Otterhounds were originally used to hunt otters, hence the name and because of their Bloodhound ancestry, they have a very good sense of smell. They would use this to find otters in moist environments. Their double coat is oily and has a harsh texture which helps them in the water, keeping them warm. Otterhounds also have webbed feet which makes them swim faster in the water than most other dog breeds. For these reasons, Otterhounds were always the best dogs to take on an otter hunt. In 1978, the United Kingdom banned the hunting of otters, so Otterhounds would no longer be used for this purpose. They can still to this day hunt other water and swamp based animals, though.
Otterhounds are a large dog breed. They weigh in at between 36 and 54 kilograms on average. They have an above average amount of stamina so they can handle long amounts of prolonged activity. Due to this, they are best kept in a large outdoor environment where they can run, play and exercise every day. Without this kind of stimulation, they will become unhealthy and unhappy.
While Otterhounds make a good family pet, they are a bit wily and independent. If kept in a yard with a fence shorter than one and a half metres, they will often jump over in order to roam free. Those planning on owning their own Otterhound should make sure that their fence and other structures are high enough to keep the dog inside.