The Otterhound is a shaggy, rough-coated hound who sports a shaggy beard and bushy eyebrows. The head is similar in shape to a Bloodhound, measuring 11 to 12 inches from the end of the nose to the occiput for a 26 inch tall dog, and similarly proportioned for other sized dogs. The muzzle is square, the jaw powerful and the flews deep. The nose should be large and is black or liver in color, depending on the color of the coat. The eyes are deep set and range in color from black to hazel, always complimenting the coat coloring. The ears are set low and should reach the tip of the nose when pulled forward. The tail is high set, long, and tapered, reaching at least to the hock. Webbed feet assist in swimming. Any color is acceptable except for liver and white, white, or white with black and tan patches. The most common colors are black and tan and grizzle.
Size and Weight
Male Otterhounds stand about 27 inches at the withers and tip the scales at 115 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 24 inches and weighing around 80 pounds. Breed standard denotes this as a guideline, rather than an absolute. In proportion, the Otterhound is slightly rectangular, and overall balance of the dog is of more importance than the dog's actual measurements.
Coat and Color
“Shabby chic” is a good way to describe the coat of the Otterhound. The weather-resistant double coat is made up of a rough, thick top coat that is anywhere from two to six inches in length, and a wooly, oily undercoat. The coat is designed to protect the dog from cold water. Any color is acceptable except for liver and white, white, or white with black and tan patches. The most common colors are black and tan and grizzle.
The Otterhound is an average shedder who loses hair year round and must be brushed one to two times per week in order to avoid mats. Those individuals with soft coats must be brushed two to three times per week. Clipping the coat is not a good idea. Once the dog's coat has been cut off, it can take up to two years to grow back in properly. Otterhounds are messy when it comes to eating and drinking, and his beard should be washed and dried daily to prevent tangles and unpleasant odors.
The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.