Deep-voiced, even-tempered and soulful-eyed, the Beagle is one of America’s most popular breeds.
The Beagle was the fourth most-popular breed in 2017, according to the American Kennel Club.
They are a smallish breed, as they are typically 15 inches at the withers at the tallest, and weigh about 30 pounds at the most.
Their ears are medium-sized and floppy, their muzzles square, and their coat short and glossy, typically white with tan, brown and/or black markings.
The AKC Breed Standard is unusually short and straightforward: “A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and-tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.”
In more appealing language, the AKC also describes the breed as “an excellent hunting dog and loyal companion. It is also happy-go-lucky, funny, and—thanks to its pleading expression—cute. They were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy company and are generally easygoing.”
While hunting dogs similar to the Beagle have been around since the days of ancient Greece, the modern breed is considered to have been developed from the stock of the Reverend Phillip Honeywood, of England, in the 1830s.
The breed was first imported to the U.S. in the 1840s, and was recognized by the AKC in 1885.
They are classified in the Hound Group in AKC dog shows.
They are stubborn and single-minded, but are great with children and are good watchdogs.
Beagles have fairly long lifespans, averaging around 12-15 years, and don’t suffer from many common health problems, though they may be at higher risk of lost eyesight and back problems as they age.
Shakespeare mentioned a beagle-type dog in Twelfth Night, and Marguerite Henry devotes a chapter to the breed in her Album of Dogs.