion. They like to roam and sniff and have a tendency to snore. Otterhound have a harmonious, boisterous and powerful voice that carries for long distances. He likes to bay; though he doesn't bark excessively. This is a good breed for active people who have a lively sense of humor!

Breed Health

Breeders should normally test their breeding stock for hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Life expectancy is approximatley 10-12 years.

Breed Care

The Otterhound's shaggy coat is supposed to look natural and should not be clipped. At least once a week, the coat should be combed or brushed in order to prevent matting. His beard will probably require washing quite frequently.


The Otterhound's hunting background means that it has energy and endurance, and requires a lot of daily exercise and, if possible, swimming. They have a tendency to forget everything in the chase after an interesting scent is discovered, so therefore they should only be allowed to run free off the leash where they can be controlled and kept safe. Providing they have enough exercise, they are not over-active indoors.


Because the Otterhound was never traditionally kept as a pet, it is not among the most responsive of breeds. Training the Otterhound takes patience, because it tends to be quite willful. The best results are achieved with a soft but consistent hand. Use the classic "Iron fist in a velvet glove" approach when training this dog. See our books on training

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Last link added: 10 Jan, 2006