They are handsome, they can hold a tune, and their nose can pick up all sort of scents including: pregnancy. Of course, we’re talking about the Beagle, a constant favorite in the United States, who once upon a time was America’s favorite comic strip.
This happy-go-lucky and good-looking breed, is a small size, medium energy dog from the Hound Group family.
But buyer beware, this cute diminutive breed can be quite rambunctious, and it said that a Beagle will do what a Beagle wants or where his nose leads him.
So what makes the breed so beloved and one of the most popular dogs in America?
Here is what you need to know about the Beagle.
The origins of this breed is a bit murky. Researchers believe they can link this dog as far back as the 5th century BC. The American Kennel Club offers a difference in opinion, tracing the Beagles roots around the 1500’s.
Their ancestry is a combination of Harrier, Bloodhound, and the Foxhound, according to Purina.
Much like the breed, Dachshund, this dog was bred to be a scent hunter, giving prudence to their original description as scent hounds. Their main purpose by the 1800’s was to hunt hare and rabbit. Fox hunting was also popular back in England, where this breed originates from, so Beagles were used in that capacity as well.
John Henry Walsh, an English sports writer, described the Beagle in his work, Manual of British Rural Sports, as having four varieties. There was the medium Beagle, a dwarf, a Fox Beagle, and the rough coated Beagle. The rough coated Beagle along with the smooth version (today’s Beagle) ended up being the two common strains. By 1969, the rough coat version of this breed became extinct leaving only one as we know today.
Interestingly, the dwarf type were the most popular size in the 1800’s in England. They measured around nine or ten inches and were used during hunting excursions. They could have also been used as therapeutic or service dogs for the elderly women at that time. Because they would often be stored in a hunter’s pocket, this dog was called the Pocket Beagle. They too are extinct.
It is believed that the first Beagle may have arrived in Massachusetts around the mid-1600’s. The Beagle then was said to have not resembled the breed we have grown custom to now.
Most historical accounts have the breed being imported from England and into the United States by the 1840’s. A breeder from Illinois, during the 1870’s, General Richard Rowett, is believed to be the man behind the modern version Beagle of today.
In 1885, the Beagle was officially accepted and registered by the American Kennel Club. The purebred began its rise in popularity, and by 1888, The National Beagle Club of America was formed.
From there on, the breed has done well in dog shows, including a Best in Show honor in 1901, top prize at the 1928 Westminster Kennel Club, and repeating again in 1939.
Just as recent, a Beagle named, Uno, won the 2008’s Best in Show title at the Westminster Kennel Club.
Around 2012 and 2013, this breed ranked as high as 4th most popular breed behind the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever.
The American Kennel Club has them ranked 5th most popular dog breed today, and it is estimated that this breed has over 54,000 registrations.
This breed can be listed into two different size groups. The first is a height of 13 inches and under, while the second group is 13 to 15 inches. Males tend to be slightly taller than females.
The small sized dog can weigh under 20 pounds, or they can range between 20 to 30 pounds. Males tend to outweigh their female counterparts by 1 or 2 pounds.
A proud breed from the Hound Group, the Beagle is described as being one handsome, but happy dog, that ultimately thrives on their owners lap or nearby.
This dog shouldn’t be left alone for very long periods, as they do tend to be bored. There really isn’t any reason to leave them alone, because the Beagle is one of the better breeds with smaller children and other animals.
You will need some early socialization and patience when training your Beagle. If you do, then this dog can be a great companion with animals and smaller children. Why do you think Snoopy and Charlie Brown clicked so well?
A properly trained Beagle can break bad habits like nibbling or grabbing objects, including hands, for fun.
This dog is a hound by nature, and they love to sniff around the crib. When they do go sniffing, it is usually as a food conquistador. That nose has won them favor amongst police forces around the country as an effective K-9 dog. Give this dog plenty of mental stimulation. They don’t need a bunch of exercise, but a healthy balance will keep them from becoming obese.
