Breed Category: Hound Group
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Average Size: 33-40 cm
Average Weight: 9-12 kg
Average Life Span: 11-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Medium
The Beagle is a medium-size dog that was originally bred to assist in hunting, which is why it is associated with the hound group. Its natural hunting instincts, along with its phenomenal sense of smell contribute to its success as a hunting companion, though the breed is now more commonly known to be an easy-going and affectionate family dog.
Hound dogs like the Beagle that hunt small game have been in existence for several thousand years, though the modern day Beagle was developed in the 1830s. It was developed from several older hound breeds such as the Southern Hound, Talbot Hound and the North Country Beagle. It became a distinct breed of its own in the 1840s, though the breed standards were not developed until nearly half a century later. During the 1900s, the Beagle grew in popularity and became well-known throughout the world. Though the Beagle originated in Great Britain, it is now significantly more popular in North America.
There were originally two types of Beagle, one with a smooth coat and another with a rough coat. The rough-coated Beagle is no longer in existence, as virtually all Beagles produced today have a smooth coat.
The Beagle may have been named for the French term “be’geule,” which is a reference to the breed’s distinct, open-throated bark. In the hound group, dogs like the Beagle have a deep, pitchy bark that is known as baying. Beagles generally bay when they are on the trail of an animal.
The Beagle has a smooth coat that is generally tricoloured, featuring shades of brown, black and white. There are a variety of other colour combinations including brown and white and black and white. The Beagle’s colouring typically changes between birth and adulthood. Its coat is easy to care for, requiring only moderate brushing to remove dead hair and keep the coat shiny.
This breed is considered medium in size, though the dog’s short legs give it a stout and squatty appearance. Its sweet disposition is evidenced by its dark, expressive eyes and its long, floppy ears. It has a long thick tail that lies low when the dog is inactive but is carried high and often seen wagging when the dog is engaged in work or playful behaviour.
This breed is renowned as a wonderful pet because of its playful and easygoing nature. The Beagle is also highly intelligent, as evidenced by its work ethic and success in hunting rabbit. This is an energetic, yet undemanding breed. Daily exercise is recommended in order for the Beagle to expend energy and avoid weight gain.
The Beagle can be challenging to train because of its intelligent and independent nature, which is a common challenge in working and living with hounds dogs. Their keen nose causes them to focus intently on a scent, so the breed may also be known to wander. Using a leash during walks and having a secured backyard will reduce the risk of the Beagle wandering off and becoming lost.
This breed makes a fine family dog because it is known to be gentle with children and other animals. It thoroughly enjoys spending time with its people and the breed is prone to separation anxiety if forced to spend considerable time away from its family.
The Beagle may be at a higher risk for chondroplasia, a condition that results in dwarfism. Also, the droopy ears of this breed make it easier for ear infections to develop, though occasional cleaning will keep the ears dry and clean. Back problems, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, vision problems and heart disease may also be seen, but choosing a Beagle from a reputable breeder will help reduce the risk of genetic conditions.
This breed is prone to obesity, particularly in its senior years, so exercise and a proper diet are important in order for the dog to maintain a healthy weight. This will reduce the Beagle’s risk of heart disease and joint-related conditions.
A healthy Beagle can reach 15 years of age, which is slightly longer than average for a medium-sized dog of this breed.