Gentle natured and amiable, the Otterhound is a delightful breed of dog that practically any dog lover can easily fall in love with. However, they are in no way a low-maintenance breed for the casual dog owner and require the care and attention of a dedicated and experienced owner.
A large and powerful scent hound, Otterhounds have a history spanning more than a 1,000 years. Sadly, they are also one of the most endangered breeds of dog in the world today with only around 1,000 specimens alive worldwide.
Otterhounds need a great deal of vigorous activity to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament.
Swimming is their favorite thing to do, so those who have pools or live alongside rivers, lakes, and streams can expect to find your Otterhound in the water often. On land, Otterhounds need to run. They make excellent jogging buddies and can keep up on bike rides, as well.
Otterhounds are difficult to train, and are not for novice dog owners. They have minds of their own, and can be downright stubborn, refusing to participate in training activities.
Food motivation works best, and it is helpful to keep sessions short, but no matter how your patience is tested, do not let your Otterhound dictate when sessions are over. Consistency is the key to training an Otterhound.
It may be tempting to let your guard down and bend the rules from time to time, but you must never give your Otterhound and inch, or he will take a mile.
Although the Otterhound’s exact origins are unclear, it is believed that the breed originated in France. The breed got its name from the early 19th century British fishermen who started using them to hunt otters that were wreaking havoc on the local fish populations.
Otterhounds are voracious eaters and should be fed on two meals of high-quality dry or canned food each day. Care should be taken to not over-feed these dogs. Due to their large barrel chests they are also known to suffer from bloat and gastric torsion.
Like most large, rapid growing breeds, Otterhounds occasionally suffer from joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also known to suffer from ear infections due to the long, droopy shape of their ears. Otterhounds can also sometimes suffer from epilepsy and this is considered to be a hereditary ailment.
The average lifespan of an Otterhound is around 10 to 13 years.
Otterhounds should never be trusted with non-canine pets, even if raised alongside these other animals. Their instinct to chase is too strong, and once adolescence kicks in, your Otterhound will turn on your cat, seemingly overnight. Rodents are in even more peril, as cats can at least run.