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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Beagles Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:45 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 05 Jan 1998
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or
via email by sending your message to firstname.lastname@example.org with
in the body of the message.
This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
Ellen Parr, email@example.com, http://www.teleport.com/~reina/
Sharon Reid, firstname.lastname@example.org
With significant contribution from Claudia Anderson,
Copyright 1995 by Ellen Parr and Sharon Reid.
Version 3.1, updated December 19, 1996
Table of Contents
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Personality and Temperament
+ Eye Disorders
+ Other Disorders
* What to look for in a Responsible Breeder
* References and Recommended Reading
* Email Listservers
* Beagle Clubs
* Beagle Rescue
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
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.
Due to AKC requirements, we are unable to reproduce the American
Standard in this FAQ. The AKC homepage has all the breed standards
available via the page. The English Breed Standard follows, please
keep in mind that there are some differences. Should you require the
American Standard, please contact your local breed club or the AKC.
English Beagle Standard (Revised 1988)
GENERAL APPEARANCE A sturdy, compactly-built hound, conveying the
impression of quality without coarseness.
CHARACTERISTICS A merry hound whose essential function is to hunt,
primarily hare, by following a scent. Bold, with great activity,
stamina and determination. Alert, intelligent, and of even
TEMPERAMENT Amiable and alert, showing no aggression or timidity.
HEAD AND SKULL Fair length, powerful without being coarse, finer in
the bitch, free from frown and wrinkle. Skull slightly domed,
moderately wide, with slight peak. Stop well defined and dividing
length, between occiput and tip of nose, as equally as possible.
Muzzle not snipey, lips reasonably well flewed. Nose broad, preferably
black, but less pigmentation permissible in the lighter coloured
hounds. Nostrils wide.
EYES Dark brown or hazel, fairly large, not deepset or prominent, set
well apart with mild appealing expression.
EARS Long, with rounded tip, reaching nearly to the end of nose when
drawn out. Set on low, fine in texture and hanging gracefully close to
MOUTH The jaws should be strong, with perfect, regular and complete
scissor bite, i.e., the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower
teeth, and set square to the jaw.
NECK Sufficiently long to enable hound to come down to scent easily,
slightly arched and showing little dewlap.
FOREQUARTERS Shoulders well laid back, not loaded. Forelegs straight
and upright, well under the hound, good substance, and round in the
bone, not tapering off to feet. Pasterns short. Elbows firm, turning
neither in or out. Height to elbow about half height at withers.
BODY Topline straight and level. Chest let down to below elbow. Ribs
well sprung and extending well back. Short in the couplings but well
balanced. Loins powerful and supple, without excessive tuck-up.
HINDQUARTERS Muscular thighs. Stifles well bent. Hocks firm, well let
down and parallel to each other.
FEET Tight and firm. Well knuckled up and strongly padded. Not
harefooted. Nails short.
TAIL Sturdy, moderately long. Set on high, carried gaily but not
curled over back or inclined forward from the root. Well covered with
hair, especially on underside.
GAIT/MOVEMENT Back level, firm with no indication of roll. Stride
free, long reaching in front and straight without thigh action. Hind
legs showing drive. Should not move close behind nor paddle not plait
COAT Short, dense and weatherproof.
COLOUR Any recognized hound colour other than liver. Tip of stern
SIZE Desirable minimum height at withers 33cm (13 ins). Desirable
maximum height at withers 40cm (16 ins).
*** Please note, in the USA, there are two recognized sizes.
13 inches (Not exceeding 13 inches at the withers.)
15 inches (Not exceeding 15 inches at the withers.)
FAULTS Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a
fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded
should be in exact proportion to its degree.
NOTE Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.
Frequently Asked Questions
_I've heard beagles are hard to train and they are very stubborn. Is
There is no simple answer to this question because, like people,
and most other breeds of dogs, individuals do vary. However, in
general, most hounds are somewhat more challenging to train. When
talking about beagles, it is often said that they "live on their
own agenda". This doesn't necessarily make training difficult, it
just means you have to find the training method that works for your
dog. Most people find that food is the best motivator for beagles.
The use of food in training is not accepted by all dog trainers, so
when you take your dog to obedience school, it is important to find
both an instructor who understands beagles (or scent hounds in
general) and is willing to use different methods, depending on what
is effective for your beagle. Beagles are actually quite
intelligent dogs, and very good problem solvers, which can cause
problems in training. They can get bored very quickly with an
exercise and find another way to have fun. Which might mean
teaching you how to stop a training session.
