Before making the decision to bring an Otterhound into your family, ask yourself the following questions:
Can you provide a securely fenced area? Otterhounds are scent hounds. They tend to follow their noses and might wander away when left unsupervised.
Is this acceptable to you? Otterhounds are big shaggy dogs with a friendly, easy going personality which makes them poor guard dogs.
Do you have time to ensure he/she has a consistent exercise routine? Otterhounds require regular exercise. Daily walks will keep their curiosity satisfied and energy drained.
Is it acceptable to your living standards? Otterhounds have beards and long, hairy ears that get into water and food. Some Otterhounds like to drink from the bottom of the bowl. Others like to dunk their noses in a water bucket and blow bubbles. A towel might become your best friend.
Can you and your neighbors live with their songs? Otterhounds have beautiful voices and some of them like to use it when a stranger is outside or simply to express themselves.
6. Do you have the time and patience to groom them weekly to keep their coat clean and free of matting? Otterhounds have course coats, long ears and beards that need regular brushing.
7. Are you going to make them part of your life and include them in your daily activities? Otterhound puppies mature slowly and benefit from early socialization.
8. Are you and your family ready to make a long-term commitment to your new canine companion? On average, Otterhounds live between 10-12 years.
If you have answered "yes" to the above questions, then an Otterhound may be the right dog for you!
Do Otterhounds Get Along Well with Kids? Article Contributed by Barbara Horrell
When families start researching owning an Otterhound, one of the most frequently asked questions is Do they get along with children? We set out to interview families who have had children of varying ages to get a definitive answer to the question. Some families added an Otterhound to their family that already included children, and some added an Otterhound before they had children. Overall the answer was a resounding yes! Otterhounds and children can be a splendid match. During the interviews, a great many stories were told about close relationships between kids and their Otterhounds. Cuddle time in front of the TV, playing games together, going on adventures and sharing food were all common themes. Otterhounds fit well into many types of families.
Some Otterhounds like to help their kids with homework!
They enjoy the outdoors with their kids in any kind of weather
That being said, each of the families had experiences where consistent training for dogs and children was necessary. Of particular importance was teaching children and dogs to respect each other. This was mentioned by every family in the interviews. Any dog has personal space just as any person has personal space, and when that personal space is respected by both children and dogs, life goes much more smoothly. The types of situations that were particularly important to supervise were when the dog is sleeping, or eating, has a favorite toy or when the dog is playing hard.
The families did report that particularly small children were at some risk of being knocked over by playing dogs, and since Otterhounds are often going by scent rather than sight, they may not see a child standing in their path. Never malicious, the big boisterous dogs just underestimate their own size! This is especially true in multiple dog households where the dogs may be focusing on their playmate and unaware of the location of the children.
Families who added a baby after already owning an Otterhound found that the dog pretty seamlessly accepted the new family member. Simple precautions were wise, but dog and baby grew together and flourished. Being food motivated, as many Otterhounds are, babies and toddlers were at risk of losing food to their furry sibling, then having their face washed as well!
Puppies and Toddler supervised by Mama dog being supervised by Breeder!
Children enjoyed telling their friends about Otterhounds, and how rare they are. They were eager to learn about what Otterhounds were originally bred to do, and why they no longer perform that job. They were excited to tell people about their rare dog.
Running and playing with the children is one of the joys of owning a dog, and Otterhounds are no exception. Although every dog is different, some are able to adjust games to the age of the children. A game of tug with a 4 year old is very different than a game of tug with a teenager. Hiking, visiting a beach, playing games and learning tricks all create a strong bond between children and dogs.
What do you have in your hand?
I was made for you!
Anyone who has searched for a pure bred dog knows that the breeders are very involved with the selection of which puppy will live with which family. So how does a breeder decide which puppy would fit in with a family that has children, or plans to have children? Most breeders observe their puppies every day from birth through at least 8 weeks old. They see the personalities and temperaments develop. They interview and keep in contact with prospective families to learn how the family plans to live with their Otterhound day to day. Which family likes to go on long hikes? Which wants a dog to cuddle on the couch, or which plans to compete in agility? Are the children teenagers, babies, toddlers? All these things and more go into matching a puppy to the correct family.
Certain aspects of a puppy’s temperament will help them succeed in each situation, so most breeders do a puppy temperament test at 7-8 weeks old. Puppies that are shy and timid may flourish in quieter households, while bold and independent puppies may be perfect for more active households. The breeder’s skill in placing the correct puppy with the correct family contributes to the success of the family raising that puppy.
On the other side, the more a breeder knows about the family, the better they can match the puppy to the level of activity, and hobbies of the family members. Many breeders start communicating with prospective families early in the puppy’s life, or even before the puppies are born to learn as much as possible about the family and the children as possible. Breeders are a resource for their puppy families for the entire life of that dog. They can help with knowledge about health, training, grooming and general breed traits.
Happy child and happy dog!
Opportunities abound for kids to learn in dog sports.
The definitive answer is - Otterhounds make great family dogs who can bond to children, and truly be part of a family. Working with a preservation breeder will give families the very best puppy match for their family and help them get the best start with their Otterhound.
Thank you to all the families and breeders who took time to visit with me. Your information was so helpful and your expertise appreciated. Thanks to the folks providing pictures to illustrate this article.