Otterhound Temperament 2020 – Getting to Know Them Better

Otterhound may not be familiar to most dog lovers out there. However, if you understand this dog breed deeply, you may be amazed by its charm and adorable personality. At first glance, you may not be in love with its messy look, but if you have to learn about the Otterhound temperament and its behavior, you will see the beauty behind this dog breed.

The Otterhound – A Quick Glance

If it is your first time to see what is an Otterhound, you will find out that this dog breed has a large body built with a rough coat. Usually, they have a waterproof dual coating in which the outer coat is lengthy while the inner side is a little bit woolly and soft. Their neck is powerful, and the chest is prominently deep. Since they have long coats, it entirely covers the ears.

Further, their coat comes in various colors, yet the common one typically comes in a black and tan combination. The deeply set eyes are generally dark, as well as its nose. The Otterhound also has webbed feet that are good for swimming and stomping over the waters. In summary, the look of an Otterhound comes in a rugged appearance.

otterhound temperament
Image courtesy of Animal Photography

Generally, the male Otterhound is somewhat larger than its female counterpart. With a height of 27 inches, the male Otterhound also weighs 115 pounds. Meanwhile, the female Otterhound grows to 24 inches tall, with an average weight of 80 pounds. Moreover, the life expectancy of an Otterhound lasts until 10 to 13 years.

Going back to its origin, Otterhounds were romping over England and France’s riverbanks and streams during the 13th century. They usually kept the otters from reducing the fish stocks during that time. However, this dog breed is not as popular as other dog breeds because less than 1,000 Otterhounds exist globally as of the moment, based on some figures.

The Otterhound Feeding Recommendation

Before we dig into the Otterhound temperament, let us first discuss the way of feeding them. The recommended amount of food for everyday consumption is about 3 to 4.5 cups of dry food. It is also advisable to divide this high-quality dog food into two meals daily.

Moreover, the amount of food the adult Otterhound eats depends on the dog’s size, body build, age, metabolism, and activity. Additionally, dog food quality also makes a difference in feeding them. Therefore, keep in mind that dog food of high quality will further offer great nourishment to your dog.

Please remember not to overfeed this dog breed; give them a few smaller meals. Also, please do not leave food in their bowl and be available whenever they want it. Instead, restrict, give them treats, and encourage them to do more outdoor activities.

Measuring the food you will give your Otterhound and feeding them twice a day are beneficial ways of maintaining their good body build. It is also straightforward to check if he’s already overweight; do an eye test and hands-on analysis.

Initially, look down over your Otterhound and ensure you see the waist. Next, place your hands over his back, laying your thumbs into the spine, and your fingers widely spread downward. Finally, make sure that you feel the ribs without pressing too hard. Once the ribs are difficult to feel, it is a significant indication that you must give him less food and more exercise.

The Otterhound Temperament and Characteristics


Generally, Otterhounds like to belong and engage themselves in their family’s everyday activities. Because of this, they work hard so that they will get involved. If they are not working for it, they may find a way to be beside their owner. Moreover, being a hardworking dog makes the Otterhound an athletic dog breed and a determined hunter.


Another Otterhound temperament is that they’re independent and do not want you to tell them what they must do. They will become stubborn if you do not give an Otterhound firm leadership. This calls for an early age training of this dog breed.


If there is a dog breed that aims to live, it’s none other than the Otterhound. Being lively is an Otterhound personality that lets them run through the fields until they want to. Moreover, they want to chase their prey and complete their day by plunging into the water.

otterhound temperament
Image courtesy of Dog Zone

If you try to convince the Otterhound to do something that he doesn’t want, you may have a hard time. Aside from that, this dog breed does not grow to live in a city, so walking in the park on a leash is right for them. They would be happy to have a visit to a farm or run through the yard.

Being lively for Otterhounds means playing ball or running with the kids. They love to have fun in the water, and it doesn’t matter if it’s muddy or not. So, don’t keep this dog if you are obsessed with your house’s cleanliness.


Even-tempered is another Otterhound temperament that you must have to know. This breed is a happy-go-lucky furry buddy. When it comes to a sense of humor, the Otterhound has lots of it.


In terms of their temperament, being friendly is one of them. Yet, despite that, you must not leave this dog breed with other smaller pets inside the house. They see these smaller creatures as their prey.

Booming barks

Generally, Otterhounds create large sounding barks that transcend along with a distance. This barking behavior of the Otterhound is generally disturbing for the family and other people. However, this Otterhound temperament is one way for this dog breed to chat with its owners and express itself.

Affectionate and loving

They mingle well with the kids. Aside from that, they also get along well with other dogs. But, bear in mind to provide rules and limitations to the Otterhounds at an early stage. That will help them train themselves in dealing with smaller animals as they have a strong hunting drive for smaller creatures.

