What is an Otterhound? Ultimate Guide 2020

The Otterhound is a dog breed that is not so familiar to many pet owners. Due to their charming and adorable traits, this breed suddenly becomes a common pet for many individuals. Yet, there are still a few who need to know what is an Otterhound before owning one. If you are one of them, you are on the right track as we have here helpful information that you need to know regarding this fantastic dog breed.

An Overview to an Otterhound Origin

Generally, Otterhounds are descendants of Bloodhounds. But due to their unique ear fold, some people believe that this dog breed is also a relative of French Griffons. England is primarily the place of their origin where they were allowed to hunt and kill otters. Through the action of this dog breed, the otters within the English rivers were decimated.

Moreover, otter hunting, the first coordinated sport in England, employed packs of scent hounds. Yet, it does not specify that the Otterhound is the particular breed that was used. On the other hand, Otterhound hunt otters beside river banks together with small terriers. These two dog breeds were tandems as the terriers flushed the otter, and the Otterhound was the one to take it off.

The Otterhound also has a very sensitive nose that can follow the otter’s scent within the water and an otter trail on the land. They have an outer coat that is rough and water-resistant, an undercoat that is a little oily, and big webbed feet. Aside from that, this dog breed has great size, strength, and determination to do the job well, which defines what is an Otterhound.

As time passed, the Otterhound gained respect from numbers of avid admirers. Likewise, many kings admired this dog breed more than the other breeds. Among the Otterhounds’ royal fans were King John, Richard III, Edward IV, Henry II, and Elizabeth I, to name a few. With this admiration of the royal personalities, the definition of what is an Otterhound suddenly became popular.

When Otter hunting became popular in England right after World War I, there were almost 500 hounds within the 24 packs. Most of these dogs were not purely bred due to the reason that hunters crossbreed this dog species.

Its Introduction in the USA

During 1900, Otterhounds seemed to be brought into the United States. Their first entry in the said country was due to a conformation show in 1907 at Oklahoma. That’s the reason why people in the USA already know what is an Otterhound.

More so, they founded the Otterhound Club of America in the year 1960 and 1981; it was the first National Specialty that took place. Also, it was then in 1991 when the American Kennel Club officially recognized what is an Otterhound.

What is an Otterhound in terms of their Appearance?

The Otterhound can be distinguished through its large body build with a goofy scent. To love this big dog, it completes its look by having a shaggy coat, long ears, and webbed feet. They are generally a large dog breed that comes averages 24 to 28 inches from the shoulder level. Their weight is about 65 to 115 pounds.

When it comes to size, the male Otterhound is bigger, with an approximate height of about 27 inches and a weight of 115 pounds. The female Otterhound, on the other hand, is only 24 inches and 80 pounds in weight. Moreover, the Otterhound has beards, which seem to become an issue when drinking water.

Despite being huge, you may know what is an Otterhound for their being charming and adorable pooch. However, be ready to fix a big fence around your backyard and ensure that they will not linger out of that once you decided to have an Otterhound. This dog breed usually forgets their large size which, if they roam inside your house, they may generally cause a great danger within your territory.

What is an Otterhound based on their Personality?

To genuinely know what is an Otterhound, you must initially be aware of their personality. Check the following traits below to understand what is an Otterhound:

Amiable and loyal

This dog breed is an amiable furry friend that demands lots of affection within each family member. They like to play with kids even if they have a large body build. Yet, Otterhounds are very devoted and loyal to their family. 

Chasing instincts

Generally, the Otterhounds have their best asset – their nose. They initially follow it before someone or any other thing. If there is a scent that is so interesting for them, they will look for it and go after it regardless if it’s okay for you or not.

Because of this, they seem to be stubborn. Yet, this behavior naturally comes out for their strong instincts to chase other animals or fleeing creatures.


This characteristic of the Otterhound being an independent dog, allows them to do what they really want. But, their independence leads to very challenging training. It would be best if you had a great convincing prowess for them to do the things you ask. Aside from that, you must have more patience and well-skilled to make the training possible.

Have a booming voice

With a large and strong body comes a strong and loud voice as well. But, not every pet parent is fond of this Otterhound characteristic. For some, this deep bark can be very intimidating. And that sound may also be a loud warning to intruders. Yet, this barking attitude of the Otterhound is a sign of their being expressive.

Friendly Reminder:

To know more of what is an Otterhound, it is generally acceptable to understand that this dog’s physical traits, like their size, are highly predictable compared to their temperament. However, proper training can shape the Otterhound’s personality.

What is an Otterhound depending on their Coat Color?

Because of their shaggy coat, you might generally find the Otterhound a messy dog and quickly determine what is an Otterhound. The scruffy look of this dog breed is due to their double coat. Usually, their outer coat measures about two to six inches in length and is thick and has a rough texture. Meanwhile, the undercoat is generally woolly and has a small amount of oil.

