The Lithuanian Hound is a rare, large-sized hunting dog whose roots go back to the Middle Ages. It originated in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and is mentioned in the Statutes of Lithuania (16th century). The breed is thought to have originated as a hybrid of bloodhounds and several other purebreds from North and Central Asia and Western Europe. Once popular in Lithuania, its population dwindled to 78 individuals after the Second World War. The dog was revived and standardized thanks to a number of enthusiasts. The number of registered and documented dogs rose to 350 in 1987. This number has remained stable ever since. The Lithuanian Hound is robust and big-boned, both elegant and muscular, with a short, glossy black coat and rich, well-defined tan markings. The official standard does not allow white points. The dog's long tail is naturally low, with a big head and broad, deep, low chest. It has long ears with rounded tips that hang close to the cheeks. The dog has a fairly long neck, which is strong without dewlap. It has strong, rounded feet with compact toes, which contribute to its speed and agility, enabling it to be a determined pursuer. They are intelligent and easy to train. This breed is highly prized for its superb hunting skills in its native country. However, it remains rather obscure outside its borders. Traditionally used to hunt moose, deer, wild boar and sometimes fox and hare, Lithuanian Greyhounds are active, vigorous and persistent. As a result, it requires a lot of daily exercise: a walk or jog, free time in the yard, a run on the beach or in the woods or a game of fetch, indispensable. With his daily activities and early socialization, he can become a faithful and irreplaceable family companion. The Lithuanian Kennel Club is working with breeders to register the breed with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).
The Lithuanian Hound is energetic, free-spirited, steady and gentle at the same time. This can often be fun, but only when its rather naughty behavior is not unbearable. Owners spend a lot of time trying to outdo their dogs, where food rewards have proved more effective in luring the Lithuanian Hound into a state of obedience. By nature, they are not aggressive, but remain wary of strangers. Owners must be firm but calm, confident and consistent. Good human-dog communication is essential. The dog is pleasant and agreeable with his family. When hunting, it emits a voice composed of a characteristic melody in various intonations. Like all dogs, this breed needs early socialization - exposure to different people, sights, sounds and experiences - from an early age. Socialization and daily exercise help to ensure that your puppy becomes a well-balanced dog.
Male Lithuanian Hounds measure between 58 and 66 cm and weigh between 29 and 36 kg. Females measure 56 to 64 cm and weigh 25 to 32 kg.
One of the basic needs of a Lithuanian Hound is a fenced garden. When outdoors, your Lithuanian Hound should be kept on a leash in unconfined areas, or confined and supervised. He's a wanderer by nature, so in case he escapes - a common occurrence with Lithuanian Hounds - make sure he's microchipped and has identification tags on his collar so he can be returned to you. Most Lithuanian Hounds are more than happy to make something for a delicious feast. This breed is full of energy and needs plenty of opportunity to work it all off. Many believe that the Lithuanian is not recommended for apartment living. However, as long as the dog is entertained, this shouldn't be a problem. Lithuanians love to go for walks with their family or, better still, for a good run across a field. He'll also enjoy running alongside you while you ride your bike.
The recommended combination is to feed high-quality dry and wet food daily, with a weekly treat of raw meat divided into two meals.
NOTE: the amount of food consumed by your adult dog depends on its size, age, structure, metabolism and activity level. Dogs have individual needs, just like people, and not everyone necessarily shares the same dietary requirements. It goes without saying that a very active dog will need more than his Pomme de Terre counterpart. What's more, the quality of the dog food you buy makes a difference. The better the quality of the dog food, the more nourishment it will provide your dog, and the less you'll need to shake it into your dog's bowl. Lithuanian dogs are, by nature, food thieves, going through your pantry and garbage every day if the opportunity arises, and they're ready to eat until they appear. Keep yours in good condition by measuring its food and feeding it twice a day rather than leaving it out all the time.
The Lithuanian Hound is a short-haired breed with a natural, glossy, weather-resistant coat, so it needs very little grooming. An occasional brushing will suffice to maintain its good condition. He has a short black coat with a rich tan on muzzle, chest, ears and forehead. The tan must be distinguished from the black, as it is a combination of rich, deep tones of medium brown. The color is quite intense. White patches are not permitted. The Lithuanian Hound has a smooth, dense, rain-resistant double coat. It should be brushed at least once a week with a medium bristle brush or a hound glove (a rubber glove with bumps on the palm) to release dead hairs and encourage regrowth. The Lithuanian Hound throws, but it's not too noticeable because its hair is short. Its coat tends to thicken in winter, which means it sheds more in spring. These dogs are generally clean and do not require frequent bathing. As the Lithuanian Hound has floppy ears, air doesn't circulate well in its ears, which can lead to infections. It's important to check his ears at least every two weeks for any signs of infection or wax build-up. You should also check if you notice your dog shaking his head a lot or scratching his ears. Never let water or oils get into his ears. Brush your Lithuanian Hound's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar build-up and lurking bacteria. Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them naturally. This will prevent painful tears and other problems. Start getting your Lithuanian Hound used to being brushed and examined, even if it's a puppy. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary examinations and further handling later on. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. A thorough weekly check-up will help you identify potential health problems early on.
The Lithuanian Hound is generally in good health, health problems being inherent to other FCI Group 6 breeds.
The Lithuanian Hound is bonded to all family members, including children. However, it can be tedious to play with, requiring supervision of younger children. In addition, the Lithuanian Hound tends to be "mouthy", meaning it grabs objects, including yours or your child's hand, with its mouth to play. Although this is just for harmless fun, you can train your dog not to do this. As with all breeds, you should always teach children to approach and touch dogs and to monitor interactions. Teach your child never to approach a dog while it's eating or sleeping, or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child. Because of its pack dog heritage, the Lithuanian Hound loves company and doesn't like to be left alone. Therefore, another dog or even a cat will help meet their companionship needs.