Beagle is a word derived from the word begueule, a French word meaning “gape throat.” It also means the noisy clamor of dogs in a pack. Such a dog is known to be energetic and makes a faithful companion. Because a beagle has great stamina, they make a great source of entertainment in a household. A beagle’s wagging tail is its way of showing contentment and greeting those it knows.
Anyone owning a beagle must keep it in a fenced in yard with plenty of room to run around in. Such a dog can live in an apartment if it has plenty of opportunities to be outdoors. When walking a beagle, keep it on a leash to avoid it from running off to hunt down small animals.
These dogs need a great deal of exercise to stay healthy. The life expectancy of a beagle is up to 15 years. This breed is prone to developing epilepsy and ear infections and thus, its owner must wash its ears regularly. Just as well, beagles can develop eye problems, heart disease, spinal problems, and Chondroplasia (warped front legs).
Beagles are good-natured and active, happy dogs, but can be crafty, requiring firm handling. They are best known for their powerful sense of smell and will sniff out and steal food at any opportunity they get. Though they get along nicely with other canines, they must be taught not to attack non-canine pets when they are puppies. Such dogs can be stubborn and very hard to train.
A Brief History
These are the smallest of hounds and their history goes back as far as the ancient Greeks. Certainly, the Norman French used beagles for hunting down rabbits. They were brought to England in 1066 AD and were slightly smaller dogs then, so small that they could be transported in saddle bags or in large clothing pockets.
With its powerful sense of smell, the beagle helped cavemen find a small game to live off of. Farmers later became dog breeders knowing that they could simply follow beagles on foot as a means of finding hares and other similar sized animals. Through the centuries, beagle hunting became more of a sport than a survival need. In England during the fourteenth century, hunting with beagles became a social activity as hunters traveled on horseback seeking out pheasants, deer, quail, and a hare.
Being one of several dogs associated with royalty, they have been owned by Elizabeth I, William III, and George IV, who hunted his pack on the Sussex Downs near Brighton. In 1895 beagles where transported to the UK and soon after, exported to the US.
Though beagles look very much like foxhounds, they are smaller. Adults are 13 to 15 inches tall and typically weigh between 20 and 25 pounds. Their front legs are straight but their upper hind legs are angled. The feet are round with uniquely arched toes having large, solid pads. Their tail is short and strong in relation to the size of the dog and it never is curled towards its body.
A beagle’s head is slightly dome-shaped and fairly long. Its ears are quite long, flat, and fine, tapering forward spanning just below mouth level. The eyes are dark brown or hazel, large and round.