The origin of the word “beagle” is still uncertain. Some people think it was derived from the French word “beguile,” which meant open throat, or the Old English word “beag,” which means small. Others think that it originated from the French word “beugler,” which meant to bellow, or the German word “begele,” which meant to scold.
The breed still has a hazy history because the breeds we know today did not develop until the 19th century. Beagle-like dogs are described in Greek documents from 400 B.C., and the Romans must have brought them along to England, breeding them with local hounds.
Talbot hounds were brought to England by William the Conqueror in the Norman Conquest of 1066. These are thought to be the ancestors of the Foxhound and the Beagle. Beagles were famous in England throughout its history. Glove Beagles were popular during the reigns of King Edward II and King Henry VII. They were reported to be small enough to be held in a gloved hand.
Queen Elizabeth I kept packs of Pocket Beagles that stood a mere 9 inches tall. The dogs were depicted in paintings as pointy-nosed and short-legged. These were used for hunting but that quickly stopped since they were not fast enough. They were replaced by the Foxhounds when fox hunting gained popularity in England in the 1700s.
It was only for farmers in Ireland, England, and Wales that kept hunting rabbits and hare that the breed sustained itself. In the mid-1800s, Thomas Johnson started breeding Beagles that were good hunters and attractive. Reverend Phillip Honeywood established a pack of Beagles in Essex, England. These were thought to be ancestors of the modern Beagle and were bred for their hunting skills. During the same time, American breeders started to import Beagles to improve the looks of their dogs. The imported dogs were bred to an average of 15 to 17 inches shoulder height to hunt the fox.
You must stay aware of some diseases if you are considering keeping this breed.
Intervertebral Disk Disease : The spinal cord has a vertebral column that surrounds it, and between its bones are the discs which serve as shock absorbers. The discs are composed of two layers, and whenever the inner layer protrudes into the spinal canal, it causes compression of the spinal cord. It can lead to paralysis or a loss of sensation. Sometimes, the damage may be irreversible, and surgery is needed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Hip Dysplasia : In this condition, the thighbone is unable to fit snugly into the hip joint. Common symptoms include pain and lameness in the rear legs. Even though some dogs will not show any signs of discomfort, X-ray screening can help diagnose the condition.
Cherry Eye : The condition is evidenced by the gland under the eyelid protruding. A veterinarian is required to remove the gland.
Glaucoma : A painful disease in which pressure in the eye becomes very high. The eye keeps draining a fluid known as aqueous humor, and it can cause damage to the optic nerve, causing blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy : The eye disorder will eventually cause blindness due to the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. The condition is detectable early, and your dog’s eye should be certified each year by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Beagle Dwarfism : A condition in which the dog appears to be smaller than average and can accompany other abnormalities like very short legs.
You must have your backyard fenced if you intend to live with a Beagle. They are led by scents and will wander off easily. Always keep the Beagle on a leash whenever they are in unconfined areas. Identification tags on the collar will ensure that he is returned to you in case he escapes.
Beagles can benefit hugely from obedience training. In training, positive reinforcement works most effectively as the Beagle is known to switch off when they are treated harshly. With a tasty treat, they will be more than happy to do anything.
In their adolescent stages, Beagles are filled with energy and will require vigorous exercise to work off this energy. Taking them for walks or running across a field is encouraged to enable them to grow up the proper way. They love jogging, but you should let them grow to 18 months before starting such exercises.
Once they are fully grown and mature, the Beagles become very lazy and are comfortable lying about all day. The breed is also known to be prone to obesity, and you should not let this happen. Ensure that you keep mature Beagles active and playful so that they stay in good shape.
Highly active Beagles will require more food than inactive dogs. Good dog food is required to nourish your dog. Beagles are also known to be food thieves and will raid your garbage and pantry daily when they have a chance. Measuring the food for your Beagle keeps them in good shape and prevents them from getting overweight.
More exercise is also recommended when you feel that your Beagle is starting to put on more weight than is comfortable. Their dense coat is resistant to rain, and they require brushing twice a week to remove dead hair.
- Beagles are a popular dog breed with endless stamina and a wonderful sense of smell. They were initially bred for hunting. Their ears help their noses by catching scent particles and keeping them next to the dog’s nose. Male Beagles are always larger than females, which tends to cause complications while breeding. The best option is usually to pair up a large male with a smaller female.
- Beagles are one of the most vocal breeds and can vocalize in three ways: the standard bark, a bay used when hunting, and a howl. Most Beagles have a white-tipped tail that is always visible when they have their noses close to the ground as they hunt.
- Beagles have been found in lots of interesting places. Many Beagles have jobs in airports and as bedbug detectors. President Lyndon had three Beagles by the names Him, Her, and Edgar. Snoopy from the comic strip Peanuts is also a Beagle.
- One Beagle named Elvis was trained to determine whether a polar bear is pregnant by smelling her poop. It was beneficial to the zookeepers, and Elvis could detect pregnancies with 97 percent accuracy.
- Beagles are used more than any other dog breeds in the field of research. They test all manner of things from new drugs to household products. They can also form friendships with cats and get along well.