The Beagle is a scent hound. They are thought to have become a distinct breed in England in the days of Henry VII, though they may have originated in France or Greece. Over the years, the dogs have been favoured by other royalty: Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, King George IV, and Prince Albert.
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Beagles were bred for hunting hare in packs, with the huntsmen following on foot.
Nowadays Beagles are sometimes used to hunt fox with the hunters on horseback. They have an excellent sense of smell and if they get out the gate, will follow the scent of a dog, cat or other animal. A fence is required. Beagle puppies can get out of a hole in the fence, so do check the fence before getting a puppy.
Being a lively, energetic dog, they like a big yard and lots of exercise. Hounds can howl loudly, which can annoy neighbours if the houses are close. They are pack animals and like company - either of other dogs, or people.
The earliest record of a dog resembling a beagle occurs in the papers of King Henry VIII of England.
Being a pack animal, the Beagle likes the company of other dogs, and people. They will bark loudly at intruders but their temperament is friendly. They like exercise and long walks. A puppy needs consistent training as the adult dog can be strong-willed.
Beagles have been known to develop eye problems, hypothyroidism, and epilepsy, but of course not every Beagle is affected. Most beagles are healthy, happy, friendly dogs.
The Beagle's short coat needs no grooming, but all dogs benefit from regular brushing. They can be any hound colour except liver. The most common colour is tricolour, namely brown, black and white, but bicoloured dogs are just as beautiful. All-white beagles were kept by Prince Albert. The adult dog grows to a height of 33 - 40 cm.
Colour: the most common is tricolour - brown, black and white, but many beagles are bicolour (2 colours) - eg red and white, tan & white, black & white, lemon & white. ("Lemon" is a pale beige colour.) hare pied, lemon pied, all white, or mottled. Other colours are not allowed.
Height at shoulder: 33 - 40 cms minimum.
A dog that is very similar to a Beagle is the Basset Hound. Many Basset Hounds have similar colouring to a Beagle. They have shorter legs and longer, floppy ears. Like the Beagle, the Basset Hound is a scent hound. The two breeds were interbred at one point.