Otterhound: Characteristics and Care of the British Hunter


‘They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when dealing with an Otterhound, you’ll find a breed eager to prove that adage wrong.

You’re looking at a dog with a storied British lineage. It was bred for its hunting prowess but is known today for its amiable nature and shaggy yet endearing appearance.

As you consider welcoming this rare breed into your home, you’ll need to understand its unique characteristics: the Otterhound is not just any large dog—it’s a creature of boundless energy, requiring ample space and an owner ready for consistent care.

Their dense coat and affinity for water entail a specific grooming routine, and their exercise needs are not for the sedentary.

To ensure the health and happiness of this affable hunter, let’s explore the nuances of what it takes to care for an Otterhound, and why their dwindling numbers make it more important than ever to appreciate this breed’s singular place in the canine world.’

  • Noise Level
  • Energy
  • Sociability
  • Trainability
  • Care
  • Health


The Otterhound is known for its moderate noise level, high energy, excellent sociability, moderate trainability, moderate care needs, and good overall health.

Otterhound: Traits, Temperament, and Care Guide

Boasting a lively and friendly personality, the otterhound is a well-suited breed for novice owners. It requires ample exercise and space to thrive.

As a descendant of a rare breed specialized in otter tracking, the otterhound’s coat is an adaptation for swimming. It consists of a rough, waterproof outer layer and a soft undercoat.

This friendly dog exhibits a strong aptitude for scent work, attributable to its lineage as a scent hound. The breed’s webbed feet, a unique morphological characteristic, facilitate effective swimming.

However, it would be best to be mindful of the propensity for hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition prevalent within the breed.

Regular, vigorous exercise is paramount for maintaining the Otterhound’s physical health and harnessing its abundant energy.

Exploring the Characteristics of the Otterhound

Understanding the otterhound’s unique characteristics is essential for prospective owners to ensure they can provide a suitable environment and care for this energetic and robust breed. As a large dog breed, the otterhound was bred for hunting, requiring a lifestyle accommodating its high energy and exercise needs. Its double coat and pendulous ears are distinctive, contributing to its ability to perform in aquatic environments.

SizeLarge dog breed
PurposeBred for hunting
Coat TypeDouble coat

Otterhounds are Scent hounds, adept at tracking with a resonant baying voice. They’re good with children and exhibit a friendly demeanor, but they need a lot of exercise to maintain health and happiness.

Otterhound: A Comprehensive Profile and Guide

When considering the Otterhound, it is essential to examine its adaptability to various living conditions, including apartments, and its suitability for first-time dog owners.

This breed exhibits a dynamic and sociable temperament, with a robust energy level and a streak of independence.

Originating from Britain in the 14th century for otter tracking, the Otterhound now faces rarity due to changes in wildlife conservation laws.

Everything You Need to Know

Delving into the Otterhound breed, it’s crucial to note that these dogs adapt remarkably well to apartment living, making them suitable for various living situations. As a rough-coated hound from Great Britain, originally bred for otter hunting, the Otterhound possesses unique characteristics tailored for water hunting. Their webbed feet and dense coat make them adept swimmers, essential for their historical role.

  • Exercise Needs: Despite their adaptability to indoor living, Otterhounds need a lot of exercise to maintain their health and prevent behavioral issues.
  • Social Temperament: These family dogs are known for their amiable nature, fitting well into the family unit, seeking affection and companionship.
  • Heritage: Understanding their background as water hunting dogs provides insight into their strong swimming abilities and love for outdoor activities.

Discovering the Temperament

Happy golden doodle dog jumping on white background.
jumping moment otterhound dog white background

Otterhounds exhibit a social temperament, thriving in structured groups with a clear hierarchy. This breed enjoys the company of its human family members, with whom it forms strong, affectionate bonds. Otterhounds are extremely sensitive to the dynamics within their reference group, necessitating consistent training to integrate seamlessly. They exhibit no aggression towards humans, showcasing an inherent fondness for children.

Your otterhound needs a lot of space and engaging activities to maintain optimal well-being. They relish outdoor pursuits such as prolonged ambulation and water-based exercises. By providing unconditional love and ample opportunities for physical exertion, you’ll ensure your otterhound’s temperament remains buoyant and balanced, contributing to a harmonious household and a mutually rewarding companionship.

Otterhound: Is It a Good Fit for Families?

Considering their size and moderate activity requirements, you must evaluate whether the Otterhound’s adaptability to apartment living aligns with your family’s living situation. Consider the breed’s need for regular, vigorous exercise and ample space for movement to ensure compatibility with your family’s lifestyle and environment.

Additionally, the otterhound’s sociable nature and tolerance for solitude make it a viable option for families with children and novice pet owners. However, its hunting instincts may require careful introduction to other household pets.

Assessing Otterhound’s Compatibility with Families and Kids

Assessing the Otterhound’s compatibility with family environments, particularly those with children, reveals that this breed’s affectionate and sensitive nature typically results in harmonious household dynamics. The Otterhound’s friendly disposition makes it an excellent companion for young children, fostering a sense of belonging within the family unit. However, due to their energetic temperament, they require ample exercise and space to thrive.

Consider these factors to ensure a good fit:

  • Training and Socialization: Early and consistent training and socialization are imperative to mitigate the Otterhound’s prey drive towards smaller household pets.
  • Supervision with Young Children: Always supervise interactions between Otterhounds and young children to ensure safety and promote positive experiences.
  • Exercise Requirements: A commitment to regular, vigorous exercise aligns with the Otterhound’s active nature, benefiting the entire family’s well-being.

