As the name suggests, Otterhounds were developed to hunt otters throughout England. The otters were considered a pest that preyed on fish in rivers, and were hunted to be removed. They needed the ability to follow and hunt, sometimes swimming for hours to catch their prey. The breed, however, was so good at his job that otters are now protected and their hunting banned.
The dog breed sports a shaggy and laid back appearance, however, his looks can be deceiving. The breed is tall and lanky and very athletic. They are great swimmers and enjoy activities with families, especially children. They will also be somewhat vocal, baying like a hound rather than barking.
The breed is laid back and friendly. An intelligent breed, he gets along well with everyone including children. He enjoys any activity his family does, and will happily tag along. However, the breed is a hound first and foremost, and everything will be forgotten if he locks onto a smell that interests him.
Average lifespan for the Otterhound is 10 to 12 years, typical for a larger sized dog. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia and Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia, a blood platelet coagulation disorder. The breed is also prone to bloat, or Gastric Dilation and Volvulus, due to their large size.
Their double coat can be easily matted if not cared for. Brushing weekly will help keep the coat free of mats and have a “managed” shaggy appearance to it. The coat is naturally water resistant and will help keep the Otterhound warm and dry in wet conditions.
Due to his hound nature, the Otterhound has a bit of a short attention span. Short, positive training sessions are best for getting in training before he becomes preoccupied with something else. The training should be focused and positive and stopped when he becomes bored.
They require a great deal of exercise, however, should be kept on a leash when outdoors. The breed can easily catch a scent and run off on his own without a leash to keep him at bay. The breed also enjoys swimming and any other activity with his family.