June: Beagle

  • Highlights
  • Beagles can be difficult to housetrain. Some people say it can take up to a year to fully housetrain some Beagles. Crate training is absolutely recommended.
  • Beagles can get bored if left alone in a house too long. If left in a backyard, Beagles will start finding ways to amuse themselves, usually by howling,digging, or trying to escape.
  • The most common reason Beagles are turned over to rescue groups is because either their owners or their owners’ neighbors got tired of their baying. Be sure that you are prepared to work with your dog to control excessive barking and howling.
  • Beagles are targets for thieves who would steal them and perhaps sell them to research laboratories for use in experiments. Supervise your Beagle when he is outdoors and be sure to have him microchipped!
  • Since they are scenthounds, Beagles will wander off if they catch an enticing smell in the air. Their noses control their brains, and if they smell something interesting, nothing else exists in their world.
  • Although they are loving and gentle, Beagles can have an independent, stubborn streak. Obedience training is recommended, but be sure the instructor of the class understands hound personality and favors using food as a reward (which few Beagles can resist).
  • Do you remember how the famous cartoon Beagle Snoopy worried about his food bowl? Beagles are “chow hounds” and will overeat if given a chance.Monitor the amount of food you give them and be sure to keep your cupboards closed and your trashcans secured. Otherwise, your Beagle will sniff out the foods he likes the best.
  • In regards to food, your Beagle probably will take its food bowl pretty seriously. Teach children to respect your Beagle while it is eating, and not to approach it or tease it with food.
  • Beagles are not good protection or guard dogs because they’re usually friendly to everyone they meet.
  • History

The origin of the word “beagle” is uncertain. It’s thought that it may have been derived from the French word begueule, meaning open throat, or from the Old English word beag, meaning small. Others think it may have come from the French word beugler, meaning to bellow, or the German word begele, meaning to scold.

The breed’s history is cloudy as well because breeds as we know them today didn’t really develop until the 19th century. Greek documents from 400 B.C. describe Beagle-like dogs, and the Romans may have brought small rabbit-hunting hounds with them to England and bred them with the local hounds.

William the Conqueror reportedly brought Talbot hounds (now extinct) to England during the Norman Conquest in 1066. These dogs are thought to be the ancestors of the Beagle and the Foxhound.

Beagles became popular in England very early in its history. During the reigns of Edward II (1307 – 1327) and Henry VII (1485 – 1509), extremely small beagles, called Glove Beagles, were popular. They reportedly were small enough to be held in a gloved hand. There’s also mention of Singing Beagles, named for their bugling voices.

Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) kept packs of Pocket Beagles that stood only 9 inches tall. These small dogs were depicted in paintings as short-legged and pointy nosed. They were used for hunting, but quickly fell out of favor because they weren’t very fast.

In the 1700s, fox hunting became popular in England, and the Beagle fell out of favor as the larger Foxhound became the dog of choice. If it hadn’t been for the farmers in England, Ireland, and Wales who continued to keep packs to hunt rabbit and hare, the breed might have become extinct at that time.

In the mid-1800s Reverend Phillip Honeywood established a pack of Beagles in Essex, England. These dogs are thought to be the ancestors of the modern Beagle. Rev. Honeywood bred for hunting skills, not looks. Thomas Johnson, a fellow Englishman, was responsible for breeding Beagles who were both attractive and good hunters.

At about the same time, American breeders started importing Beagles from England to improve the looks of their own dogs. Many of the English imports were bred to an average height of 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder so they could hunt fox. American breeders started breeding them to be smaller for rabbit hunting.

Of interest is the “Patch” Beagle strain developed by Willet Randall in New York around 1880. The line is primarily white with a very large tri-colored spot. They were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were able to run so fast. Today, many people call lemon and white or red and white beagles “Patch” beagles.

The American Kennel Club and the first Beagle specialty club both were founded in 1884. In that same year, the AKC began registering Beagles.

In 1916, five members of the National Beagle Club purchased 508 acres in Western Loudoun County, Virginia for the purpose of holding field trials. The men who purchased it formed a corporation called Institute Corporate to purchase and own the land, then leasing it to the Institute Foundation that maintains the property for the National Beagle Club, which today is the site of many activities of the National Beagle Club.

  • Size

The American Kennel Club recognizes two varieties of Beagle. The 13-inch variety is for hounds that don’t exceed 13 inches in height at the shoulder, and the 15-inch variety is for hounds that stand 13 inches to 15 inches at the shoulder. Depending on their height, Beagles weigh between 18 and 30 pounds.

  • Personality

Beagles are gentle, sweet, and funny. They will make you laugh, but that’s when they’re not making you cry because of their often naughty behavior. Beagle people spend a lot of time trying to outthink their dogs, and they often must resort to food rewards to lure the Beagle into a state of temporary obedience.

Like every dog, the Beagle needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Beagle puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.