The Otterhound originated in Great Britain, and was originally used to hunt down otter. This is how the breed got its name. It is thought that many breeds were used in the making of this one, the Bloodhound being one of them. This breed was first registered with the AKC back in 1910. Today, it has become one of the most endangered breeds of dog on the planet; it is said that there are fewer of these dogs than there are Giant Pandas. Only 51 of these animals were registered in the year 2006, and only 15 in 2011. It is estimated that there are only 1000 of these dogs all over the world. There are numerous efforts being made to save it from extinction.
This is a happy dog that has a mind of its own, and is considered very independent, but affectionate and loving towards its family at the same time. It loves to run and play. Hence, if you are considering getting one, make sure you that have enough space for him/her to be able to run around and get exercise, and basically for a dog that size to be comfortable.
This dog loves to be involved with everything that the family is doing, so including it in family activities is essential to building a good relationship. Since it has a past in hunting otter, it loves to swim. It can be very determined and set when it has made up its mind about something, which includes following a scent. It is a hound dog at heart, so a nice, sturdy fence which is at least 5 feet tall is a must for the times when your dog is out in the yard. Another reason is that this dog is also a jumper. It needs close supervision when outside.
This dog has a loud bark and is generally reserved with strangers. However, there have been Otterhounds that were exactly the opposite, so it also depends on his/her personality. If you are the kind of person that likes to have a very clean house all the time, then this is not the right dog for you, as it tends to be very messy. Training can be difficult at times because of the stubbornness of the breed; when he/she has made up his/her mind to not do something, it will not be done. Due to this reason, this breed does best with those who have experience in dog training.
This big dog gets along well with children and other animals if it has been socialized early on. However, do not trust it with small animals, because this is a hunting dog that will follow its instincts. Being an endangered breed, the pups of this dog are not easy to come by, and require some time. Hence, if you have booked a pup, you will have to wait for a while until you get it.
Appearance and Maintenance
This breed has a thick, oily, long, and shaggy double coat which is rough to touch. The most common colors are black and tan, or liver and tan but there have been tri-colored, grizzle, and red-colored coats as well. It has an innocent and loving expression on its face, which is further enhanced by the floppy fringe. As it has been bred to swim for hunting otters, it has webbed feet. It can reach a height of 28 inches at the shoulder, and a weight of 80-120 pounds (36 to 54 kg), not a small dog by anyone's standard. The average size of the male is 27 inches in height and 120 pounds in weight, while that of the female is 24 inches in height and 80 pounds in weight.
Although the coat is very shaggy and thick, it is not very high-maintenance. This breed does not need as much extra grooming as many would think, although when grooming the coat, it must be done thoroughly. It needs to be brushed about twice a week, and every few months, you might want to get it clipped to keep your dog looking his/her best. Regularly check his/her ears for infections. Keep the ears as dry and clean as possible, because the dirtier and damper the ear, the higher is the risk of an infection starting. Also, keep the beard clean, because it is the one thing that tends to get dirty a lot just because of the location. This dog is a medium shedder and is not recommended for those that suffer from allergies.
The average life expectancy of this breed is just a little over 10 years, although some may live for 12 to 15 years as well. It can become lazy, and hence needs to be accustomed to regular exercise. The major health concerns of this breed are hip and elbow dysplasia. This is mostly due to its size. Hence, it is recommended to not allow puppies to jump from heights, climb up and down too much, or walk and run around on hard surfaces. This enables the joint sockets to become stronger and develop. Other than that, it is prone to hereditary epilepsy, bloat, or ear infections.
This is a very loving dog who makes for a wonderful pet. It loves to run and play, which makes it a lot of fun to be around.