The Otterhound Training Needs

Due to the Otterhound temperament of being independent, training them could be a struggle. Initially, you must set a firm leadership over them at the start of their training. However, they will obey you when they recognize you as their master.

Moreover, it is advisable to train the Otterhound using the positive method technique through the rewarding process. For example, give them treats and or reward them with words of praise after completing a task. Once finished with the necessary training, it would be beneficial to engage them in advanced training for agility and obedience.

Otterhound Training – Being Child-Friendly

One good Otterhound temperament is their getting along well with kids and being gentle towards them. Excellent companionship will be established once these two are raised together. But, if toddlers are present inside the house, it might not work well due to the large body of the Otterhound.

Image courtesy of galpal – Lifestyle Blog

Moreover, teach the older children to approach this dog breed correctly and behave appropriately with an Otterhound. Regardless of whether the children are small or big enough, they still need supervision once they get near the Otterhound. Remember that this dog breed is fun-loving; however, due to their large body and their possibility of being clumsy, it is necessary to supervise the children.

They love kids, and they might not hurt them. Yet, it is still their size that can generally cause them to knock smaller kids down. That’s why this dog breed applies to families with children aged ten years old and above.

Otterhound Training – Being Aggressive

Aggressiveness is not a part of the Otterhound temperament. This breed gets along well with people and with other dogs. They are very gentle and highly loving pooch. But, if you roughly handle this dog, it would generally trigger their aggressiveness. So, never do harsh things to them and do not provoke them to be aggressive because it might be dangerous.

Yet, proper training and socialization are the keys to making the Otterhound work well with other pets. But be very cautious when you introduce this dog to smaller animals. Generally, Otterhounds are not aggressive, but they have an innate hunting instinct that is strong. As a result, they regularly think that smaller animals are their prey, and they are most likely to chase them.

Otterhound Training – Behaving Around Strangers

If you train the Otterhound at an early age, they may learn to welcome strangers due to socialization. Initially, some Otterhounds may be wary of unknown people and tend to bark. Yet, due to a proper introduction, Otterhounds can be friendly to them. It just highly depends on the appropriate socialization at an early age.

The Otterhound Health Condition

Among the other dog breeds, the Otterhounds are a healthy breed. Yet, similar to other dogs, they are susceptible to specific health conditions. Moreover, not all Otterhounds will acquire one or more dog diseases. However, like the Otterhound temperament, it is vital to be aware of those conditions.

If you want to buy an Otterhound puppy, it is much better to look for a trustworthy and reliable breeder who is ready with all the health clearances of the puppy’s parent. Generally, these clearances prove that the dog undergoes specific testing and is cleared of any health conditions. Notably, for Otterhounds, check clearances coming and approved by the following organizations:

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or OFA

This clearance will show a fair or better rating for hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease. 

  • Auburn University

A certificate from this university shows precise results for thrombopathia.

  • Canine Eye Registry Foundation or CERF

This foundation generally certifies that the eyes of canines are normal.

Below are the health conditions that may typically affect Otterhounds:

Canine Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia (CIT)

Another term for CIT is immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, which generally comes from an immune system disorder. In this condition, the canine’s immune system does not have enough platelets. Female dogs are more susceptible to this condition than male dogs. And generally, only a few Otterhound may experience this health condition. Abnormal bleeding under the skin or gums of the Otterhound is a major symptom of CIT.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

Generally, this canine’s health condition is also known as bloating. But actually, this one is life-threatening for Otterhounds. Bloating for Otterhounds occurs once they do the following:

  • Feed one large meal in a single day
  • Eat too fast
  • Consume high volumes of water right after eating
  • Exercise strenuously or do extreme activities after eating

The Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus generally happens when the canine’s stomach is distended with air and twisted afterward. This condition doesn’t allow the dog to vomit to get off the air inside the abdomen. With this, the blood’s return to the heart is generally impeded. Moreover, the blood pressure drops, and they may experience shock.

Bloating is common with older dogs, and they may eventually die if not given immediate medical treatment. The signs of bloating include excessive salivation and retching without throwing. Importantly, taking your Otterhound to the vet is vital when these signs become visible.

Hip Dysplasia

This dog’s health condition is generally inherited in which the thighbone does not sufficiently fit on the hip joint. Pains and lameness on the rear legs are signs of hip dysplasia for some dogs. However, other dogs may not show any signs and symptoms at all. Generally, dogs suffering from hip dysplasia must not undergo breeding. That’s why it is necessary to ask the breeder for certification when buying a puppy of an Otterhound.

Final Thoughts

The Otterhound is such a fun-loving and boisterous dog breed. They are large, and their big body build may be dangerous for smaller kids. However, the Otterhound temperament makes them charming dogs for a family. Generally, you should consider this dog’s personality, training needs, feeding requirements, and health issues they may face. These considerations may lead you to raise a good Otterhound and build an excellent relationship with them.

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