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The Full Otterhound Description

These are big dogs with big appetites. They are also strong. Because of their large size, long swishing tail, and gregarious personality, Otterhounds should live where they can get plenty of exercise. They love people.

Did you know?

The Otterhound is a large breed of dog developed in England to hunt otter. The hunting of otters was practiced because they were preying on the fish in the rivers and streams to an annoying extent. Otter hunting is now banned.
The Otterhound has webbed feet.

So you want to own an Otterhound?

The Otterhound is covered with a shaggy coat that is relatively easy to care for; weekly brushings will keep shedding to a minimum.
Otterhounds get along with other animals and are good-natured with children.
Otterhounds have a melodious voice, which they are known to use freely. They are energetic dogs who need plenty of room for exercise and exploration. A fenced yard is a must for Otterhound owners.

Indicative Breed Standard


General Appearance

Large, straight limbed and sound, rough-coated with majestic head, strong body and loose, long striding action. Rough double coat and large feet essential. Free moving.


Big, strong hound primarily built for long day’s work in water but able to gallop on land.


Amiable and even-tempered.

Head and Skull

Clean, very imposing, deep rather than wide, clean cheekbones, skull nicely domed, neither coarse nor overdone, rising from distinct though not exaggerated stop to slight peak at occiput. No trace of scowl or bulge on forehead, expression being open and amiable. Muzzle strong, deep; with good wide nose, wide nostrils. Distance from nose end to stop slightly shorter than from stop to occiput. Plenty of lip and flew, but not exaggerated. Whole head except for nose well covered with rough hair, ending in slight moustache and beard.


Intelligent, moderately deep-set eye; haw showing only slightly. Eye colour and rim pigment variable according to coat colour (a blue and tan hound may have hazel eyes). Yellow eye undesirable.


Unique feature of the breed. Long, pendulous, set on level with corner of eye; easily reaching nose when pulled forward, with characteristic fold. Leading edge folding or rolling inwards giving curious draped appearance – an essential point not to be lost. Well covered and fringed with hair.


Jaws strong, large, well placed teeth with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Long, powerful, set smoothly into well laid back, clean shoulders. Slight dewlap permissible.


Well laid shoulders. Forelegs strongly boned, straight from elbow to ground. Pasterns strong and slightly sprung.


Chest deep with well sprung, fairly deep, oval ribcage. Ribs carried well back allowing plenty of heart and lung room; neither too wide nor too narrow.


Body very strong, with level top line and broad back. Loins short and strong.


Very strong; well muscled when viewed from any angle, standing neither too wide nor too narrow behind. Hind angulation moderate; hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out. Thighs and second thighs heavily muscled. In natural stance, hindlegs from hock to ground perpendicular.


Large, round, well knuckled, thick padded, turning neither in nor out. Compact but capable of spreading; hind feet only slightly smaller than forefeet. Web must be in evidence.


(Stern) Set high, carried up when alert or moving, never curling over back and may droop when standing. Thick at base, tapering to point; bone reaching to hock and carried straight or in a slight curve. Hair under tail rather longer and more profuse than that on upper surface.


Very loose and shambling at walk, springing immediately into a loose, very long-striding, sound, active trot. Gallop smooth and exceptionally long striding.


Long 4-8 cm (11/2-3 ins), dense, rough, harsh and waterproof but not wiry; of broken appearance. Softer hair on head and lower legs natural. Undercoat evident and there may be a slight oily texture in top and undercoat. Not trimmed for exhibition. Presentation should be natural.


All recognised hound colours permissible: Whole coloured, grizzle, sandy, red, wheaten, blue; these may have slight white markings on head, chest, feet and tail tip. White hounds may have slight lemon, blue or badger pied markings. Black and tan, blue and tan, black and cream, occasional liver, tan and liver, tan and white. Colours not permissible: Liver and white, a white-bodied hound with black and tan patches distinctly separate. Pigment should harmonize though not necessarily blend with coat colour; for example a tan hound may have a brown nose and eye rims. A slight butterfly nose permissible.


Approximate height at shoulder: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 61 cms (24 ins).

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