The Beagle is one of the oldest breeds of small dog developed in Britain as a hunting hound.  Read more about the Beagle in our breed profile.

History Of The Beagle

The early history of the Beagle is unknown, but small hounds used for hunting small game in Greece were brought to Britain by the romans and it is thought that these may be early ancestors of the Beagle.  Small hounds may also have existed in Britain before this time.  Over the years many small hounds were developed in Britain to hunt by following a scent and the name Beagle was used by several writers in the 15th Century.

Although Beagles had been used for several centuries for hunting in Southern Europe and Britain, the first recorded mention of Beagles being shown in England was in 1884.  The Beagle Club of England was formed in 1890 with its first show being held in 1896 and its first Year Book published in 1897 and the UK’s Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was founded in 1891.  However, it was not until after the two world wars that the popularity of the Beagle rapidly grew.  In 1945 only one beagle was registered with the Kennel Club but by 1962 the number had risen to 2518.  Today the Beagle is one of the most popular hounds, both in the show ring and as a pet.

Characteristics Of The Beagle

The head of the Beagle is moderately wide and slightly domed with a broad nose, fairly large eyes and long ears with a rounded tips that hang gracefully to the cheeks.  The body is sturdy and compact, with a straight topline, powerful loins and a moderately long tail that is set high.   Beagles exist in a variety of colours including tricolour (black, tan and white), lemon and white, red and white, tan and white, black and white, and blue, white and tan.

Height of the Beagle

The Beagle stands 13 to 16 inches from the ground to the top of the shoulder.

Temperament of the Beagle

The Beagle is an hound who is bold and energetic with great stamina and determination. They are happy, alert, affectionate, intelligent, full of enthusiasm and vigour, eager to please and good with children. 

Requirements of the Beagle

Beagles are an active dog and require at least one hour of exercise each day.  Early and consistent training is recommended.  Beagles retain much of their natural hunting instinct and are easily lured by scent so secure garden fencing is required. The Beagle is not a picky eater so has a tendency to become overweight if allowed.  An adult dog requires feeding once or twice a day.  Beagles require little grooming and are easy to clean up with a sponge and water due to their short, dense, water-resistant coat.

Health Of The Beagle

The Beagle is a relatively healthy dog although conditions such as Musladin-Leuke Syndrome ('MLS'), Steroid Responsive Meningitis ('SRM') Hip Dysplasia, Canine Epilepsy and Factor VII Deficiency are found in the breed. 

Lifespan of the Beagle

The average lifespan of the Beagle is 12 to 15 years.