Canine Breed Menu



Breed Organization
National Beagle Club of America
Native Country
Great Britain
Other Names
English Beagle
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 2-14 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Hound
Breed Appearance
The general appearance of the Beagle resembles a Foxhound in miniature, but the head is broader and the muzzle shorter, the expression completely different and the legs shorter in proportion to the body. They are generally between 13 and 16 inches (33 and 41 cm) high at the withers and weigh between 18 and 35 lb (8 and 16 kg), with bitches being slightly smaller on average.

They have a smooth, somewhat domed skull with a medium-length, square-cut muzzle and a black (or occasionally liver), gumdrop nose. The jaw is strong and the teeth scissor together with the upper teeth fitting perfectly over the lower teeth and both sets aligned square to the jaw. The eyes are large, hazel or brown, with a mild hound-like pleading look. The large ears are long, soft and low-set, turning towards the cheeks slightly and rounded at the tips. Beagles have a strong, medium-length neck (which is long enough for them to easily bend to the ground to pick up a scent), with little folding in the skin but some evidence of a dewlap; a broad chest narrowing to a tapered abdomen and waist and a short, slightly curved tail tipped with white. The white tip, known as the "stern" or "flag" has been selectively bred for, as it allows the dog to be easily seen when its head is down following a scent. The tail does not curl over the back, but is held upright when the dog is active. The Beagle has a muscular body and a medium-length, smooth, hard coat The front legs are straight and carried under the body while the rear legs are muscular and well bent at the stifles.

Breed Description
Head: Powerful but not heavy, without wrinkles or puckering. Slightly domed skull. Slight occipital peak. Well-pronounced stop. Straight nosebridge. Strong jaws. Fairly short muzzle. Lips moderately pendulous. Wide nose.
Ears: Set on low, long, thin. Rounded tips. Hang against the cheeks.
Eyes: Dark brown or hazel, fairly large, well spaced with a gentle expression.
Body: Compact, exuding dignity without heaviness. Fairly long neck with slight dewlap. Broad, deep chest. Well-curved ribs. Short, powerful loin. Slight tuck-up. Flat, muscular back. Straight forelegs well-placed under the body, rounded bone structure.
Tail: Thick, moderately long, set on high and carried gaily. Well-covered with hair, especially at the tip (tufted).
Hair: Short, dense, strong.
Coat: All recognized hound colors except liver. - Tricolor (white, black, and rich fawn): white muzzle and tip of the tail. - Bicolor: white and rich fawn, lemon and tan.
Size: 33 to 44 cm (13-15.7 in).
Weight: 15 to 20 kg (33-44 lb).

This very ancient English breed was mentioned in the third century by the Scottish bard Ossian. Beagles were highly favored under the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. At that time, three varieties were described:- The Southern Beagle, the largest (45 cm tall, white and black coat);- The Northern Beagle, of medium size; and- The Small Beagle, less than 35 cm tall, including the Elizabeth Beagle (under 20 cm tall), also known as the "Singing Beagle" because of his melodious voice.Beagles were first introduced to France around 1860, and a French Beagle club was founded in 1914. A dog for all kinds of owners, he has become the most popular hound in France and worldwide. People appreciate his small size, even temper, versatility, effectiveness, and speed.

According to his standard, the Beagle is a merry, brave dog who is highly active, energetic, and determined. He is quick, intelligent, and even-tempered. He is also courageous, hardy, and very fast, with a hard-hitting voice and a keen nose. He is enthusiastic and effective on the trail, giving tongue often. He can work alone, in pairs, or in packs. This small, versatile pack hound hunts hare, rabbit, fox, deer, and wild boar. In England, he is used exclusively for beagling, or hunting hare. Affectionate and good-natured, he is a great family pet. He needs firm training.

The median longevity of Beagles is about 12.3 years, which is a typical lifespan for a dog of their size. Weight gain can be a problem in older or sedentary dogs, which in turn can lead to heart and joint problems.Beagles may be prone to epilepsy, but this can be controlled with medication. Hypothyroidism and a number of types of dwarfism occur in Beagles. Two conditions in particular are unique to the breed: Funny Puppy, in which the puppy is slow to develop and eventually develops weak legs, a crooked back and although normally healthy, is prone to range of illnesses; and Chinese Beagle Syndrome in which the eyes are slanted and the outer toes are underdeveloped but otherwise development is as normal. Hip dysplasia, common in Harriers and in some larger breeds, is rarely considered a problem in Beagles.

In rare cases Beagles may develop immune mediated polygenic arthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints) even at a young age. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved by steroid treatments.

Their long floppy ears can mean that the inner ear does not receive a substantial air flow or that moist air becomes trapped, and this can lead to ear infections. Beagles may also be affected by a range of eye problems; two common ophthalmic conditions in Beagles are glaucoma and corneal dystrophy. "Cherry eye", a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid, and distichiasis, a condition in which eyelashes grow into the eye causing irritation, sometimes exist; both these conditions can be corrected with surgery. They can suffer from several types of retinal atrophy. Failure of the nasolacrimal drainage system can cause dry eye or leakage of tears onto the face.

The Beagle can adapt to city life but needs lots of space to let off steam. He must be brushed once or twice weekly, and his ears need regular attention.

Although bred for hunting, Beagles are versatile and are nowadays employed for various other roles in detection, therapy, and as family pets. Beagles are used as sniffer dogs for termite detection in Australia, and have been mentioned as possible candidates for drug and explosive detection. Because of their gentle nature and unimposing build, they are also frequently used in pet therapy, visiting the sick and elderly in hospital. In June 2006, a trained Beagle assistance dog was credited with saving the life of its owner after using his owner's mobile phone to dial an emergency number. Their friendly nature and gentleness make Beagles popular as pets.

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