Small, determined, and intelligent — 3 well-known characteristic of the Beagle breed! The popular breed that we know today was brought to England in the 1830’s, with some claiming that their history goes back even further than this date! They will steal your heart with their cuteness, and they’ll certainly tire you out with their energetic personalities, but there’s so much more to learn about Beagles. Read on to learn 50 howling facts about Beagles.
Fact 1: Beagles are considered as a “small but terrible” canine breed.
- These small dogs are packed with huge personalities! And they’re tiny little bodies are packed full of energy, so playtimes will contain a lot of walking and chasing. But, they are very intelligent but are also strong-willed so won’t listen to you immediately!
Fact 2: The Beagle’s solid, sturdy, and muscular build gives them an appearance similar to that of a small Foxhound.
- Typically, they have a small, rounded skull with a square muzzle and wide nostrils. They have pendant (hanging) ears too, which are wide and long.
Fact 3: Beagles are known for their tri-colour coats.
- They traditionally have coats in black, white, and tan colours, but they can come in any hound colours including red and white, yellow and white, or orange and white.
Photo source: https://pixabay.com/photos/beagle-dog-dog-look-2699030/
Fact 4: Beagles are famous for their “begging” look.
- They have dark brown eyes that are usually referred to as a “begging” look.
Fact 5: “Glove Beagles” were very popular in 13th-century England.
- Glove Beagles started during the reign of Edward II (1307 – 1327), and the reign of Henry VII (1485 – 1509). They were called “Glove Beagles” because they were so small, they could be held in a gloved hand.
Fact 6: Pocket-sized Beagles started during the 16th century.
- These Beagles were only 8 to 9 inches high.
Fact 7: Queen Elizabeth I had many Pocket-sized Beagles as pets.
- Queen Elizabeth I had an affinity for these pocket-sized Beagles and called these her “Singing Beagles” due to their high-pitched voices. During banquets, she entertained her guests with Pocket-sized Beagles, by allowing them to play on the tables.
Fact 8: Post-modern Beagles have 2 size varieties. Beagles can either have a height of 13 inches or 15 inches at the shoulder.
- Both Beagle sizes can be born in a single litter.
Fact 9: Male Beagles are often larger than females.
- The best pairing for breeding Beagles is a larger female and a smaller male.
Fact 10: The Beagle was originally bred as a scenthound to track hares, this sporting activity is known as “beagling”.
- After several decades, they are still used in many countries for sporting purposes. In the United States, they’re one of the favorite dogs used for trailing small game.
Fact 11: Beagles were the ideal hunting companions.
- They were seen as excellent hunting partners for the elderly, as well as for young and poorly skilled hunters.
Fact 12: Beagles were endangered in the 1700s when larger Foxhounds became more popular.
- Fox hunting became a popular sport in England, and so larger Foxhounds were favored than Beagles, as they were bigger and could easily hunt foxes. Farmers in England, Ireland, and Wales continued to keep Beagle packs to hunt rabbits and hares on their land, hence saving the Beagle community from becoming extinct at that time.
Fact 13: Beagles are considered an ‘old dog breed’, with some reports of sightings dating back to Roman times. It was believed that the Romans brought small rabbit-hunting hounds to England and bred them with the local hounds.
- Although their exact place of origin is still unknown, the Beagles we know today are said to have ancestors originating in England.
Fact 14: William the Conqueror reportedly brought Talbot hounds (now extinct) to England during the Norman Conquest in 1066.
- These dogs were believed to be the ancestors of the Beagle and the Foxhound.
Fact 15: There are Greek documents from 400 B.C. that describe dogs that are similar to the Beagle, but it’s unclear if they really are Beagles.
- The breed’s history isn’t clear, but the modern Beagles we know today didn’t really develop until around the 18th century.
Fact 16: Modern Beagles’ ancestors came from the mid-1800s. It was the Reverend Phillip Honeywood who is said to have developed the first known pack of Beagles in Essex, England.
