The Otterhound is one of the oldest of sporting breeds, and no attempt will be made to indicate their ancestry. In general form they are not unlike a Bloodhound, with something in the shape of the skull and jaw, curve of throat, and texture of the coat that suggests the Dandle Dinmont. They are a rugged breed. Everything about them conveys the impression of usefulness, and they are capable of coping with as many different conditions as any other breed of dog. They have also been used in the creation of other breeds, and the Airedale in particular undoubtedly owes his water-loving traits to a touch of the Otterhound. The early Otterhounds were said to have been much smaller in size than those of the present day. There are no packs in this country, but in England otter hunting is termed the queen of summer sports, and is in fact the only form of chase that may be followed during the summer months. It is good sport, for the quarry is a wily, resourceful animal, with haunts of its own choosing, with the odds always in its favor. It is also engaged in during the best days of the year when Nature and the weather are to be found at their finest.
The general points to look for in the selection of Otterhound puppies are those of Bloodhounds with a dense coat.
The points for which the Otterhound should be bred are: A head resembling that of a Bloodhound, but flatter and harder, with a long, narrow forehead; dark eyes which are sunken and showing the haw; black nostrils and rough-haired muzzle, with full, hanging lips and large, thin, pendulous ears, well coated with coarse hair, but with no tendency to feather. The neck should be throaty; the chest deep rather than wide; the back strong, long, and straight, and the ribs deep; rather loose but strong, powerful, sloping shoulders; elbows well let down. Perfectly straight legs and muscular thighs are indispensable. Formerly the feet were large and well webbed with firm, hard soles, but of late years Otterhounds have been bred with the cat feet of Foxhounds. The stern should be carried in a sloping position, and should be well coated with hair and tapering. The coat should be dense and of fair length. Otterhounds should be large, and are of several colors, brown, tan, and grizzle being the commonest seen, but grizzle-brown, white and cream-buff, black-tan, and cream-tan are all found. Height for dog should be not less than 25 inches, and for bitches not less than 23 inches. In general appearance they should be large, rugged, and symmetrical, full of hound character, with a look of great endurance and determination.