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A healthy start to life

Puppyhood is a time of massive physical and behavioural change, and a steep learning curve for new owners. Find out how you can provide your puppy with the best start to life so they develop into strong, healthy dogs. 

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Lifetime of health

Get advice and information on how to provide the best care for your dog at every stage of life.

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Let's talk Otterhounds

Upon first impression, you might confuse the adorable, shaggy Otterhound with similar-looking poodle-mixed breeds, but Otterhounds date back hundreds of years to mediaeval times in England, when they were celebrated for their otter-hunting talents. However, nowadays, these amiable, long-haired dogs are best known for their pleasantly docile and affectionate temperament, making Otterhounds an excellent choice as companions for humans. However, don’t let their stocky frame trick you—Otterhounds are teeming with energy, so just be ready to tire out their long legs for them to ease back into their otherwise naturally calm and placid demeanour.

Official name: Otterhound

Other names: Otterhound

Origins: United Kingdom

Close-up of Otterhound in black and white
 Drooling tendencies


Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level
Suited to apartment living? 
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: moderate Family pet? 
 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?*

*We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.
Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
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Illustration of Otterhound
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 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 15 months
 Adult age:  15 to 5 years
 Mature age:  5 to 8 years
 Senior age:  From 8 years

Otterhound walking across field of grass and pink flowers


Get to know the Otterhound

All you need to know about the breed

The Otterhound breed is a true joy to be around, with their slightly clumsy yet supremely friendly and affectionate temperament towards family members. Otterhounds do get on well with children, once trained—although of course, as with any large dog, they should not be left unattended with them. While Otterhounds are affable and accepting of other canines due to their background of living and working in packs, because of their strong prey instinct, they are not recommended for households with smaller animal beings (never a positive outcome for the latter.)

The Otterhound breed has a distinctively shaggy, waterproof coat, usually in beige with red, brown or grey undertones, and a strong, muscular build: They look as if they were developed for the great outdoors, and that’s no accident. The Otterhound breed originally filled a niche role as a hunter of otters in 13th-century England, thus are excellent swimmers, especially thanks to their large, webbed feet (yes, you read that correctly) and waterproof coat. As a result, the Otterhound needs plenty of exercise—long walks as well as chances to run and burn off some of their energy. Just watch out for large puddles and other bodies of water.

Keep in mind that Otterhounds do have independent temperaments, so will need a patient and consistent approach to training, with plenty of treats (taken out of their daily food rations of course!). However, they are big, people-pleasing softies and enjoy nothing more than attaching themselves to your every move.

Otterhound looking over wooden fence


2 facts about Otterhounds

1. An exceptionally-rare breed

Although Otterhounds are believed to have traces of other more well-known breeds in their genetics, including Bloodhounds and several French hounds, they are still considered extremely rare on their own. As reported by the Otterhound Club of America, there are fewer than 800 Otterhounds currently on the planet, most of which are found either in the United Kingdom or the United States.

2. Chummy with the royals

The Otterhound breed has been considered a much-adored sidekick to British royalty since mediaeval times. So much so that multiple British kings were given the label of Masters of Otterhounds, including Henry II, Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward II, Edward IV, Richard III, and King John. However, only one British queen – Elizabeth I – was officially awarded the title of Lady Master of Otterhounds, after owning and adoring her own pack of Otterhound dogs.


History of the breed

Hailing from the hilly and windswept landscapes of 13th-century England, the Otterhound breed was originally developed for exactly what their name suggests since otters were considered a pest species in the fishing industry (thankfully, this industry is now outlawed). The chase of the speedy and clever otter required a dog with exceptional ease on both land and water, and as such, the Otterhound’s large, webbed feet allowed it to experience huge success. Their notoriety out in the field (or river, as it were) caught the attention of both noblemen and royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I, who invited a pack of Otterhounds to be esteemed members of her personal entourage.

As with many other rare breeds, the Otterhound’s popularity started to decline when their exceptional tracking and sniffing abilities were no longer needed in the field. The decrease in their breed numbers was exacerbated by the fact that otter hunting was banned in England in the 1970s, with otter populations at risk of extinction.

As of today, Otterhounds are considered the most endangered native breed of dog in the United Kingdom. The Otterhound was recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1985 and thereafter, by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1909.

Side view of Otterhound in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Otterhounds

1. Head

Large head with a broad, domed skull and long muzzle.

2. Coat

Long coat with a dense undercoat, variety of colours.

3. Body

Solid strong body, thick tail gradually tapering.

Otterhound mid-air running across grass towards camera


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Otterhound
Side view of Otterhound standing on short grass


Caring for your Otterhound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Otterhound dog’s gorgeous wiry top coat, which is complemented by a dense undercoat, protects these nature-loving dogs from thick shrubs in the forest. Otterhounds require weekly brushing and the occasional bath to look in top shape. Brushing their waterproof coat also spreads natural protective oils throughout. Make sure to check your Otterhound’s ears regularly for wax and debris build-up, as well as any water left over from unexpected swims out in nature to help prevent ear infections. Like other breeds, their nails need trimming regularly and their teeth should be cleaned daily. In common with other sporting dogs, Otterhound dogs need plenty of exercise, and should only be allowed to run off lead in a securely enclosed space, because of the breed’s strong and enduring prey drive. When it comes to training, patience and a kind but firm approach will be needed—these dogs can be independent-minded. Though once they are onboard, it will be a breeze as this is an obedient breed overall. Early socialisation will help them overcome their occasional wariness of strangers and will ensure that they integrate perfectly with their human families.


All about Otterhounds

Although they have a high barking tendency, Otterhounds very rarely show aggressive behaviour. In fact, they are generally quite amiable and friendly towards unfamiliar people and other animals. In other words, Otterhounds might not be the best choice for a watchdog.

Although they are not among the breeds most known for it, Otterhounds’ thick shaggy coats do shed, and they need regular brushing by their owners to keep their floppy yet fabulous beige fur in order. More frequent shedding is usually seasonal as the Otterhound breed grows a fluffier coat for the cold weather or sheds fur for the summer.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/