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The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated scent hound with drop ears and an attractive bearded face. They come in all the usual hound colours, and their rough, shaggy coat has an oily, water resistant quality to it to allow them to work in water and all weather. The long, strong tail is carried high when the hound is working and droops lower when relaxed or at rest.

10 – 13 years
36 – 54kg
All recognised hound colours including: whole coloured, grizzle, sandy, red, wheaten, blue, white, black and tan, blue and tan, black and cream, liver, tan and liver, tan and white
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Otterhound breed can suffer from: 
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
- Epilepsy which is a condition where abnormal brain function can lead to seizures which damage the brain. 
- Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia, which is an inherited condition that affects a dog's blood clotting ability. 

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme 
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme 


The Otterhound is a friendly, good natured dog with a sense of humour and fun. They are also a large dog in every sense of the term, tall, long, well built and shaggy coated. They can be exuberant and boisterous, and as with all scent hounds, are inclined to switch their ears off once their nose is engaged.

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Otterhounds

Training Otterhounds

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Otterhounds stopped hunting otter in 1978, as otters were rare and gained protected species status.
  • The Otterhound is now endangered and are thought to be rarer than the giant panda. They are on the UK’s vulnerable breeds list with less than 50 puppies registered per year for the last 5 years.
  • Otterhounds have an odd way of drinking, submerging their whole nose under water at times, blowing bubbles and spreading the water quite some distance!
  • They have large, webbed feet to help them swim.
  • They’re known to be quite vocal and have a deep ‘bay’ which carries over long distances.
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