The Otterhound’s shaggy coat and general appearance makes it one of the more interesting dogs to watch romp around outside on a rainy day. But there are a number of other things that make the Otterhound unique, many that most people are completely unaware of. In this article we will take a closer look and discover 10 things you didn’t know about this unique dog breed.
1. They are on the verge of extinction.
Among all dog breeds threatened with extinction, the Otterhound is near or at the top of most lists. There are a reported 43 pairs left to continue the bloodline. On the one hand, this is an opportunity for breeders who want to not only save the breed but make a lot of money in the process. On the other hand, the demand has apparently not kept up with the supply, so the breed is dying off of what basically can be described as indifference.
2. You must have a significant amount of energy to keep up with them.
While not trying to focus on their rarity, the lifestyles of many people have changed to a less active one making the Otterhound a bit too much for many people to handle on a daily basis. Because the size of the Otterhound is classified as large, weighing in at about 115 pounds on average, a large, hungry, super active dog is not everyone’s cup of tea.
3. Their life expectancy is around 12 years.
Generally, this is not a major point when listing points about a dog since the average life span for many dogs is in the same area. But the math says that the Otterhound could actually become extinct within the next 25 years or so if nothing is done to increase the breeding of the animal. There is a definite trend towards cross breeding designer dogs, and apparently the Otterhound’s best traits are not in demand.
4. The original purpose to own one has now become either illegal or extinct.
The Otterhound got its name because it was trained to hunt and kill otters that were killing the trout and salmon people were using to live off of. Since those early days, people have found other ways to catch fish and killing otters has become illegal. While they have excellent hunting skills, they can be considered to be a species that has outlived its usefulness.
5. They could undermine the reputation of their cousins, the Bloodhound.
Bloodhounds are famous for their keen sense of smell and tracking ability. As it turns out, the Otterhound not only has a very similar sense but is naturally inquisitive. This makes for a breed that will sniff out just about anything – even things you try to keep from its snout.
6. They have webbed feet.
One of the most unusual characteristics of the breed is their webbed feet. Not lick a duck’s, but their paws are clearly designed for swimming and navigating waters. Another possible reason for the indifference of dog owners to take to the breed is they love to swim as well as romp. You have to have a special place to accommodate this breed.
7. They prefer older children.
This is not to say Otterhounds are in any way dangerous or unfriendly to younger children but their high energy level and natural playfulness requires a certain amount of energy that will wear out a younger child. They are safe and gentle to everyone, but if you are looking for a dog for your 5 year old to play with, you should look for an alternative breed.
8. They are easy to train.
Because their ancestry is connected to obeying simple commands, the Otterhound can be depended on to be quite easy to train. An intelligent as well as obedient breed, you will find them to be quick to learn commands, especially when you begin their training early when they are puppies.
9. You are not going to find them barking all the time.
Despite their high energy, the Otterhound is not a dog you have to worry about barking all the time. They are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to being noisy, though they are naturally boisterous. Their role as a watchdog is iffy since that is not one of their dominant traits.
10. They require a medium amount of doggy maintenance.
Their shaggy coat will require a slightly higher amount of maintenance, basically because it can get matted and tangled. The basic rule in such situations is the sooner you take a preventative approach the less hassle it will be for you later. They will shed each of the four seasons, the amount will depend on the season. But nothing over the top.