The Beagle is a Scent Hound of an English origin that presently won popularity as a companion animal. This frisky, mischievous and kind medium-sized dog will make a great addition to a family of any size. As a tireless hunter, this breed needs a great amount of both physical and mental stimulation.
The Beagle’s ancestry is impossible to trace with any degree of certainty because it was developed well before the beginning of systematic canine breeding. Greek literature from 400 B.C. contains descriptions of Beagle-like dogs. So it’s very likely that it was the Romans who introduced these hare-hunting hounds to England and crossed them with the local sporting dogs. It’s also known that William the Conqueror imported now-extinct Talbot Hounds to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest in 1066. These canines are believed to become the predecessors of the modern-day Beagle.
Today the etymology of the word «beagle» remains a controversial question. Some experts assert that it stems from the old French word «begueule», that is translated as «open throat». It may also have been derived from the old-fashioned English word «beag», that signifies small. There is a possibility that this breed was named after its sonorous voice since the similar French word «beugler» means «to bellow». Finally its name may have German roots and might have been originated from the old German word «begele» that is translated as «to scold».
The Beagle found favour with English sportsmen and commoners early in its history. In the XIV – XV centuries very compact breed’s variety, called the Glove Beagle, became en vogue. It allegedly was so tiny that it could fit into a gloved hand. By the midst of the XVII century the small rabbit-hunting hounds were classified into two types: the Southern Hound, that was bulky and somewhat sluggish, with elongated ears and loud voice, and the North Country Beagle that was very agile and had incredible endurance and hunting drive. Unfortunately at about the same period fox hunting came into fashion and the Beagle became rare even in its homeland. It managed to survive thanks to loyalty to the traditions of the farmers in England, Ireland, and Wales that kept on hunting predominantly rabbit and hare.
The present-day version of the Beagle was developed by a gentleman named Parson Honeywood, who kept and bred dogs of North Country variety. Almost all of its specimens descend from his bloodline. Thomas Johnson, another Englishman, further refined the breed by perfecting its conformation so it can be a match for its excellent hunting talents.
In the middle of the XIX century the English Beagle was brought to America and was crossed with local hare hounds. The biggest contribution to the development of the American Beagle was made by General Richard Rowett, Mr. Arnold of Rhode Island and James Kernochan. The Beagle attained recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885. The most of today’s Beagles play the role of companion animals although it still has all necessary qualities to become a wonderful small game hunter.
The personality of the Beagle can be portrayed as amicable, easy-going and playful. Its compactness and unpretentiousness in grooming endear itself to both families and individuals. This dog hates being lonely so it can howl and chew your things if it doesn’t receive enough attention from its masters. Children are usually delighted by extreme vigour and quick-wittedness of this breed. Moreover it’s very patient with small kids and can meekly bear a great deal of teasing from them.
The Beagle is always happy to make a new friend and commonly treats all unfamiliar people accordingly. Actually without early socialisation it tends to demonstrate its joy from meeting a new person too exuberantly. Because of such universal friendliness this dog is ill-suited for the job of a guardian. It’s also notable for too laid-back and unsuspecting nature to make a useful watcher.
Being a pack hunter the Beagle always stands well with its counterparts and welcomes an opportunity to have a permanent canine companion. Nonetheless it still can sometimes clash with unknown dogs so the master should never leave his pet unattended during a daily walk. This dog becomes an enthusiastic chaser of homeless cats and other small animals. At the same time it usually accepts an individual non-canine pet as a member of its pack if they are introduced to each other early enough.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· Beagle pain syndrome;
· Chinese Beagle syndrome;
· eye problems;
· pulmonic stenosis;
· pituitary-dependant hyperadrenocorticism;
· invertebral disk disease;
· XX Sex Reversal;
· ear infections.
The grooming of the Beagle consists of only standard procedures and therefore requires insignificant amount of efforts. The breed loses hair lightly all the year around and much more heavily in the springtime. Regular brushing during these periods will help to make this process almost unnoticeable.
The Beagle’s large drooping ears frequently get infected so make sure to check and clean them on a systematic basis. Bathe you pet only when it’s absolutely needed. The dog’s nails should be trimmed every month as well as its teeth demands at least weekly brushing.
The Beagle is commonly described as a self-willed dog and earned repute for being hard to train. It’s highly advisable to initiate obedience training at an early age, probably as soon as the puppy arrives at your dwelling.
This dog reacts to any type of maltreatment with outbreaks of wilful behaviour and even aggressiveness. That’s why the trainer should win the Beagle’s obedience by kindness, patience and lots of tasty treats. Remember though that once this dog picks up a trail no one and nothing will be able to bring its attention back to training.
The Beagle was initially developed as a hardy and tenacious hunter and it still retains its love for vigorous exercise. Despite its miniature size this dog won’t make a good choice for a city dweller as it craves for daily opportunity to play freely in a safely fenced area.
The Beagle can be easily carried away by some interesting smell so the master should always keep his pet securely leashed outside. Such behavioural problems as continuous barking, destructiveness, nervousness share all Beagles that don’t receive enough stimulation for their minds and bodies.