History of the Beagle Breed
Although its actual origins remain obscure, the Beagle breed may have resulted from mixing the Harrier with other English hounds. Even the origin of its name isn’t clear, although one suggestion is that it derives from the French begueule, meaning “open throat,” after the breed’s distinctive baying bark. As early as 1500, English hunters were using packs of small scent hounds like today’s Beagle for tracking hare and other small game. In the late 1800’s, General Richard Rowett of Illinois imported some dogs from England and began breeding. His dogs are believed to be the model for the first American standard. Described as “a nose with four legs,” Beagles are masters at following the trail of a scent. Today they’re used in law enforcement as narcotics detection dogs and by exterminators to sniff out termites. Recognized by the AKC in 1885, the Beagle is currently ranked the fourth most popular breed.
Physical Description of the Beagle Breed
Beagles are sturdy little hounds with squarely-built bodies, long, slightly domed skulls and straight square muzzles. Their large, wide-set eyes are either brown or hazel, their famous wide, pendant ears are set low and long, and their black noses are broad with full nostrils. Their tails are set moderately high, their coats are close, hard and sleek, and come in varying combinations of black, white and tan. There are two sizes of Beagle: the larger one at 15 inches and up to 35 pounds; and the smaller one at 13 inches and up to 30 pounds. An average shedder, they need occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush and baths with a mild soap only when necessary. Their long ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection and their nails must be kept short. A healthy breed, the Beagle lives between 12 and 15 years.
Is the Beagle Breed Right for You?
With their cheerful dispositions, Beagles are sweet and gentle dogs, happy to greet everyone they see with gaily wagging tails. As sociable as they are, they’re equally intelligent, brave, determined and watchful, and require firm, but patient training – with the food they love! — to let them know that YOU are the “pack” leader. They’re excellent with children, usually good with other dogs, but because they’re still hunters at heart, they may see anything smaller as prey. True pack animals, Beagles become very attached to their people and are best suited to families, singles and even seniors, who lead active, outdoor lives. As scent hounds, they’ll track any scent anywhere, and must be leashed during walks. To both satisfy their instincts and keep them stimulated mentally, you can buy animal scents and play tracking games with them. As long as their physical and mental needs are met, Beagles can make the warmest, most endearing companions, living comfortably in anything from a small city apartment to a large farm in the country.
Furever Rescue Organizations that specialize in adopting the Beagle breed include Big on Beagles and A Dog’s Dream Rescue - watch for features on these rescues and more coming up this week!