- He bred these particular Beagles for hunting, and not for their charming looks. Instead, Thomas Johnson, another Englishman, was responsible for breeding Beagles who were both attractive and good hunters.
Fact 17: The “Patch” Beagle, was developed by Willet Randall in New York around 1880.
- They were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were able to run fast.
Fact 18: The Kerry Beagle is one of the oldest Irish hound breeds, and it is believed to be a descendant of the Old Southern Hound or the Celtic Hound.
- It is the only surviving scenthound breed endemic to Ireland. It is not known why the black and tan Kerry Beagle has the Beagle description, because at 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) it is significantly taller than the modern Beagle, and was even larger in earlier times.
Fact 19: Beagles bred for hunting are naturally noisy.
- Beagles bred for hunting tend to be noisier than those bred for the show ring.
Fact 20: The most important part of a Beagle’s anatomy is its nose.
- Being a scenthound, their nose is the most important part of their body. They have their heads to the ground for the majority of the time. Every day they go out searching for an interesting trail to follow.
Fact 21: A Beagle’s nose contains about 220 million scent receptors.
- Humans only have about 5 million scent receptors. That’s about 44 times behind a Beagle’s olfactory power.
Fact 22: Beagles have the best, and most developed sense of smell compared to any other dog.
- John Paul Scott and John Fuller began a study of canine behavior during the 1950s. This research tested the smelling abilities of various dog breeds. Researchers put a mouse in a one-acre field and timed how long it took the dogs to find it. The Beagles found it in less than a minute, while Fox Terriers took 15 minutes and Scottish Terriers failed to find it at all.
Fact 23: Beagles are better at ground-scenting (following a trail on the ground) than they are at air-scenting.
- It is for this reason why Beagles have been barred from mountain rescue teams in favor of the Collie breed, which uses sight in addition to air-scenting and is more obedient.
Fact 24: Beagles are considered as great police dogs. They have a nose for sniffing out crimes.
- Beagles are used by law enforcement officers to detect contraband. With their amazing sense of smell, they’re regarded as one of the best police dogs nowadays.
Fact 25: In 1984, the USA’s Department of Agriculture started employing Beagles as part of its security team!
- There are around 20 airports across the USA with a Beagles patrol squad. They sniff out contraband food being brought into the country.
Fact 26: Beagles are also known as “Narcotic-Sniffing Dogs”.
- Because they have the best noses in the business, they’re on the front lines for security. You’ll find Beagles patrolling airports and border zones regularly!
Fact 27: Today, Beagles have roles in detection, therapy, and family pets. A trained Beagle support dog was recognized with saving the life of its owner, after using her owner’s mobile phone to dial an emergency number.
- Beagles are used for termite detection in Australia. And were hired by New York City to help with bed-bug detection. They are also seen in pet therapy services, giving companionship and visiting the sick and elderly in facilities.
Fact 28: In 2018, a Claritin (allergy related products) commercial used a Beagle to promote its new product.
- As Beagles are known for their noses, this commercial used this fact to promote their allergy products, as most allergies cause people to sneeze. The puppy was also EXTREMELY cute!!
Fact 29: Beagles are among the top 10 best dogs for kids.
- With their small size, energy, and calm temperament, they can easily get along with families and can match a kid’s curiosity and enthusiasm.
Fact 30: Beagles might be very intelligent but are difficult to housetrain.
- Beagles are smart creatures. But because of their determined personality (some might call it stubborn), training a new Beagle can test one’s patience.
Fact 31: These scenthounds are also known as “Chow Hounds”.
- Beagles will overeat if given a chance. Pet owners are encouraged to monitor their Beagle’s food intake.
Fact 32: Beagles are also considered as food thieves.
- This dog breed raids their owner’s pantry and garbage sacks daily.
Fact 33: Snoopy, the famous dog from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, is a Beagle.
