DOGS are always welcome at the Fox and Hounds pub at Devizes, which has been voted the most dog-friendly in the South West.

If you fancy a meal out and do not want to leave your four-legged friend at home, the Fox and Hounds, on Nursteed Road, is a place where dogs are not only tolerated, but actively encouraged.

Landlords Justin Finning and Deborah Noakes are passionate about dogs themselves – and own four enormous Great Danes, as well as a rescue dog from Romania. In fact, all their dogs are rescues.

Deborah said: “Being dog-friendly is a massive part of what we do, it’s our biggest unique selling point, not to mention a way of life. It’s not just about patting dogs when they come in and giving them a treat, it’s about providing a safe, secure and non-threatening environment for dogs.”

The Great Danes – three of whom are deaf because of breeding designed to make them whiter in colour– are seven-month old Luna, two-year-old Loki, Elmo, six, and Moomin, aged five. As well as these friendly giants, animal-lovers Deborah and Justin have four horses – Shires and Friesians – and two carriages, which are hired out for events and funerals.

The Great Danes are evidently adored, as they snuggle with their owners, sprawl comfortably on the floor and sit their sizeable doggy selves on the pub chairs, but they do not hang out in the bar when the pub is open – which is probably just as well as they take up a lot of space.

Deborah and Justin have been running the pub for six years, and as well as offering a range of delicious, seasonal, freshly prepared meals for their human customers, they have a special Sunday menu for dogs – offering such canine delights as sausage and mash, chicken and vegetables, and pasta, ham and vegetables.

“Dogs are very welcome here – it’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” Deborah said. “We usually have lots of dogs coming to visit – four or five during a week-day lunch, and maybe eight or ten on Sundays.

“As well as the plaque and the jar, we were even given some Dog Beer – though it tastes very like gravy!”

The pub hosts the meetings of the Devizes Dog Walking Group.

“Once we had 22 dogs – that was a good meeting,” Deborah said.

Doggy squabbles are a rarity, she says, even when the pub is busy with people’s pets.

“Our dogs keep us sane,” she explained. “I get a hug from them, and they make everything all right.”

The pub is open Tuesday to Saturday, at lunchtimes and in the evenings, and open for lunch from 12 noon till 4pm on Sundays. Justin and chef Jade Mortimer prepare the food, serving bar meals and evening dinners.

“We serve a lot of vegetables as we are both vegetarian,” Justin said. “Though our steaks are very popular. Next month we want to develop some vegan options too.”

The main menu offers a wide range of food, with a range of delicious main courses and tantalising desserts, as well as omelettes, baguettes, bar meals and a wide selection of vegetarian dishes.

The Sunday lunch menu offers a range of main courses ranging in price from £8.95 to £10.95, with lots of roasts and a children’s menu. Deborah said people were very grateful to have somewhere to have a meal where dogs were positively welcomed.

“They appreciate somewhere they can come and relax, with their dogs, without feeling awkward – where dogs are actively encouraged,” she said.

As well as running the pub, Deborah works in the NHS three days a week, and Justin teaches scuba diving at Centre Parcs. They have also done film and television work with the horses and carriages.

This is the first pub where the couple have been tenants, though they used to run the Pig and Fiddle in Bath. The Fox and Hounds also offers a free function venue, for events, and they run a mobile bar in a horse trailer.

As well as welcoming dogs, the pub is a horse-friendly venue. They encourage local riding groups to visit.

Organisers of the Dog-Friendly Pub Awards described the Fox and Hounds as a “picture perfect charmer, complete with thatched roof” with “staff trained to consider doggy visitors with the utmost care, ensuring to ask an owner’s permission before giving treats and showing them to the best seats in the house for some quiet dog-nap time.”

They also praised the provision of a safe and secure pub garden.

Richard Setterwall, founder and CEO of DogBuddy said: “For the second year running, DogBuddy – with the help of dog lovers up and down the country - has been searching for the best of the best when it comes to dog-friendly pubs, with The Fox and Hounds, we’ve found just that. The superb service demonstrated shows a real consideration for dog welfare and happiness, which we at DogBuddy value above all.

“The whole DogBuddy pack is proud to congratulate The Fox and Hounds on winning the dog-friendly pub award for south west, and hopes that the awards will inspire dog-owners country-wide to discover and support their local pubs.”

He set up the Dog-Friendly Pub Awards to help people with dogs find a watering hole where their dog would be welcome. He claims a third of dog owners struggle to find a dog -friendly pub.

People were invited to vote for their favourite dog-friendly pub, and 12 regional winners were presented with a Dog Buddy regional winner plaque, and a treat jar trophy to put on the bar.

Voters for the Fox and Hounds included lots of positive comments. One customer said: “Such great friendly people our dog loved all the attention – blanket, treats water and lots of attention. Food for humans was also delicious with freshly made food and generous portions.”

Another said: “The real champions league level at Fox and Hounds is proved at Sundays: where else are the dogs (and we have two) given their own portion of Sunday roast on their own dish on the floor?”

For more information about the pub, visit