Exploring the Reason Why Otterhounds Are So Rare

Are you curious why are otterhounds so rare? For centuries, these majestic canines have existed yet remain largely unrecognized by many. Nevertheless, they are loyal and make great companions even with their rarity.

Delve into the captivating history of this ancient breed and uncover why they remain so scarce today in this blog post. By the time you finish reading, even if you’re a complete novice to these four-legged friends. You’ll have gained an insight into how they could endure from ancient times until the modern day.

Introducing the Otterhound: History and Origin 

why are otterhounds so rare

To gain a deeper understanding of the past behind this breed, let’s travel back in time to uncover its origin.

History of the Otterhound 

The Otterhound first appeared in England during the Middle Ages. Initially, these canine companions were bred to hunt otters that threatened the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen by preying upon their fish stocks. The Otterhound was a mix of various scent hounds, including the Bloodhound, the French Griffon Vendeen, and the Irish Wolfhound.

The breed was so successful that by the 19th century, there were over 10,000 registered Otterhounds in Britain. However, when otters became protected by law in the UK, their numbers began to decline until they reached near-extinction levels.  

Characteristics of the Breed 

 Otterhounds are large dogs with long, shaggy coats and short legs. They typically weigh between 60-100 lbs., making them quite powerful animals that require plenty of exercise and room to roam. Their coats are usually black and white or grayish-brown with reddish highlights around their eyes and ears.

Regarding personality, these dogs are extremely loyal and affectionate toward their owners. But can also be quite boisterous due to their hunting instincts. Likewise, they are known for being friendly towards strangers but will alert you if something seems off with someone approaching your home or property.  

 Why Are Otterhounds So Rare?

 Why Are Otterhounds So Rare?

For centuries, the Otterhound has been one of the oldest dog breeds. Sadly, despite its past popularity, this breed is now among the rarest in existence – with less than 1,000 registered through AKC worldwide. But why? Let’s delve deeper into what happened to cause such a rarity for this once-beloved pup.


The exquisite otterhound breed has tragically encountered a major drop in population due to extreme hunting. To save the beloved species from near extinction, conservation initiatives throughout the 20th century were extremely successful. Unfortunately, their size might make it tough for hunters to utilize traditional hunting techniques with any effectiveness.

Their owners eventually phased out otterhounds as they no longer needed them with the new protection measures. Though devastating, it is reassuring to know that such regulations have been implemented to help protect our wildlife.


This four-legged large dog is believed to result from several generations of intentional crossbreeding between various types of hounds, terriers, Scottish Harriers, and other breeds. Their formidable sense of smell makes them ideal gundogs and incredibly productive for otter hunting.

Although otterhounds possess an abundance of unique capabilities. Society has moved away from utilizing them, leaving a lacking market for such roles. To make matters worse, crossbreeding with different breeds constricts the gene pool available during breeding efforts – further complicating these arduous tasks. Otterhound puppies are born in the small litter at low rates. As a result, their population remains scarce compared to other breeds; thus, maintaining numbers is extremely difficult amidst this rarity.


This incredible breed is a rarity due to an unfortunate factor. They are more inclined toward certain diseases than other breeds. Hip dysplasia and skin issues, as well as many other ailments, have caused Otterhounds’ life expectancy and the probability of producing healthy puppies to be reduced significantly. As a result of their high vulnerability to these conditions, their population has steadily declined over time.

Despite their many difficulties, passionate breeders worldwide persist in doing whatever is within their power to protect and enhance the population. With attentive breeding practices and extensive health evaluations. These dedicated individuals remain devoted to safeguarding the future of this beloved canine strain.

🐾Lack of Public Awareness 

With its long past as a treasured companion of royalty during the Middle Ages, Otterhounds are highly overlooked. Many people have never heard of this breed before and are unable to recognize their brilliance or consider owning one.

Only recently have they become more popular, with more dedicated breeders working to build up their numbers. Unfortunately, even the most enthusiastic breeder won’t be able to easily replace thousands of years of inbreeding and lack of attention.

It has led to a steady decline in the number of Otterhounds, making them one of the rarest breeds. This is why many dog lovers are now interested in this unique and historic breed, as they work towards preserving their lineage for future generations.

