The Otterhound is a large breed dog. He has a rough coat and a lot of fur on his face at his eyebrows. He has a wide head and a muscular neck with a strong body and a wooly undercoat. Their bodies are very muscular and balanced and this can make them good protectors. They are good with people but do like to chase. They carry their tails low unless there are excited. The Otterhound is a pack hound and he has webbed feet so he is a very good swimmer. He loves the outdoors. Even though they can be chasers, they are easy to train and are naturally obedient.
The Otterhound's weather proof coat is rough, bushy and coarse, but is never wiry. He can be found in a variety of colors with different markings. His natural skin oils can cause his coat to smell, so bathing should be a monthly thing.
The dog can be all black, all brown, all tan, all sable, or grizzle. He can also have black markings on his body.
Breeding Bloodhounds, Harriers, Griffons, and Terriers has created the Otterhound. He is named such because he was used to control populations of otters and we kept by hunters and fishermen. They also would hunt in packs for trout. English kings raised Otterhounds and used them for sporting events like hunts. The dog was immensely popular until the twentieth century when otter populations started to wane. The Otterhound is now used primarily as a show dog and as a companion. He competes in water trails and has been used to hunt water-loving game like mink, bears, and raccoons. He is also used as a family pet.
Otterhounds have a lot of energy and are best described as exuberant. They get along well with families, but are not the best match to families with very small children as the dog's exuberance can easily knock over or accidentally hurt a small child. He is a terrific companion, however, and does very well with people, older children, and even family pets. He can be willful, but when well trained the dog will be eager to please and show his intelligence. The dog responds well to positive reinforcement, but it is necessary to show the dog that you are the master. They follow their sense of smell and will bark sometimes when outdoors, but are quiet and patient when indoors. The dog is quite vocal besides his bark, and often groans and sighs. They make good watchdogs and their bark is easily discernable in problematic situations. They are not good guard or attack dogs.
There are a few health disorders that run in the Otterhound breed, but overall a healthy Otterhound will remain healthy. He is prone to elbow dysplasia, Thrombocytopenia, Hemophilia, obesity, and hip dysplasia.
Otterhounds have a weather-resistant coat and the need regular grooming to care for it appropriately. The dogs do need regular cleaning of their beards. The coat does not need to be clipped. He sheds an average amount at season changes. Their feet need to be cleaned because the webbing collects dirt from outside. This, along with cleaning the dog's face, should be done a few times each week. Professional groomers should be used to wash the dog at least once a month to prevent the dog from starting to smell bad. If the dog swims a lot, be sure his ears are clean.
His energy level requires the Otterhound to have a good deal of exercise. He trains fairly easily and they are good to have in dog parks, regular parks, and even walking and jogging with their owners. It is important to remember that he naturally follows his sense of smell, so he might run off if taken off of his leash. He loves water and will swim for extended periods of time. He likes games with the family, and will travel well, especially to outdoor locations. He enjoys all sorts of games and sports and will gladly accompany a master on a hike or jog.
The Otterhound does best with training that incorporates the dog's natural playfulness. If play is used in training sessions, the dog will enjoy it more and learn better. He should be introduced to training at a young age as the breed is known to be a little stubborn and willful, and will not accept training willingly at a later age. The dogs can be a little difficult to train because of their stubborn streak, and may require a harsh voice command sometimes, but ultimately they will learn fast. He is very intelligent and his sense of smell rules his brain, so he can be trained to search for things. However, remember that he also needs to be trained not to open cupboards and refrigerators because of this same personality quirk. They respond well to encouragement and will be good therapy dogs, hunting dogs, and family pets if trained properly.