The Otterhound is weather-resistant because of its excellent coat combination. Moreover, the color of their coat is generally based on the recognized hound color. This coat color has an exception, which includes the combination of liver and white, white with patches of black and tan, and an all-white coat. Generally, the most common Otterhound’s coat color is the black and tan grizzle.

what is an Otterhound

Their coat sheds and needs a once a week brushing so that matting can be avoided. Also, there are other Otterhounds that generally have soft coats, which also needs brushing of about two to three times per week. Further, it is recommendable to keep their coat natural, so you must not clip it. Once you decide to clip the coat, you will have to wait for about two years for it to grow back to its original length.

What is an Otterhound according to their Way of Grooming?

Here are some of the ways to groom the Otterhound:


Their shaggy coat is the most notable mark to distinguish what is an Otterhound. Because their coat grows long, they also develop a lengthy beard. That’s why it is essential to wash their beard every day due to the fact that this may drag food on the floor after eating. Moreover, daily washing of their beard will keep it clean and prevent the development of unpleasant odor.


Besides that, you also need to brush their teeth to remove the buildup of bacteria and tartar. The Otterhound’s tooth brushing must be done for about two or three times per week. Yet, everyday brushing of their teeth is highly recommendable so that gum disease and harmful bacteria may be prevented.


Additionally, trimming the nails of an Otterhound is also essential for once or twice a month. That is important so that they cannot acquire tears that may painful for them. Once you hear their nails clicking on the floor, then it’s time to trim their nails down.

Moreover, dogs’ toenails have lots of blood vessels, which may be a factor of bleeding once the toenails are cut too far. Due to this incidence, Otterhound may not cooperate for this grooming method the next time. It is generally advisable to ask for the vet or pet groomer’s help if you are not an experienced person in dog nail trimming.


This dog breed’s long hair usually hangs down, which is a distinguishable characteristic of knowing what is an Otterhound. And because the hair is lengthy, it often blocks their ears and prevents air circulation from entering there. Moreover, ear infections may occur.

For this reason, schedule a weekly check-up of the Otterhound ears and check for redness or bad odor. These are a great indication of ear infection. Once you check their ears, it is better to wipe them using a cotton ball. Remember that the cotton ball should be dampened with a gentle ear cleaner for the prevention of infections.   

Friendly Reminder:

Start exposing your Otterhound into brushing and physical examination activity once he is just a puppy. Give extra caution to frequently handling their paws as this dog breed is very touchy with their feet. Moreover, check their mouth, eyes, nose, and skin. Look for the presence of rashes, sores, and any signs of infection like redness and inflammation.

How to Take Care of the Otterhound?

Otterhounds are not a perfect fit for those pet parents living in apartments or houses without yards. That is primarily due to this dog’s big body build and a very active lifestyle. In case you are an energetic individual and fond of jogging, taking care of an Otterhound is a good idea.

Moreover, in terms of shelter, Otterhound can sleep better outdoors if there is sufficient room for them. Aside from that, a temperate and cool climate is perfect for them. Yet, Otterhounds can quickly get bored and begin to bark or attempt to escape once they are left alone for too long, even if they have an innate, independent characteristic.

Otterhound Training Needs

Generally, Otterhound should be initially exposed to puppy classes. Training and socialization are essential for Otterhound. They usually require early socialization, including exposure to various people, other animals, views, sounds, and even their experiences. One primary reason why socialization is crucial for Otterhound is that it guarantees that your puppy grows as a well-rounded pooch.

You could give them an unforgettable start to training by engaging them in a puppy class. Moreover, you could try to walk with the Otterhound into the park or stores so they can meet other people. That will let them enhance their social skills.

Slow housebreaking

Generally, Otterhounds are slow in catching up with the idea of housebreaking. With this, prepare yourself for a few months of continuous crate training.

Otterhound would be a perfect pet if you look for a pooch that is:

  • Large and has a shaggy coat
  • Enthusiastic and loves to go for more outdoor activities
  • Easygoing

Otterhound would not be your match if you look for a pooch that is:

  • Destructed once become bored
  • Have strong instincts in chasing animals
  • Stubborn
  • Do not easily train for housebreaking
  • Barking loud
  • Looking after numbers of brushing
  • Very hard to find
  • Responsible for water drippings on the floors

The dog breed’s negative behaviors are avoidable by opting for an adult dog from the shelter. Adult Otterhound can already prove themselves, and most of them do not possess negative traits anymore. Moreover, selecting the appropriate breeder and puppy is one way to avoid some of Otterhounds’ negative behaviors once you opt for a puppy. But, bear in mind that you cannot find a puppy’s inherited temperament until its growing-up stage.

Final Thoughts

Otterhounds may seem to be a new dog breed for many. That’s why most pet owners are finding what is an Otterhound. Knowing the origin, appearance, traits, or temperament of this dog breed is essential so that you can be aware of what to expect in the long run. Besides that, understanding the Otterhound’s way of grooming, providing care, and training needs is a way to produce a better and well-rounded adult Otterhound.

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