23-27” (58-69cm) 65-115 lb (29-52 kg) Rough outer coat, woolly water-resistant undercoat.“Grizzle” or sandy colour with black and tan.
The Otterhound was bred to hunt the otters that were depleting fish in England’s rivers. To appreciate the breed’s aquatic skills, consider that the European otter weighs 20 pounds (9 kg), lives mostly underwater and surfaces only occasionally for air. The otter’s underwater scent trail is called “a drag”, and to follow it, Otterhounds needed to swim for hours. Such a keen nose and staying power support the belief that Bloodhound and Southern Harrier genes found their way into Otterhound DNA. Some British royalty (including Elizabeth I) even bore the title Master of Otterhounds – quite a testament to the breed’s significance. But in time, the otter population dropped so dramatically that the species fell under protection, and hunting was banned. The Otterhound was then out of a job. The owners of two solitary packs committed themselves to keeping the breed alive, and established the Otterhound as a show dog. In North America, the breed has hunted game, but today’s breed fanciers remain more enamoured with the Otterhound’s looks, voice and temperament.
Friendly, even-tempered and exuberant, the Otterhound loves to play in water –especially if people are included in the fun. He has a distinct baying voice, but is not a barker. He is intelligent, but his attention span can be short. Scent-driven, the breed does best in a secure country setting.