Beagle Information

Overview

Often affectionately referred to as “howlers” by their owners, beagles are medium-sized dogs that were initially developed as scent hounds for tracking hare and rabbit. However, beagles are now ranked as the 4th most popular pet breed by the American Kennel Club. Beagles continue to gain popularity as pets due to their intelligence, size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. Read on to find a full breed description to determine whether this happy-go-lucky and friendly pup is the right match for your family.

Beagle
Basic Info
NameBeagle
Other NameEnglish Beagle
OriginGreat Britain
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Hound Dog Breeds
Life Span11-15 years
TemperamentEven Tempered, Determined, Amiable, Excitable, Gentle, Intelligent
Height13–16 inches
WeightMale 22–25 lb; Female 20–23 lb
ColorsRed & White, Brown & White, Lemon & White, Orange & White, Tri-color, Chocolate Tri, White & Tan
Puppy PriceAverage $500 - $800 USD

Beagle

Physical description

Body Type

As a sturdy and hardy little hound dog that often resembles a miniature Foxhound, the beagle has a square body with a fairly long and slightly domed skull. While the square muzzle is straight and medium-sized, the eyes are large and set well apart with dark brown or hazel coloring. The pendant ears are wide, low-set, and long for hanging beside the cheeks. Beagles have a broad black nose with full nostrils, rounded firm feet, and a long tail set moderately high on the hindquarters. Male beagles are typically between 14 and 16 inches at shoulder height with a weight ranging from 22 to 25 pounds, but females are slightly smaller at 13 to 15 inches weighing between 20 to 23 pounds.

Color

According to the breed standard for beagles, any hound-type of coloring is acceptable, including tri-color, black and tan, lemon, red and white, orange and white, blue tick, red tick, and white and lemon. Purebred beagles should always have a white tail or white-tipped tail known as the flag because this has historically enabled hunters to easily see the dogs when their heads were down to the ground pursuing a scent.

Coat

Beagles possess a soft and sleek coat that consists of medium-length close and hard hairs that are relatively easy to care for. In fact, beagles were bred so that their coats would be dense enough to repel water and not attract burrs or other nuisance plants while hunting in fields.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  No

Grooming

With a short-haired coat, it is no surprise that grooming requirements are minimal and rather easy for beagles. It is suggested that owners brush beagles with a firm bristle brush when necessary to fulfill the need of removing dead hair that would otherwise fall onto carpeting or furniture during the shedding season. Although beagles have a low body odor, their curiosity often leads them into some messy situations that will require bathing. If an individual beagle is less adventurous, a bath every couple of months will suffice. Beagles ears hang down and prevent air from naturally circulating, which makes them more prone to waxy buildup. Therefore, it is very important for owners to swab them out gently on a weekly basis with an ear wash product approved by a veterinarian.

History

With the origin of their name coming from the French term “be’geule” in reference to the baying voice of the dogs when in pursuit of game, the first beagles date back to the 15th century. English hunters would take packs of these medium-sized dogs out on the hunt for their excellent tracking skills to snare rabbits, pheasants, hares, quails, and other smaller wild animals. Believed to have originated from a cross between various types of English hounds and the Harrier, beagles would hunt alone, in pairs, or in large packs. In medieval times, Queen Elizabeth I was famous for breeding the first Pocket Beagle, which stood just eight to nine inches at the shoulder and was small enough to ride along on hunts in a saddlebag.

Although these beagles existed for over 2,000 years prior, the modern beagle breed was born in the United Kingdom in the 1830s from the mixing of several breeds, including the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, the Talbot Hound, and the Harrier. However, by 1887 the popularity of fox hunting was increasing and the numbers of beagles severely diminished to the point where there were just 18 packs left in England. After being exported to the United States for their hunting abilities, the beagle became an accepted breed by the American Kennel Club in 1884 and was quickly spread worldwide. More popular in the United States and Canada than in their native nation, beagles have won a number of prizes at the Westminster Kennel Club show.

Temperament

Often greeting everyone with an amiable tail wag, beagles are typically described as being a loving, sweet, affectionate, happy, gentle, sociable, and intelligent breed. Excellent with children and generally good with other canines in residence, beagles naturally have an even temper and pleasing disposition. Due to their history and natural hunting instincts, beagles often are curious creatures that have a mind of their own and a tendency to follow their strong noses. Beagles are famous for having an unusual sounding bark that is similar to a loud bay cry or short howl. It is important for beagles to be trained by a patient, firm, and consistent pack leader in order to avoid behavioral problems, including obsessive barking, snapping, guarding, and destruction, that stem from separation anxiety.

Since beagles have been bred for centuries for their tremendous energy levels and great stamina for endurance, the dogs require plenty of exercise, including a brisk daily walk and playtime. Beagles are rather active indoors and may be suitable for apartment living, as long as the dogs are given sufficient opportunities to roam outdoors. Owners are always encouraged to use a leash when walking the dogs because beagles have a tendency to wander off when picking up a scent. In order to safely satisfy these tracking instincts, owners may wish to purchase animal scents and play tracking games with their beagles.


Interesting Beagle Facts

  • Although Snoopy in the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as the “world’s most famous beagle,” the breed has also been the star of famous Hollywood works like Underdog, Cats & Dogs, Shiloh, East Enders, Wonder Years, and Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Known for having one of the best developed senses of smell of any dog breed with about 220 million smell receptors, beagles are often used as detection dogs in the Beagle Brigade of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to detect food items in luggage being taken into the country.
  • In a famous study conducted by dog psychologists Ben and Lynette Hart, beagles were given the highest excitability rating, along with Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, West Highland White Terriers, Fox Terriers, and Cairn Terriers.