Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Breed Family: Hound Dog
Size: Large 40 – 55 kilograms and they are much longer than tall
Suit: Family on a large property
Average LifeSpan: 10, but individuals may live as long as 15 years
Care Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: Medium to High

The Otterhound is a large hunting dog bred in England the game, primarily otters from where it gained its name. The equally happy to follow their quarry across land or into water. They have an excellent sense of smell and a very capable tracking dogs. They have the same ancestors as the modern day bloodhounds thus their powerful sense of smell and much longer than high physical appearance

The coat is rough and curly of medium length. Coat is typically darker brown, blue, black or a mix of such colours on theback and tail belnding to a lighter fawn on the legs the head. Fur on the head is long often obscuring the eyes. They were bred to their strength and stamina and these remain attributes of the breed today. They are a large dog weighing up to 55 kg with males typically 20% bigger than females.

Typical of scent hounds the head is proportionally large. They are very inquisitive and once they have detected a scent of interest may follow it the kilometres so they are not a breed to be left to their own devices. Though they have the appearance of a livestock guardian dog they are very much a hound dog with all the friendliness and need of company that hound dogs are known for.

They were bred to hunt and retrieve their quarry on land and water. The coat is oily rough and double layered to protect them in cold water on their feet show substantial webbing. As hunting has decreased in popularity in Britain the popularity has moved from that of hunting dog to family pet.  Numbers have always been small due to the niche hunting quarry they were bred for (otters).

Their LifeSpan is typical of that for a large breed averaging around 10 years by some will live as long as 15 years. They are happy to modify their activity levels depending on the activity levels of their family. They’ll be active with an active family and couch potatoes with a couch potato family. Do be careful to feed them at an appropriate level depending on what they do. Remember whilst they will modify their activity level to suit their family should be vigourously exercised daily – they are after all – hound dogs.

Again has a larger breed though they are not more likely suffer from genetic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia their size and weight means that if they do have these conditions they are more likely to have their mobility impaired. To prevent damage to young fast-growing puppies that will cause damage to joints there will need to pay for in the older age don’t allow them to jump from heights until they are at least one year of age.

Typical of long eared breeds they are subject to ear infections or irritation from grass seeds or other objects that may lodge in their ears. Be aware of this and check there is regularly. If you are in an area where ticks are prevalent ticks love the ears of long eared dogs.
Being deep chested and large build they also can suffer from bloat which is one of the major causes of death in large breed dogs. Bloat is caused by the dog ingesting a great deal of air when it eats or from particularly gassy feeds such as cheap cereal-based dog food.

ou can help avoid bloat feeding your dog food that is difficult to it quickly such as meat on bones. Make sure your dog is not over eager and starving when you do feed them. That exercise them immediately before after eating as their higher breath rate will likely exacerbate the amount of air they swallow.

The big happy hound dog. As with all hounds they like company and will be vocal if they are left too long on their own. Their booming bass voice crying is a company will not make you popular if you’re out a lot so unless you are able to be with them the most of the day don’t get one, get two.

They are rarely aggressive but because of their size and their deep bark they can be rather imposing to anyone let alone small children. They were bred to follow their nose to find game and instinctively they will do this whether directed to or not. That game may well be the neighbour’s cat lives at the end of the road. Your Otterhound will make short work of a suburban fence and go and seek of it so beware buying a self walking out to an empty backyard.

A Rare Breed
The Otterhound is extremely rare breed with perhaps only 1000 individuals in the entire world 60% of these being in the UK the rest in the US. There are currently no known breeders and no Otterhound Association in Australia. Considering the small numbers it is surprising there are not more genetic problems seen in the breed is the current breed tool is very small.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.