The Otterhound is a unique scent hound because of his rough, double coat and substantial webbed feet. He uses these features to hunt on both land and water. With his large, strong body and inquisitive nose, the Otterhound is willing to work all day. The coat may be any color or combination of colors. The Otterhound’s temperament is amiable, boisterous and even-tempered.
Beginning as far back as the 12th century, an explosion in the otter population - which affected the fish population - led to a need for skilled swimming "otter dogges" to help control the problem. In response the Otterhound, with its webbed feet, was developed. A result of mixing the French Vendeen Hound, the Welsh Harrier, the Southern Hound, the Bloodhound and a Water Spaniel, it is believed that Terriers, Griffons, and even the Bulldog may have also played a role in the creation of the Otterhound. In 1212, even King John kept a pack of Otterhounds for hunting. The Otterhound made its first appearance in the United States in 1900 and was recognized by the AKC in 1907. In 1937 a veterinarian undertook the first serious Otterhound breeding program in the US as the Otterhound had became a protected breed due to its rarity. Over the years, their numbers have increased, but they are still a relatively rare breed. Though otter hunting has never been a popular sport in the United States, the Otterhound has grown in popularity over the years.