and Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
A Breed Profile compiled by Sandra Green for the Official NZKC Website
The beagle is an attractive, merry little hound who is of good substance
for his size, which should measure somewhere between 13" and 16"
(English Breed Standard) at the point of the shoulder. He is one of the
very few short-coated medium-sized breeds, and comes in a variety of colours,
the most common being tricolour (black, tan and white) or red and white,
often called 'tan and white'.
Behaviour / Characteristics
The beagle is an outgoing, active little dog. He is very social
and happiest when he is in the company of his 'pack', be it canine or human.
Owing to his pack- hound origins he has a somewhat determined streak,
and a tendency to follow his nose when the opportunity arises so a well-fenced
property is necessary. He is a good natured, fun-loving fellow
who makes a delightful companion.
The beagle is the smallest of the pack hunting hounds and one of the oldest of all the hound breeds. His origins are obscure, but his history can be traced back to the pre-Christian era. It is believed that small hounds that followed hare by scent and were followed on foot were taken to Britain from Rome during the Roman occupation.
The word 'beagle' has two possible origins, either from the Celtic word 'beag' meaning 'small' or from the French word 'begle' meaning 'useless or of little value'.
The first beagles reported to be introduced in to New Zealand were imported
in 1868 by Governor Sir George Grey.
Beagles have lots of energy and are well suited to owners who are active and enjoy exercising and playing with their pets. Their pack origins also make them very social and they will generally get on well with other dogs and cats. They are great with children if socialised with them.
They are a breed that prefer to be in company - human or canine - than be left alone. As with many other breeds they can sometimes become destructive if unhappy or bored.
A well-fenced property is essential for a beagle, and they require a
reasonable sized back yard. Their short, weatherproof coat means
that they are suitable to be kennelled, but they also make an excellent
house dog. A sturdy wire or plastic crate is ideal for a bed, a good
way to keep him confined when necessary and to travel him in.
Beagles are quite greedy by nature and are not fussy eaters. They
need to have their diet carefully watched by their owners so don't give
in to that pleading 'I'm starving again' expression or you will end
up with a very fat little dog! There are many excellent prepared
foods on the market that will give the correct amount to feed on the package
to maintain a healthy weight.
A beagle has a thick double coat which they do shed, and they will moult
once or twice a year. A work-over with a grooming mitt weekly
will loosen and remove dead hair. Nails should be clipped short regularly
and ears checked every week. The occasional bath will also be necessary.
Beagles have a reputation for being difficult to train. While
it is true that they can be rather determined and a bit more headstrong
than some other breeds they can be taught to be quite reliable. Food
is a great motivator when training a beagle!
An adult beagle will love to walk with you for miles. They need
to be kept on a lead at all times, especially near traffic. If you
let him off, be prepared to have to chase him if he gets the whiff of an
irresistible scent! Some of the Beagle Clubs around New Zealand have
social hunts and walks, and these are a great way for you and your beagle
to socialise and have fun together.
A healthy beagles average life span is about 12 years, with many living
up to 15.
Beagles are very hardy dogs and generally don't suffer from many ailments.
There are very few inherited problems associated with the breed, but some
which have been detected in New Zealand are:
- cherry eye
- dry eye
Prospective owners are often attracted to the beagle by his 'chocolate
box' looks and must understand that underneath that appealing exterior
there is an active little dog who requires plenty of attention and
exercise. They make wonderfully loyal and loving pets but you must
always remember their pack origins and desire to hunt.
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