Breed Introduction: Beagle

Find out more about Beagles, one of the most popular hound breed!

Beagles are a lovable breed of pet dog that are generally defined by their large, saggy ears, wide head, brief muzzle, as well as little stature. They have also been a firm favorite in the show ring both with judges and crowds alike. They were bred as scent hounds for monitoring and also thus have actually developed fairly a reputation as “investigative dogs.”. However, they are preferred in animal screening because they are inherently healthy and also moderately tempered. Although, they have retained their hunting instinct, the Beagle is renowned for being relaxed and happy in a home environment too.

Beagles boast kind natures; they love life and are a real pleasure to have around because they are always so eager and willing to please. They are medium sized dogs that adore being around people and generally get on well with other animals and pets too.

Beagle Origin

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There are records of dogs that hunted in packs with their keepers in both England and Wales in the 13th Century. Early on, these hounds were divided by size; the large ones hunted deer and other large game and the small ones hunted hares, rabbits, and pheasants. The small hounds were called “beighs” or “beagles,” perhaps after “beigle,” the French word for “useless or of little value,” or “beag” the Celtic word for “small.”

These early hounds probably did not resemble the Beagles of today. In the 1700s, rabbit-hunting dogs all but disappeared in England as fox-hunting grew in popularity. Farmers kept the breed alive by keeping packs of Beagles, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the breed developed into the dog we know today as the happy-go-lucky dog with a nose that doesn’t quit. The Beagle came to the US in 1876 and was recognized by the American Kennel Cub in 1884. Today it is one of the country’s most popular breeds; in 1996, its 56,946 new registrations placed it fifth among 143 AKC breeds.

In the 1950s, John Scott and also John Fuller tested the sense of smell among various breeds of pet dogs. This test was carried out by putting a computer mouse in an acre of land as well as timing for how long it took the canines to find it. The Beagle discovered the computer mouse much less compared to one min, where various other breeds absorbed excess of ten minutes or did not locate it at all.

Beagle Characteristics

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Coat and Color

Beagles are the most popular hound breed. They are compact little dogs that always look alert and ready to get involved in anything that is asked of them whether they are in the field or in a home environment. Beagles have quite a large head in relation to size of their body with females having slightly finer heads than their male counterparts. They have shortest muzzles with a broad nose which ideally should be black although a lighter color is allowed in dogs with lighter colored coats. Their muzzle is straight and square and they have wide, drop ears. Beagles’ eyes are brown or hazel in color and have a distinctive expression which usually makes them look like they want something. Their tails are straight and should be carried high and erect at all times. Beagles most commonly come in two color variations – tricolor or red and white – but all hound colorings are accepted in the breed standard.

Size and Weight

Beagles resemble small Foxhounds and stand from 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 18 to 30 pounds. Females weigh in at the lighter end of the spectrum, while males are typically heavier.

The height limit for Beagles in the United States is 15 inches, while in England it is 16 inches. In the United States, two varieties are recognized: those not exceeding 13 inches at the withers, and those over 13 but not exceeding 15 inches at the withers. Any Beagle exceeding 15 inches is disqualified in this country and may not compete in field trials or dog shows.

Grooming

Beagles are easy maintenance in the grooming department all thanks to their short, neat coats. When they do get dirty or muddy, it’s easy to give them a quick wipe over with warm water and a sponge. A daily brush is all that a Beagle needs to keep their coats and skin in good condition and to keep any shed hair under the control. As with other breeds, the Beagle shed more in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when a dog might need more frequent brushing than at other times of the year.

Temperament

Beagles boast lovely temperaments and enjoy being around people and other animals too. They hate being left to their own devices and would be seriously unhappy if left alone for even shorter periods of time. Beagles are not the best choice of pets for people with very young families because finding enough time to spend with a dog and toddlers can prove challenging and Beagles need a lot in the way of attention.

Intelligence

Beagles are known to be intelligent, however, it’s essential for their training and education to start as early as possible or these dogs can become willful and unruly. On the upside, Beagles are always eager and willing to please and as long as they are given the right sort of guidance and direction from an early age, they grow up to be well-rounded, obedient dogs. Beagles need to be handled firmly, but always fairly and their training needs to be consistent throughout their lives. Any unwanted behaviors have to be nipped in the bud, gently yet firmly and this includes their tendency to bark.

Physical Characteristics and Health

 The Kerry Beagle differs in size from the traditional beagle breed, weighing up to 60 pounds and standing 22 to 24 inches tall. This dog breed can be seen in a variety of coat colors, including black and tan, tan and white, tricolor of black-tan-white, blue mottled and tan, and solid black.

The average life expectancy of a Beagle is between 12 to 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages. However, as with a lot of other pure breeds, the Beagle is known to suffer from a few hereditary and acquired health issues which are worth knowing about if you want to share your home with one of these fun-loving and lively dogs.

Caring for a Beagle

A home with a spacious yard is best for the energetic Kerry Beagle, though it can be kept in apartments as well, as long as it is given the opportunity for daily exercise. Simple grooming, including occasional brushing of the coat and bathing when necessary, is all that is required for this dog breed.

Exercise

Beagles need a lot in the way of exercise and they also need to be given a lot of mental stimulation to the truly happy, well balanced dogs. Beagle puppies only need to be given a little exercise to begin with because their joints and bones are still developing. As such a little playtime in a garden is ideal until they have had all their vaccinations. Then it’s important for them to be introduced to as many other animals, pets and situations as possible so they grow up to be confident adult dogs.

Feeding

If you get a Beagle puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of food to a puppy to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upset and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their food again. A mature Beagle needs to be fed a good quality, well-balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives. It’s also important to keep a close eye on their weight, because as previously mentioned, Beagles are prone to put on weight which means limiting the amount of rewards they are given even during their training.

Updated: September 21, 2017.

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