The Beagle is a small size pack hound that originated in England. It was originally bred to hunt hare and was easy enough to follow by foot hunters. It has a sturdy built with an alert temperament. It has a slightly domed skull with a well-defined stop with well-flewed lips. It has a black nose, dark brown or hazel eyes with long, leather ears that extends to the end of the nose when drawn forward, set hanging close to cheeks. The teeth form regular and complete scissor bite. It has a straight and level topline ending in a moderately long tail that is set high and carried happily and curled over the back. All feet are well knuckled with strong pads. The weatherproof coat is short and dense and comes in tri-colour, white and tan, padger pied, hare pied, lemon and white, red and white, tan and white, black and white and all white. Standard height at withers is 33 to 40 centimetres.
There were dogs in the 5th century BC in ancient Greece that were similar in size and abilities to the modern Beagle. These dogs were used to hunt hares by following their scent. In England, it is thought that beagle-type dogs were already present as early as 1016. Around the same century, King William I is said to have brought the Talbot hound with him to England. At some point, the Talbot hound offsprings were bred with Greyhounds to produce dogs with an extra turn of speed. It is from these litters that probably gave rise to the Southern Hound which is thought to be the ancestor of the Beagle. However, the development of the modern Beagle we know today came from the labours of Rev. Phillip Honeywood in the 1830s who kept a pack of pure white Beagles. Thomas Johnson refined the breed further and produced litters that were both good-looking and excellent hunters. Several decades passed and the first standard for the Beagle was drawn in the 1890s.
This breed is very loving, gentle and sweet natured. While it is typecasted as a howler, it usually only barks when it sees strangers or smells unfamiliar scent. It will, however, let out a howling bark if it is left alone for long periods of time. Because it is used to working with other dogs in the past, the Beagle most enjoy being with all the members of the family and does not tolerate being alone very much.
Beagles are known to have minds of their own. They are determined, persistent and require patient training from their owners.
The Beagle is an independent dog and is known to have a mind of its own. Like other hound dogs, It is determined, persistent and requires patient training from a firm but gentle owner. A Beagle that does not get the proper training and is allowed to become a pack leader will develop destructive habits, including obsessive barking, snapping and sometimes biting.
It is important that this breed knows who's boss and that they receive the right amount of mental and physical exercise, including daily pack walks. Giving the Beagle enough exercise will help to keep them calm. Beagles that do not get the right training, and are allowed to naturally become pack leaders, will develop destructive traits, including obsessive barking, snapping and sometimes biting. These are not Beagle traits, more behaviours brought on by the lack of training from their owners.
The Beagle is a light shedder but there are some Beagles that shed heavier during seasonal change. A Beagle also sheds its coat after a heat cycle or after giving birth mainly because of hormonal changes. When it sheds heavier than usual, frequent grooming is required to rid the body of dead loose hair. This breed does not have a noticeable “doggy” odour. Bathe only when necessary, particularly when it is left to play outdoors where it can catch smelly substances.
In general, the Beagle is a very healthy breed and can live from 12 to 15 years but there are known Beagles that lived longer especially if it is properly cared for. There are some known health issues associated with the breed but this doesn’t mean that your dog is going to have any or all of these. Prevention is the best cure but knowing the symptoms early on is the key to preventing the onset of more serious conditions. The Beagle is prone to epilepsy, hypothyroidism and obesity, particularly in older or sedentary dogs so the right amounts of exercise is important. Hip dysplasia is not common in the Beagle but it can also affect the breed. Other rare diseases which can affect the Beagle are immune mediated polygenic arthritis and neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. Ear infection and certain eye problems such as glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, cherry eye and distichiasis can also affect the breed.
It is important that the Beagle receive the right amount of mental and physical exercise just like any other breed of dog. It is an adaptable breed which will do well in either an apartment home, suburban house with or without a yard, or in a countryside home with large open areas, as long as it is given the proper amounts of exercise. A properly exercised dog is calm and happy. Daily outdoor exercises such as brisk walks along the block, jogging around in a dog park, hiking or running in forest trails, walking along the beach for an hour, are all ideal exercise routines
The Beagle is extremely friendly and very good with children which makes it a wonderful family pet. It is also an excellent companion to other dogs, but because of its strong prey drive, it should not be trusted with non-canine pets such as hamsters, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs and similar animals, unless it is socialised with them and to other household animals when young. It is also generally good with cats.