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The Beagle dog.

Updated on May 18, 2015

Beagles Are Great Scent Hounds

A breed of medium-sized to small dog, Beagles are Hound Group members and look similar to Foxhounds but with shorter, smaller legs and softer, longer ears.

Hounds for scenting tracks, Beagles have been created mainly for tracking game like rabbits and hares.

They have a great smelling sense and for this reason are frequently employed as dogs for detection for prohibited food and agriculture import in world quarantines.

Beagles are popular as pets and intelligent due to their lack of health inherited problems, good temper and their sizes. These qualities also make them great choices for animal testing.

Even if this breed has been around for some two thousand years, the breed you know today was created around the eighteen thirties in Great Britain from various breeds including the Harrier, the Southern Hound, the North Country Beagle and the Talbot Hound.

Having been depicted in pop culture since the times of Elizabeth, Beagles are seen in paintings and literature as well as comic books, television and film.

The most famous Beagle in the world is Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip.

Generally, Beagles look like mini-Foxhounds but with shorter muzzles and broader heads. Their facial expression is totally different and their legs in proportion to their bodies are shorter.

Generally at the withers these are between thirteen to sixteen inches high and their weight is between eighteen to thirty-five pounds with males being slightly bigger than females.

Their domed skulls are smooth with square cut medium length muzzles with gumdrop black noses.

They have scissor teeth and strong jaws with the teeth on the upper jaw fitting precisely over the lower jaw teeth and both sets aligning to the jaw square.

The eyes have a mild pleading hound-like look and are brown, hazel and large. Their ears are low-set, soft and long and turn slightly towards the cheeks with tips that are rounded.

There is a medium-length strong neck that lets them easily bend to pick up scents.

They have a stern white-tip tail that had selectively been bred to flag to allow these dogs to be seen easily when its head is bent as it follows scents.

The tail does not curl over their backs but rather when the dog is active, is held upright. Beagles have medium length hard smooth coats and a muscular body.

Their legs in front and carried beneath while the legs in the rear are well-bent and muscular at the stifles.

There are a range of colors for the Beagle. The most common is the tricolor which is light brown shading with black areas and white. On the other hand any color can appear on a Beagle.

There are various tricolor shades such as Dark Tri, Blackback or Classic tri. There is also Faded Tri or Pied patterns for this dog.

During their lives, some Beagles change colors gradually and lose entirely their black markings.

Tricolor beagles are usually born white and black with areas that are white set typically by 8 weeks. As the puppy matures, the areas that are black tend to fade to brown.

Of any dog, the Beagle has one of the best senses of smell development. In the Fifties a study of canine behavior was done by Scott and Fuller and dogs' smelling abilities were tested.

It took Beagles less than one minute to find a mouse in a 1-acre field. Scottish Terriers failed the test entirely and Fox Terriers took fifteen minutes to find the mouse.

At scenting the ground, Beagles can follow a scent better than if they scent the air.

This is why they are not included in teams of mountain rescues the way collies are. The Beagle’s large lips and long ears assist probably in trapping smells close to their noses.

There are 2 Beagle varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club. The varieties include those that are thirteen inches or less and those that are between fifteen to thirteen inches.

Only one type is recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club with heights that do not exceed fifteen inches. The UK Kennel Club and affiliate clubs of the FCI recognize only the one that is between thirteen to sixteen inches.

Sometimes there is a mention of American and English types however the Kennel Club has not recognized these breeds.

The Beagle that fits the standard for the AKC that does not allow over fifteen inches are on average smaller than the ones of the Kennel Club standards allowing heights up to sixteen inches.

Sometimes, there are pocket-type Beagles for sale in advertisements but this variety's bloodline is in extinction.

A Patch Hound strain was also under development by Willet Randall and these were bred specially for their ability to hunt rabbits.

This bloodline was traced back to Patch Field Champion but does not really have the marking of patchworks.

Beagles have gentle dispositions and even tempers. They are several standards of breeds described as 'joyful.' They are generally neither timid nor aggressive and are quite amiable.

They enjoy company and even if initially they can be standoffish with a stranger, they are won over easily.

They do not make very good guard dogs because of this although they do have a tendency to howl and bark at situations which are unfamiliar, making them good watch dogs.

One study gives this breed a high rating of excitability along with the Fox Terrier, the West Highland White terrier, the Miniature Schnauzer, the Cairn Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

As a result of being bred for long chases, Beagles are intelligent, determined and single-minded.

This makes them a challenge to train. In general, however, they are obedient but are hard to hold back once a scent is picked up.

Smells around them tend to distract them and for this reason, they need to be leashed when taken for a walk.

Popular as pets for the family, Beagles are great with kids but do tend to go through separation anxiety when taken away from the pack. They also get along with other children and with regard to exercising, are no demanding.


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    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Beagles are lovely dogs! I have never had a Beagle myself but I have many friends that have Beagles and their dogs are always so nice and a joy to be around! Thanks for this informative hub about Beagles!


    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Oh what a treat to read this morning.

      For the forst time ever I don't have a dog and I am feeling it a little strange without one.

      However it doesn't stop me from reading about them.

      My Beagle Lassie bacj from when I was small was my best friend and this hub is such a treat.

      I have to vote up and bookmark; take care and have a great day.



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