Otterhound

It shouldn’t come as any great surprise that the otterhound, was bred to hunt otters. The practice of otter hunting is illegal now, but in the past, fishermen viewed otters as unwelcome seafood-seeking competitors.

Consequently, the otterhound is a working breed with a strong sense of smell, an oily double coat, long folded ears and large webbed feet. Their fur color tends to be combinations of black, tan or red. The undercoat is cotton-like, while the topcoat tends to be coarse and wiry. It is a large breed with males weighing about 115 lbs and females coming in at approximately 80 lbs. Their bark is deep, and almost musical like other hound breeds. The actual origins of the breed are unknown, but there is speculation that the otterhound originated in France.

Otterhounds are friendly, good-natured dogs that get along well with children and other pets. Since they are large, they may not be the best choice for families with young children. They should to be kept on a leash or in an enclosed area for exercise, because they simply can’t resist following their noses. They also have the ability to jump fences, so supervision in a run area is a must. Plenty of exercise is another must. If left to its own devices, a bored otterhound will find its own destructive entertainment. There are reports of otterhounds that learn to open gates and even raid kitchen cabinets for favorite foods.

It is interesting to note that the breed is considered vulnerable, because just over 30 puppies were registered in 2011. Otterhounds are good family pets, so it isn’t fully understood why they aren’t as popular as basset hounds and beagles.

Like most hounds, otterhounds can be stubborn and difficult to train. Training sessions should be fun and short in duration. Otterhounds respond poorly to severe training methods such as shock collars or harsh tones of voice. They like to eat, so food rewards are very useful during training.

All in all, an otterhound is a great, but lesser known breed. Their friendly, outgoing nature makes them great pets.

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