The beagle is a compact little rabbit hunter, one of the smallest members of the hound group that relies on scent to find his quarry. Though the precise origin of the beagle is unknown, the breed seems to have been a favorite human companion and vigorous rabbit hunter for centuries.
Since the 1950s, the beagle has consistently ranked as one of the top 10 most loved breeds.
History and Origin
Though extensively researched, the origins of the beagle can only be traced back to the mid-19th century, though a beagle-like hound was used to hunt rabbits in the 14th century. The origin of the name "beagle" is likewise obscured by history; some believe the word comes from the
Old English word "begele," or the Celtic "beag," both of which mean small.
Despite a limited recorded history, it is generally believed that the beagle is one of the oldest breeds and is one of the breeds closest in appearance to the original hounds.
The breed was developed in the British Isles.
Besides being favored as a rabbit hunter, the beagle was a favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth. It belongs to a group of hunting dogs known as scent hounds, which use scent to search and find their prey.
The beagle was officially recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1873 and brought to the United States. The National Beagle Club was formed in 1888. The American Kennel Club recognizes the beagle as a member of the hound group.
Unfortunately, because of their compact size and friendly temperament, the beagle has been one of the most popular dog breeds to be used in medical research.
Appearance and Size
Beagles are small shorthaired hounds with long ears that lie against the head. The coat colors are a combination of tan, black and white. As with most hounds, the eyes of the beagle are soft and pleading.
The adult beagle is a small breed and, in the
United States, is divided into two size categories, 13 to 15 inches at the
shoulder and under 13 inches at the shoulder. In England, there is only one
class, with a maximum height of 16 inches. Beagles average between 18 to 30
Friendly and lovable, the beagle's tail is
perpetually wagging. The breed is not aggressive but, with his baying bark, will
alert the homeowner of intruders. They are intelligent, good-natured and docile
Home and Family Relations
Beagles are excellent choices for families with
children. The breed's easygoing nature makes them tolerant family members that
love to participate in games. Beagles do not enjoy being left alone for extended
periods of time. They can easily become frustrated and bored, leading to
behavior problems, including destructive behavior.
In general, the breed does well in obedience
training but some find the beagle somewhat stubborn. Some have trouble with
Due to their short hair coat, beagles do not
require special grooming.
Beagles love to hunt. This results in a strong
desire to dig, which can be problematic for some homeowners and gardeners. Some
beagles tend to be quite vocal and, if not given appropriate home care, may
excessively bark. On the plus side, they don't drool, shed little and they have
minimal doggy odor.
Since beagles thoroughly enjoy hunting and
digging, providing a safe and adequate confinement may be difficult. For some
persistent dogs, special fencing may be required.
Common Diseases and
Dermatitis is a general term used to describe
inflammation of the skin and can be caused by allergies, infections or even
parasites such as mange.
Epilepsy is a
disorder that results in seizure activities.
disease is a painful condition that can develop when the disk material between
the vertebra of the spine moves out of place. The disk material extrudes into
the spinal canal and can impinge on the spinal cord, resulting in pain,
difficulty walking or even paralysis.
is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin
Chronic hepatitis is a
chronic and progressive inflammation of the liver of dogs that leads eventually
to the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue.
(lymphoma) is a malignant cancer that involves the lymphoid system.
In addition, although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have
also been reported:
opacities within the lens of the eye that affect vision.
Amyloidosis is a
disease involving abnormal deposits of starch-type material throughout the body.
A primary target is the kidney.
Glaucoma is a
disease of the eye that develops when the pressure within the eye increases.
There is a high risk of permanent blindness associated with glaucoma.
Deafness can be
present at birth or develop later in life.
Prolapse of the
third eyelid also known as cherry eye, is not painful and occurs spontaneously.
Thyroiditis ? a condition causing Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland
does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
Hyperadrenocorticism is a disorder affecting the adrenal glands. When
overactive, the adrenal glands secrete excessive cortisol, resulting in illness.
kidney disease - can result in kidney failure early in life.
Hypotrichosis - is a congenital problem causing symmetrical hair loss.
Mast Cell Tumors are malignant tumors than can occur in the skin or within the body.
Lens luxation is a dislocation or displacement of the lens within the eye.
The average life span of the beagle ranges between 12 to 15 years.
We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.