All about the beagle

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  • The Beagle is the smallest of the British packhounds bred to hunt hare. Although it is primarily a working scent hound, with an outstanding sense of smell, in an experienced home the beagle also makes a charming family pet as they are naturally playful, sociable and amiable characters. This may stem from the fact that they were bred to be followed on foot on the hunting field, while the larger scent hounds were followed on horseback. They have the vibe of a mini foxhound.

    Their compact size and friendly demeanour give them enduring appeal both on and off the hunting field, while their expressive eyes give them a charming and approachable look. While they are working animals with a strong nose sometimes distracting them from their training, they tend to be adaptable and intelligent, and thrive on companionship and social interaction. This makes for a loving and versatile hound with a sense of joy and adventure. The beagle is the most popular hound among American pet owners.

    Pack of beagles

    A pack of beagles

    Beagle dog breed: fact file

    Kennel Club breed group: hound

    Size: medium

    Daily exercise: up to an hour

    Coat: short, shedding

    Colours: an array of some 19 different colours and mixes of colours, from “badger pied” to “hare pied mottle” and “lemon and white”. Eyes are dark brown or hazel.

    Lifespan: more than 12 years

    Bark: loud and vocal

    History: the breed was established in England in the 1400s. Queen Elizabeth I used to ride with miniature beagles in her saddle bag. The “pocket beagle” is now much more popular in the US than the UK.

    Distinctive features: a sturdy but quality hound which is powerful but never coarse. Long ears with a rounded tip. They are muscular and active, with a short, dense coat and no wrinkles. Give the impression of balance, with a free stride. Come in a wide variety of colours.

    Temperament: amiable and alert, bold, energetic, determined and joyful.

    Things to consider: check your beagle’s ears weekly due to their length and the possibility of infection. They can be prone to obesity, so monitor their diet carefully especially if they need help to lose weight. Some beagles can suffer hip dysplasia, so one of the best orthopaedic dog beds is recommended.

    Training: like all hounds, beagles are independent as they were bred to be able to hunt on their own and scent a trail without being distracted. Remember that they were bred to be a working dog, so need plenty of exercise and stimulation, as well as consistent and experienced training for off-lead walking as they can be distracted in the recall.

    Owner’s Guide to Beagles | Amazon.co.uk
    To help guide you from puppy to old age, this book has advice from 30 expert Beagle breeders and a top dog trainer to create the ultimate complete owner’s guide to the breed.

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    Wisdom Panel DNA collection kit | Amazon.co.uk
    Find out what breed your dog is with this kit that gives you everything you need to collect your dogs DNA and send it off. Includes a pre-paid envelope if you’re in the UK.

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