About the Beagle
History of the Beagle
Beagles, as a breed, have been in existence for quite some time, although their precise origins are only vaguely known. Beagle-type dogs are described in documents dating from 400 B.C. Greece and A.D. 200 Britain. The Romans are also thought to have transported to England with them small rabbit hunting hounds and bred them with the local hounds. Talbot Hounds were brought to England from France during the Norman Conquest in 1066 and are considered to be ancestors to the Southern Hound, the Beagle and the Foxhound.
Beagles became quite popular with the British monarchy in the 1300 and 1400's. Edward II and Henry VII both kept packs of Glove Beagles, so named since they were small enough to fit on a glove. Elizabeth I kept packs of Pocket Beagles which were only nine inches high at the withers.
By the 1400's Beagles existed in Britain, Italy, Greece and France. The word "beagle" has two possible origins. It either originates from the Celtic word "beag" which means small or from the French word "begle" meaning "useless or of little value".
By the 1700's two types of hounds existed for hunting rabbits: the Southern Hound and the much quicker North Country Beagle. Since fox hunting was becoming increasingly popular, Beagles were being kept less and less in favour of Foxhounds. Fortunately for the continuing existence of the Beagle, farmers in England, Ireland and Wales continued to keep packs to hunt with.
In the mid 1800's Reverend Phillip Honeywood established his pack in Essex, England which is thought to be the progenitor of the modern Beagle. He was breeding for hunting skills though, not looks. A fellow Englishman, Thomas Johnson, was responsible for breeding lines of Beagles that could hunt and look attractive.
Beagles were imported into the United States in 1876 and accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1884.
Breed Standard - American Version
The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full.
Ears Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad-with almost entire absence of erectile power-setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek-rounded at tip.
Eyes: Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color.
Muzzle: Muzzle of medium length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined.
Lips: free from flews; nostrils large and open.
Defects: A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome, eyes small, sharp and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long, snipy or cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-face expression. Ears short, set on high or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin.
Neck and Throat: Neck rising free and light from the shoulders strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable.
Defects: A thick, short, cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed "throatiness."
Shoulders and Chest: Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest deep and broad, but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders.
Defects: Straight, upright shoulders. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth.
Back, Loin and Ribs:
Back: short, muscular and strong.
Loin: broad and slightly arched, and the ribs well sprung, giving abundance of lung room.
Defects: Very long or swayed or roached back. Flat, narrow loin. Flat ribs.
Forelegs and Feet:
Forelegs: Straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to size of the hound.
Pasterns: short and straight.
Feet: Close, round and firm. Pad full and hard.
Defects: Out at elbows. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked or Dachshundlike. Feet long, open or spreading.
Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs and Feet:
Hips and thighs: strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical and moderately bent. Feet close and firm.
Defects: Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet.
Tail: Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; short as compared with size of the hound; with brush.
Defects: A long tail. Teapot curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail with absence of brush.
Coat: A close, hard, hound coat of medium length.
Defects: A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality.
Color: Any true hound color.
General Appearance: 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.
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