Playful, lovable and charming – what’s not to love about Beagles? Well, they do have a cheeky side…If you are a huge Beagle fan or want to learn more about them, read on to discover where they came from and their core characteristics.
Which breed group are Beagles in?
Breed group: Hound
It lends its name to a popular blues song but the Hound dog group once held importance. Hounds are a variety of hunting dogs used to assist hunters by tracking prey like foxes and hare through sight and scent.
This group comes in three sub-sections; sighthounds who are speedy and eagle-eyed, scent hounds who use their infallible sense of smell to track their targets, and a subsequent set of dogs who can master both of these traits. Beagles are scent hounds; they’re not particularly fast runners but they can certainly smell your biscuits from a fair few miles away!
Beagle breed history
It’s thought that the Beagle’s ancestors hail from ancient Greece with traces all the way to the 5th century BC; stories tell of a small hound which hunted hares by scent and was followed on foot. However, the breed wasn’t established in England until likely around the 15th century.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth I, the miniature Beagle was incredibly popular with the Queen herself owning a pack of Pocket Beagles. It’s thought that the modern-day breed was developed around the 1830s by crossing the North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound and by the 1840s the distinction between the two original breeds was virtually lost. The Beagle standard seen today was created in 1890 with the formation of the Beagle Club. After this, the dog began to become popular in America and Europe.
Beagle breed characteristics
It’s no secret a Beagle’s star trait is his sense of smell but there’s much more to them than that. They possess a sweet, gentle nature and loving disposition – something which makes them a fantastic family pet.
At a glance, Beagle’s are:
● Easily won over
● Child & animal-friendly
● Highly excitable
What are Beagles bred for?
The main purpose for Beagles was to help hunters scent out foxes, hares and other small animals. Specifically, they were bred to be smaller than most other hound dogs who needed to be chased on horseback, the Beagle was designed to be slower and easily followed on foot. This enabled the less wealthy and older gentlemen to still be able to hunt without a horse.
Whilst you might still see the occasional Beagle hunting alongside farmers and gentry, these days they’re more likely to be caught sniffing out the leftovers in your fridge than a rabbit in its warren. However, given their epic sense of smell, they make great scent-detection dogs working with the police, military or even airport security.
What sort of owners do Beagles suit?
These sweet little pups make fantastic pets for first-time dog owners as they’re so people-oriented and easy to please. However, lots of owners soon discover Beagles often have a naughty side and they will certainly test your patience.
Given their scent hound bloodline, Beagles are easily distracted by scents and can wander off – someone who can teach them the “recall” command from early on will be able to combat this.
Whilst socialisation is key, Beagles love being around people and adore living with young children. They’re a little grumpy and sad when they get left for long periods of time so would prefer a household with an owner who’s present throughout the day or who has another doggy or kitty companion they can hang out with.