The Friendly Otterhound

descriptive textDog breed info
Weight: Male 105 — 115 lbs
Weight Female 75 — 80 lbs
Height: 24” — 27”
AKC Rank 2008 #152
Lifespan: 10—13 yrs
Group Hound
Origin: England

Dog Breed Info - The Otterhound

descriptive text

Breed Overview

Origin:Ancient times. Original function: Hunting otter. Today, Companion dog. Very RARE breed. This breed may tend to drool.

One of the more unusual breeds in the hound group is the tasseled, shaggy looking scenthound known as the Otterhound which is of uncertain origin. The breed possibly came from France but most commonly is associated with England where the otter were fouling up the work of fishermen and had to be disposed of. Some breeds that may have contributed to this breed are the French Vendeen, hound, Welsh Harrier, Southern Hound, Bloodhound and maybe a water spaniel. Either way, this dog filled a unique purpose in controlling the otter in England. The otter hunting peaked in the later half of the nineteenth century. The breed almost died off after WWII. The first of this breed arrived in America in the early 1900’s and the AKC registered the dogs in 1910. By 1970 the breed was almost extinct and is very rare today.


The Ottarhound can learn but patience and repetition are needed. They can be stubborn and independent. A good method is clicker training and positive reinforcement. Also, the Cesar Millan method is good too. Either one is recommended.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your dog puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Otterhound puppy can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. They learn a littler slowly. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


This breed is known to be friendly with other dogs and loves people in general. This breed does well with children, is very affectionate and makes a good hunter as well as companion. They can be quite stubborn and independent, especially if they get on the scent of something to track and kill like otter or other small animals. They will follow the trail of most any mammal. When once on the trail of a scent, they are impossible to deter. Their job is not to kill. The Otterhound loved to hunt, sniff and swim. This dog would rather swim than most anything else.

This is basically a happy, friendly and loyal dog that loves the presence of humans and is playful with children but must be watched closely as they are big and can easily injure small children. It is a fairly boisterous dog when excited, though easy-going and usually low-key. It is one of the most affectionate of the hounds. This dog desalt exactly bark as such, but tends to bay in a more melodic way that can be heard for long distances. Overall, this is a quiet, friendly house pet and affectionate companion.

The Otterhound needs heavy socialization starting young at 4 or 5 weeks and continued through life. They need to be handled and trained with a firm and caring but pleasant dominant type person. The dog will take over leadership of not kept under control by an aloha personality.

If you happen to get a dog with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes. Good with other dogs, gets along well with most dogs, is not aggressive.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Good marks here, even with family cats. However, other small animals such as ferrets, rabbits and gerbils might be a problem.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Likes people and has noi problem with meeting strangers.


Quite playful for a big dog. This is a happy, lively, fun-loving dog.


Very affectionate. Loves people in general.

Good with children?

Very good with children. Loves to play, romp and swim. Very small children must be closely supervised, as this is a heavy dog that can easily injure small kids. The dog has an exuberance that can get out of hand.

Good with Seniors over 65?

A female Otterhound would be good for a senior. They are quiet, affectionate, playful, devoted, a good weatchdog and easy to care for. As long as the senior is into walking, jogging, swimming or in some way active outdoors, this breed should work well.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, flat, farm, ranch all okay as long as the dog gets his exercise and daily outings to jog, swim or walk.

Energy level

Relatively low. I’d give this dog about 3 bars out of 10 for energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderately high. Several good walks on leash, swimming or other physical activities are needed daily. Jogging alongside you is another possibility as long as the dog is on leash.


Very good. Has a “melodious bay” that’s very loud.

Guard dog

No. Too friendly.


Moderate shedding.


Brush about once a week, oftener when shedding.

The Otterhound tends to be a diort-bag. The paws tend to accumulate mud and straw while the beard needs daily washing to dispose of food accumulations.

Otterhound Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Otterhound puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. Field Spaniel Breeders with puppies for sale. As I write this, the link is showing only 1 breeder world wide. Try an online search for Otterhound breeders or puppies for sale.

Otterhound Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Otterhoundl Rescue group in your area, here is a link that might help:
Petfinder - Field Spaniel Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is showing only 7 dogs available to adopt in the USA. That might be enough, but in case you want more selection, go online and search for Otterhound Rescue or Clubs or kennels. This is a VERY rare breed. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and save for possible future reference.

Dog Health Issues For The Otterhound
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Otterhound by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia CHD- Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Otterhound great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat. “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. The stomach may not be firmly secured to the ribs and can break loose and rotate, sealing off both ends and trapping the contents of the stomach. Gas, liquids and food accumulate in the stomach causing it to “bloat.” The stomach enlarges and can twist on it’s attaching points. One point is the food pipe (esophagus) and at the other end is the small or “upper” intestine. With the entrance and exit closed off, the dog can not burp, belch, expel gas, vomit or in any way get anything out of the stomach. Blood flow returning to the heart is immediately blocked by the enlarged stomach. This triggers other negative responses in the body including breathing problems. The Otterhound can die suddenly if immediate medical intervention is not made quickly If your dog is prone to this, feed 3 or more small meals a day and don’t overload the stomach. DO NOT EXERCISE THE DOG FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR (or two) after eating a meal. This includes evening walks. Let food digest first. Surgery is often required so be sure to see an emergency vet immediately. Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—Dislocated elbow joint. This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Obesity - Watch the food dish and treats as he tends to gain weight.

  • CTP - Thrombasthenic disorder - Low blood platelet count which causes a problem with blood clotting. It can be fatal. The dog should be tested before you buy or adopt.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up at around 2 tho 4 or 5 years of age in dogs.

Other health problems could occur with your Otterhound. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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