Beagles - Popular Dogs
The Beagle breed has an uncertain origin but is known to date back at least as far as 1475 when they are first mentioned in literature. They were originally bred for the hunting of foxes and hares and in some areas they are still used however now their sport is drag hunting. Beagles have an incredible sense of smell and this distinguishing quality has been used by the police force to sniff out drugs and at major airports to detect all sorts of smuggled contraband, again drugs but also many food items.
The American Kennel Club acknowledges two separate varieties of beagle that differ only in their size; the ’13 inch’ variety comprises of hounds smaller than 13 inches and the ’15 inch’ variety made up of hounds between 13 and 15 inches. The UK Kennel club however just recognises the one variety that covers all beagles with a height measuring between 13 and 16 inches.
Beagles are very intelligent little dogs with strong personalities and so training can be difficult. However their loving, gentle nature makes them an ideal family pet. They are incredibly loyal to their owners and provide a lifelong companion as soon as they feel accepted into a household. Beagles were originally bred as pack animals and so they often suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. In cases where there may be long periods with no human contact then a second dog is desirable. Beagles get along well with other dogs providing they have contact with other animals from an early age.
Beagles are very playful dogs and enjoy long walks and plenty of exercise. Due to being scent hounds they will often pull their walker in the direction of an interesting scent regardless of traffic, crowds etc. and so should ideally wear a sturdy harness as apposed to a collar. Again for this reason they should not be allowed off their leash unless in a sufficiently confined space as they will follow a scent endlessly. A reasonably sized back yard will suffice to use up most of their energy if frequent walks are not possible.
Beagles are very easy to care for. Their coat is easily groomed using an ordinary bristle brush and most beagles love to be brushed so this isn’t a chore. They are average shedders but daily grooming will help with this. Because of the size of their ears, ear infections are common but careful regular checks, daily cleaning and careful bathing will greatly reduce the occurrence. Another problem commonly suffered by beagles is obesity. Feeding them snacks and treats can get out of hand because of their adorable faces but this can lead to major health risks in later life and so should be avoided from the start. A healthy beagle however can be expected to live for an average of 15 years.