Is the Beagle the right dog breed choice for you? Following is a brief standard on Beagles. The Beagle dog breed history, their physical and mental makeup and how to best care for them.

History: The Beagle dog breed can be traced back to the reign of King Edward III who used them during the Hundred Years’ War. The name is derived from the Old English word “beag”, meaning small. Originally used to hunt hares and wild rabbit in Wales and France, beagles are also known to have aided in hunting for wild pigs and deer in the Scandinavian region. Subsequently, they began to be used as gundogs for tracking as well as retrieving in the United States and Canada. The current breed is thought to have descended from the cross between the Harrier and other breeds of hound in England.

The type of work the breed does: This breed is used in hunting pheasants, hares and quails. They have also become an integral part of narcotics detection teams because of their sharp sense of smell. You may have seen Beagles in the news for fruit fly detection with US Customs officials and insect detection (termites) for home buyers. Beagles have developed into very good companion pets as well.

Physical Representation: The Beagle is a small but sturdy and squarely-built dog. Its medium length coat is short, hard and sleek and comes in a wide range of color combinations including red and white, black and tan, orange and white as well as lemon and white. They have a round and broad skull with a straight muzzle which is square in shape. The extremely sensitive nose is inevitably black in color. The eyes are either brown or hazel in color with an identifiable pleading expression and the drooping ears are long and wide. The Beagle has round and strong feet and the tail is carried gaily behind the body.

Personality and Temperament: The Beagle is inherently active, playful and affectionate. Its curious and brave personality along with its almost continuous tail-wagging tendency has endeared it to all dog-lovers. They are known to be very good companions for children and are comfortable in the presence of other dogs as well. If you intend keeping your beagle along with other non-canine pets, make sure you start socializing him early itself. These dogs have a mind of their own and need to be handled firmly and patiently when training. Beagles like to be in the company of people and should preferably not be left alone for extended periods of time. This breed is not the easiest to train.

Care: This breed does not require elaborate grooming. Its coat is easy to maintain by regularly brushing with a firm-bristle brush. Though these dogs can be bathed regularly, dry shampooing should be done only when necessary. The ears should be checked regularly for infection. These dogs are average shedders.

Living environment: Though they manage to stay quite active indoors, they look forward to a good romp around in the back yard. They require plenty of physical activity. Daily walks are advisable but a leash is imperative as their curious nature makes them liable to wander off while following a particular scent.

At a glance:

  • Breed Group: Beagle

  • Height: 13 to 16 inches

  • Weight: 20 to 25 lbs

  • Color: black & tan, red & white, orange & white, lemon & white.

  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

  • Average litter size: 7