Not only are Beagles excellent hunting dogs and loyal companions, they are also happy-go-lucky, funny, and—thanks to their pleading expression—cute. They were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy the company of other dogs and of people as well. Beagles love to follow their noses, which can sometimes get them into sticky situations. These dogs are solid, sturdy, and fairly easy to care for, but they do need to run around and let off steam.
- The actual origin of the Beagle seems to be obscure with no reliable documentation on the earliest days of development.
- These dogs were snappy, tireless hunters full of energy and quickness but lacking in type. The turning point for American Beagles came in the 1860’s, when dogs from a well-bred strain in England were imported to inject beautiful breed type.
- There are accounts of packs of hounds in England before the times of the Romans, and these dogs are thought to be the basis of both sight and scent hounds.
- Then in 1888, the National Beagle Club was formed and held its first trial. From that time on field trials carrying championship points sprang up rapidly all over the United States, and classes developed for hounds under 13 inches and 13-15 inches.
- By the 18th century, fox hunting became quite popular, and the Foxhound was developed by crossing a buck hound and a Beagle.
- Beagles are still used today for hunting in packs on larger hare, but are equally prized for their companionship, courage and stamina.
- Two distinct types came through this mixture, one of which was named the Southern Hound and the other the North Country Beagle.
- Their compact size, short easy to care for coat and intelligence make the Beagle an excellent family dog.
- Previous to 1870 in the United States, the little hunting hounds of the southern states, then called Beagles, were more of the type of straight-legged Bassets or Dachshunds with weaker heads than the Bassets.
The above text and image © 2017 American Kennel Club.