You should count on having several short training sessions
*everyday* for at least the first two years of your dog's life if
you want a perfectly obedient dog. There aren't many beagles out
there with Obedience titles, but there are some, and it can be
If you want a dog that is easily trained to be a 100% reliable dog,
don't get a beagle.
_*Everyone* says beagles are hard to housebreak, is this true?_
As stated above, beagles can be a bit more challenging to train
than other breeds, and this can (but not necessarily does) carry
over into housetraining.
There are many methods for house-training dogs. Your best bet is to
read up on as many methods as possible and to choose the one that
will work for you and your dog. You may find that you like one
method, but your dog does not respond, don't despair, just try
For many beagle owners, crate-training has proved to be invaluable
in house-breaking (as well as other problems such as destructive
chewing). Crate training is fairly easy, both on you and the dog,
and allows you to establish a schedule, which is very important in
house- training. Consistency and vigilance will almost always
result in a properly trained dog.
Be warned however, there are some beagles that take up to a year to
be fully house-trained, and there are the odd few that are never
_What are beagles like with children?_
Beagles generally adore children and will play for hours with them,
however, like any breed of dog, beagles need to be socialized
properly with children, and also like any breed, you should never
leave young children and beagles alone together. If socialized
properly and supervised properly, you shouldn't have any problems.
However, there are two things you should be aware of. First off,
beagles play rambunctiously and can accidentally hurt younger
children. Secondly, beagles are often "mouthy", which means they
like to play with their mouths, or chew on things. This is not
biting, but rather grabbing on to things with their mouth, it is
not done in anger or fear, but is for beagles, a way to play. This
can of course be trained out of them, but it seems to be rather
instinctive in many beagles and something that you should be aware
of when considering a beagle.
_Do beagles shed? Do they require regular grooming?_
Yes, beagles shed. Don't be fooled by the short coat, however, the
shedding is sometimes not as noticeable because the hairs they shed
are so much shorter. The Beagle's coat is actually classified as a
medium length, as opposed to a breed like a Doberman, which is a
short coated breed. Also, the coat is a double-coat, meaning that
they have a coarser outer coat and a soft undercoat. They will
generally shed more in the spring, as their coats tend to thicken
over the winter. This isn't necessarily due to climate. Dogs hair
growth is dependent more on how much light there is as opposed to
the cold. In the winter, there is less day-light and this
encourages hair growth. However, Beagles will also go through a
shed in the Fall as well as the spring. Beagles should be brushed
with a medium bristled brush or a hound glove at least once a week.
This will help loosen and remove dead hair and allow for new hair
growth, as well as being good for the skin. A product called 'Zoom
Groom' is also very popular with many Beagle owners.
Beagles are fairly clean dogs and as long as they aren't rolling in
really-nice-dead-things, they don't require frequent baths.
However, if you are trying to control fleas, you may be bathing
Because beagles have ears that hang, their ears must be checked at
least every two weeks for any sign of infection or waxy build-up.
There are many ear washes you can get from your vet that will help
clean out the ears. If you ever notice odor from your dog's ears,
it is likely that the dog has a yeast build-up or some other kind
of infection and may need stronger treatment. Other signs of ear
infections are constant head shaking, scratching at the ears, and
scratching just below the ears.
_Do beagles bark, or otherwise make noise, a lot?_
Beagles do not tend to be 'yappy' dogs, however, they can and will
bark when given the right stimulation. Most will bark/growl when
strange dogs/people/things-you-can't-see come in their territory.
They will also bark when excited, although this varies from dog to
dog. Most beagles will become very vocal if they are left alone a
lot. Some beagles can be extremely vocal, although this can vary by
individual as to amount of vocalization and type.
Beagles can also howl, this sound was useful in hunting as it would
alert the hunters when the beagles had cornered their prey. Again,
not all beagles will howl, but you should be prepared for the
A third noise beagles can make is hard to describe, kind of like a
half-howl, called baying. Beagles will often make this noise when
they catch the scent of something, again, this was useful in
The amount of any barking/howling/etc will always vary from dog to
dog. If you want your dog to be quiet, you can train them to be.
But again, when training beagles, patience is the key, it could
take several months for your dog to understand the 'quiet' command.
