A large sized Otterhound
Otterhound Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)24-28in (61-71cm)
Weight70-120lbs (32-54.4kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan10-14 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size7-10
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftMedium

The Otterhound is a large and athletic dog. The body is strong with a deep chest, straight and sound limbs with webbed feet, and a medium length tail that curves upwards but not over the back. The large head is fairly narrow with a square muzzle, deep-set dark eyes, a large dark nose, long pendulous ears and a floppy fringe. The harsh coat is dense, long and shaggy, and the colouring of the coat can vary widely from black to tan.


Otterhounds are loving and affectionate dogs with independent and strong-minded natures. They love to play and exercise and make fine companions and family pets, and require plenty of space and attention, although they do not demand attention all of the time. These dogs are known to be rather messy and loud in terms of their deep bark, which needs to be taken into consideration by any potential owners. As they come with stubborn and independent streaks, training can sometimes be a challenge, and so this breed is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training rather than novices. Otterhounds can get along well with older, more considerate children, but are not suitable for smaller kids simply because of their large size. They are normally good with other dogs and pets when raised with them or introduced with care, but they should not be trusted with smaller animals due to their strong hunting instincts. Around strangers their reactions can vary from reserved to friendly, and they can make effective watchdogs due to their loud bark.

History & Skills

Otterhounds originate from England, and were used in packs to hunt otter in the 1800s, hence their name. Thought to be related to a number of breeds, including the bloodhound, the reason they were used to hunt otter is that otters were preying on freshwater fish to an detrimental extent. Otter hunting is now banned. These days they make fine family pets and watch dogs but are quite a rare breed.

Breed Specific Ailments

Otterhounds are tend to live between 10-14 years and are generally a healthy breed. Some of the health problems that have been noted include hip dysplasia, bloat, seizures, vWD, and a potentially fatal bleeding disorder. This breed is normally quite slow to mature, both physically and mentally.


Otterhounds are medium shedders, and may also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, which means they are not suitable for allergy sufferers. Their grooming requirements are moderate, and the coat will need brushing once or twice a week to prevent matting and to keep it in good condition. The coat may be clipped every few months, and the ears should be kept clean and rey to reduce the chance of any infections.

Exercise & Environment

Otterhounds are medium energy dogs and tend to live indoors with their families. They will need access to an outside area, such as a secure yard or garden, for play and exercise, and they will need a long daily walk on the leash. A chance to swim will be appreciated too. These dogs have keen senses of smell and will go to any lengths to investigate interesting scents, which could lead them into danger if not kept secured or on a leash.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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