otterhoundsOtterhounds are an extremely uncommon dog breed, especially in the United States. Weighing between 80-115 pounds, otterhounds are big, boisterous, and affectionate. Bred in medieval England, their breed was originally intended for the now-outlawed activity of otter hunting. Medieval England had a huge otter population which preyed on fish in rivers and ponds. To protect the valuable food source, packs of Otterhounds were kept by country squires and even kings. Otterhound packs were too good at otter hunting. River otters nearly went extinct and hunting them became outlawed. Otterhounds are extremely unique as they have a dense shaggy coat, webbed feet, an acute sense of smell, and an affinity for swimming. 

Otterhounds are ideally suited for otter hunting. Built to be expert swimmers, the top of their coat is rough and waterproof and their feet are large and webbed. Their chest is extremely broad with powerful shoulders which allow them to swim all day without tiring. Their large black nose is extremely sensitive in order track an otter’s scent trap underwater over great distances. The Otterhound’s size and strength enabled them be able to take a sharp-toothed, razor-clawed otter down that might weigh up to 20 pounds. 
 
As a breed, Otterhounds require a lot of mental and physical exercise. This can be through walks, obedience classes, tracking, and agility. Similarly, Otterhounds can be very sensitive. They can be stubborn when it comes to training. 
 
For a large breed, Otterhounds are generally healthy and responsible dreamers will screen their puppies for health conditions such as epilepsy and hip dysplasia. Like all large dogs, Otterhounds can experience bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition where the stomach enlarges and sometimes twists. Potential and current owners should educate themselves on the signs of bloat and the actions to take should it occur. 
 
Otterhounds are extremely uncommon, but would make a great member of an active family. Their shaggy coat, webbed feet, and affinity for swimming makes this dog a unique and loving potential member for you family.