No good hound is a bad color.' This maxim among hound devotees is especially true of the Beagle, with its superb black, white, and tan coat. Looking like a smaller version of the Foxhound, this dog is endowed with a surprisingly melodious bark. As for the name, it is thought to derive from the Celtic beag, meaning 'small'-for this hunter is the smallest of the English hounds.
The Beagle is a tireless hunter, excellent in the pursuit of both large and small game. Sometimes accompanying mounted hunters in a pack, it most often travels alone or in a brace, with a single hunter following on foot.
At one point the breed was small enough to fit into the pocket of a hunting coat. Up to a dozen Beagles were said to fit into saddle baskets strapped to a rider's mount. Since then, Beagles have grown somewhat. Oversize varieties found in some tropical countries would seem to be a different breed of dog entirely, for rather than track the nervous hare or cottontail, they are set loose to corner formidable leopards and jaguars.
An agreeable temperament makes the Beagle a good pet. Unfortunately, it is highly prized by medical research laboratories because the breed is uniformly small.
Origin of Beagle
Some authorities claim that the Beagle originated in Greece . Certainly small dogs hunting in packs were found in Greece as far back as 400 B.C. The dog was later employed in France as a courser of hare, then brought into England during the Norman Conquest (1066). FOI the next few hundred years breeders developed two sizes of Beagle, the largest referred to as a vache, the small type known as a 'pocket Beagle,' a variety that has ceased to exist.
Characteristics of Beagle
General appearance: well proportioned, as long as it is tall. Compact. muscular, vivacious, and active, exuding strength and energy.
Height: 33 to 40.6 cm (13 to 16 in.). Under American standards, no more than 33 cm (13 in.) for the small variety, and 33 cm (13 in.) to 38 cm (15 in.) for the large variety.
Weight: not specified.
Head: large, broad, dome-shaped skull, flattened on top. Well-defined stop. Narrow muzzle. Lips covering lower jaw. Black nose. Strong broad nostrils.
Eyes: large, round, deep-set or prominent. Dark brown or hazel, often ringed with black. Alert and sensitive expression.
Ears: long, flat, set low, carried forward, fine texture.
Neck: strong, not too short. Sometimes slight dewlap.
Body: slightly oblique shoulders. Ribs well sprung. Chest well let down. Short, straight, muscular back. Loin supple, powerful, extending well back, without excessive cut up. Muscular thighs. Hocks well let down.
Tail: moderate length, set high, carried gaily but not curled over the back. Fairly thick base, tapering to a thin tip, with longer hair on the underside with brush.
Forequarters: legs perfectly straight, strong, muscular. Short, strong pasterns. Elbows firm.
Hindquarters: legs well muscled. Hocks firm, well let down, parallel.
Feet: round. Toes tight, strong, and well arched. Pads hard, compact and very developed.
Coat: short, dense and weather-resistant.
Color: any hound color except liver. Top of stern white.
Faults: narrow head. Roman nose. Stop too pronounced. Heavy muz zle. Short or high-set ears. Wavy or V-shaped ears. Eyes small, too
close together, or heavily rimmed with black. Thin neck. Weak back.
Long loin. Tail too long, too thick, or bent.
Practical information about Beagle
A Beagle bred as a pack hound requires canine companionship and lots of exercise. These hardy dogs need special care only for their long ears, which must be cleaned regularly. The coat needs a thorough brushing, once or twice a week, to rid it of dust and dead hair.