The Beagle is the smallest and oldest of pack-hunting hounds of all pure hound breeds. Its origin is obscure and divergent theories have evolved and circulated.
It is a very ancient breed and can be traced back to 433 BC without much scientific evidence. However, we can find direct reference to the Beagle in “Boke of St. Albans” compiled by Juliana Berners dating back to the 15th century.
In Tudor times, Queen Elizabeth I is known to have kept a pack of Beagles referred to as “Singing Beagles”. These hounds were small enough to be comfortably accommodated in their owner’s glove or gauntlet and were known as pocket beagles.
The Beagle Club was formed in 1890 and the following year, the Masters of Harriers and Beagles was formed. The first Peterborough Hound Show dates back to 1899 and the Beagle Club held its first show in 1896.
Beagles have been listed under the hound category under Group 6, section 1 by the Kennel Club of India.
Beagles are small hunting dogs that were used for pack hunting and are exceptionally scent sensitive. Their long flappy ears help in picking up scents from the ground to their nostrils. They make great family pets with tons on energy and stamina. However, this cute dog is stubborn, headstrong, determined and highly intelligent and not easy to train.
These guys are cute, affectionate, highly sociable, courageous and really clever. Due to their keen sense of smell, they wander off tracking intriguing scents. They need constant supervision and cannot be left alone in the house unattended. They enjoy the company of their packs and are not suitable for withstanding long hours of solitude.
Beagles shed hair quite a lot and need proper grooming at least twice, in a week. Because of their physical disposition and active nature, they need good amount of physical exercise and regulated nutritious diet, or else they tend to put on weight very fast.
A beagle is prone to eye, ears and skin ailments. Therefore, adequate care needs to be taken during their entire lifespan to keep their eyes and ears clean and well moisturized. Beagles tend to maintain a puppy attitude for a long time. However, they can be considered veterans around the age of 7. The best way to care for a senior beagle is to maintain a well balanced diet, regular grooming & exercise and plenty of mental stimulation.
Never go looking for a puppy without running a through research on the breeder’s credentials. Remember, all beagle puppies look adorable when they are young. There are some reputed breeders in eastern and southern India who have been striving to uphold the breed standard as laid by FCI and recognized by the Kennel Club of India.
(The author is an expert on dogs and can be contacted at: [email protected])