The Otterhound is one of the most endangered dogs in the world. According to the Otterhound Club of America, there are only around 600 Otterhounds in the world in 2012.
With rarity comes extreme value and owning this exceptional breed can be steep, but rewarding. How much do Otterhounds go for you might ask?
Otterhound dogs can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. This is only a ballpark figure as there are other factors like dog quality, breeder reputation, and availability. Be ready for a long waiting list. Adopting an Otterhound from a Rescue is a cheaper option at around $350 though this will be even harder to find than reputable breeders. Once successful in getting your OH, expect to shell out $500 to $2,000 in the first year for pet essentials and primary healthcare.
Owning an Otterhound is above the usual budget when purchasing other dogs, even those of the more popular breeds. However, the OH is not your average pet. They are large scent hounds, previously bred to hunt otters. While this has been outlawed, the Otterhound has an extraordinary skill only they possess and they are talented swimmers too. At home, they are goofy yet even-tempered, making them a great canine companion.
Where Can You Get an Otterhound?
You can own an Otterhound in one of two ways: buy one or adopt one. Buying from reputable breeders is more expensive. They have certified kennels so you can be assured of the quality care they give to their dogs and their puppies come with health guarantees. Adopting an Otterhound is cheaper and they will provide the necessary medical care to their dog. Rescue organizations are more difficult to locate than breeders.
Since this breed is considered rarer than the Giant Panda, either of the two options will entail some waiting time. As many Otterhound owners would say, they are certainly worth the wait. If your heart is set on having this gentle giant in your home, continue reading as we compare the reputable breeders and adoption centers in terms of cost and value when getting your own Otterhound.
Please note the word reputable when it comes to sourcing for places to purchase your OH. There could be different places that offer an Otterhound puppy but it’s best to get from a certified breeder. The best way to know is if they are in the Otterhound Breeder Referral List from The Otterhound Club of America.
Please avoid getting your OH pup from breeding facilities called puppy mills that sell cheap dogs that come from poor living conditions. The downside of getting from commercial places is there’s a risk their dogs come from puppy mills. Only get from breeders who treat dogs well, preserving the Otterhound’s bloodline.
Otterhound puppies will cost a minimum of $1,500 from registered breeders. Most require a non-refundable deposit anywhere from $200 to $500 with around three to nine months waiting time. Why is it so expensive? Responsible breeders invest a lot of money to produce quality dogs. Good dog, an online database for reputable breeders, details the financial breakdown and you’ll see why getting from responsible breeders is well worth the money.
Purchasing An OH purchased from registered breeders usually include the following:
- AKC Registration
- Certificate of Health
First, you need to be sure that it is actually an OH since other people mistake them for other breeds like Labradoodles or Goldendoodles. Here’s the American Kennel Club Otterhound Breed Standard for reference.
Choosing to adopt an Otterhound is a compassionate act and an economical decision. It would only cost an average of $350 to adopt than to buy which can reach up to $3,000. When you go through the adoption route, expect it to be a long process as there are very few Otterhound rescues. The adoption centers want to make sure that this endangered breed falls into the right homes.
You can try to adopt this remarkable dog by sending an application to the Otterhound Club of America. The fastest way is to check within your community if there is a local shelter that has available Otterhounds. Being close to a foster home or a shelter scores big points in being considered for adoption.
Since there are very few Otterhound breeders and rescues, you also need to incorporate travel costs in your budget. There are several options starting at $250 depending on how far you are from your chosen breeder. You can pick up from their kennel, arrange for ground transportation, or pick up at the breeder’s airport. For rescue centers, they will usually ask you to personally collect your OH from the foster home.
Another consideration in determining the puppy price of your Otterhound is the quality of the dog you’re looking for.
There are OH puppies that are bred as companions and some that are born for showmanship. Breeders typically sell Otterhound puppies that do not conform to the official breed standard as pet companion dogs. Pet quality pups can go as low as $500 while a show quality Otterhound puppy can go for $2,500 or more.
Show quality dogs meet the Otterhound official breed standard making them dog show potential. They may come from a lineage of show winners therefore the higher tag price, especially if they have a champion bloodline. Purchasing a show quality Otterhound has many specifications in terms of expenses on who will pay for the whelping costs, vet fees, show expenses, and breeding. Some breeders co-own the Show dogs who are usually required to join contests as part of the arrangement. It’s important to have a clear contract before purchasing.
