Lithuanian Hound (Lietuvių skalikas)

Country of origin:
Lithuania
Height (cm):
48 - 60
Weight (kg):
27 - 35
Life span (years):
12 - 14
Colour:
black & tan
Size:
average
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • fairly easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • good family companion
  • independent
  • needs a strong and confident owner
  • needs a lot of daily exercises
  • chases all that moves

Overview
The Lithuanian Hound is a result of a careful breeding program conducted by the Lithuanian hunters in the XX century. This breed is highly prized for its superb hunting abilities in its native country but remains rather obscure outside its borders. With proper socialization it can become a faithful and cheerful family pet.

History
It’s a widely accepted belief that local dogs existed in Lithuania since at least the end of the ice age. During the XVI century the French upper class cultivated in the Lithuanian hunters the habit of hunting with hounds. Local forests were filled with different kind of game and native hounds gradually became indispensable assistants for hunters.

In the beginning of the XX century Lithuanian breeders decided to recreate the Curlandish Hound, which was deeply honoured by its excellent hunting talents in the old days. It’s believed that they interbred local hounds with such breeds as the Bloodhound, the Beagle, the Polish Hound and the Russian Hound. Eventually their attempts led to the invention of the Lithuanian Hound, which proved to be an unparalleled hunter. Throughout the XX century this dog was a valuable asset of every avid Lithuanian hunter and it was involved in scenting, tracking and retrieving game like fox, rabbit, and wild boar. Furthermore it was capable of enduring great deal of intense physical work while remaining incredibly effective and relentless in a prey pursuit.

The number of Lithuanian Hounds reduced substantially as a result of the Second World War and at that point the dog was actually facing a threat of complete extinction. Fortunately the breed avoided this sad fate and its population was partially restored by the 60s of the XX century. In 1966 a provisional standard was written for this dog. During the 1976-77 hunting season many Lithuanian Hounds were put down by wild boar and this made the survival of the breed once again questionable.

In 1977 the Lithuanian Cytological Council established a specialized kennel, which was purported to provide the long-term well being of the breed. Nowadays the position of the Lithuanian Hound is rather stable in its homeland but it can’t be found elsewhere in the world. The breed’s enthusiasts strive to achieve its recognition by the FCI, but it’s rather unlikely for it to get an acceptance of any reputable kennel club in the foreseen future.

Temperament
The Lithuanian Hound was bred exclusively for hunting purpose so it’s usually persistent and relentless in performing its hunting responsibilities. The dog is praised for its good adaptability and it will make a wonderful companion dog. Despite its somewhat independent character it tends to develop a close attachment to its master and his family. The well-socialised dog will also show proper attitude towards children though it may be too big for a toddler.

The Lithuanian Hound is usually calm and reserved in communication with unfamiliar people but some specimen can become a bit aggressive if a strange person intends to pet it. The dog is apt to be highly alert and possesses an excellent nose so it will quickly detect a peculiar sound or smell and forewarn about it its owner. That’s way it will constitute a reasonable watchdog, trusty and attentive.

As a hunting dog the Lithuanian Hound has developed good sociable skills, which help it to get along with other canine animals. It hasn’t been noticed in manifestation of any form of aggressive behaviour therefore it will gladly share its life with one or more other dogs. On the other hand even if this dog and a home cat have been living together since the early age there is no guarantee of their unproblematic coexistence in maturity. As thoroughgoing hunter the Lithuanian Hound is going to chase everything that even slightly resembles a prey and it should never go unleashed unless it’s not in a safely enclosed territory.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• kidney problems;
• digestive issues;
• eyes problems;
• cryptorchidism;
• sensitivity to anaesthesia;
• gastric torsion.

Grooming
The coat of the Lithuanian Hound demands insignificant amount of attendance to keep it in a fairly good condition. Its hair possesses natural gloss and several brushing a week will be sufficient to maintain its essential softness and smoothness. The dog should also pass through a thorough investigation after a hunt in order to spot ticks or other parasites in its coat. This breed requires a bath only occasionally preferably once in two months.

Training
The Lithuanian Hound is fairly easy to train due to its obedient and stable demeanour. This clever animal craves nothing more than to make its owner happy so with your proper commitment you will be able to impress your acquaintances with advanced tricks, which your dog will perform easily and gracefully.

It’s fair to say that this breed has a mind of its own and requires a confident and strong individual to be trained successfully. Training sessions should be short and frequent and contain plenty of tasty treats and verbal encouragement. It’s totally unacceptable to treat the dog with harshness during these lessons since it won’t bring desirable results.

Exercise
The owner of the Lithuanian Hound should put in considerable amount of time to maintain it in a good form and happy. You should take your dog for an hour brisk walk each and every day. This dog will gladly accompany you in jogging or cycling and will tirelessly run beside you for endless hours.

Remember that the Lithuanian Hound is first of all a working dog and without appropriate amount of physical activity it will become pretty miserable and ill-behaved. In a nutshell this breed is recommended for you if you like spending your pastime actively and prefer to include your dog in your sporting hobbies.
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