• Overview

    The Otterhound is a scent hound who will follow his nose wherever it leads him. They are large, loping dogs who take up a lot of space indoors. Males can weigh up to 115 pounds and stand 27 inches tall, and females are slightly smaller. Although they make adept sniffers, they aren't always graceful movers. They can be unconscious of their size, or of the amount of room they might need to get around.

    Otterhounds are sweet, eager dogs who are affectionate and loyal, but not overly needy. They can be independent and self-assured, but they are not necessarily very tidy. Plan to devote some time to training, socializing and grooming these playful pups and they will make excellent family companions for rural homes.

  • Personality

    Otterhounds are amiable dogs who love to explore outdoors. They are a little clumsy and can get into mischief if they are left alone for too long, but they are always friendly and never intentionally troublesome. Otterhounds are boisterous and affectionate around their family. These scent hounds were bred to be single-minded and to follow their instincts, so they shouldn't be left outside alone. They hunted in packs of other dogs, which helps them relate well to other dogs. They don't startle easily. However, they are not the most responsive to people. Otterhounds can be a little stubborn during training, especially if they believe it is getting in the way of their natural exploratory activities. They have a piercing howl-like bark which they might have to be trained not to use literally at the drop of a hat, because they love the sound of their own voice.

  • Coat Care

    Their coats should have a natural, shaggy appearance. The rough double coat is dense, coarse and crisp to the touch and oily, wooly and short underneath. Otterhounds have softer hair on their head and lower legs. These dogs were made to hunt in water and on land. Their water-resistant coat and webbed feet help them be effective swimmers and hunters and allow them to stay comfortable outdoors. Otterhounds come in most colors, and no preference is given to any shade. Otterhounds are prized for their natural, rugged appearance, so your big bed head won't need too much grooming.

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Brush the Otterhound about once a week to remove any tangles and prevent the hair from matting. If the coat does mat, it has to be clipped completely.If the coat does mat, it has to be clipped completely. Once the Otterhound's coat is clipped down, it takes about 2 years to grow back to its characteristic shaggy length, so brush routinely. The longer hair that forms the dog's beard should be brushed and washed more frequently, because it gets dirty easily as the Otterhound eats and plays. They can be messy eaters, so a routine brush down after meals might become a daily event.

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The longer hair that forms the Otterhound's beard should be brushed and washed more frequently, because it gets dirty easily as the Otterhound eats and plays.

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Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with wire coats generally require regular hair clipping. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use clippers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from the elements. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Some owners choose to hand strip the dead hair from their wire-coated dogs' coats. Use a stripping knife or a shedding blade to remove dead hair and shape the dog's coat. Pluck loose, dead hairs by hand or with a tweezers.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.