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AKC Meet the Breeds: Otterhound

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The otterhound, a scent hound, is unique among hounds because of his rough, double coat and substantial webbed feet. He uses these features to hunt on both land and water. With his large, strong body and inquisitive nose, the Otterhound is willing to work all day. The coat may be any color or combination of colors.

A Look Back

When otters in England began preying on fish in the rivers and streams, the English used the otterhound to solve the problem. Although otter hunting is now banned, the breed still exists. His origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but many believe the breed originated somewhere in France and is similar to their vende hound. Otterhounds first arrived in the United States around 1900.

Right Breed for You?

Amiable, boisterous, and even-tempered, the otterhound enjoys his family, but may not be the best breed for toddlers or a frail elderly person due to his size. Exercise should be on leash or in a fenced yard due to the breed's tendency to follow his nose. Weekly brushing and occasional bathing will prevent mats in the coat, although owners shouldn't be surprised if the breed's large, hairy paws or beard collect mud or other objects and need to be cleaned more frequently. The Otterhound is stubborn, so training may take longer, but the breed can learn. Owners should be prepared for his "hound voice," a deep bay that neighbors may not enjoy.

  • Hound Group; AKC recognized in 1909.
  • Males: Approximately 27 inches tall at the shoulder and 115 pounds; Females: Approximately 24 inches tall and 80 pounds.
  • Otter hunter.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.