What Does the Otterhound Look Like?

The Otterhound is a large, unique breed with a distinct appearance. Known for its shaggy coat and sturdy build, the Otterhound possesses several physical characteristics that set it apart from other breeds. In this article, we will explore the characteristics that define the Otterhound’s appearance and make it a visually striking and recognizable breed.

1. Size and Build

The Otterhound is a large and rugged breed, with a strong and muscular build. Here are some key points about the size and build of the Otterhound:

  • Size: Otterhounds are typically considered a large breed. Males usually stand between 24 and 27 inches (61 to 69 cm) at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) in height.
  • Weight: The weight of an Otterhound typically ranges from 80 to 115 pounds (36 to 52 kilograms) for males, and 65 to 100 pounds (29 to 45 kilograms) for females.
  • Physical Build: Otterhounds have a solid and well-muscled body, with a deep chest and strong limbs. Their body is well-balanced and proportionate, allowing them to move with agility and endurance.
  • General Appearance: The Otterhound has a noble and majestic presence, exuding strength and power while maintaining an overall gracefulness in its movements.

2. Coat and Color

The Otterhound’s most distinctive feature is its unique coat, which provides protection and insulation in various weather conditions. Here are some key points about the Otterhound’s coat and color:

  • Coat Type: Otterhounds have a dense, rough, and shaggy double coat. The outer coat is coarse and oily, while the undercoat is softer and provides insulation.
  • Water Resistance: The Otterhound’s coat is water-resistant and helps keep them dry and warm, even in wet conditions. It provides insulation against cold water during their historical role in otter hunting.
  • Color: Otterhounds come in a range of colors, including various shades of grizzle, which is a mixture of black or gray hairs with red or fawn hairs. The most common color combination is black and tan, but they can also have a solid color or have white markings on the chest, feet, and tail tip.
  • Maintenance: The Otterhound’s coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain its characteristic appearance. Regular brushing, occasional bathing, and trimming of excess hair are necessary to keep the coat in good condition.

3. Head and Facial Features

The Otterhound has distinct facial features that contribute to its unique appearance and give it a noble expression. Here are some key points about the head and facial features of the Otterhound:

  • Head Shape: The Otterhound has a large, broad head with a well-defined stop. The skull is slightly domed, giving the breed a noble and commanding appearance.
  • Eyes: Otterhounds have medium-sized, deeply set eyes that are usually brown or hazel in color. Their eyes have a gentle and expressive look.
  • Ears: One of the most distinctive features of the Otterhound is its long and pendulous ears. The ears are set low, hang close to the cheeks, and are covered with long hair, which helps trap scents during hunting.
  • Nose: The Otterhound has a large, well-developed nose with wide nostrils. Their sense of smell is exceptional, which was crucial for their historical role in tracking otters.
  • Muzzle: The Otterhound has a longand powerful muzzle, which is slightly tapered and covered with a dense, wiry beard. The beard adds to the Otterhound’s distinct look and helps protect their face from debris and water during their hunting activities.

4. Tail and Limbs

The Otterhound’s tail and limbs contribute to its overall balance and provide the breed with the agility and strength needed for its historical role. Here are some key points about the tail and limbs of the Otterhound:

  • Tail: The Otterhound has a long and tapering tail that is set moderately high. It is thick at the base and tapers towards the tip. The tail is usually carried in a saber-like curve when the dog is in motion.
  • Limbs: Otterhounds have strong and well-boned limbs that provide them with the necessary power and agility. Their legs are straight and muscular, allowing them to move efficiently on various terrains.
  • Paws: The Otterhound has large and webbed feet, which are advantageous for its historical role as a water dog. The webbing between the toes helps them swim with ease and navigate through challenging aquatic environments.
  • Claws: The Otterhound’s claws are usually strong and well-developed. Regular trimming is necessary to ensure they don’t become overgrown and cause discomfort or issues with movement.


The Otterhound is a visually striking breed known for its shaggy coat, strong build, and noble expression. Its distinct physical characteristics, such as the dense and water-resistant coat, long pendulous ears, and broad head, make it instantly recognizable. The Otterhound’s size, strength, and agility are perfectly suited to its historical role as an otter hunter. Despite its rarity today, the Otterhound continues to captivate dog enthusiasts with its unique appearance and charming personality.


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