- Although many argued that Snoopy doesn’t look like a Beagle at all, they’re still considered as the perfect portrayal of the standard breed: smart, playful, affectionate, half lethargic and half energetic.
Fact 34: Beagles are the 6th most popular dog breed in America.
- They ranked 4th most popular breed in 2012 and 2013, behind the (#1) Labrador Retriever, (#2) German Shepherd, and (#3) Golden Retriever breeds.
Fact 35: Beagles were officially recognized in 1885 by the American Kennel Club.
- The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for dogs. Ever since they made the cut in 1885, they’ve been among the top 10 favorites.
Fact 36: Purebred Beagles have white-tipped tails
- If they have a white-colored tail (can only be a few hairs at the tip or mostly white), then they’re pedigree. Otherwise, it’s a mix or a hybrid Beagle.
Fact 37: The name Beagle is a French word that means “Loudmouth”.
- These hounds are known for being vocal. They like to bark, howl, and bay. That’s how they were believed to be named as “Beagle”, after a French word ‘bee guele’ that is translated to “loudmouth”. Others think the name comes from another French word ‘beugler’, meaning to bellow.
Fact 38: Although they are great house pets, Beagles may not make the best apartment dogs.
- Their excessive baying is a common reason why they’re turned over to shelters. Beagles are perfect for families living in private and owned homes, but not great for those staying in apartments where there’s a risk of annoying some next-door neighbors. Beagles can be trained to control excessive barking.
Fact 39: The average Beagle pet does not have any noticeable body odor.
- An exception would be to those un-spayed female Beagles, during their heat season.
Fact 40: There were 2 Beagles living in the White House during the 1960s.
- It was during the reign of President Lyndon Johnson when 2 Beagles lived inside the White House named “Him” and “Her”. They were both often photographed playing along with other dogs.
Fact 41: Singer Barry Manilow loves Beagles. In the 1970s, the respected singer adopted a Beagle and named him Bagel. Bagel became as famous as his owner as he was featured on several album covers.
- Barry’s love for this breed was further established when he wore a shirt that read “I Love Beagles”.
Fact 42: Beagles thrive in packs.
- Beagles love hanging around with other dogs. And are considered as pack animals because of their extroverted traits.
Fact 43: Beagles should not be left alone for long hours.
- Beagles tend to be destructive, especially if they haven’t received enough exercise.
Fact 44: Beagles need daily exercise and mental stimulation in the form of sniffing.
- Without these activities, Beagles become bored and destructive. They need thorough attention, training, and activity. Bored Beagles tend to howl, dig, or do anything they find stimulating.
Fact 45: A fenced backyard is a necessity when caring for a Beagle.
- Beagles wander by nature, so they must be properly confined at home. When walking a Beagle, they must be secured by a lead and supervised.
Fact 46: Beagles are a less favorable option for a guard dog.
- Beagles are too friendly, even with strangers. They think everyone is their new best friend.
Fact 47: Dog-napping is very popular for the Beagle dog breed.
- Beagles are targets for thieves, as thieves sell them to research laboratories. So, microchipping a pet Beagle is recommended.
Fact 48: Nearly 96% of the dogs used in research laboratories are Beagles.
- This is mainly because of their size, friendly, docile, and submissive nature. There are as many as 65,000 Beagles used in the United States, every year for medical, cosmetic, beauty, and other chemical tests. In comparison, in the UK in 2004, there were 8,018 dogs used in testing, and 7,799 of these were Beagles (97.3%).
Fact 49: The “Beagle Freedom Bill” project exists to help free Beagles in research facilities.
- In 2014, Minnesota became the first state in America to pass and successfully implement the Beagle Freedom Bill. Other states like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island have all passed similar laws. In 2019, the Beagle Freedom Project started to support similar bills in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Fact 50: A Beagle has a typical lifespan of 12-15 years.
- It is a common lifespan for dogs of their size.