The Otterhound, also called the Otter Dog, was first described in England during the time of Edward II (1307-1327), as being a rough sort of dog, somewhere between a hound and a terrier. Developed as a scenthound for the sole purpose of pursuing the elusive river otter, this is a big, boisterous but even-tempered breed with a well-established work ethic. Otterhounds are terrific swimmers, aided greatly by their large webbed feet, and they hunt equally well on land. The Otterhound’s most distinctive characteristic is its unusual shaggy coat, which has two very distinct layers and protects it from even the most frigid of water and weather. The American Kennel Club accepted the Otterhound for registration in 1909, as a member of the Hound Group. Today, there are fewer than 1,000 Otterhounds world wide.
The mature male Otterhound stands approximately 27 inches at the withers and weighs about 110 to 120 pounds. Adult bitches stand approximately 24 inches and weigh about 70 to 90 pounds. The breed’s hard, crisp, close coat is slightly oily and water-repellant. There is a dense, rough, broken outer coat of 2 to 4 inches in length, covering a short wooly undercoat. A soft or wooly outer coat is a very serious breed fault. Otterhounds should not be stripped, scissored or trimmed for the show ring. The breed can be any color or combination of colors, without preference. Regular brushing is important to prevent the Otterhound’s coat from becoming matted. His long ears must be kept clean and dry to prevent infection, particularly given his attraction to water.