Current Population

Believe it or not, fewer than 1000 Otterhounds are alive and registered worldwide today, as per American Kennel Club. While their rarity may make them fashionable, it is also concerning – unfortunately, there just aren’t that many people who have adopted Otterhounds as companions.

Because of their low numbers, the Otterhounds have achieved “vulnerable native breed” status due to a decrease in population over recent years. This makes paying attention to this unique and valuable breed even more important, as we must ensure its survival for future generations.

Thankfully, efforts have been made to raise awareness and enthusiasm for this incredible breed of dogs. 

Costs Involved in Breeding an Otterhound 

why are otterhounds so rare

Breeding an Otterhound requires considerable financial investment. The initial cost should be taken into account. Some puppies can reach up to $3,000 or more, depending on their pedigree. You must budget for ongoing expenses such as food, grooming supplies, vet bills, and training classes since they will accrue quickly over time. With careful consideration of all associated costs prior to buying your pup from a reputable breeder, your new four-legged family member can have everything it needs in life!

Obtaining a reputable otterhound breeder can be difficult due to their rarity. Before selecting one, ensure they have passed all the health screenings and tests, verifying that healthy puppies are being produced. Furthermore, look for someone with extensive experience in this breed who will provide reliable guidance along your journey as an owner of an otterhound puppy.

Although there are no guarantees that the price tag of breeding an Otterhound will soon be within budget-friendly limits, it is a possibility worth considering if this breed has caught your eye. With such low population numbers worldwide, anyone who opens their home to one of these four-legged buddies can rest assured they’re helping preserve a species with centuries of history.

Otterhound Breeder’s List 

For anyone considering welcoming an otterhound into their family, it’s critically important to research and selects a reputable breeder. To make the process easier for you, we’ve compiled this list of the top five U.S.-based otterhound breeders.

Kiowa Creek Hounds

Kiowa Creek Hounds breed only the highest quality Otterhounds with balanced temperaments, making sure each puppy is fit to become a beloved member of your family. Each pup has a health guarantee, vaccinations records from vet visits, and deworming treatments — but wait, there’s more! All pups also receive microchipping services for additional safety measures before being sent back home.

Blue Fairy Otterhounds

If you’re looking for a furry companion, consider Blue Fairy Otterhounds in California. Their ethics-first breeding approach ensures that their puppies are healthy and have excellent temperaments – making them the ideal addition to your home! All of their pups come with an AKC registration certificate and a full vet checkup, including a set of shots. And if that isn’t enough, they even offer a two-year health guarantee if anything unexpected happens.

Ironquest Kennels

Ironquest Kennels is proud to provide an unparalleled selection of purebred dogs from superior bloodlines. Whether you are looking for a pup with show ring potential or simply in need of an adoring family companion, their dogs have it all! Every puppy comes complete with AKC registration papers, vaccination records, and a three-year health assurance against any genetic defects or illness – offering the perfect balance between beauty and well-being. Additionally, if you ever require help training your new pet or just want some tips on how best to care for them – rest assured that Ironquest Kennels offers lifetime support as part of their commitment to providing exceptional customer service.


OHeavens has some of the most beautiful otterhounds around! Their dogs are bred to meet breed standard criteria while having excellent temperaments that make them great family members. Every puppy has full AKC registration papers, up-to-date vaccinations, deworming treatments, vet checkups, and a two-year health guarantee against genetic defects or illnesses. Plus, they offer lifetime support if you need help training or caring for your pup! 

Briarroot Kennel

Briarroot Kennel, located in Montana, offers some top-quality purebred otterhounds. All of their pups come from champion bloodlines which helps ensure that each one will have an even temperament that makes it the perfect pet. Every puppy has full AKC registration papers, up-to-date vaccinations, deworming treatments, vet checkups, and more! Plus, they offer lifetime support if you need help training or caring for your pup! 

Tips for Researching Reputable Breeders 

If you’re an international resident and seeking a trustworthy breeder, the abovementioned list may help you. Furthermore, here are several beneficial tips for researching credible breeders:

1: Do Your Research

Before deciding which breeder to choose, you must first learn about the breed standard, health concerns related to that specific type of pet, its availability in your region, and other relevant topics. This thorough research will give you an advantage when evaluating each potential breeder’s qualifications and standards. Doing so beforehand will help ensure they meet all necessary requirements for raising happy and healthy pets.

