The Otterhound dog breed is a special type of canine native to the UK. It is classified as a scent hound because it has an exceptionally perceptive nose. It can be described as a shaggy dog with a large head and a black and tan-colored coat. The coat is medium-lengthed and requires grooming at least once a week. Despite what their appearance suggests, these dogs are quite welcoming, warm, and affectionate creatures. They blend well with humans, children, and other pets.
They were bred specifically to hunt otters. Otters were found to be overpopulating the lakes and ponds of medieval England. The earliest recorded mention of this breed of dog can be traced back to 1200 AD. Over the years, they have become an invaluable companion to humans. They are kind, loyal, and well-behaved. However, its population seems to be dwindling and is soon to become one of the rarest species of dogs found today. Many organizations have come up to save and rescue these noble creatures from extinction.
Read on to know more about the trademark characteristics, interesting history, and other facts about this group of dogs. If you enjoy reading about this fascinating dog, do consider reading our articles on the Scottish deerhound and pharaoh hound.
The Otterhound is a canine. These dogs can be categorized as scent hounds on account of their highly sensitive nose.
An Otterhound can be classified under the Mammalia class of the Animalia kingdom.
At present, around 600-800 dogs of this breed are left. Due to this statistic, they are considered as Vulnerable species by the UK Kennel Club.
While this dog breed is native to the UK, it is also found in the USA and Canada.
Otterhounds can tolerate life in cold environments better than hot environments. This could be because of its heavy outer coat. These dogs are usually kept as pets and live in homes. Owing to their large size and their ability to jump, it is advisable to keep them in houses with a fenced yard. Since the Otterhound is a large dog with high energy levels, it requires space and open ground to navigate a healthy life. Therefore, it is not suited to life in apartments, and you must avoid making it a couch potato.
Since the Otterhound's sensitivity level is low, it can easily live with other humans, children, and pets. The Otterhound temperament can be described as affectionate, independent, and fun-loving. These are quite boisterous and will fit right in, even if you have a hectic daily life.
Like most dog species, the Otterhound life span is 10-13 years. Rarely some specimen live up to the age of 15.
This canine breed is a viviparous mammal. The female Otterhound gives birth to 2-14 puppies in a group or litter. Generally, hounds tend to complete their physical maturity within a year. Training from a younger age will allow you to mold your pup's behavior with ease. It is advisable to buy pups from a certified breeder who would check for underlying genetic conditions.
The IUCN Red List does not have an entry on this breed. However, the AKC and the UK Kennel Club have deemed this breed to be Vulnerable.
The Otterhound is a large dog with a rough double coat and webbed feet. Most of its characteristics are the way they are because the Otterhound breed was modified for hunting; otter hunting in specific. The Otterhound coat is long and shaggy and comes in various colors. The rough coat tends to be slightly oily on its underbelly. The most common colors are black and tan. This is a large dog that grows up to 27 in (69 cm) tall. Its average weight is about 80-115 lb (36-52 kg). The dog is known to have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, which does not come as a surprise as it belongs to a hunting breed. Its developed sense of smell allows it to track mud, water, and other substances. This breed of dog requires careful grooming and exercise to keep its health in check. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), weekly brushing/grooming would suffice for this dog. They tend to shed seasonally.
The Ptterhound is a large, rough-coated dog breed with an adorable head and kind eyes. It has an easy-going personality. Otterhounds are cuddle-worthy and have a shaggy appearance.
Otterhounds are quite boisterous in nature. It has a loud, booming bark. Its bark is often cited as musical. It uses a range of vocalizations such as grunts or groans. Videos of these hounds harmonizing in a dog group/groups are plenty available on the internet. Training to tamper its barking is encouraged during its initial years. It also has a high olfactory acuity. Its sharp nose picks up on scents very easily and is rightly classified as a scent hound.
Otterhounds are large dogs. It has a big head and a medium-length coat. These dogs reach 24-27 in (61-69 cm) in height, from shoulder length. Its weight lies within the range of 80-115 lb (36-52 kg). They are approximately four times larger than a Pomeranian. Due to its high length, it is advisable to keep this dog within a fenced yard.
The Otterhound breed is well equipped to hunt in land and water. It can run long distances with good speed. Additionally, the webbed feet and waterproof Otterhound coat make them great swimmers.