Some beagles never do understand the idea that you want them to be
quiet, and if this is a necessity for you, you may want to consider
another breed, or more radical training methods such as anti-bark
collars, or to have the dog surgically altered.
_What colors do Beagles come in?_
The most common color you will see is called tricolor. It means a
black saddle, white legs, chest, and belly, with a tan head, and
often around the edges of the saddle. Many dogs have a white blaze
on their face, but a solid tan face is common too. Tricolor puppies
are born black and white, the tan develops as the puppy gets older.
Red and White: There is no black at all, and the red can range from
a light tan to a darker red. These puppies are born as red and
whites, or sometimes even a solid white, with the color developing
Lemon and White: The lemon varies from an off-white, to a dark
lemon. These puppies are often born completely white, with the
color developing later.
Black and White: Very rare.
With all of these colors, you can have freckling, mottling,
ticking, and grizzling. Occasionally, an all white hound appears,
but this is very very rare. These are not albinos, simply white
Personality and Temperament
When looking for a companion in your life, it is very important to
understand the personality, temperament, and traits of that companion.
For most dogs, their temperament is based on the purpose for which
they were bred. Beagles are scent hounds, bred to track prey over the
country side. This makes them energetic, independent, outgoing, and
sometimes, stubborn dogs, as they wish to follow something to it's
conclusion. There is no difference in temperament in the two varieties
of Beagles (13 inch and 15 inch).
Beagles that were bred in puppy mills can often be extremely difficult
to housetrain, due to the fact that they are kept in very unclean
conditions. When examining a litter, how clean the mother is helps to
determine how easily housebroken the puppies will be. Another reason
to buy a dog from a responsible, ethical breeder.
Beagles were also bred and kept in packs. This has resulted in a near
genetic need for companionship. If they don't get it from another dog,
they will demand it from you. This is not to say that a lone Beagle
will be underfoot, begging for attention all the time, but they will
require a substantial amount of your time in play and companionship.
If they are not given enough stimulation from their 'pack', they will
find ways to amuse themselves and this can mean trouble! The list of
what some beagles have eaten/chewed/destroyed is astonishing!
Beagles do not make good 'outside' dogs, especially if you only have
one. Again, they need to be kept occupied and if regularly left in a
backyard, they will usually start digging, barking, and looking for
ways to get out and have fun. If you are dedicated to walking them in
the morning before work and spending lots of time with them when you
get home, they should be able to handle spending the day in a securely
fenced backyard, however, most Beagle owners keep their dogs inside
while gone. For many reasons, including possibility of theft, escape,
or torment by neighborhood children/dogs, having a secure indoor place
for your Beagle is the best bet.
As stated in the frequently asked questions section, the Beagle's
independent and stubborn nature makes obedience training a necessity
and a challenge. Be sure to get into some kind of training routine
early in your Beagle's life. If you attend obedience classes, make
sure your instructor understands the hound personality. Beagles
require a firm trainer , but not a physical one. Beagles neither
respect, nor acknowledge physical force.
Beagles have loads of energy and are well-suited to someone who likes
to take long walks. Beagles can be kept successfully in apartments,
however, you must be extremely dedicated in taking your dog out for
regular walks. Bred to run cross-country in pursuit of rabbits and
foxes, they don't mind going for long runs. Keep in mind however,
that, you should wait until the dog is at least a year old before
starting any running program and you should start slowly. Talk to your
vet for more information on running with your dog.
Because Beagles were bred as a pack animal, they generally get along
well with other dogs, and often, cats. Beagles should not be
aggressive towards other dogs, however, they will protect their
territory, usually, this means just growling and other posturing. More
often than not, your Beagle will end up playing with the intruder as
opposed to fighting with it. Beagles should *never ever* be aggressive
towards humans, however, due to their independent nature, they can
sometimes try to be dominant over you. You should not allow this and
if you are having problems, see a good dog trainer on how to correct
Beagles generally adore children, if they are socialized properly with
them. Small children and dogs should never be left unsupervised, but
in general, you will find that Beagles make wonderful companions for
kids and adults alike.
When looking for a Beagle, you need to be sure to go to a reputable,
responsible breeder. Beagles are one of the top puppy mill dogs
because they produce such adorable puppies. Dogs from puppy mills,
usually those purchased in a pet store, can be extremely timid and/or
aggressive. In addition, they can suffer from numerous health
problems. Please read the section on genetic problems for more in
depth information on the problems poorly bred Beagles can suffer from.
