Otterhound’s size and characteristics

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It is believed that among the ancestors of the Otterhound there were French dogs along with the native English ones.

He is a kindly fellow with a distinctive loud bark that he emits if necessary if he reports finding prey, although today his main purpose as an otter catcher is no longer used. The breed has an excellent sense of smell. When chasing an otter, its mark on the ground is called a “Drag,” and on the water a “wash” An otterhound can follow the “drag” for up to twelve hours and the “wash” for up to five hours. In addition to its water-repellent coat, it also has webbed paws.


Large, straight-legged and robust, stiff-haired, with a majestic head, strong body, and spacious, long-paced movements. Stiff double coat and large paws are very substantial. Free movement.


The distance from the tip of the nose to the foot is slightly shorter than from the foot to the occipital tubercle.


Good-natured and well-balanced. Signs of aggression or nervousness should be severely punished.


Clean, very imposing, deep rather than wide, expression open and good-natured.  The whole head, except the nose, is well covered with stiff hair, ending with a small mustache and beard.


Skull: Beautifully domed, not coarse or overdeveloped, rising from the foot to the small ridge of the occipital tubercle. No traces of frown or prominence on the forehead.

Stop: distinct, although not excessive.


Nose: Good width, with wide nostrils.

Muzzle: Strong, deep.

Lips: Big lips and muzzle, but not overdeveloped.

Jaws & Teeth: Jaws strong, large; correctly set teeth with good, correct scissor bite, i.e., the upper teeth meet the lower teeth tightly and are erect in the jaw.

Cheekbones: clean cheek arches.

Eyes: intelligent, moderately deeply planted; third eyelid only slightly visible. Eye color and eyelid pigment vary with coat color (blue-patterned dogs may have hazel eyes). Yellow eyes are undesirable.

Ears: A unique breed trait. Long, floppy, set at eye-level; when flattened out they easily reach the nose, with characteristic flaps. The forelimbs fold or wrap inwards, falling in beautiful folds, a characteristic feature not to be lost.  Well covered and framed with wool.


Long, powerful, passes gradually into well sloped, dry shoulders. A slight suspension is acceptable.


Very strong.

Topline: Straight.

Back: broad.

Lumbar: short and strong.

Chest: deep with well arched, good, deep oval-shaped rib cage; not too wide nor too narrow.  Ribs extend well back, giving plenty of space for the heart and lungs; not too wide and not too narrow.


Posed high, carried aloft when moving or when the dog is alert, never laid back, and may hang down at rest.  Thick at the base, tapering toward the end; the last vertebra reaches the jumping joint, kept straight or with a slight curve.  The hair on the underside of the tail is longer and more abundant than on the top.



Shoulders: Clean and well sloped.

Forearms: strong-boned, straight from elbows to the ground.

Feet: strong and slightly sloping.

Forelegs: large, rounded, with well-curved toes, with thick pads, not turned inwards or outwards. Compact, but able to spread out; hind paw only slightly smaller than front one. The webbing should be obvious.


General appearance: very strong; with good musculature when viewed from any angle, a stance not too wide and not too narrow. Moderate articulation angulations of the hindquarters.  In a natural stance, the hind legs stand perpendicular to the ground from the hindquarters.

Thigh: Very muscular.

Shin: Very muscular.

Hind joint: low above the ground, not turned inward or outward.

Hind paw: Only slightly less than the front paw. Large, rounded, well-curved toes with thick pads, not turned inward or outward. Compact, but able to spread out; hind paw only slightly smaller than front one. The webbing should be obvious.


A very loose and dragging stride that instantly turns into a loose, very long stride, firm, active trot. The Otterhound’s gallop is smooth, with an exceptionally long stride.



Length 4-8 cm, thick, coarse, stiff, and water-repellent, but not wire-haired; appears to be kinked. The softer coat on the head and the lower part of the legs is normal. The undercoat is pronounced, and there may be light grease on the covering hair and undercoat. Not trimmed for show.  Must be shown in its natural state.


All recognized colors for hounds are allowed: monochrome, grizzle, sandy, red, wheat, blue; there can be slight white markings on the head, chest, legs, and tip of the tail. White hounds may have a slight lemon, blue, or badger mottled markings. Black and tan, blue and tan, black and cream, brown, brown and tan, and white and tan are common.

Non-allowed colors: brown with white, dogs with a white body, and black and red-brown with clearly separated spots. Pigment must be in harmony, though it does not have to match the color of the coat; e.g., papal dogs may have a brown nose and eyelid outlines. A slightly unpainted nose is allowed.


Height at withers: approx. 69 cm for males; approx. 61 cm for females.


Any deviation from the foregoing should be regarded as a defect and penalized in proportion to deviation and its effect on the health and welfare of the dog.

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