The Beagle is a small sized scent hound resembling a foxhound mainly developed for hunting hare. Noted for their fantastic sense of smell and a strong tracking instinct they have been used as detecting dogs by many agencies. Their cute, friendly demeanor alongside strong working abilities raises them to the status of great family pets.
|Other Names||English Beagle|
|Coat||Medium length hard coat having short hairs|
|Color||Black and tan; black, red and white; black, tan and bluetick; black, tan and white; brown and white; lemon and white; black, fawn and white; red; lemon; brown;|
|Group||Companion dogs, scent hounds|
|Average lifespan (How long do they live)||10 to 15 years|
|Size (How big do they get)||Medium|
|Height of a full grown Beagle||13 inches and 13 to 15 inches|
|Weight of a full grown Beagle||Male: 22 to 25 lbs; Female: 20 to 23 lbs|
|Litter size||Approximately 6 puppies|
|Behavioral characteristics||Gentle; merry; curious, friendly, intelligent|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderately high|
|Climate compatibility||Adapts well to warm climates|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Excessively which gets higher in spring|
|Are they Hypoallergenic||No|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/ Information||AKC, FCI, CKC, ANKC, NZKC, KC (UK)|
How does a Beagle look like
Head: Broad and dome-shaped
Ears: Large, soft, long and low set
Muzzle: Square cut and short
Eyes: Large, well set, with a soft, pleading expression more like that of a hound
Tail: Moderately high, slightly curved tail carried gaily
Video of Cute Beagle Puppy
History and Origin
There are a lot of speculations regarding the origin of this breed as well as their name as some say that it stemmed from the Gaelic word (beag) which means little. Others are of the point of view that the name has been derived from the French meaning of the sounds which hounds make when they hunt (be’geule).
Their ancestors are traced back to Ancient Greece around the 5th century which would mostly engage in hunting hares and rabbits. By the 16th century, the large and small hounds were owned by the English gentlemen, with the latter used for tracking deer and the former employed for hunting hares. It is the smaller hounds from which the Beagle of modern times takes after.
The best part of these dogs was that while taking them on a hunting trail one did not need to follow on horseback but could keep up with them treading on foot.
Reverend Philip Honeywood was instrumental in developing a pack of Beagles, which formed the foundation stock of the breeds of the present time. The North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound were said to be a part of the breeding programme. It was also speculated that the Harrier even played a significant role in the development of the modern lines of this breed.
The First and Second World War affected their numbers to a great extent, and the Beagle Club was formed for their betterment. The popularity of these dogs also spread to the United States especially among rabbit hunters in the 1840s. It attained the AKC’s recognition in 1885 and by the 20th century, its fame spread worldwide.
Different Types of Beagle
AKC recognizes two varieties of Beagle:
- Those which are 13 inches tall at shoulder level.
- Those having a height of 13 to 15 inches.
Both the varieties have a solid, sturdy built, coming in appealing colors. The Beagle is crossed with different purebreds to produce designer dogs with unique temperaments. Check the list here to know more about the Beagle mixes.
Temperament and Personality
They are known for their sweet temper and gentle nature, often being described as “merry” in most breed standards. However, at the same time, these funny and charming dogs have a naughty and mischievous side to their character, often keeping you on the run with all their antics.
They are initially reserved towards strangers. However, one could win over them quite easily, and hence this trait of theirs does not raise them to the stature of an effective guard dog.
They have an immense interest in food and would sometimes get extremely stubborn in this regard. The Beagles will even resort to stealing on not getting the desired eatables. It is hence advisable never to leave any edible near the range of their nose as it could tempt them to the fullest.
They are not quite dogs, often known to get noisy at the sound of a siren or even when taken out. The sight of a stranger would also make them bark, though they cannot be termed as nuisance barkers unless lonely or bored.
They are good with children but sometimes have tendencies of grabbing things with their mouth in a pursuit to play which could also include your little one’s hand, hence parental supervision is needed during their interaction.
Being pack animals, they get along with dogs, cats as well as other pets. However, they have a strong sense of attachment towards their family and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for a long period of time.
They are known for their unique sense of smell and are more adept at following a scent on the ground rather than air. Their long ears and big lips mostly help them in trapping the smells which are near to their nose. This trait of following whatever scent comes to their nose may compel them to take to the streets in the pursuit of getting at it.
Australia uses Beagle for termite detection, while considerations are also being made to employ it in detecting explosives and drugs. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, they were used in the search and rescue operation and even succeeded in locating Hotel Montana’s owner who had been buried under the rubble for some 100 hours post which he was rescued. New York City was also known to hire these dogs to detect bedbugs.
They are active and full of energy, thus requiring at least an hour’s exercise on a routine basis. Whenever you take them out on a walk or give them playtime in a yard, make sure you leash them or install fences around, since they are escape artists and could be off in no time.
Though it is a moderate shedder throughout the year, the hair fall is maximum particularly during springtime since its coat gets heavy in the colder months. Brush it once a week always and twice during the shedding season, using a comb with medium bristles. You should also make it a point to use a hound glove or rubber grooming mitt for removing dead hair as well as promoting new hair growth. Bathe them only when they get dirty or messy. Other grooming needs include trimming its nails one or two times in a month, cleaning its eyes and ears on a routine basis as well as brushing its teeth twice or thrice a week.
Though they are a healthy breed with a moderately long lifespan, some of the common problems they may face include epilepsy, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, dwarfism, patellar luxation, as well as eye problems like glaucoma, cherry eye, and progressive retinal atrophy.
The Beagles are known for their stubborn and independent nature, always on the lookout to have their will whenever they desire to get something done. Hence, training them firmly is essential from their puppy days.
- Crate training the Beagle puppies would help in lessening their pangs of separation anxiety. Make their crate comfortable and keep all their favorite belongings within especially some of the treats they love the most, though never overdo it. Try keeping them within for small periods in the beginning and then increase the span. However, never use the crate as confinement for punishment.
- Obedience training, mainly teaching them to follow commands like “No” or “Stop” is of utmost importance to help them shed off their destructive habits like barking unnecessarily, chasing at something or even biting on to an object.
- Leash training the Beagle puppies is a mandate keeping their escaping tendencies in mind.
Beagles weighing between 25 and 30 pounds require 674 to 922 calories in a day. While choosing dog food for them make sure that it is high in protein, comprising of whole meat, poultry, or fish. Fatty acid sources like sunflower, fish oil or safflower are essential for maintaining the shine on the coat. Carbohydrates like brown rice, as well as fibers, are even needed. Avoid giving it meat by-products such as spleen, kidney, liver, bones, and lungs as well as cereal grains such as corn or wheat since they would have a problem in digesting them.
- They have been mentioned in the works of a host of eminent writers like William Shakespeare, John Dryden, and Henry Fielding and have also made their appearance in comic strips as well as animated cartoons.
- Because of their small size as well as passive nature about 65,000 Beagles are used every year for performing chemical, beauty, cosmetic and medical tests.
- Frodo, a Beagle, employed as an agriculture sniffer played a significant role in sniffing baggage in the airport and detecting insects which could cause harm to livestock and plants. It was even awarded the PDSA Gold Medal.