Please also see the section on Responsible Breeders to aid you in your
Overall, Beagles are fun-loving, happy dogs, and as long as you
understand the Beagle personality, they can make a great addition to
your family. One Beagle owner was heard to say that "Beagles belong in
Disneyland, they are the happiest dogs on earth."
Beagles, like all breeds, should be bred carefully and by
knowledgeable people to help minimize hereditary disorders. Some
disorders that are found in Beagles are:
Cherry Eye -- Very Common
swelling of the gland of the third eyelid
increase in fluid pressure inside the eye
clouding of the eye lens
folding or displacement of the retina, may lead to blindness
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
cells of the retina deteriorate over time causing blindness
Epilepsy -- Very Common
brain dysfunction resulting in seizures
Elongated Soft Palate
soft palate at the back of the throat is elongated and
interferes with the larynx
Cleft Lip and Palate
opening between oral and nasal cavities, can impede pup from
one testicle does not descend
both testicles do not descend
Intervertebral Disc Disease
degeneration of the intervertebral discs, causing severe neck
and back pain
heart defect, may cause heart failure
What to look for in a Responsible Breeder
Author: Lisa Frankland
Starting the Search:
* Attend an event such as the America's Family Pet Show and talk to
people who own the breed you want.
* Attend a local dog show. Show catalogs list the names and
addresses of the owners of entered dogs. You can also talk to the
owners and handlers of the dogs (though not when they're about to
go into the ring!) and get some leads that way.
* Write to the AKC and ask for the names and addresses of breed
clubs. These clubs can steer you in the right direction.
* Learn about your breed before you look to buy one. Read the breed
standard, find out about grooming requirements, typical
temperaments, health problems that are common in the breed, etc.
Irresponsible breeders hate educated buyers!
* Price alone should not be a factor in deciding what breeder to buy
from. While a high price doesn't necessarily guarantee high
quality, a very low price often does not turn out to be a bargain
in the long run. Find out what typical prices are for show and pet
quality puppies of your breed in your area.
* Be patient. You may have to wait a few months (or longer) to find
the right dog from a good breeder. This is a very short time
compared with the ten to fifteen years that a dog will live with
Responsible Breeders DO:
* Breed in order to improve the breed and produce the best puppies
they possibly can, and usually plan to keep at least one of them.
Ask as many questions of you as you do of them.
* Show evidence of at least two or three years of serious interest
in their breed, i.e. dog club memberships (the AKC doesn't
count!), show and match ribbons, and Championship and/or
performance (obedience, agility,tracking, field, etc.) titles.
* Breed only dogs that closely match the breed standard and are free
of serious health and temperament problems.
* Tell you if they think you would be better off with another breed
of dog, or no dog at all
* Provide referrals to other breeders if they don't have anything
* Use a written contract and guarantee, or at least an oral
agreement, when selling a dog, with clear terms that you can live
* Provide a registration slip, a pedigree, and up-to-date
shots/health records with every puppy they sell.
* Honestly discuss any special problems/requirements associated with
* Offer assistance and advice on grooming, training, etc., for the
life of the dog.
* If, for any reason and at any time, you cannot keep the dog, will
take it back.
* Normally breed only one or two litters a year, max!
* Have dogs that are clean, healthy, happy, and humanely cared for
Responsible Breeders DO NOT:
* Appear overly eager to sell/"get rid of" a puppy.
* Breed simply to produce puppies to sell.
* Breed a bitch on every season, or more than once a year.
* Have breeding stock that consists of a "mated pair".
* Claim that all of their puppies are "show/breeding quality".
* Claim that their breed has no problems (some have fewer than
others, but every breed has at least a couple).
* Sell puppies to pet stores or to anyone that they have not
* Sell puppies that are less than seven to ten weeks old.
* Sell puppies without papers (registration slip and 3-5 generation
pedigree), or charge extra for papers.
* Have more than one or two litters at any given time, or litters of
* Guarantee their dogs, or if they do, attach such unreasonable
conditions to the guarantee, i.e., "dog must not be spayed or
neutered, must never have been bred, and the ears must stand
correctly," that it is unlikely that they would ever have to honor
Phrases to be aware of in breeder's ads:
* "Rare"--This is often because either the breeder is using the
wrong term for a common trait (i.e., "teacup" for toy size) or the
dogs in question have a trait that no responsible breeder would
deliberately produce, either because it is not allowed or is
considered a serious fault in the breed standard, and/or is
associated with health problems in the breed (e.g. white Boxers
and Dobermans, parti-colored Poodles, "king" Labs, lemon spotted
Dalmatians, and blue-eyed Malamutes). Although it can also mean
that the breed is not well known or widely recognized, it does
almost always mean that the breeder expects you to pay megabucks
for the privilege of owning one.
