A very popular hound, The Beagle-like dogs have been recorded since the 5th century BC. Queen Elizabeth was known to entertain guests by allowing her beagles to run around on the table at dinner. The modern Beagle dog breed originated in Great Britain around the 1830s. They are descended from hounds and are very similar in appearance to foxhounds. They are common family pets because of their good nature but also make extremely useful and hardworking hunting dogs.
Beagles were bred to hunt hare, foxes, and other small types of game. They have also been used to hunt larger game, such as deer. They are bred to be scent hounds, so they have excellent noses and will follow a scent without rest. Beagles have an impressive stamina and are not likely to tire on a long hunt.
These hunting dogs are very intelligent, mild-tempered, and trainable. They are bred for the “long chase,” meaning that they can be very determined and single-minded. It can sometimes be a challenge to call off these hounds during a hunt or to switch gears while training. Trainers should be patient with these scent hounds and be sure to provide appropriate obedience training to curb these issues.
These hounds are small to medium sized, reaching up to 16 inches in height and up to 35 pounds in weight (in a healthy dog). They look similar to foxhounds, but have shorter legs and are, overall, smaller. Their heads are broader and their muzzles are shorter than foxhounds’. Beagles can have any type of coloring that is allowed in hound breeds, but the tricolor coat is the most common. Their long, floppy ears are characteristic of these hunting dogs.
Beagles are widely known for their even and gentle temperament. They are usually very friendly and not aggressive or shy. They often have a single-mindedness that comes from their instinct to locate and hunt game unrelentingly. This can be a problem when an owner tries to stop a Beagle from doing something it has its mind set on, but proper obedience training can curb this issue. These hunting dogs are pack animals and thrive on social interaction, so they can be prone to separation anxiety and should not be in a household where they will be alone much of the time.
Beagles have a lack of inherited health issues. However, they are prone to weight gain if they are not exercised often enough. Because of their stamina, they do not have to be exercised to exhaustion in order to rest, but regular exercise is necessary in order to keep this dog breed healthy. Excess weight can lead to heart and joint conditions, so proper nutrition and activity is important. These hunting dogs are also slightly prone to some types of spinal disk diseases. This dog breed has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.