Otterhound Adjustability Quirks

Understanding Otterhound adjustability quirks necessitates recognizing their independent nature, which often manifests as a strong-willed disposition demanding patient and consistent training efforts.

These dogs require a lot of exercise to remain happy and healthy; an acute sense of smell complements their robust stamina. To mitigate the potential for boredom-induced behaviors such as incessant barking with a deep bay or destructive chewing, it’s essential to provide them with ample stimulation.

Packers of Otterhounds may cause problems when left alone together, driven by their pack mentality and predisposition for rambunctiousness. Early and ongoing socialization is crucial to curb their innate prey drive towards smaller animals.

Adequate preparation for their sound sensitivity is also vital, particularly during thunderstorms and similar loud events.

Otterhound Obedience Tips

You must initiate Otterhound obedience training promptly, leveraging positive reinforcement strategies such as treats and verbal accolades to promote desirable behavior.

Embrace a consistent and patient approach to counter the breed’s propensity for stubbornness and ensure engagement, bearing in mind their inclination towards independence.

Early and continuous socialization enhances adaptability, mitigating potential behavioral challenges associated with unfamiliar individuals or animals.

Effective Training Strategies

Implementing positive reinforcement techniques is crucial when training your Otterhound, as it enhances motivation and fosters a cooperative learning environment. By tapping into the Otterhound’s natural abilities and preferences, you establish a foundation for effective training strategies that ensure your best friend reaches their full potential.

Training FocusStrategy Details
Positive ReinforcementUtilize treats and praise to reward desired behaviors.
Mental StimulationIntegrate puzzles and tracking games to captivate their intellect.
LeadershipMaintain consistency and assertiveness in commands to guide their behavior.
Physical ExerciseProvide opportunities for running and engaging in dog sports.

Ensure that your Otterhound enjoys the training process by making it an integral part of your daily interactions. Otterhounds are known for their keen scenting abilities; leverage this trait to ensure training sessions are as stimulating as instructive.

Exercise and Grooming Needs

Otterhounds demand a rigorous exercise regimen and comprehensive grooming to maintain their physical and mental well-being. The breed’s propensity for weight gain necessitates daily exercise, ideally engaging both on land and in water, to circumvent the onset of a sedentary ‘couch potato’ lifestyle. A minimum of an hour per day of physical activity is requisite to sustain their robust constitution and buoyant spirit.

Your otterhound’s grooming needs are equally critical. The breed’s dense, waterproof outer coat requires regular brushing at least once or twice weekly to prevent matting and remove debris. Diligently inspecting and cleaning their eyes and ears are imperative to avert infections. Moreover, consistent dental hygiene and claw trimming are integral to your otterhound’s comprehensive care regimen.

Health Considerations

When considering an otterhound as a companion, it’s crucial to understand its common health issues and typical lifespan.

These dogs are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, including dental disease, which affects the majority by age two. You’ll need to be vigilant about their care, as they’re at risk for serious ailments like Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, and may require preventive measures and prompt medical attention.

Common Health Issues and Lifespan

Understanding the common health issues that affect Otterhounds, including their predisposition to genetic conditions and dental diseases, is crucial for maintaining their well-being throughout their average lifespan of 10 to 13 years.

As a large hound bred to hunt, the Otterhound is susceptible to specific health problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, ear complications, bloat, and seizures.

Proactive care, including a balanced dog’s diet, consistent exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups, can mitigate these risks. Regular grooming and dental care are imperative, with particular attention to their ears to prevent infections.

It’s important to monitor your Otterhound for signs of allergies, skin problems, and sebaceous cysts and promptly address these common health issues to ensure a quality life for your companion.

Alternatives for Otterhound: Enthusiastic and Skilled Water Dogs

If you’re captivated by the Otterhound’s enthusiasm for water and skilled nature, these breeds offer similar aquatic affinity and prowess traits.

Similar DogsShort Description
NewfoundlandA gentle giant, renowned for its water rescue abilities and sweet temperament.
Portuguese Water DogKnown for its swimming ability and hypoallergenic coat.
Labrador RetrieverA popular breed known for its friendly nature and strong swimming skills.
Chesapeake Bay RetrieverA breed known for its strength and endurance in water, a loyal and intelligent companion.

Is Otterhound the Right Dog for You?

Considering the Otterhound’s adaptability to apartment living and its suitability for novice owners, you may find this breed a compatible companion if you can provide ample mental stimulation and physical activity.

As a large hound, the Otterhound requires consistent engagement to avert boredom-induced behaviors. Originally bred for hunting otter, this dog breed possesses a vivacious and amiable disposition, necessitating an owner who appreciates and fosters such traits.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Otterhound gets along well with family members, exhibiting both robustness and a strong inclination for companionship. Effective care involves regular dental maintenance due to a predisposition to dental diseases.

If you’re seeking a loyal, energetic dog and can commit to its care, the Otterhound could be a rewarding addition to your life.


In conclusion, as an owner, you’ll find that your Otterhound is a rare gem with a mere population of less than 1,000 worldwide.

This breed necessitates diligent care, particularly in monitoring their health and providing ample exercise.

Their jovial disposition complements family life but remember their size and energy demand space.

Devoted grooming and regular veterinary visits are non-negotiable for their well-being.

Ultimately, an Otterhound might be the perfect addition to your home if you can meet these needs.



Michelle is a knowledgeable content writer at Dogwondersworld, specializing in canine behavior and nutrition, and is responsible for creating informative and engaging articles for the site. Her expertise contributes significantly to the depth and quality of the content.

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