Breed of the Week: Beagle

July 7th, 2007 by Kathy Hawkins

In Charles M. Schultz’s long-running comic strip, Peanuts, Charlie Brown’s beagle, Snoopy, had a world of talents. He was a writer, a pilot, and a shortstop on Charlie’s baseball team. True, most flesh-and-blood beagles don’t have skills like these — but they’re still some of the coolest dogs you’ll meet.

Beagle with Bone
Photo by arturii.

The beagle’s history stretches back for hundreds of years — since the 1400s, beagle-like hound dogs frequently accompanied English gentlemen on their hunting trips, where the dog’s superhero sense of smell helped the hunters to chase down foxes, rabbits, and other wild animals. The beagle breed was not officially established until sometime in the 19th century, however. Since then, beagles have come out of the forests and into the home — today, the beagle is the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club.

Beagle With Clifford Toy
Photo by carrera911e.

With their gentle, loving, and playful nature, beagles make great family dogs. On the downside, beagles can also be incredibly stubborn, though if you’ve got a tasty treat for your dog, keep hounding him and he’ll probably do your bidding sooner or later. Dating back to their hunting days, the beagle is also obsessed with smells, and will track an interesting scent for miles, if you let him — for this reason, a fenced-in yard is essential when you’ve got a beagle on the loose.

Beagles are often still used to help hunters in the field, and one Florida beagle has an even more interesting job – he sniffs out 20-foot-long Burmese Pythons in Florida’s Everglades National Park! Beagles are also commonly used at airports and on trains to sniff out illegal drugs and food, as with the USDA’s Beagle Brigade, and to forage for the lucrative truffles found in Northern Queensland, Australia. Though they may not be big on tricks, when it comes to seeking out interesting smells, beagles will do a better job than any man or machine ever could.

Beagle Sniffing Cookie
Photo by jessamyn.

With their floppy ears and soulful eyes, beagles are also incredibly adorable by anyone’s standards. If you need proof, just check out this YouTube video of beagle puppies playing, and see if you’re not murmuring aww within seconds.

Once they get past the puppy phase, there are two standard sizes for beagles: 13 inches (around 18 pounds), and 15 inches (around 30 pounds). Though some shady breeders may advertise “mini-beagles,” don’t buy it — they don’t exist. Besides the variance in size, there are no other real differences between the two varieties of beagle breeds. All beagles can come in an array of colors, though the most common is tricolor: black, white, and tan.

If you want to purchase a beagle puppy from a breeder, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1000. However, there are always many young and fully-grown beagles in need of homes throughout the United States. To find the beagle rescue group closest to you, visit Beagles on the Web.

With brains, beauty, and the best nose in the business, beagles have it all. If you’re thinking about bringing home a new dog, you can’t go wrong with one of these guys. Just don’t leave him alone with your pet rabbit.

Beagle Checking Out Rabbit
Photo by melissambwilkins.

3 Responses to “Breed of the Week: Beagle”

  1. Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2007 vs. Least Popular Breeds of 2007 | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Labrador Retriever 2. Yorkshire Terrier 3. German Shepherd Dog 4. Golden Retriever 5. Beagle 6. Boxer 7. Dachshund 8. Poodle 9. Shih Tzu 10. [...]

  2. Kelly Wright Says:

    I’m happy beagles reached #5! I absolutely adore doggies of this breed, and this love is mutual ;-) In my childhood I was once asked to look after a German Shepherd, but she was young and too energetic for me to walk with her, she would always try to run faster than I could follow her.

  3. hamsterziita Says:

    I love beagles

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