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Life span: 9-10 Years

Height: 27 – 29 inches (male), 25 – 27 inches (female)

Weight: 130 – 150 lbs. (male), 110 – 130 lbs. (female)

The Otterhound, which belongs to the scent hound group, originated in Great Britain centuries ago. However, its numbers have since been on the decline and it is now listed as a vulnerable breed. The Otterhound has a long, wiry coat that comes in a variety of colors and webbed paws, which makes it particularly well-suited for swimming.

This breed is not ideal for everyone. Patience and determination are a must for this dog’s owners! However, they are also extremely intelligent, and the adequate owners will be able to enjoy their funny personalities once the work is put in.


Physical Characteristics

Their ears are large and flop down, with a long tail that has a slight curve and remains upright. Their eyes can be hazel or brown, with a black or brown nose. Their waterproof coat is dense, wiry, and rough to the touch. Coat colors include blue, black, grey, brown, light brown, cream colored and white.


Dating back to the 12th century, this breed’s purpose was to hunt otters to be able to prevent them from eating all the fish. Afterwards, when other foods gained popularity, it remained as a sport for royalty and wealthy people. The sport gained popularity given that otters were the only animals available for hunting in April through September. Queen Elizabeth was the first woman that owned a pack of this breed. There is some controversy surrounding the breed’s ancestry. It was believed that the breed was a result from crossbreeding Welsh Harrier and Southern Hound dogs, while others believed it was the result of English Bulldogs with Old Water Spaniels. Others believed English Foxhounds and Griffon Nivernais should be included on the ancestry, yet most agree the Bloodhound is part of the ancestry. In 1900, they were brought into the United States to a show in Oklahoma, and by 1909 it had been accepted into the American Kennel Club’s hound group. In 1960, the Otterhound Club of America was created, and in 1981 they held the first National Specialty. Sadly, the breed’s popularity did not rise, and is currently an endangered species, with only 600 left in the world.


Socialization is key with this breed, or they might hunt any animal they lay their eyes upon. They are stubborn, and need patience and determination from an owner at all times. However, they are extremely smart, and once trained, they will understand just about anything you ask them to do. This also means it will learn to open the fridge or doors and steal your food or go out for a walk. They need to be kept entertained or will become destructive and loud.


Although generally healthy, this breed may suffer from:

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, is a mortal disease in which large chested dogs are affected by eating quickly, drinking lots of water and exercising after. This causes the stomach to inflate with gas and twist, making the dog unable to get rid of the excess air through vomiting, which impedes the normal blood flow to the heart. Its blood pressure then goes down and the dog goes into shock. Without proper, and immediate, medical attention, this could be fatal. Its symptoms may include: retching without vomiting, bloated abdomen, excessive salivation, restlessness, depression, rapid heart rate, weakness, etc.

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Canine Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia (CIT), also called immune mediated thrombocytopenia, is an immune system disorder that consists in the lack of platelets. It can be noticed through bleeding under the skin or gums.


Their coats are relatively low maintenance, needing brushing only once or twice a week, and a thorough beard cleaning once a week. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They do need daily exercise, but having a fenced area to freely run and a long walk should suffice. Training can be easy, given that they love to please, although patience is required. They respond best if food is involved.


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