The Otterhound temperament makes him the personification of a “big, friendly giant.” This friendly and easygoing dog is most at home in a rural environment where he can run around freely. Bonus points for if he can swim, too!
Otterhound Temperament and Personality
There are three things you need to know about the Otterhound temperament: he's lively, even-tempered, and friendly.
This is a dog who just wants to live. He wants to run through the fields and chase prey and finish the day by taking a huge dip in the water.
You may have trouble convincing him to do anything he doesn't want to do, which usually means asking him to come inside for the night. Don't harsh his buzz, man!
You can almost imagine him saying, “la, la, la, I'm not listening! Too busy having fun over here!”
He's not a city dog, so he's not too keen on walking around the block on a leash. He's much happier on a farm or in a yard with a spacious backyard.
Don't get him wrong – he doesn't mind an occasional walk or a jog to stretch the old limbs. But he's much happier romping around with the kids or playing ball than going for a boring old walk.
Also, something to keep in mind: if you like a neat and tidy house, the Otterhound is not for you.
He loves to play in the water, including his own dish, and he doesn't mind getting muddy and then tracking it all through the house.
He's a happy dog, and nothing really troubles him.
He's got a great sense of humor and an endearing personality.
When he's not outside running around, he can be rather low-key, which makes him a lovable and even quiet family companion.
One thing's for sure: he loves his family with all of his heart…even if he's not great at listening to them.
Otterhounds are friendly dogs, but you should NOT have them in a house with any smaller pets that could be seen as prey. This includes cats.
While some dogs with a hunting instinct can be just fine with cats, so long as they're raised together, the Otterhound is not one of them.
The second puberty kicks in, that cat will be running away from that dog every day of its life. Definitely not fair to the cat.
He loves to chat, which makes him a bit of a barker. And oh what a bark he has!
You can train him to learn when it is appropriate to use his bark and when it is not. However, for the sake of both the dog and your neighbors, this is not a dog you should leave tied up outside.
A Brief History of the Otterhound Breed
Otterhound dogs originated in England in the early part of the 19th century.
Breeders originally bred the Otterhound for the purpose that his name suggests: otter hunting.
However, England banned otter hunting in 1978 due to the species suffering a significant drop in numbers.
This led to a decrease in the number of Otterhounds in the world, too.
This one may be a bit of trouble to train. He won't fight you for dominance, but he's not really picking up what you're putting down either.
The problem is that hunters did not keep the Otterhound as a pet, so he never really learned how to be one.
Be patient and consistent, and he'll come around eventually. He's known for having a mind of his own, this one, but at least he's cheerful about it!
You may not think such a large, shaggy dog could be so sensitive, but the Otterhound is.
No scolding or harsh slaps here! The Otterhound does best when you praise him like you would another person.
Tell him what a great job he did when he has mastered a trick, then give him a treat to show him your appreciation.
Patience is key when training an Otterhound. You may also find a clicker to be helpful, though nothing is more reliable than food when it comes to the Otterhound.
The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan a world-class Dog Trainer from New Zealand is worth taking a look at. This online resource has hundreds of fun informative dog training videos that can help you learn the basics and more.
Depending on the length and texture of the individual dog's coat, you need to brush an Otterhound, on average, about once or twice a week.
That's not too bad, since when you see a picture of an Otterhound, you may think that grooming him is at least a once-a-day chore.
Don't forget to clean his beard. He may enjoy dragging it across the ground, picking up every speck of dirt as he goes, or storing pieces of food in it for later.
This guy has one heck of a nose on him. He sure lives up to the “hound” part of his name.
For this reason, when you're giving him his backyard time, be sure to either keep him on a leash or within a securely fenced-in property.
He gets one good whiff of potential prey, and he'll be off like a shot.
One great way to exercise this dog is to let him swim. He loves the water – so much that if you don't take him to a pool or a lake, he'll just dip his head in his water dish!
Otterhound: Staying Healthy
Most Otterhounds are pretty healthy overall, but there are still certain health issues that can affect the breed, such as:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Canine thrombopathia (CTP) – a bleeding disorder
- Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
- Gastric torsion
The average Otterhound size for males is 90 to 110 lbs. Females are between 64 and 90, so either gender you choose, if you're into big dogs then the Otterhound is the dog for you.
The Otterhound's life expectancy is between 10 and 13 years – a typical lifespan for a bigger dog. Some Otterhounds have lived to a whopping 16 years old!
Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely Otterhound from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.
Finding the Perfect Otterhound
So you've decided you'd like to purchase an Otterhound. Now what?
You can buy an Otterhound from an Otterhound breeder, or you can look for one at your local rescue or adoption agencies.
However, take it as a warning up front that the Otterhound is not an easy dog to find.
Otterhound Puppies for Sale
The average Otterhound puppies for sale price is around $1,500.
Otterhounds for sale are more expensive because this is a rare breed.
There are, in fact, only 600 Otterhounds left in the world, so there aren't many breeders around who specialize in Otterhound puppies.
For this reason, an Otterhound price of $2,500 is not unheard of.
Otterhound Rescue and Adoption
If you want to adopt an Otterhound puppy, you may be able to find one through your local rescue or adoption centers.
However, it may be difficult to find an Otterhound for adoption, considering the rarity of the breed.
You may have a better chance of finding an Otterhound mix, but finding a purebred may prove to be rather tricky.
Since Otterhound breeders are, well, a rare breed themselves, you may want to consult
The Otterhound Club of America‘s website for inspiration.
The organization lists a total of only 14 breeders that they can recommend in the U.S.
Therefore, it goes without saying that you should prepare for the possibility that there may not be an Otterhound breeder in your state.
Conclusion: Why the Otterhound?
The Otterhound temperament makes him a joy to be around, but a pain in the butt to train.
The Otterhound is an incredibly rare breed, so if you manage to find one, don't wait. Someone else may scoop him up right quick.
However, this also means that he will cost a pretty penny, so you may have to save up before checking the market for an Otterhound.
The Otterhound is pretty healthy, all things considered, with an average lifespan for a bigger dog (10 to 13 years).
He's also a big dog, and a messy one, so if you don’t mind cleaning up after him all the time, then this is the dog for you.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.