In 12th century England, fishermen were finding that the population of Otters was increasing while the population of fish was decreasing. This otter invasion created the need for "Otter Dogges," skilled swimmers who could chase down otters and locate their dens witha terrier typically finishing the job. The Otterhound as we know it today, was not developed until the 18th century.Contributing breeds to the Otterhound are thought to be the Bloodhound and several rough-coated French hounds. Otter hunting reached its height of popularity in England around the turn of the 20th century, and the sport all but disappeared after World War I, when water pollution took a heavy toll on otter populations. Otter hunting was eventually banned in England and the existing packs of Otterhounds were sold to private parties or to mink hunters. The Otterhound is considered a rare breed with only about 1000 individuals worldwide. The Otterhound officially recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1910.
Otterhounds are known to be a joyful, lively and playful breed. They are known to be an independent and willfull breed that can be dfficult to train. Since they are hounds, they will follow any scent that they find interesting, so a backyard with a solid fence is a must. They also must be on a leash when they are walked, since they are prone to go off "hunting" by themselves. Otterhounds have a very loud and deep bark and they do make effective watchdogs, if left alone some of theseindividuals may turn into nuisance barkers. Otterhounds do make a good family pet, but care must be taken with small children since these dogs are so large. They will also get on well with any household pets that they are raised with. Otterhounds are an energetic breed that need a lot of exercise.
Otterhounds are a very large dog that usually weighs between 80 to 120 pounds and stand 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder. They have a rough, shaggy waterproof coat that has a slightly oily texture. The coat comes in colours that vary from black and tan, liver and tan, wheaten, tri-colored, grizzle, or red. The most distinctive feature of this dog is its webbed feet.
Otterhounds are a fairly easy dog to keep. Their shaggy coats are fairly "wash and wear" and need a weekly brushing to look neat and presentable. They are considered a seasonal medium shedding dog that will grow a new coat in the Spring and Fall. Since they have long, hairy ears they must be cleaned and checked weekly to prevent infections.
Otterhound Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Otterhounds are a fairly healthy breed. Some of the diseases that effect this breed are; Hip and Elbow Displasia, Epilepsy, Glanzmann's Thrombasthemia (a blood clotting disorder), and Bloat (the stomach twisting over on itself). The average lifespan of this breed is 10 to 13 years.
Otterhound Pros and Cons
This simplified list may help you decide if an Otterhound might be a good fit for your lifestyle.
Do You Want
- a big, shaggy dog?
- a dog that makes a good watchdog?
- a dog that is energetic and loves to play?
- an uncommon dog?
Do You NOT Want
- a big, shaggy dog?
- a dog that has a loud bark?
- a dog that is typically independent and can be difficult to obedience train?
- a dog that will "follow" his nose when he finds an interesting scent?
- a dog that is rare and will be difficult to find and expensive to purchase?
Useful Otterhound Links