The Otterhound is an old British dog breed. It is a scent hound and is currently recognised by the Kennel Club as a Vulnerable Native Breed with around 600 animals worldwide. (1)(4)

Otter hunting dates back to the early medieval period, with references it is found as early as 1360. The Otterhound, however, can only be traced back as a distinct breed as far as the early 1800s.

The otter is one of the largest and most intelligent carnivorous mammals in Europe. To be equal to the otter, an Otterhound was said to need "a Bulldog's courage, a Newfoundland's strength in water, a Pointer's nose, a Retriever's sagacity, the stamina of a Foxhound, the patience of a Beagle, and the intelligence of a Collie]".(1)(5)


The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated hound with an imposing head. Originally bred for hunting, it has great strength and a strong body with long striding steps. This makes it able to perform prolonged hard work. The Otterhound hunts its quarry both on land and in water and it has a combination of characteristics unique among hounds; most notably an oily, rough, double coat and substantial webbed feet. They have a nose that can track in the mud and water for over 72 hours. (1)(3)


Amiable and even-tempered. (2)

The Otterhound enjoys considerable exercise, but can also be a couch potato. They can be good family dogs but need to be kept in a secure property since they can jump fences up to 5 feet high, but rarely try. (1)

Otterhounds have extremely sensitive noses which make them inquisitive and perseverant in investigating scents. Consequently, they need particular supervision when outdoors. They are friendly dogs with a unique bass voice which they use frequently.(1)

Height: Dogs approx. 69 cms at shoulder. Bitches approx. 61 cms at shoulder. (2)

In Conclusion

Now you know a little about the Otterhound you may have think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Otterhound and its needs and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.


  2. DOGS
  3. Otterhound Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue". Puppyfinder.
  4. "UK native dog breeds 'at risk of extinction', BBC News 
  5. Leighton, R, 1910, Dogs and All About Them, Cassel and Company Ltd, London