The first Beagles date back to the 1500s. Packs of these dogs would be taken out on the hunt to track rabbits, hare, pheasant, quail and other small animals. The breed can hunt alone, in pairs or in packs. The breed probably originated as a cross between the Harrier and other types of English hounds. The name "Beagle" may have come from the French term "be’geule," which means “gape throat,” referring to the dogs baying voice. The name may also have come from the dog's size, stemming from the French word “beigh”, the Old English word “begele”, or perhaps the Celtic word “beag”, which all mean "small". The Beagle is used as a narcotics detection dog and makes a fine family companion.
The Beagle is a sturdy, hardy little hound dog which looks like a miniature Foxhound. The body is squarely-built and the skull is fairly long and slightly domed. The square muzzle is straight and medium in length.
The large eyes are brown or hazel and are set well apart. The wide, pendant ears are low set and long. The black nose is broad with full nostrils. The feet are round and firm. The tail is set moderately high and never curled over the back. The coat is of medium length, close, hard, sleek and easy to care for. Any hound-type of colouring is acceptable including lemon, tri-colour, black and tan, red and white, orange and white, or lemon and white, blue tick and red tick. Beagles have a distinct howl and bay of a bark when they are on the hunt.
The Beagle is a loving, sweet and gentle little dog who is happy around most people, greeting them with a wagging tail. Sociable, brave and intelligent the Beagle is excellent with children and generally good with other dogs, but because of their hunting instincts, they should not be trusted with non-canine pets, unless they are socialized with them when they are young.
Beagles have minds of their own; they are determined and watchful and require patient, firm training. It is important that you are this dog's pack leader and the proper amount of physical and mental exercise is provided. With enough exercise the Beagle will be calm. You can also purchase animal scents and play tracking games with your beagle to help satisfy their instinct to track. The Beagle does not have a normal sounding bark, but rather a loud bay cry, that almost sounds like a short howl.
Beagles are curious and have a tendency to follow their own noses. If they pick up a scent they may wander off and not even hear you calling them back, or not care to listen, as they will be too busy hunting. Take care when letting them off the lead that you are in a safe area as they have such strong hunting instincts. Beagles who are allowed to be dominating over people can develop a varying degree of behavioural issues including: obsessive barking, snapping, biting, guarding and destructive behaviour. These are not Beagle traits, but rather behaviours brought on by lack of leadership and or exercise, from their owners. The behaviours can be corrected when the dog’s instincts are met.
Height: Dogs 36-41cm Bitches 33-38cm.
Weight: Dogs 10-11kg Bitches 9-10kg.
Some lines can be prone to epilepsy, heart disease, eye and back problems. The Beagle can also be prone to chondroplasia.
Beagles can live in flats or smaller dwellings if they get plenty of chances to be outdoors. They are very active indoors and require the use of a garden.
Energetic and possessing great stamina, the Beagle needs plenty of exercise, including at least two good long walks per day. They need to have the use of a garden to play in if possible. Always use a lead when walking this breed or you will be running the risk of it disappearing to hunt.
Around 12-15 years
2-14 puppies – Average 7
The Beagle's smooth short-haired coat is easy to look after. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe with mild soap only when necessary. Be sure to check the ears carefully for signs of infection and keep the nails trimmed. This breed has an average moult.