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Country/Date of Origin: England/11th Century

This hunting hound has a long history, but is short in numbers. It was bred as a pack hunter to track and kill the river otter, which was considered vermin in England (because they were decimating the fish population in lakes and streams). In the late 19th century, just before otter hunting was outlawed, there were more than 20 packs of Otter Hounds that ran regularly. The Otter Hound hunts both on land and in water, tracking with a methodical thoroughness. The breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1910, but a puppy may be difficult to find.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Hound

Breed Club: The Otterhound Club of America

Rescue Club: Otterhound Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A large, rough coated hound that is about as long as it is tall
  • Height 23-27 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 65-120 pounds
  • Long high-set tail is not altered
  • Hairy, pendulous ears are not altered
  • Feet are webbed for swimming. puppy may be difficult to find


  • Affectionate and protective of master and family
  • Because they are pack hounds, Otter Hounds get along well with other dogs
  • Amiable, but not too intelligent. Rather difficult to train
  • Because it is so active, the Otter Hound is not recommended for apartment living


  • Disheveled looking coat is double layered. The long guard hairs are rough and feel harsh to the touch
  • The undercoat is dense, short and woolly; together they provide great water protection
  • Oily coat has a distinct smell
  • Any color is allowed
  • Mop of hair over its eyes gives this dog a friendly appearance
  • Medium grooming required; tends to shed. a puppy may be difficult to find.

Health Concerns:

  • Extremely healthy breed. Although large, seems relatively free of hip dysplasia
  • Prone to ear canker
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Otter Hounds have a "voice." Its powerful bay led hunters on a musical chase
  • Owners are treated to a running commentary on life in general
  • The bay is not as frequent as the grumbles, sighs and pleasure groans that it feels obligated to share with those around it. However, a family with an Otter Hound must be prepared for a starlight howl on occasion
  • Nothing makes an Otter Hound happier than swimming and they can't resist taking a dip in anything bigger than a cup of water
  • A very rare breed and a puppy may be difficult to find

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