Beagle – The Jelly Dog

beagle side profile

Often called the Regal Beagle, the Jelly Dog and the English Beagle, the Beagle is a popular, well-recognized breed within the United States and around the world. It is one of the closest dogs to the original ancestors of the hound breeds and is the smallest breed found among the British pack hounds. One of the most well-known Beagles happens to be Snoopy, a dog from the “Peanuts” cartoon, which Charles Schultz created. These happy, compact dogs are beautiful, fun dogs to own and they make a gently, friendly pet for families.


Beagles have a very long history and no one is quite sure when these dogs first appeared. Some think that the ancestors of these dogs trace all the way back to light hounds that were found in the area of Britain well before the Roman Empire formed. Experts believe that these light hounds were the original ancestors of all types of hounds, including the Beagle, which is considered a scent hound.

In the 1700s, gentlemen in England often hunted with dogs, including smaller hounds that were called Beagles. However, the breed we known as modern Beagles was not refined until the middle of the 19th century. All Beagles trace back to a line bred by Parson Honeywood. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the Beagle Club of England was founded and the founding of that club helped fix the definitions of the breed. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1885, recognizing the dogs as part of the club’s Hound Group. In 1888, the National Beagle Club was created within the United States. Once the club was formed, field trials became pouplar across the country, which spurred the popularity of the breed across America.


beagle appearance

The most popular hound breed, Beagles are sturdy, small, squarely built hound dogs that have a sleek, short coat. They look much like the English Foxhound, but they have shorter legs and a slightly broader head. Their drop ears are wide and they have a straight, square muzzle. Beagles have hazel or brown eyes that are very expressive and they boast a straight tail that should be erect and carried high. Usually they come in two different color variations: white and red or tricolor. Their coat is dense and short, lying flat on their body and providing protection from the weather. They only shed lightly and their tails generally are white tipped, which was bred into the line so hunters could easily spot the small dogs while they were hunting.

The Beagle is a small dog and generally, they are only 13-15 inches high. They weigh between 18-30 pounds, although females generally weight less than the males. In the United States, the height limit for this breed is 15 inches, although it’s 16 inches in England.


beagles playing

Beagles have an ideal temperament for families, since they are easy going, affectionate, playful, friendly, smart and curious. They have a lot of energy and prefer to have plenty of room to explore and run around. Common behavioral problems in the Beagle include barking, destructiveness and separation anxiety. However, exercising this breed regularly generally prevents these behavioral problems. Beagles that howl and bark are generally bored, so exercise will prevent this problem. They need bones and toys to chew on to avoid destructive behavior. While Beagles are playful, smart and affectionate, they are known to be stubborn, making them tough to train in some cases. Introducing these dogs to obedience training early is important. They work well with positive reinforcement and punishing these dogs only results in avoidance behaviors. While the Beagle is known for the amazing response to scent they portray, this can become a problem, since these dogs may tune out owners if they catch a scent.



The grooming required for Beagles is fairly light. While they do shed year round, they only shed lightly, so shedding can be easily controlled with weekly brushing. During the springtime, they shed their heavy winter coat, so owners may need to brush their dog more frequently during this time. Since they are naturally clean, they usually don’t require too much bathing. In some cases, they may require monthly baths. Beagles have drop ears, so they are prone to developing ear infections. If air isn’t able to circulate in the ears, water, bacteria and wax may cause a problem. Beagles need regular ear maintenance and cleaning to prevent infections.

Working Roles

The Beagle was primarily developed to hunt, so these dogs are often used for hunting. They are still used today as hunting dogs, primarily for hunting rabbits. For hunting purposes, packs of Beagles are often used. Beagles are often used to flush game to guns, including game birds, wild board, foxes, bobcat, red deer, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, coyote and roe deer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses beagles as detection dogs. They help detect food items that may be in baggage coming into the U.S. They were chosen because they love working for rewards, they are small and most people find them unintimidating. Other countries use Beagles for similar purposes today. The Beagle often works in other roles today, including therapy and detection roles. They are used in Australia for termite detection, they are sometimes used as search and rescue dogs and they are often used in hospitals and nursing homes for pet therapy.


beagle looking up

Generally, the Beagle has a lifespan of between 12-15 years. Some hereditary problems may occur in this breed, such as Chinese Beagle Syndrome, Beagle Pain Syndrome, XX Sex Reversal, Hypothyroidism, Glaucoma and Deafness. Dwarfism occurs in some cases as well. This breed is prone to epilepsy, although it can usually be easily controlled using medications. Since Beagles are considered to be a chondrodystrophic breed, these dogs are prone to certain kinds of disk diseases. The long floppy ears often result in ear infections, since moist air and lack of air flow often leaves the ears a breeding place for bacteria. Corneal dystrophy is a common eye problem in Beagles and several kinds of retinal atrophy may affect this breed. In sedentary, or older Beagles, weight gain and obesity may become a problem.

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