Dogs 101 – BEAGLE
Top Dog Facts About the BEAGLE
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The Beagle is a small-sized hound breed, similar in appearance to the larger foxhound. The name is generally believed to be of either French or Gaelic origin. The modern Beagle was developed in Great Britain, but has remained more popular in the US and Canada than in its country of origin. The modern breed of the Beagle came about through a long history of mixing of diverse hound bloodlines. Dogs similar to the modern Beagle in appearance and utility are known to have been around even in 5th century BC in Greece. Bread for small game hunting, these small-sized hounds could be carried easily for long distances to the forests, and were good hunters, who could be followed on foot even by children and old men.
The AKC recognizes two varieties of Beagles now: one has dogs of size less than 13 inches, the other averages between 13 and 15 inches. The weight ranges from 18 to 30 pounds. The females are slightly smaller than the males of the breed. Distinguishing physical features are a square-cut muzzle, large hazel or brown eyes, and long-ish ears turned towards the cheek. The coat can have two or three colors, almost always with a white base color, in combination with another shade like black, brown, tan, red or lemon. Beagles are also involved in the recent trend of ‘designer dogs’, the most popular being the Puggle, a cross between a Pug and a Beagle.
Grooming: A Beagle can shed a lot, and regular brushing to remove dead hair can help minimize this. A hound glove is recommended. Its hanging ears can trap dirt and moisture and need regular cleaning to prevent infection. Some Beagles also have slight folding skin around the neck, which requires checking for dirt too. Nails have to be trimmed to prevent overgrowth; teeth have to be brushed regularly.
Temperament: The Beagle’s popularity is an indication of its friendly nature. It loves company, is very tolerant of kids and gets along well with other pets. Prone to separation anxiety, it can chew through shoes and furniture if left alone for too long. It also enjoys going off on a scent, and not giving up till it finds the source.
Training: It is an intelligent dog, but like in the case of most breeds developed for hunting, its single-minded nature requires patience to train. Food rewards work very well. It is suited to be a house pet, and does not require exhausting outdoor activity, but daily walk on leash is important. Beagles are also used commonly for detection work, in pet therapy, and for search-and-rescue operations.
Health: The typical lifespan of a Beagle is 12 to 15 years. Obesity is a common problem, and regular exercise and controlled diet can keep that in check. Long ears and large eyes are prone to infection. Epilepsy is seen more often than in most other dog breeds, but can be controlled with medication. Certain other diseases related to dwarfism and slowed coordination are observed, but are rare.
A dog of colonial origins that has made America its home, the Beagle is loving and lovable, suited for a small apartment or a large house with a yard. Its antics will keep you and any children regaled for hours. Just do your research on the breeder you use – its popularity means that there are people who do not know what they are doing, and in it just for the money.
• The Beagle has consistently ranked in the top ten most popular breeds in North America for over 30 years.
• Queen Elizabeth I was known to have been very fond of her Pocket Beagles, and would take them to royal dinners to entertain her guests.
• The famous ship on which Charles Darwin made his voyage was known as HMS Beagle.
• Other famous cartoon Beagles include Garfield’s friend Odie; Walt Disney’s criminal and clumsy Beagle Boys; and Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dog.
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