Suffice it to say that companion pets will require fewer maintenance costs than the show bred ones so if you have no plans of competing, the pet quality Otterhound is a more economical choice.
How Much Does an Otterhound Dog Cost?
Owning an Otterhound means bearing the responsibility of providing for them so that they live healthy lives. In doing so, you are doing your part in preserving this endangered dog breed.
The cost of buying an Otterhound puppy from a reputable breeder is around the price range of $1,500 to $3,000. If you can find a rescue center, adopting an Otterhound is less expensive and can go as low as $350. Those are just the purchasing fees, anticipate additional cash out because caring for an Otterhound puppy entails a lot of other initial expenses that can range from $500 to $2,000 in the first year.
When you purchase a puppy, you are usually allowed to bring your OH home eight weeks after birth. Be ready for the initial cost, apart from what you spent to purchase your dog. Other expenses to prepare for are medical fees, food expenses, supplies, grooming, and training expenses.
Before bringing home an Otterhound puppy from a breeder or a rescue center, they will have gone through a medical check-up with a vet and received vaccines. It however does not end there. You will need to prepare for other primary health care costs such as flea and tick prevention, deworming, and booster shots. Medical fees and pet insurance will amount to around $485 for the year.
Getting a healthy OH puppy from reputable breeders will lessen your fears of caring for a sickly dog at risk of medical conditions. The Otterhound Club of America participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program where breeders publish all test results of their dogs and this can be your health reference before purchasing.
A specialist vet can charge anywhere from $1,200 to $15,000 especially for major illnesses like cancer. Otterhounds are prone to the following conditions with diagnosis and treatment costs within the following range:
- Hip Dysplasia – $500 to $6,000
- Elbow Dysplasia – $1,500 to $4,000
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus – $1,500 to $7,500
When you purchase OH pups, you will also be likely required to have them spayed or neutered when they reach at least 18 months of age. Spaying or neutering costs for bigger dogs are more expensive and can charge from $400 upwards.
An Otterhound stands at a minimum height of 24 up to 27 inches and weighs 80 up to 115 pounds. They are huge, needing plenty of activity and calories! Food expenses are no joke for this large dog so it needs to be budgeted well.
For good quality dry meals and treats, budget around $270 a year. Some breeders and vets require a heavy diet, including whole meat which can come from homemade food. Better be ready to spend for extra meat on your grocery trip.
The volume of food varies from one Otterhound to the next based on several factors such as metabolism, physical activity, size, and age.
When you try to purchase or adopt an Otterhound, you will be asked if you have a fence. These large hound dogs need plenty of room to move around and they have a powerful scent that can make them wander past your property. So if you don’t have one yet, do include it in your budget as it is a must.
Other pet essentials to account for are the following:
|Type of Expense
|Leash, Collar, and ID Tag
|Food and Water Bowl
|Average Supplies Cost
A charming quality of the Otterhound is its log and shaggy coat which should be brushed at least once a week. Some owners prefer not to clip the coat while others do so, whichever you choose to do, a visit to the groomer to keep the hair tangle-free is beneficial for your dog.
Apart from this, ask the groomer to trim the nails if needed, clean their large droopy ears, and brush their teeth which could cost around $90 per visit.
Average Annual Expense of Owning an Otterhound Puppy
It’s critical to understand the costs of owning an Otterhound dog before purchasing a puppy. When calculating the true ownership cost of a dog, you have to go beyond the initial cost and look ahead to the annual upkeep. This includes food, immunizations, heartworm, deworming, flea treatment, spay/neuter fees, grooming, food, training, and accessories.
When this all adds up, the annual expenses range from $500 to $2,000 or more on your first year with your OH.
On average, the puppy price to own an Otterhound is between $1,500 to $3,000 if buying from a breeder and starts at $350 if adopting one. On top of that, expenses in the first year are anywhere from $500 to $2,000. As a newbie Otterhound owner, the starting cost can range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Giving you the breakdown of the entire cost of ownership of an Otterhound, we hope this helps you in your decision to buy or adopt this wonderful dog.
While the journey it takes to have your own Otterhound at home may be long and costly, take comfort and pride that it comes with a privilege. To be among the few people in the world to live with and care for this endangered breed is incredibly rewarding.