* "Aggressive"--Most dogs are naturally protective, the extent
depending on their breed and individual personalities. Why would
anyone in their right mind deliberately breed dogs with unstable
* "Champion"--A dog becomes a breed champion by earning points
defeating a specified number of other dogs of its breed in
competition. A dog can have a whole wall full of blue ribbons, yet
still not have earned a single point, let alone a championship
* "Grand Champion"--the AKC does not award a Grand Champion title.
Some other registries do, such as the UKC, but make sure the
breeder explains how and where that title was earned.
* "Champion lines"--Almost all dogs have some champions in their
pedigrees if you go a few generations back. Ideally, at least one
parent and the majority of the dogs listed in the pedigree should
have a championship or other title.
* "Champion puppies"--Dogs cannot be shown towards a championship
before they are six months old. Maybe the breeder means that the
parents are champions. Maybe it means that you'd be better off
buying from somebody that's honest.
* "OFA puppies"--OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a
registry that screens dogs for hip dysplasia. Dogs must be at
least two years of age to be screened. If a breeder claims that
any dog younger than that has OFA numbers, run!
* "Show quality"--What does the breeder mean by this? Expected to
finish a championship fairly easily? No disqualifying faults? Has
"perfect markings and is really cute?" Make sure you understand
exactly what this means before you buy. By the way, unless you are
serious about breeding and showing, there is nothing wrong with a
dog that is "pet quality."
* "AKC registered (or just 'AKC')"--the AKC (American Kennel Club)
is a registry that issues registration papers to dogs of the
approximately 140 breeds that are currently recognized, whose
parents were also registered. While great to have (essential if
you plan to show and breed), AKC registration is no guarantee of a
dog's quality, or of a breeder's integrity. Other popular
registries include the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American
Rare Breeds Association (ARBA), as well as breed-specific
registries such as the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA).
One warning: There are a number of "effigy registries" whose sole
purpose is to provide "papers" for dogs who cannot be registered
through one of the legitimate registries (breeder may have been
banned from legitimate registry, parents may not be registered or
registerable with legitimate registry, etc). If you are not
familiar with the registry in question, ask around.
References and Recommended Reading
Although there are many books on the market about Beagles, the best
reference you can find is _The New Beagle_. You can get great
information from other books, but _The New Beagle_ is the all around
Musladin, Judith, Musladin, A.C. and Lueke, Ada. _The New Beagle_,
1990, Howell Book House. ISBN 0-87605-025-9.
AKC, _The Complete Dog Book_, 1992, Howell Book House. ISBN
There are currently (as of September, 1995) two email listservers
where discussion of Beagles is welcomed.
* Noses-list: Devoted to all scent hounds
* Internet Beagle Afficionado Recreation Club (ibarc): Discussion
Limited to Beagles.
Instructions on joining both groups follows.
To subscribe to NOSES-L, send email to: email@example.com.
In the body of the message include the single line:
subscribe NOSES-L yourfirstname yourlastname
NOSES-L is currently an open list, which means that all requests to
subscribe and unsubscribe are processed by the listserver. You may
subscribe or unsubscribe from the list at any time.
To subscribe to I-BARC, send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the body of the message include the single line:
subscribe I-BARC yourfirstname yourlastname
I-BARC is currently an open list, which means that all requests to
subscribe and unsubscribe are processed by the listserver. You may
subscribe or unsubscribe from the list at any time.
Show Beagle Quarterly, P.O. Box 2340, Redlands, CA 92373, $15.00/year.
The Rabbit Hunter, P.O. Box 244, Hoskinston, KY, 40844-0244
Hounds and Hunting, P.O. Box 372, 554 Derrick Road, Bradford, PA,
Better Beagling, P.O. Box 142, Essex VT 05451
The Small Pack Option Magazine, P.O. Box 718, Whitney Point, NY 13862
BONE (Beagle Obedience Network Excellent) Denise Nord, 14605 34th
Avenue #317, Plymouth, MN 55447 email@example.com
Ellen Parr, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Reid, email@example.com