The Beagle is a strain of small to medium-sized dog. As a member of the hound group, it’s similar in look to the foxhound, but smaller with longer, softer ears and shorter legs. This breed is a scent hound and was bred mainly for tracking rabbits, hare, deer and other small wildlife. This breed has an excellent sense of smell and tracking instinct which makes them well suited for employment as detection dogs for sniffing out prohibited agricultural imports, and foodstuffs that are in quarantine around the world. The modern strain of this breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830’s from several breeds including the Talbot Hound, Southern Hound, North County Beagle, and possibly the Harrier, although the beagle type dog has existed for 2,500 years.
The typical look of the Beagle resembles a miniature Foxhound, but the muzzle is shorter and the head is broader. The expression is very different and the legs are shorter in proportion to its body. Generally the height of the Beagle is between 13-16 inches at the withers and will weigh between 18-35 lbs. The females are slightly smaller than the males on average. Their skull is somewhat domed and smooth. The muzzle is square cut, and they have a black (sometimes liver) gumdrop shaped nose. Both sets of teeth should be aligned square to the jaw, and the teeth should scissor together with the upper teeth fitting perfectly over the lower. The jaw is strong. The eyes are large and display a mild hound-like pleading look; the colors are hazel or brown. This breeds ears are log, low-set and soft, and turn towards the cheeks somewhat, and are rounded at the tips. Their neck is medium length, with little folding in the skin, but may have some signs of dewlap. It has a broad chest that narrows to a tapered abdomen and waist. The tail is long, slightly curved and tipped with white. The tail should not curl over its back, but rather should be help upright as the dog is active. Its body is muscular and has a medium length, smooth, hard coat. His back legs are muscular and well bent at the stifles, while the front legs are straight and carried under the body. Beagles come in a variety of colors. Beagles can occur in any hound color, however, the tricolor (white with large black areas and light brown shading) is most common.
The Beagle is even tempered and gentle in its disposition. While they may be aloof of strangers at first, and can easily be won over, they enjoy company. Because of their ability to be won over quickly, they make poor guard dogs. However they make good watch dogs because of their tendency to bark or howl when faced with the unfamiliar. This breed is intelligent, but are single minded and determined because they were bred for the long chase. This can make them difficult to train. Beagles are excellent with children, because of this they make excellent family pets. However they are pack animals, and do not like to be left alone for long periods of time, they are prone to separation anxiety and will destroy stuff when they are left as such. They get along well with other dogs. Regular exercise for this breed will help combat weight gain to which the breed is prone to.
The average life span of the breed is 12-15 years. Some health concerns that arise within this breed include epilepsy, hyperthyroidism, dwarfism, hip dysplasia, varios disk diseases, immune mediated polygenic arthritis (rare), cerebellar cortical degeneration (rare), various eye diseases, and reverse sneezing.