Otterhounds are big, shaggy dogs who love to run and swim, but don't like being told what to do. They are friendly and easy going, happy to greet newcomers with a wag of a their tail. Otterhounds are independent animals, however, who don't like being told what to do or when to do it. Their easy-going nature makes this trait easy to overlook, as it's not likely you'll ask him to do too many things he doesn't want to, other than say, come in from playing outside. Otterhound are best served by experienced dog owners who love the outdoors.
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 not city dogs. They need room to run every day and while they will appreciate walks and jogs, they prefer playing fetch or romping with kids over being hooked on a leash and led around town.
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.
Housebreaking an Otterhound can be a challenge, as well. Their stubborn nature will kick in, and it can take six months to a year to have them fully housebroken. Crate training is often a must with this breed.
No matter how well trained your Otterhound, you should never trust him off leash. They have a strong desire to chase small animals and will take off like a shot and are not likely to listen to your calls to return home if they are chasing a rabbit or squirrel.
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.
This breed loves to bark, and their bark can be a nuisance as it is loud and bellowing. Your Otterhound should not be kept tied up outdoors, for the sake of your neighbors.
Neat freaks beware: Otterhounds are messy. They treat their water bowl as if it's a small pond, splashing and spraying water everywhere. They will jump and roll in mud puddles, and won't hesitate to run right past you into the house when sopping wet.