Julie Harper joins us again on the blog to share some information about one of the more common breeds that comes through Orphans of the Storm®: the Beagle.
We all know that lovable pooches come in all shapes and sizes. Originally dogs were bred specifically for different purposes and learning their history and different characteristics can help you to choose a faithful family friend or an energetic ally.
History of the Beagle
The Beagle is a smaller member of the hound family and originated in 11th century England, although evidence indicates that dogs similar to Beagles were bred and used for hunting as early as the 5th century BC in ancient Greece. Heavier hunting dogs were crossed with greyhounds to produce a small, neat fleet of foot hounds with a keen sense of smell. The early Beagle was mostly white and used to hunt rabbits and hares by English squires; as the hounds sought out the game, the huntsmen would follow on foot. The popularity of foxhunting in the 18th and 19th century saw a decline in the numbers of Beagles as the much larger, stronger foxhound was favored. Near extinction, the breed was saved by a small number of breeders; in 1830 the Reverend Phillip Honeywood bred a pack of Beagles, reputed to be the finest in the country, and helped keep the breed alive. There was originally a smooth and rough coat version but the rough coat version became absorbed in the breed, all of which today are smooth coated. In 1840 Beagles were exported to the United States; the breed was developed and differs slightly from the English version. Richard Rowett of Illinois was one of the first to take up Beagle breeding in the USA and due to his and a handful of others’ success the breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1884.
Beagles are keen hunters but are also gentle and kind dogs. They make great pets—intelligent, happy, and friendly, Beagles are great family friends as long as you remember their original purpose. They can be distracted by scents and wildlife and are liable to go for little solo runs when fancy takes them! Some say they are very difficult to train; this is not strictly true but allowances for their ‘hound nature’ must be made. Beagles howl, as most hounds do, to signify that a scent has been found when they are hunting in packs. If one Beagle howls, the rest will follow suit. Beagles are prone to weight gain so careful exercise and diet plans should be implemented. Their lifespan is usually between 12 and 15 years.
Adopting a Beagle
There are lots of things to consider when deciding to adopt a new pet. Your home and garden should be of a suitable size and free from hazards. You should be willing and ready to provide the necessary amount of exercise for any dog you adopt and you should have time to devote to his or her amusement. The whole family must agree on a new dog so that you are all ready to welcome him or her into their new home. The initial costs such as bed, toys, and pet food aside, you must have planned for vet’s bills, dog grooming, and dental visits as these are all costs you will encounter during dog ownership. Vets bills can become pretty large if your dog has an accident or requires extensive medical treatment. The best option is to take out pet insurance so that if medical care is required you won’t have to struggle with the financial side of dog ownership as well as dealing with the distress of an injured or sick member of the family.
What Your Beagle Needs From You
If you’re lucky enough to adopt a Beagle or a Beagle mix, here’s a list of the care and attention he or she should receive:
- Shorter but frequent walks are what Beagles like; they were bred for short spurts of energy during a hunt and not long enduring runs.
- A ration of between 6 and 8 ounces of good quality dog meat and meal should be split between at least two meals during the day.
- Beagles like their home comforts so a large comfy bed and a range of toys will be very much appreciated.
The most important thing for any Beagle: lots of love and attention!
You can read Julie’s previous post on Adopting a Dog here.