History & Overview
The origin of Otterhound is unknown. The earliest mention of Otterhound in history was in the 12th century. Packs of these dogs were used to hunt otters, a sport that was quite fashionable among the nobility. Although no longer used to hunt otter, this scent hound is still used for other types of quarry.
The Otterhound is kind, gentle with people, and tolerant of other dogs and abuse. His gentleness makes him a natural for therapy work and a good family companion. He will do almost anything asked of him but will bark when forced or ordered, and can be most stubborn sometimes. When around other dogs, the Otterhound will avoid a fight, but when pressed, he becomes an aggressive fighter.
The outer coat is hard and crisp, the undercoat is close, woolly and water-resistant. It doesn’t shed readily but combs out during the shedding period. This makes for less hair about the house than it would be expected from a rough-coated dog. Any true hound color is allowed. The markings are not distinct, but are grizzled and blend gradually into each other. Colors include black and tan, black and tan grizzle, liver and tan, wheaten, and tricolor (white with black and tan patches).
Because these dogs were originally bred to hunt, their activity level is high. Both physical and mental exercise is essential to keep an Otterhound healthy and happy. A fenced yard is a must. Once he’s latched on something, his perseverance, stamina and determination are legendary. They like to chase cats. Swimming is an especially appreciated form of recreation.
His reaction to strangers varies from friendly to reserved; most are good watchdogs, but not guard dogs. Obedience training takes time and effort, for he is stubborn and independent. Although he is slow to obey, he will be good-natured about it.
With their propensity to slobbering water, lumbering around in a somewhat klutzy manner, and tracking in the mud with their hairy webbed feet, Otterhounds are not good choices for fastidious housekeepers. They have a loud, deep, distinctive bark, that carries for amazing long distances.
Known Health Risks
Both parents should have Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certificates.
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