The Beagle is a hound breed, which has origins stemming back to as early as ancient Greece. Various writings describe a hound type of dog which hunted hares and rabbits by scent, which the Beagle has been known to do.
In the early 11th century, William the Conqueror brought the Talbot hound to Britain. This dog was an ancestor of the Southern Hound, which later led to the formation of the modern day Beagle.
The term “beagle” arose during medieval times to describe many small hounds of those days. Although, the dogs at this time which were considered Beagles differ greatly from the modern day version of the breed. Furthermore, Beagles were greatly varied at this time, having many different subsets.
During the 18th, two breeds of hounds (Southern Hound and Northern Country Beagle) were used for hunting hare and rabbits. Eventually, these breeds began to fade out in large numbers. However, some farmers in the south kept smaller versions of the dogs to continue the breed.
Then, in the mid 1800’s, many people, including members of the upper class and royalty, owned Beagle packs. These are now credited with the formation of the modern day Beagle breed, with a standard type developing in the 1840’s. It was also at this time that the Beagle had made its way to the United States.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the Beagle as an official breed in the year 1884. By the early 1900’s, the Beagle was safe from extinction.
Beagles in general, resemble a miniature foxhound. After all, their ancestors were used to form that breed as well. The legs, however, are slightly shorter in proportion to the rest of their body. They have broad chests and tapered abdomens and waists. Beagles usually measure between 13 and 16 inches and weigh approximately 18 to 35 pounds.
Beagles heads are broad with short to medium square muzzles. Their heads are also dome shaped. Their eyes are large and usually come in either a hazel or brown color, although this can vary on rare occasions. Their ears are probably one of their most distinguishing features. They are large, droopy, very soft, and low-set.
Beagles have slightly curved tails that sit downward. While they never curl over the back, Beagles’ tails always stand erect when the dog is active. This could either mean work, play, or a variety of activities. The tails also have pure white tips, known as the flag.
As for coloring, Beagles can come in a variety of colors. The most common is the tricolor Beagle, which has white, black, and light brown. The white appears on the legs, underside, and chest, while the back, head, upper legs, and tails have light brown and black patches. Bicolor Beagles are also common, being white and light brown. Other colors which Beagles can be include lemon, light tan, red, orange, brown, and liver.
Aside from distinguishing colorings and markings, the Beagle also has a famous acute sense of smell. Again, its original purpose was sniffing out small animals and hunting. This dog has been studied time and time again and proved to have one of the best senses of smells of any dog breed throughout the world. Although, it is important to note that Beagles are better at ground-scenting (sniffing and following scents on the ground) than air-scenting (sniffing and following scents in the air). However, they can do both. Their droopy ears and large lips also help to trap the scent near their noses.
Average life span for the Beagle is between 12 and 15 years.
The Beagle generally has a calm and cool disposition. It is also, generally, even tempered and not very aggressive. These features means that it does not act quickly and lash out against strange people or animals, like other breeds of dogs do. Although the Beagle can be very standoffish at first, it again is not aggressive or dangerous at all, unless seriously threatened. The Beagle is a very intelligent breed of dog that knows how to handle itself.
The Beagle, for the reasons listed above among others, is a great dog breed for families. Not only is it calm and good at making judgments, but it is also very gentle. This dog can also be protective if it needs to. The Beagle is an especially great dog breeds for families with children.
The Beagle is also an easy pet to have. It is always very eager to please, and is determined to accomplish a task once it has a goal in mind. Furthermore, Beagles, unlike many other dog breeds, are not overly demanding when it comes to exercise. Sure, they are playful and adore attention, but they will not work themselves to exhaustion before they are willing to take a rest. The Beagle is typically very content and good at establishing a routine, although they can be easily excitable at times.
As far as potential behavioral issues go, the Beagle is highly susceptible to separation anxiety. If this occurs, the Beagle is liable to become very vocal, fall ill, become highly stressed and aggressive, chew furniture, etc.
They are also easily bored, which will also lead to the behaviors listed above. Beagles may also howl or bark without stopping until they are calm. Beagles are also not very obedient, so trying to stop this behavior once it starts can prove to be quite difficult.
One last negative aspect of Beagle behavior is that, while they are usually determined to fulfill goals in mind, Beagles can be easily distracted, especially by smells. This makes training difficult as well.
The Beagle can sometimes still be used as a helper in hunting and other related sports, although this is up to the owner. Very few competitions of this nature still occur. If privately owned, a Beagles main purpose anymore is usually just as a companion animal. Again, they are great for families with children.
One other important detail is that use of these dogs in obedience or other dog competitions is very rare. Because they are so easily distracted, they tend not to perform well or listen to their owners in front of large crowds at the competitions. For these reasons, and their benefits, people mostly stick to adopting them as pets.