The history of the Beagle breed dates back to the time of William the Conqueror, who brought Talbot dogs to England in 1066. These now-extinct dogs are the ancestors of the modern Beagle as well as the ancestors of modern Fox Terriers. In the following centuries, small hounds were very popular among the nobility, some of which were so diminutive that they were called “glove hounds”.
During the reign of Edward II (1307 – 1327), these dogs were held in high esteem, as they were under the reign of Henry VII. Queen Elizabeth simply adored these dogs and she had whole packs of small hounds, which, however, were almost never taken out for hunting. The use for hunting for such a small breed was purely for entertainment – they could release a mouse in the room and bet on how quickly the dog would catch it. They can also be seen in paintings from that period.
But where the very name of the breed came from is not entirely clear. Here researchers are at a loss since there are versions of the origin both from French (begueule – open throat) and from Old English (beag – small). By the beginning of the 18th century, the Beagle began to recede into the background, as its place in the homes of the aristocracy was rapidly taken over by the Fox Terrier, a larger and less toy-like breed.
The thing is that the country began to actively hunt foxes, and there, as you know, the Fox Terrier has no equal. It is worth noting that the Glove Beagle and the standard version of the breed are separate since miniature beagles were a specially reduced variety, which was created through crossing or selection (there is a disease – beagle dwarfism, we will take a look at it further in this article).
The standard version of the Beagle was large, but inferior to the Fox Terrier. The standard beagle was kept not only by aristocrats but also by simple farmers, for hunting small rodents, mostly hares. And it was the simple farmers of England and Ireland who saved the breed from complete extinction in the 18th century when the nobility lost interest in these dogs.
Philip Honeywood, an English priest and lover of dogs as well as hunting, created a flock of Beagles in the mid-19th century, which are considered the direct ancestors of modern representatives of this breed. But he primarily focused on the qualities of dogs, and not on appearance. Another breeder Thomas Johnson, who lived around the same time, took care of observing external standards. He tried to give maximum attractiveness to his pets.
We can say that those dogs practically did not differ from the current ones, with a few exceptions. By that time, the overall size of this breed had increased somewhat, as breeders sought to create a more versatile dog that could also hunt foxes. In the second half of the 19th century, the Beagle breed came to America, and in 1884 the ACC began registering these dogs.
The Beagle is a small dog, proportionately built and aesthetically pleasing. The physique is muscular, their limbs are medium, and the ears are long, hanging down on the sides of the head. The Beagle’s tail is of medium length, and the coat is short.
Beagles are extremely sweet and sincere creatures that will certainly make the life of their owners more colorful. The Beagle is a very cheerful dog, he adores his owners, loves the world around it, and does not hide it. For complete happiness, he does not need that much – affection, love, and walks, preferably in the park.
The Beagle has a very harmonious and cheerful nature, and rarely confronts people or other dogs. He will gladly go for a walk with you, even to the end of the world, and at the same time, he will always maintain his excellent mood, friendly attitude, and love toward his owner. Do not forget that these dogs have a rich hunting past, and therefore, on the street, you need to make sure your pet doesn’t chase someone’s cat, or miniature dog, or get hit by a car in an attempt to catch a pigeon.
Despite the fact that this is a very cheerful and kind friend, he can often be stubborn and act in his own way despite your commands or displeasure. At the same time, the dog understands you, since this breed is known for its good intelligence but sometimes it can be cunning and pretend that it does not understand what you want from it.
The Beagle is great with children, and although not suitable for the role of a nanny but rather as a companion, it will play with your child, or just be a good friend for him/her. This breed, like most other breeds, needs early socialization. But in this case, this is necessary not to make the dog more open and friendly but in order for it to grow up more flexible and with a more developed personality.
They perceive strangers well, without hostility or aggression. The attitude of their owner towards the stranger also plays a big role. These dogs are not used as hunting dogs, nor as guard dogs. Rather, they are just a wonderful companion for the whole family.
As stated above, the Beagle is generally very understanding, and smart enough but still has a certain level of stubbornness. Sometimes they do not want to obey anyone. To establish a leadership position and achieve better obedience, physical punishment will not help. It will just create a lot of problems, make it depressed, or simply break the dog’s character.
If during a walk the dog does not obey you, first talk to him strictly, and after coming home, do not rush to feed it. Let it wait about an hour. Perhaps the result will not be visible immediately but after a while, the pattern of your actions will reach the animal, and you will establish your role as the leader. During training, keep a positive attitude, and a sense of humor, and have enough treats in your pockets – they will come in handy. Do not make training sessions too long and boring, otherwise, the dog will be reluctant to complete the tasks.
The Beagle breed has a short coat that needs to be combed about once a week. Always keep its eyes and ears clean. It is recommended to bathe the pet at least once a week and cut its claws 3 times a month.
Beagles tend to become obese, like the Labrador Retriever, if food intake is not controlled.
The Beagle is prone to many diseases but it does not mean that your pet will have them all. Many dogs, when taken care of, live their entire lives with little to no visits to the veterinarian. These are the most common ones:
- Intervertebral disc disease;
- Hip dysplasia;
- Cherry eye;
- Progressive retinal atrophy;
- Beagle dwarfism – a condition in which the dog is smaller than usual;
- Knee dislocation.