The Otterhound is a British breed that belongs to the hound group. It is suspected that this breed developed by crossing the Bulldog with the Bloodhounds, the Harrier, a Water Spaniel and possibly even a wolf. The bloodline of this breed can be traced back at least to the early 14th century.
The Otterhound is a large breed that stands between 23 and 27 inches tall. They usually weigh between 65 and 120 pounds. Their coats are medium to long and are dense and wiry. Because this breed developed as the result of crossing several breeds their coats can be just about any hound color.
England is the country where the Otterhound was developed; at about the time of King John (1199-1216).The ancestry however, has always been in question, with many theories. The purpose of this hound was very clear, to hunt in packs and kill the Otter which were constantly preying on, and depleting the fish in the rivers.
The Otterhound is a large scent hound with a rough weather resistant coat, a kindly expression and pendulous ears. Otterhounds have powerful bodies and limbs. They have long rough coats, consisting of an outer waterproof layer and a softer undercoat. They have a shambling walk and a free striding gallop. Their voices are full and musical.
The Otterhound is a friendly, cheerful, and devoted companion. They are affectionate, smart, and independent with a mind of their own. This breed is pretty low-key, so they can make a great quiet companions. The Otterhound also loves to roam and sniff around quite often and have been known to bray out using their very harmonic, powerful voice when needed to do so.
The Otterhound does not bark regularly, but does tend to snore from time to time. This breed has been successful in hunting raccoon, bear, and mink. They are very well known for their swimming skills and can literally swim for hours without stopping.
A home with a fenced yard is essential, as they like to roam and to bark. They do better in a country environment. Regular exercise is a must and should include the opportunity to swim. An owner of an Otterhound needs to be confident, assertive, dominant and have the time to train them in some type of job whether it’d be hunting, agility or tracking.
The Otterhound needs a lot of daily exercise in a safe area or on a leash, and if possible, frequent swimming. They need to be taken on a daily walk, swim or jog. 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.
Training can take some patience as these dogs tend to be very stubborn. However, by combining play and training you will be 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.
It is strongly recommend that Otterhound owners should join their local tracking club and get their magnificent hounds involved in this potentially lifesaving activity. Otterhounds were never intended to be simply household pets. Their working behaviors (sniffing scents, chasing things that run, exploring, baying) can be a nuisance in a normal household setting. Trying to suppress these “hardwired” behaviors, without providing alternate outlets for their energy, can be difficult.