Otterhound originated in England, and references to the breed have been found dating back to the 1100s, although that early dog was much different from today’s Otterhound. The Bloodhound is one of the breed’s ancestors.
The Otterhound breed stands 24 to 27 inches tall and weighs between 70 and 130 pounds. The head is large and narrow, eyes are dark, and ears are long, pendulous, and folded. The chest is deep, and the tail reaches the hock. The undercoat is water-resistant and wooly. The outer coat is dense, rough, and coarse. Any color is acceptable. The coat should be brushed weekly; it can mat if ignored. Most pet owners trim the hair on the feet, face, genitals, and under the tail for cleanliness. The Otterhound dog breed has an oily coat but does not normally have a doggy smell.
The Otterhound is not an overly busy dog breed, but he does need daily exercise. He can go for a long walk, swim, and play on the agility course. Otterhounds are not natural retrievers, but many are excellent tracking dogs. All exercise should be on leash or within a fenced-in yard; this breed has a tendency to roam. Training should begin early, as these are big dogs who could inadvertently overpower an owner. Although Otterhounds are quite bright, silly, and fun, they are not necessarily compliant dogs. They do best when training involves some motivation to get the dog’s compliance; most are motivated by food. Otterhound puppies should meet a variety of people before they grow into large, powerful dogs.
Socialization is just as important as basic obedience training for an Otterhound. The Otterhound needs an owner who understands how hounds think; they love their owners but are not canine shadows as so many other dogs are. The Otterhound can also be quite loud, which can cause problems with the neighbors. The Otterhound breed is great with kids, although Otterhound puppies can be clumsy and rowdy. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, bloat, and bleeding disorders.