Charles M. Schulz was famous for saying, “Happiness is a warm Beagle.”  Okay, already.  I know he said “puppy,” not “beagle, and it was the name of one of his books.”  But Snoopy, probably based on one of Schulz’s childhood dogs,  was a Beagle, so I am sure he would not mind my creative plagiarism.

Where Did Beagles Come From?

No one really knows for sure the ancestry of the Beagle. Invaders of Great Britain including the Romans and William the Conqueror (my 27th great-grandfather according to Ancestry) brought dogs with them. However, Grandfather Bill and those pesky Roman invaders did not have the courtesy to keep a stud-book that we can research.

The landed gentry had peasants and serfs to do the hard farming work, so they had plenty of time to chase about the countryside on horseback harassing the beleaguered fox. Chasing foxes was for the big dogs, for chasing rabbits, a smaller dog will do. The name Beagle was used generically for smaller hounds so maybe some of those smaller rabbit-chasing dogs are the 1,000th great-grandfathers of the modern Beagle.

When your dog is chasing rabbits, you don’t really need a horse to keep up. Rabbits don’t run as fast or as long as a fox, so you can keep up or at least catch up with your dogs while on foot. The small rabbit chasing dogs became known as “foot-hounds” and were popular with the less wealthy hunters who could not afford a stable of horses.

When we fast forward to the 18th century, we find foot-hound dog breeds, Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, that are promising as ancestors of our Beagles.

A gentleman named Reverend Phillip Honeywood apparently gets credit for breeding a pack of Beagles in the 1830s. These dogs likely are the prototypes for the modern Beagle.

By the 1840s, Beagles were in the United States. It is not clear if the dogs were connected to Honeywood’s Beagles. However, American breeders, led by Richard Rowett, pretty much set up a breed standard by the 1870s, and in 1885 the Beagle was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

Are Beagles Smart Dogs?

In the book “The Intelligence of Dogs“, by Stanley Coren, the Beagle is ranked at 72 putting it in the group of dogs that is most difficult to train. Your Beagle may not be on the honor roll of his dog training class, but with consistency and patience, you will be able to train it to do most things a dog is capable of doing.

Because of its great sense of smell, the Beagle is an excellent hunting dog.  It has also found work in detection, therapy, and its most important role as a family pet.  They are active, playful, and sweet-tempered.  Because they are hounds, they may also bark or howl a bit more than you would like to hear.

Are Beagles Popular?

The beagle is the most popular of the hound breeds and, overall, a very popular family pet in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, the Beagle ranks 6th in popularity. The closest hound rival is the Basset Hound, which was number 37 on the AKC’s 2019 popularity list.

Are Beagles Hypoallergenic?

Beagles have short hair which they shed so they are not considered to be hypoallergenic dog breed. Beagles may shed more in the spring to get rid of the hair they grew during the winter. Beagles shed throughout the year, but because their hair is short, it may not be all that noticeable. Shedding is natural and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

Are Beagles Good With Kids?

Baby with mother and Beagle dog on carpet on the floor.Beagles are one of the most popular family dogs because they are incredibly good with children. However, as with any dog, if you have very small children, you need to make sure they do not mistreat the dog. Not many dogs like having their ears pulled, or their eyes poked. The Beagle is not likely to act aggressively when mistreated, but it isn’t fair to the dog to make it suffer mistreatment, even from toddlers.

Are Beagles Good With Other Dogs?

Beagles were bred to hunt in packs, so it is in their nature to get along well with other dogs. The Beagle is a friendly, gentle, even-tempered dog who needs companionship. Beagles also tend to do well with cats, whom they will probably consider to just be another member of the pack.

Although they prefer to be with family and friends, they can be left alone for a few hours or for the length of a workday.

Do Beagles Bark?

Beagles are hunting dogs and barking is just a part of their dna. They can be trained to reduce how often they voice themselves, but their need to bark will likely never be completely stopped.

If your Beagle suffers from separation anxiety, its barking may become annoying to your neighbors.

Are Beagles Good Family Dogs?

Beagles are one of the very best family dogs which is why they are so popular. They are friendly, gentle, fun-loving creatures that enjoy being with people and other animals.

When your child asks, “Can I Get A Puppy,” you should consider the Beagle very high on your list as a good choice for a family pet.

Beagle Vital Statistics

There are two varieties, those under 13 inches tall and those over 13 inches tall.

Height: 13 inches or under, less than 20 pounds
Height: 13-15 inches, 20-30 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

For more information on Beagles, visit the website of the National Beagle Club of America, Inc.