On average, an adult male Otterhound weighs around 115 lb (52 kg), whereas a grown female's weight would around 80 lb (36 kg). If not engaged with enough exercise or given too much food, these dogs may become overweight.
No specific names have been designated to the different sexes of this species other than dogs and bitches for males and females, respectively.
The babies of the Otterhound can be called pups or puppies.
The Otterhound's diet or the food to be provided largely depends on the physical attributes of your dog. Based on the age, build, exercise level, and metabolism, you can decide how much to feed your pup. On average, three to four and a half cups of nutritious food should be given to your pet. This could be divided into smaller, more digestible meals. Keeping track of portions and meal timing will keep the pounds and health in check. The Otterhound has a medium tendency to gain weight. Measure your dog and keep the number of treats within the limit.
Like humans, dogs, too, have certain dietary requirements. They require a good amount of protein and other vitamins. There are plenty of options to cater to these needs. These can either be store-bought, canned-raw food, or vegetarian food. If the meals are being prepared at home, the recipes should be cross-checked with a vet to ensure their effectiveness. Some sources of vegetarian proteins are cottage cheese, eggs, baked beans, and lentils.
No, Otterhounds are not very slobbery in nature. But it may have some tendency to play-bite i.e. be mouthy. Good training and diverting this tendency into games such as fetch is a good idea.
Definitely! Breeders initially intended Otterhounds to be adept at hunting; however, over the years, this dog has been domesticated and is now a great option to have as a pet. These are family-friendly dogs, and they especially get along well with children and other dogs or pets. Otterhounds are highly affectionate with humans. The right type of training and grooming can certainly enhance this trait. Children tend to create natural havoc, but Otterhounds have a laid-back personality and do not mind being in such an environment. Ensure your pet gets an adequate amount of exercise relative to its energy level for balanced health.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a great place to look for certified breeders. These breeders follow the rules and requirements while breeding the puppy. It is a great place to start your journey of adopting an Otterhound. The Otterhound Club of America is a similarly well-informed organization working to rescue and promote the Otterhounds.
The origins of this breed can be traced back to medieval England. A high population of otters, which created an imbalance in the fish population, posed a problem. Otterhounds were used as a population control measure. Their acute sense of smell because of the sensitive nose helped in identifying and capturing the otters. The hound was very famous among the kings and squires. In fact, with the continued usage of Otterhounds, the otters' population was nearly got extinct. Since then, Otterhounds have become a national specialty of England.
Some health problems to look for while caring for this puppy or dog are elbow and hip dysplasia and gastric dilation volvulus. Training your puppy early on to not jump from high places might help prevent this problem. Due to its large head and ears, it may develop certain ear infections, too. Epilepsy and seizures are also some hereditary health problems that are faced by these dogs. One way to ensure is that this does not happen is to select your breeder wisely and carefully. Many national organizations can assist your decision to select a trustworthy breeder. Some of these include the American Kennel Club (AKC), UK Kennel Club, and Otterhound Club of America.
Otterhounds have been categorized as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the UK Kennel Club. A recent estimate showed a total of only 600-800 dogs left. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Otterhounds are rarer than the Giant Panda. The population of the Otterhound dog breed has always been low, even when the otter hunting sports were enjoying their peak glory. As its utility declined, so did its population. The popularity of other, smaller breeds has also been cited as one of the reasons.
Some of the rarest dog breeds are the Stabyhoun, found in the Netherlands and often described as all-rounders; Mudi, the Hungarian dog breed that excels at various dog sports; Tibetan Mastiff, a large dog breed of China, known to be the ancestors to some of the biggest dog breeds such as Saint Bernand; Azawakh, a rare sighthound of the Sahara; and Thai Ridgeback, a ravening, territorial dog. The AKC also has a similar list. It mentions the English Foxhound, loyal companions especially used to hunt foxes; Harrier, another hunting breed found in England; Cesky Terrier, a dog which hunts in packs; and Finnish Spitz, another hunting dog breed found in Finland.
Some other rare breeds are the Bergamasco, Skye Terrier, Pyrenean Shepherd, Chinook, and Norwegian Lundehund. We would also like to add the Otterhound breed to this list. This breed's population has been steadily decreasing.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our badger fun facts and Cornish rex facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable otterhound dog coloring pages.