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August 18

Beagles: The Hunting Dog

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Beagles: The Perfect Hunting Dogs

Beagles are known for their sweet temperament, loyal nature, and keen sense of smell, Beagles are loved across the world.

Historically, beagles were associated with hunting.

The modern breed of beagles that we know today is a result of the crossbreeding different breeds since the 18th century.

Where do beagles comes from?

Beagles were developed after crossbreeding different dogs, with the intent to create a hunting dog.


Hunting was a popular past-time in the 18th century. Small animals like gophers and rabbits were sought after when it came to hunting.

Hunters needed a loyal dog that would help them trap and kill their prey. Beagles were surprisingly good at this. They specialized in hunting for rabbits.


Beagles can first be traced back to Great Britain in the 1830s. During this time, Reverend Phillip Howard was crossbreeding dogs such as the Southern Hound with the Northern Hound.

Through crossbreeding, he chanced upon the breed we know as the Beagle today. The dogs he bred were no longer than 10 inches, and pure white in color.

After this, he left the development of this breed of the Beagle to a man named Thomas Johnson. Honeywood wanted to focus on breeding more hunting dogs.

Instead, Johnson worked on the beagles till they became what we know as the beagle today.

beagle
The Appearance of the Beagle

Modern beagles are typically no more than 15 inches tall. They are a small breed, and some beagles don't grow larger than 13 inches.

 

The American Kennel Association makes a distinction in beagles based on these measurements. Smaller beagles, those no greater than 13 inches, fall under the small beagle category.

Those between 13-15 inches are larger beagles.


The Canadian Kennel Association, as well as the UK Kennel Association makes no distinctions when it comes to beagles.

Beagles are almost always tricolor. These color variations can include different shades of brown and black, mixed with white. Beagles have short hair.

If you're wondering, 'do beagles shed', then the answer is not a lot.

The small hairs on their body are still going to fall off. But you don't have to comb and care for a beagle the same way you would a long haired dog.


The most pronounced part of their appearance are their large ears. These large and floppy ears are a distinctive part of the beagles appearance.

Why Beagles Make the Best Hunting Dogs

Beagles are known for their hunting skills.

Hunting rabbits or hare with beagles was so popular, the term 'beagling' was invented for it. However, when hunting foxes became more popular, beagles became less popular among the hunters.


Despite this, beagles continued to be loved and supported by breeders and enthusiasts.

The species was kept alive by the breeders. Even today, beagles are used in detecting illegal foodstuffs imported from abroad.


These are the reasons behind why beagles make the best hunting dogs:


Sense of smell: Beagles can smell up to great distances. 

Their sense of smell is their greatest advantage. In modern times, this skill makes them an invaluable part of teams that asses imported agricultural products and foodstuffs.

The Bay: Beagles have a bark that is unique among dogs. This bark, also known as a 'bay', gave hunters a distinct advantage in the forests. 

Anytime they heard the bay, they would immediately know that their beagle was calling out to them.

Great at trailing: Beagles can track small animals easily. 

Not only that, they are also capable of chasing the animal in a way where it's forced to run in with the hunter.

Great Stamina: Beagles have an abundance of energy. 

This once made them the perfect companions to hunters in the woods.

Beagles were called the best hunting dogs.

They could keep up with and even outrun their owners during their hunts. In modern times, beagles are still known as one of the most playful breeds of dogs.

Loyal and persevering: Beagles are also known for their tenacity.

Once they've locked on to a prey, they are unlikely to give up. Beagles are a determined breed of dog.

They are known for being fiercely loyal, and above all, extremely loving towards their owners.


Beagles have a natural instinct when it comes to hunting.

Even modern breeds of beagles enjoy spending time outdoors and going on walks.

Beagles have a lot of energy, so playing with them regularly is a good way to ensure that they fall asleep at night.

The Health Problems and Life Expectancy of Beagles

Alas no pet lives forever. There always comes a time when the owner has to say goodbye to their beloved pet. But a purebreed like beagles have certain advantages.

One of these is that they lack a lot of the inherited diseases that predispose certain breeds of dogs to health problems.

This means that beagles tend to be overall more healthy than certain other breeds of dogs.

 However, there are certain health conditions that are exclusive to beagles alone. These include:


Funny Puppy syndrome: This is a condition where the beagle puppy does not grow properly.

This is characterized by weak legs, a crooked back and spine, as well as difficulty in walking properly.

The beagle will not have any other abnormalities, but they will have a weakened immune system all their life.

Musladin-Lueke syndrome: This is characterized by slanted eyes. 

You will also find the the undertoes of the beagle appear to not have developed fully.

The dog will otherwise be normal and have no other health problems.


Aside from these rare conditions, beagles can be afflicted by certain health problems.

 By being aware of what they are, you can better protect your beloved beagle. These include:

Epilepsy: This is a condition that can occur in beagles. It can be treated with medication and poses no additional risks to the beagle.
Eye infections: Beagles have a tendency to experience corneal dystrophy, or glaucoma.
Disc problems: Beagles are also prone to various disc problems, especially as they age.
Ear infections: If you own a beagle, then you need to ensure that moisture is not trapped under their large ears. 

These ears also trap air behind their ears. This air can become moist and cause ear infections as well.


Aside from this, something you should watch out for is 'reverse sneezing'

This is unique to beagles and poses no health problems for them. When this happens, the beagle appears to be inhaling air through the nose and the mouth at the same time.

Don't worry, this is normal and your beagle is not in any danger.

The beagle's life expectancy is between 12-15 years.

An intelligent and caring breed, the beagle is one of the best hunting dogs out there.



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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