The Otterhound is not a huge shedder. Their distinctive crisp coat is easy to groom and keep clean.
Amiable, boisterous and even-tempered Otterhounds are big, shaggy, intelligent dogs with a great sense of humor and a friendly personality. These hounds are happy to include any two-legged and four-legged members of the household into their ‘pack’. They get along well with children, other dogs, and pets. They are affectionate but don’t demand constant attention and are very good at entertaining themselves. As a large dog with an impressively deep voice, an Otterhound can make a good watchdog, but their friendly nature makes them poor guard dogs. Otterhounds are easy to train and want to please you, but they are often independent thinkers. Training requires patience, consistency and positive reinforcement.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Otterhounds thrive on a high-quality balanced diet and some owners select a “large breed” dog food formula.
The Otterhound is a large breed and has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his/her longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Otterhounds have a crisp, water repellent double coat with minimal shedding. It is easy to groom and keep clean. Expect to brush the coat weekly to keep it from matting. Frequent bathing is not necessary. Most Otterhounds don’t seem to have a strong odor as long as their beard is kept clean. Most are not slobbery, but their beards and ears get into food and water. Small towels close by will come in handy when dealing with an Otterhound. Nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Their ears should be checked for any signs of debris or infection. Brushing teeth should also be considered.
Today, otters are protected species in Britain. Otterhounds, relieved of their ancient duties, are fun-loving companions, eager athletes, and show dogs. Called the “clown of the Hound Group,” you may never meet an Otterhound you didn’t like. The trouble is, you may never meet an Otterhound. There are only 350 to 400 Otterhounds in North America. Please contact The Otterhound Club of America for Meet the Breed opportunities. Otterhounds need a moderate amount of exercise. Although you don’t need a huge yard, you do need a secure fenced area. Like other scent hounds, they are not reliable off leash.
Otterhounds are a relatively healthy breed with an estimated lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Like other large breeds, they can be subject to hip dysplasia and occasionally bloat. Seizures are a concern but no genetic test is available. Otterhounds can also inherit a bleeding disorder (Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia) unless both parents have been cleared through a DNA test. Although some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, the majority of Otterhounds are healthy dogs.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own an Otterhound can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.