The Beagle is a medium-sized dog belonging to the hound group and similar in appearance to the foxhound but shorter legs and longer, softer ears. They are scent hounds, which were developed primarily for hunting hare, rabbit and deer. They possess a great sense of smell and tracking instinct that sees them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. They are intelligent and single-minded and popular because of their size and lack of inherited health problems.
The Beagle is an active companion for kids and adults alike. Their noses guide them throughout their life and they’re never happier than when following an interesting scent.
Dogs can be traced in Ancient Greece of similar size and purpose as the modern Beagle around 5th century. Xenophon who was born around 430 BC refers to a hound that hunted hares by scent and was followed on foot.
They became popular in England very early in its history. During the reigns of Edward II and Henry VII, extremely small beagles were popular. They were small enough to be held in a gloved hand. Queen Elizabeth I kept packs of Pocket Beagles that stood only 9 inches tall and were depicted in paintings as short-legged and pointy nosed. That time they were used for hunting, but quickly fell out because they weren’t very fast.
By the 18th century two breeds were developed for hunting hare and rabbit: the Southern Hound which was a tall, heavy dog with a square head, and long, soft ears. It had stamina and an excellent scenting ability. The North Country Beagle, was a cross between an offshoot of the Talbot stock and a Greyhound. It was smaller and fast than the Southern Hound and less heavier and with a more pointed muzzle. It sense of smell was not that strong as Southern Hound.
Their bodies are squarely-built and the skull is fairly long and slightly domed. They have large brown eyes and are set well apart. They have ears that are low set and long. Their nose is broad and black with full nostrils. With round and firm feet they have moderately high tail that never gets curled over the back. They have coat of medium length which is hard, sleek and easy to care for. It can be lemon, tricolor, red and white, black and tan, orange and white, blue tick and red tick or lemon and white. Their height may vary from 13 to 15 inches. They weigh almost 18 to 30 pounds.
The Beagle is loving, sweet and gentle and always happy to see everyone, greeting them. It is sociable, intelligent and brave. They are excellent with children and good with other dogs. Beagles have minds of their own. Being determined and watchful they require patient and firm training. With enough exercise they are calm. They are curious and have a tendency to follow their noses.
Beagles are prone to some of the diseases like invertible disk disease, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and glaucoma in which pressure in eye increases. And lead to draining of fluid. They may sometimes suffer from Distichiasis in which an additional row of eyelashes grow on the oil gland in the dog’s eye and protrude along the edge of the eyelid. Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland. Another disease is Beagle Dwarfism which is a condition where the dog is smaller than normal.