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Characteristics, History, and Health


The Otterhound is a breed with a history stretching back several centuries, with the earliest references dating to the 12th century. It originated in England and was primarily used for hunting otters, hence the name. Their sense of smell and webbed feet made them excellent for this role. Otterhounds have a dense and rough double coat that is designed to protect them from the elements when they are hunting in water. Their outer coat is coarse and somewhat oily, while the undercoat is softer and denser. The population of the breed decreased significantly with the banning of otter hunting in the UK in the late 20th century. It is considered a vulnerable and endangered breed due to its low population.

Main Info
Alternate Names
None known
Life Expectancy
10-13 years
Average Male Height
27 inches
Average Female Height
24 inches
Average Male Weight
115 pounds
Average Female Weight
80 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Double, Rough
Coat Colors
Black, Black & Tan, Blue, Gray, Lemon, Liver & Tan, Tan, White, White Black & Tan, Wheaten, Blue & Cream
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Lemon Markings, Tan Markings, Black Markings, Badger Markings, Silver Markings, Black & Tan Markings, Grizzle Markings, Liver Markings, White & Tan Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Otterhounds can suffer from degenerative myelopathy and progressive rod-cone degeneration. A specific hereditary condition for which they should be tested is Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia Type I.

Personality and Behavior

Otterhounds are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are good with children and can get along well with other dogs, but their hunting instincts may not make them the best choice for homes with smaller pets. They are intelligent dogs, but can be somewhat stubborn, so they require consistent and patient training. Their active and energetic nature means they need plenty of exercise.

Fun Facts

According to the AKC, the Otterhound is one of the most endangered dog breeds in the world. It's even more rare than the Giant Panda.

They have one of the most senstive noses in the canine world and can tell if an otter passed through the water the night before! They are also said to be able to track scents that are over a week old.

They have webbed feet, a unique characteristic that aids them in swimming.