Hounds first opened its doors in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2016, not long after we created Paws across Britain to share our favourite dog friendly places, so naturally we had to take Elsa to check it out and, as fate would have it, we actually ended up being their first ever customers! Since then, we’ve seen this specialist dog shop establish a loyal customer base, grow, re-locate, expand and reinvent itself with the addition of ‘Pampered Hounds’, an in-store groomer!
Hounds only stock wholesome dog food and treats made from the highest quality ingredients. They also sell a range of collars and leads, coats, toys, beds, bowls and other bits & pieces for dogs and dog-lovers alike. Over the years this shop has become a focal point for local dog owners, and has drawn people from far and wide to this lovely little market town in Staffordshire.
When Hounds first opened in 2016 we had no idea that this little shop would become such a big part of our lives…
We have met many lovely people and Elsa’s made lots of new friends including the resident dachshund family (which just seems to keep growing!), Harry the Chug, Freddie, Fraiser & Niles, Phoebe and Piglet to just to name a few!
Just when we thought that Hounds couldn’t get any better, they introduced Pampered Hounds! Services range from a quick nail trim to a ‘Full Pamper’. They cater to any size, shape and breed of dog from 3 months of age. Although I normally groom Elsa at home, we treated her to a bath and blow dry and she came out looking and smelling absolutely amazing, saving me a hard job!
The owner (and queen of all dog mums) Anya, is incredibly knowledgeable about all sorts of dog related topics including nutrition, grooming and general well-being and the team always have plenty of time to give their furry visitors lots of loving attention.
Throw us a bone Hounds!
We chat to Anya about the inspiration behind Hounds, what to expect in store (including their best-selling products) and much more:
Tell us the story behind Hounds, what inspired you to open the shop?
The inspiration for Hounds came from my own dogs; I wanted to give them a happy, healthy lifestyle. After struggling with numerous dietary problems with Woody we discovered the amount of rubbish used in commercial pet foods and treats and found ourselves obsessing over everything we purchased for the dogs. I always craved somewhere that I could go to find good quality dog goodies and would often drive out of the area just to hunt down a shop that supplied natural treats for dogs. We believed other dog owners were in the same situation as us so we took the plunge and opened Hounds.
What can humans and canines expect to find when they visit Hounds?
We are all dog mad in Hounds and you can often find our staff cuddled up with a dog or offering out some free dog treats! Hounds is a cosy shop filled with natural goodies for pups and dogs, we offer a range of natural chews alongside dog food, toys and accessories. We are known for our treat table, it’s almost like a human ‘pix N mix’ and we try to change the items on there regularly or add new items as often as we can to keep both owner and hound curious! The pig snouts always get a reaction!
We also have an in-store dog groomer where dogs get the VIP treatment using all natural products from For All Dogkind.
What are your bestsellers?
Our bestsellers switch up and we find can be dependent on weather so at the moment our big hits are:
Scoops doggy ice cream! This is a new addition to the shop and having tasted it myself, I know – wrong but, I can confirm it’s delicious!
Roots – I kick myself for not grabbing roots sooner, when I first saw them I laughed and thought “what is a dog going to do with that?” …Oh how silly I was! I would never be without a root in our home now, we have had one for months and all of our dogs love it! After posting videos of our own dogs chomping on a root online we got people racing in for one for their own dogs.
JR Pet Products Pate, we currently stock 3 flavours and it’s such a multi use product! It can be used as food, treats, Kong filling, spread on Lickimats… the list goes on!
Soopa recently added a new flavour dental – coconut flavour chew to their already popular collection and no surprises it’s a hit!
Edgard & Cooper bites. We rave about these so much and 9 times out of 10 anyone who buys them comes back for more. If you have a pup or are training your dog I cannot recommend these high value treats enough!
Pooch & Mutt biscuits, one of our original products, they have stood the test of time and continue to find themselves in pooches shopping baskets.
Woofbrushes from Lily’s Kitchen, they are like no other dental chew, curiosity seems to keep them on or top selling list!
Lastly, Chew Boxes! Hounds is the home of the ‘Chew Box’, inspired by our own dog Charlie aka Chewy. Chew boxes are full of natural chews for puppies & dogs that we mix up every month. Chew boxes are also available as a monthly subscription for the spoilt pooch in your life!
How do you select the products that you stock?
This process has changed recently. I used to sit and hunt for products and brands online… this took up a lot of time and I would sometimes think that I had found something amazing but then after reading all the ingredients, I’d be let down. More recently Instagram has had a big impact on our product buying, we have found it easier to hunt down smaller businesses with a genuine love for dogs this way such as Goodchap’s and RagDogs to name a few. Alongside Instagram I spend a lot of time chatting with other dog shops/businesses (shout out to Wags & Whiskers!) and visiting pet fairs and shows. I like to see products before we buy them and always try items that we stock on our own pooches to get the paws of approval.
Do you host any events in the shop?
We have hosted all sorts of events from themed parties to puppy mornings. Our in-store photo shoots are our most popular events and always a lot of fun!
Tell us about the new grooming salon:
When we wrote our business plan for Hounds we included plans to expand and open a dog groomers within the shop with the idea that the shop would offer everything an owner should need under one roof. Once we opened up the plan took a back seat slightly as running the shop (as much as I love it) takes up a lot of time.
After our 3rd Christmas I was catching up on some rest and thought ‘it’s now or never’ and I used the shop’s Christmas profit to purchase the grooming equipment needed. We did most of the work ourselves to keep the costs as low as possible and created what is known as ‘Pampered Hounds’. It’s been open a few months now and I still wander in and smile… it’s such a pretty space. We have playpens, not cages, and a flower wall for those all important after groom pictures. The grooming salon is everything I hoped it would be, and a bit more thanks to our awesome groomer Katie! She has over 3 years of grooming experience and just happened to be looking for a new challenge at the same time we were looking for a groomer! She is the perfect addition to our team and I can’t remember the shop without her!
What are your plans for the future?
You know, for the first time I am stumped by this question. Now the groomers is open we have completed our business plan and it still seems surreal that we are here, running a shop and groomers with a wonderful loyal customer base. It’s nice to finally be using the shop to its full potential…maybe I will just enjoy what we have built for the next year… I want to put all my focus into Hounds and offering the best products/experience for dogs and their owners.
With special thanks to Anya for taking the time to answer our questions. We are so grateful to have such a wonderful, independent local shop on our doorstep – keep up the great work!
- Newcastle-Under-Lyme has a number of shops, restaurants, bars and cafés that welcome paws including The Cakery (next door to Hounds), Cappello Lounge and Ten Green Bottles.
- Take your paws for a walk in Queens Park or if you fancy a stroll then you can head to the Brampton Park & Station Walks.
Did I mention that Hounds also has THE most adorable resident shop dogs?
What are you waiting for? Take your paws to Newcastle-Under-Lyme and visit Hounds!
2 Fogg St E, Newcastle ST5 2RE