|Dog Breeds Cat BreedsPet Names Dog TrainingForumPet Health|
A Beagle is a medium-sized dog breed and a member of the hound group, similar in appearance to a Foxhound but smaller with shorter legs, and with longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds used primarily for tracking deer, bear, and other game. They are a loyal breed and most often very well tempered. Beagles love exercise and being around people.
The first mention of the beagle in English literature by name dates from 1475. The origin of the word "beagle" is uncertain, although it has been suggested that the word derives from the French begueule (meaning "open throat", or more colloquially, "loudmouth") or from an Old English, French, or Welsh term beag, meaning "small." Other possibilities include the French beugler (meaning "to bellow") and the German begele (meaning "to scold").
The Beagle has a very good temper and gentle disposition. Beagles are intelligent, but are stubborn and may be hard to train due to their strong will, which is common in the breed because of its curiosity (especially for scents). However, if a newly-bought puppy has a dominant master in control, they can be easy to train and can obey basic commands. They are an especially loyal breed and are very friendly. Unaltered males will often howl, bark, or chase after another dog or object, but rarely physically harm it. Females tend to be less aggressive before their first heat cycle, but afterwards are protective of their puppies and families. Both genders are excellent with children (puppies especially) and can even play with toddlers. They also get along with other dogs, provided that they have been socialized correctly.
Beagles are playful and energetic dogs who enjoy long walks. Being scent hounds, if released, they may follow a scent endlessly or will incessantly try to tag along with other dogs regardless of cars, strangers, etc. They can be quite difficult to walk, especially when distracted by enticing smells. Because of their curiosity and spirited temperament, beagles are famed escape artists and humane societies and pounds all over Canada and the U.S. often pick up stray beagles.
Beagles are pack
animals, and can be prone to separation anxiety. They are best kept
with other dogs if they are going to be left alone for long periods
of time. A common misconception is that all Beagles howl incessantly.
In reality, some are more vocal than others and some do not bark often
at all. Puppies, however, will yelp and whine if left alone in a crate,
kennel, or enclosed area such as a play pen. However, if a beagle incessantly
barks, it is probably because it is not often corrected, and can take
on the assumption that that type of behavior is acceptable. The breed
has thousands of representatives and each has his or her own personality.
Beagles are a healthy breed, but they do have a few common health problems.
The Beagle's ears are long and floppy, which can trap warm moist air or prevent air from reaching the ear canals. This condition can be successfully treated with regular cleaning daily and sometimes medication for major cases. A good preventative measure is a diet consisting of lamb and rice dog food. Careless bathing can get water into their ears, potentially causing ear infections.
Sometimes their eyelashes grow into the eye and irritate the eye, also known as distichiasis; this might require surgery to remove the eyelashes.
Obesity is a common health problem due to people overfeeding them in response to their playful and gentle behavior. Most will overeat if given the chance. A healthy Beagle should have some definition to its waist and have an hourglass appearance when viewed from above. You should be able to feel their ribs. Excessive weight can lead to problems such as hip dysplasia and heart trouble. They need exercise and a good diet.
Some Beagles are prone to congenital heart disease.
In some rare cases the breed may develop polyarthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints) even at a young age. This can be sometimes treated effectively with cortisone.
They are also prone to seizures and epilepsy. This disease is treatable with medication. Some Beagles, like most dogs, are prone to various forms of cancer, such as Lymphoma.
Usually beagles live from 10 to 15 years, though if well looked-after they may live to be 20 or even older.
In old age, many
Beagles, especially those more active in their younger years, contract
In the eleventh century, William the Conqueror brought the Talbot hound into Great Britain. A white scent hound, the Talbot (now extinct) is thought to be a more recent ancestor of the modern day beagle.
The black and tan
Irish Kerry Beagles are also considered another possible link in the
evolution of early beagles. A small game hunter similar to the Bloodhound,
Kerry Beagles may be the reason for the strong scenting abilities of
Copyright "World4Pets.com - Find Your Perfect Pet" 2006