- The Beagle originated in the Middle Ages, probably the result of crosses between the Harrier and other hounds. Its smaller size made it possible to follow it on foot as it trailed hare.
- The first use of the word Beagle is found in 1475. The origin of the word is uncertain, but it may be derived the old French "be'geule", meaning "gape throat" in reference to the baying voice of the hounds. Alternatively, it may refer to the diminutive size of the hound, possibly deriving from the Old English "begele," or the French "beigh" or the Celtic "beag," all of which mean small.
- Beagles existed in several sizes, including the then popular pocket-sized Beagles that measured only about 9" tall at the withers. The smaller Beagles could be followed by less athletic sporting enthusiasts.
- The first mention of the Beagle in America was in 1642, but the modern Beagle did not emerge in America until the late 1800s, when more Beagles from England arrived.
- Beagles became popular hunting companions and field trial competitors, but these jobs were eclipsed by their popularity as family dogs.
- More recently, they have gained recognition as contraband, termite and mold detection dogs. They also have a long history of use as research subjects.
- The most famous Beagle of all is an animated one, Snoopy, of Peanuts fame.
- The Beagle has been among the ten most popular breeds in America for decades.
Beagle Behavior Concerns
- Makes both an exuberant playmate and adventurous companion.
- Excellent and playful with children, but its independent nature may be frustrating for children at times.
- Gregarious toward strangers.
- Very good with other dogs and pets.
- Likes to follow its nose, tends to wander, and does not come when called.
- Likes to hunt.
- Some bark and bay loudly and frequently.
- Learns quickly, but is easily distracted. Does best with reward-based training involving food.
Beagle Suggested Exercises
- Makes a fairly calm housedog if given adequate exercise.
- Enjoys jogging, but not running marathons.
- Although many of its physical exercise needs can be met with backyard games, it prefers to walk and sniff and explore.
- Care must be taken if allowed off leash because the Beagle tends to get caught up in following scent trails, and it's not overly obedient when it comes to returning.
- Beagles tend to do well at dog parks.
- Beagles do best in moderate climates.
- Coat is short, close and hard.
- Brushing once a week will remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Beagle Nutritional Needs
- Beagles love to eat anything and have a tendency to become obese.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.