If you’re lucky enough to share your home with a Beagle, you know how delightful they can be. Happy, loving, and full of fun, the friendly Beagle makes the perfect family companion; especially if that family includes children. Still, this charming little fellow may have some surprises in store for even his most ardent fans. What are the top ten things you might not know about Beagles?
Beagles Are a Hunting Breed
The joy-filled Beagle belongs to the hound group. His original purpose was to assist his owners out on hunts for such small game as rabbits and hare. His keen sense of smell marks him as a scent hound, easily tracking game over miles of terrain by scent alone. The Beagle was intended to hunt in packs, and thus, gets along very well with other animals.
This gentle-nature breed actually prefers to live in a multi-dog home but can still thrive as an only pet.
Beagles Have an Unclear History
Though the entire history of the Beagle is not clear, experts agree that the Beagle is an older breed, tracing its roots to as early as 400 B.C. Ancient Greek literature references dogs that were Beagle-like in appearance, and history also supports the belief that the Romans brought an earlier prototype of the Beagle to England as valued hunting companions during their time of occupation. The breed was further refined during this time by selective mating to other hound breeds in England to more closely resemble the charming little tri-colored pooch we know of today.
May Take Their Name from Their Distinctive Bay
Though there is some disagreement as to where the Beagle takes his name, many agree that it can be traced to the French term “begueule” which translates to open throat. Equally plausible are the theories that the Beagle’s name comes from the French verb “beugler” which refers to a unique bellow or the English term “beag” which means small.
Come in Two Sizes
The American Kennel Club recognizes two sizes of Beagles: the 13” and the 15”. Interestingly enough; in England, the maximum height for a Beagle is 16”. These heights refer to how tall the dog is at the shoulder, an area sometimes referred to as the withers.
The Beagles’ Ears Serve an Important Purpose
Interestingly enough, the Beagle’s large drop ears serve an important purpose and aid him greatly on a hunt. The ears of this jovial little breed waft scent up towards the dog’s nose, providing him with valuable information to assist with tracking game.
Make Several Different Sounds
Though most associate the Beagle with his distinctive bay, the breed is quite versatile when it comes to making sounds. The Beagle’s name is believed to be taken from the French term “begueule” which is alternatively translated as open or gaped throat, a word which well describes at least one of the sounds produced by this little pooch.
The Beagle is a breed that enjoys making himself heard through a variety of different sounds, each with its own unique purpose. Like most dogs, the Beagle can and will utter a bark when the occasion warrants it. Its unique bay is reminiscent of a yodel and is typically reserved for use on hunts. Beagles also howl.
The Beagles’ White-Tipped Tail is Helpful on a Hunt
One of the most distinctive marks many Beagles bear is a tail with a white tip. This highly desirable marking is greatly prized by hunters, and breeders past, present, and future have worked tirelessly to help encourage the continuation of this trait in their breeding stock and their progeny.
Since a Beagle on a hunt keeps his nose firmly stuck to the ground, a white-tipped tail helped the hunter to locate his dog when necessary since the white would stand out against the landscape typical of the countryside.
Are Highly Versatile
Though the Beagle’s most consistent role is as a hunter of rabbits, hare, and other small game, this breed possesses a tremendous amount of versatility, making him well-suited to a number of different jobs.
The Beagle’s sense of smell is a great asset. Some Beagles have been put to work detecting bedbugs. Another job this charming little breed has undertaken includes searching for food in luggage at airports. This important task helps to keep the country free from diseases and parasites not common to the United States that could cause harm to the American people.
Though more traditionally the job of the Poodle, some Beagles also spend their days helping their owners search for truffles, a rare and expensive delicacy.
The Beagle is the Breed of Choice of Several Famous People
The Beagle is certainly a breed of many charms. An excellent family companion, there are many famous people that have chosen to share their home with a Beagle or two.
Perhaps the most notable owner of Beagles was Queen Elizabeth the I who maintained a pack of Beagles who during her day were considered to be pocket-sized. These smaller Beagles are believed to be the original prototype that were then bred to larger sized hounds to produce the standard 13” and 15” Beagles we know of today. The Pocket Beagle typically stood 8” to 9” at the shoulder.
President Lyndon Johnson was also a big Beagle fan, sharing his home with three of them. The Beagles’ names were Him, Her, and Edgar. Edgar was named for J. Edgar Hoover who presented the puppy to President Johnson after the passing of Him and Her.
Barry Manilow also was a lover of Beagles, choosing to occasionally feature his best canine pal on his album covers. His Beagle’s name was Bagel.
One of America’s Most Beloved and Recognizable Pooches is a Beagle
One of the most cherished dogs in pop culture; Snoopy, a dog regularly featured in Charles M. Schultz’ beloved comic strip Peanuts, is a Beagle. The inspiration for this delightful character was taken from Mr. Schultz’ own Beagle named Sniffy. He originally named the cartoon canine after his own dog but later changed the dog’s name to Snoopy at his mother’s suggestion.
Snoopy is registered as a purebred Beagle with the American Kennel Club.
Thinking of adding a Beagle to your home? Contact a reputable breeder today to learn more about this charming little breed. You’ll be glad you did!