2: Ask Questions

After identifying a few promising breeders in your area, you must ask questions concerning their breeding practices and protocols. Find out about their experience with the breed and any health testing they may have done on their dogs or puppies. It is also important to inquire about any support or training services they offer after purchasing a puppy. 

3: Check Credentials

Ensure that any potential breeder has all the necessary credentials from local kennel clubs or associations. Reputable breeders should also have up-to-date vaccinations and relevant paperwork for each puppy they sell. It will help ensure you get a healthy and well-cared-for pup when purchasing. 

4: Visit The Facility

Once you find a few potential breeders that meet your criteria, visiting each facility before making your final selection is always a good idea. Visiting each facility will allow you to get an up-close look at how each breeder cares for their dogs and ask any additional questions not covered during phone conversations or email exchanges with them before visiting the facilities themselves. 

5: Get Referrals

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from people who have purchased puppies from particular breeders in the past – previous customers can provide valuable insight into what it was like working with specific individuals or businesses before making your own purchase decision. 

Overall, it’s essential to thoroughly research any potential breeders before deciding to buy an Otterhound puppy.

Areas to Look for When Adopting an Otterhound

In addition to purchasing a pup from a breeder, there are also a variety of organizations dedicated to the care and placement of Otterhounds in need. However, since these breeds are rare, you may have to act quickly to adopt one.

👉Local Shelters & Rescues 

One of the best ways to find an Otterhound rescue or shelter is by looking locally. Many shelters and rescues will have websites or social media pages listing all the animals available for adoption. It is a great way to get information on each pup and see if they fit your family well.

Additionally, many shelters have events throughout the year where you can meet potential adoptive pets in person – this can be especially helpful if you are interested in adopting an older dog as it allows you to learn more about them before committing to adoption. 

👉Online Resources 

In addition to local resources, several online resources can help you find an Otterhound rescue or shelter near you. The American Kennel Club (AKC) website comprehensively lists rescue organizations throughout the United States that specialize in specific breeds such as the Otterhound.

The AKC also lists upcoming adoption events so you can stay up-to-date on when nearby rescues and shelters are hosting their next event.

Another great resource is Petfinder. This website offers listings of adoptable pets in your area and provides contact information for each rescue organization listed so you can easily contact them directly.

Moreover, several Facebook groups are dedicated solely to finding homes for rescued animals – these can often be a great resource if you’re interested in finding an Otterhound specifically. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Rare Are Otterhounds? 

Otterhounds are listed as one of the world’s rarest breeds by the American Kennel Club due to their declining numbers in the U.S., Europe, and Canada. Finding a reputable breeder may take time and effort if you’re looking to adopt or buy an Otterhound pup. It’s also important to check that your breeder has done all necessary health tests, as these pups can be prone to certain conditions like hip dysplasia and ear infections.  

Are Otterhounds Expensive? 

Yes, they can be! While adoption fees from shelters or rescue groups vary from place to place, purchasing an Otterhound from a responsible breeder will cost $2,000, depending on where you live and the pup’s pedigree. You must research when choosing a breeder to ensure you get a healthy pup with good breeding lines.  

Are Otterhounds Friendly? 

Yes! Otters are friendly towards other people and animals alike—though they may tend to chase smaller creatures due to their hunting heritage. As long as they get enough exercise (they need at least 1 hour per day), they tend to be pretty calm indoors too! That said, they bark quite a bit, so apartment living might not be ideal for them unless someone is home during the day or they can go on regular outings into nature with their humans.  

Should I Get an Otterhound? 

If you’re looking for an intelligent companion who loves outdoor adventures as much as snuggling indoors, then yes! After all, what better way to bond than by going on hikes together or playing fetch in the park? With proper socialization and training from a young age (as with any pup!), your Otterhound will become your best friend before you know it and provide years of joy and companionship in return! 

Final Words

So why are otterhounds so rare? Otterhounds remain a rare and elusive breed for several reasons. From their high energy and exercise needs to continued susceptibility to genetic issues. The complexities of successfully maintaining an otterhound litter are multifaceted.

However, otterhounds can make wonderful companions for those willing to research and find a reputable breeder and put in the work of training and to socialize their pup. These pups will warm your heart for years with their spirited personalities and loving natures.

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