Beagles are a popular breed, ranking fourth in popularity in 2012 & 2013. Recognized by the AKC as of 1885, beagles are members of the hound group, and are considered scent hounds. Beagles are often seen with their noses to the ground, picking up all the wonderful smells. They're also known for their beagle bray. Beagle-type dogs have been around for over 2000 years, but the current Beagle breed was developed in Great Britain in the 1830's. Ancestors include the Talbot Hound, North Country Beagle, Southern hound, and maybe even the Harrier.
The beagle at it's tallest should be no more than 15 inches, and weighs an average of 20-24 pounds. They have an even temperament and are gentle dogs, although they have a high energy level. Beagles definitely need a good amount of exercise, from a daily walk to a good romp in the yard. This is a breed that should not be trusted off-leash outside of a fence, or you'll find yourself following a dog who's following a rabbit or squirrel.
Most of today's beagles are family dogs, but some are still used for detection and tracking work, often searching out illegal agricultural imports.
The beagle's short coat does shed, and he'll enjoy an occasional brush or comb. Bathe as needed, especially after those romps in the woods.
Beagles can be prone to hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) and epilepsy. A variety of eye problems can affect beagles including glaucoma, cherry eye, and distichiasis (eyelashes grow into the eye). Their long floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so regular cleaning is necessary.
Beagles live an average of 12-15 years.
Miss P is helping the Beagle breed gain popularity, but the world's most famous beagle will always be Snoopy.
For more beagle information, visit www.akc.org.