The Otterhound is friendly, boisterous, independent, intelligent and cheerful. Otterhounds are friends with everyone, including children, other dogs, strangers and household pets. They are not the easiest dogs to train and they have a mind of their own. They enjoy the company of other dogs as they are pack animals. Otterhounds are very energetic and their even-temper makes them a joy to live with.
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Otterhounds should not be clipped as they are supposed to look natural with their shaggy coats. They only need occasional brushing and the coat is easily maintained.
Exercise is essential for Otterhounds, as they have an abundance of energy. They need a large area in which to exercise and should not be let off the lead unless in a controlled or confined space, as they will run off if they pick up an exciting scent. The backyard needs to be well fenced to keep these dogs from roaming.
Most of the history of Otterhounds is unknown but they have been traced back to at least the 12th century. They are believed to have evolved from the old St. Hubert Hound, the old Basset Griffon Vendeen and the Southern Hound. They were valued for their ability to hunt and kill otters, who caused havoc with the fish in British rivers. The Otterhounds had to be agile and strong, as the otters weighed up to 16 kg (35 lb) and because they had to quickly take to the water and be able to scramble up and down slippery river banks. These hounds also had to swim long distances under water. From 1870 to 1890, the Otterhounds in the Hawkstone pack had the incredible record of 704 otters.
General Appearance: Strong and shaggy with a gentle expression.
Color: All recognized hound colors are permitted. They are usually grizzle or sandy with black and tan clearly defined.
Coat: The outer coat is long, dense, rough and waterproof. The undercoat is short and fine.
Tail: Set high, carried well up but not curled.
Ears: Set low, long, thin and fringed with hair on the tip.
Body: The body is strong with well laid back shoulders and a deep chest. The ribcage is well-sprung and the back is broad and level. The loin is short and strong and the thighs are big and firm.
- Otterhounds can be kept indoors or outside in a kennel.
- Otterhounds appear to amble casually with their long-limbed stride, giving the impression of being extremely laid-back.