Ultimately, this breed is happiest with their family, they are loyal, fun, loud when they hear sirens and music as well as outgoing.
The Beagle is considered to be generally a healthy breed, with a few speed bumps along the way.
When you buy this breed from a breeder, you should always do your research on who you’re getting the dog from, and make sure they provide you with all of the clearance and documentation needed for a good bill of health.
That said, this breed has an average life span of 12 to 15 years. Regular visits to the veterinarian will go a long way making sure your best friend gets the most out of life.
The most common issues your Beagle is likely to have are epilepsy, dwarfism, back and eye issues.
Those droopy ears of theirs can invite a plethora of health infections. It’s always best to keep your eye out on that spot.
Because they are very food driven, and not picky eaters, while being among the most effective food begging breeds alive, the Beagle can come down with a case of obesity. This can be avoided with a master, who regularly exercises their dog, and one who lays down the lay with a proper and balanced diet. The Michigan State University Thyroid Database claims this breed has the tenth highest Hyperthyroidism rate at an alarming 22%.
Cherry Eye is also found with this breed. When the dog’s third eyelid slips out of place, it can cause discomfort, irritation, and ultimately lead to infections.
Beagle Dwarfism is another genetic issues affecting the breed. Although your dog may not ever develop this condition, it is best to play it safe and consult your veterinarian about this condition. This can lead to other health issues such as Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD.
To avoid an obese Beagle, you should allow them proper space for exercise and playing. This dog will be active if you teach it to be.
Early socialization is key with this dog, so that it will develop into a friendly pet with other animals, and be the outstanding companion that Snoopy was for his dear friend, Charlie Brown. They can be stubborn and at times defying. You will need patience and an even temperament yourself.
This breed with food comes as advertised. They will get at your plate, inside your trash, if you leave things lying around. Fortunately, you can break these habits by making that disobeying trait harder for them by properly putting things away and keeping food from them.
Beagles are said to negotiate n food during training. Don’t let them manipulate you, however, reward them but don’t enable a bad diet.
Grooming this breed is fairly simple. You should brush their teeth to rid tartar build up and other bacteria twice per week. This will help encourage healthier and stronger teeth for them to rip into those bones.
This dog may not be suited for someone who works on the road. However, if you can help it, you should try to surround your Beagle with a fellow dog or even a cat. Early socialization proves that this dog is great with other pets.
This dog is quite easy to please when it comes to food. They will naturally want to eat whatever it is you’re having. However, there’s a reason many Beagle owners adhere to a strict diet when it comes to this dog. They are prone to obesity.
If you feed a Beagle three quarters of a cup to 1.5 cups per day, then that is completely within the recommended amount. You can divide this into two meals per day. This often helps many dogs feel like they are eating with their family, but more importantly, it encourages routine and a morality boost.
Top rated or high quality dry kibble is always vital when feeding your Hound dog. Anything rich with protein value is key. You can toss in white meat, meat, fish or liver. 18 to 22 % protein value should suffice a dog of this breed.
Keep in mind factors like age, metabolism, and activity levels too. Your dog will eat based on what it can handle.
Finally, you should always leave clean and fresh drinking water around for your dog.
The Beagles coat is easy to care for, which is what most owners rant about. They do have a double coat. The top layer is more harsh and short, while the undercoat is dense and resistant to water and rain.
A simple medium bristle brush will suffice your grooming efforts. You should get into the habit of regular brushing because the dog is a seasonal shedder. This will help promote proper hair growth and rid the dead hairs and skin.
The color scheme for this breed can be anything within the hound standard. Some of the more common colors for this breed are Lemon and white, white and tan, red and white, brown and white, orange and white, and tri-color.
They look good, they smell good, and heck, if you compare them to some of the modern music of today, the Beagle even sings good.
It is their comfortable size, their charming personality, that keeps this dog within the top ten favorites among the 155 breeds.
If you can get past their stubborn stage as a puppy, that pleading yet cute face will keep you and your family happy for a long time.