Illustration of Beagle

The Beagle is one of the most popular of the hounds, both in the show ring and as a family companion, and still retains his natural hunting instinct. He was bred to hunt with men on foot, preferably after the hare. He is still used in packs, very often organised by institutions, including colleges and schools, but it is as a first-class family pet that he really makes his mark. A bustling, eager little dog, full of enthusiasm and vigour, ever ready for any activity that involves him.

Sturdy, bold and active, he is the very essence of quality, and is blessed with an equable and merry temperament. His head is powerful but his expression benign and there is usually a most definite difference between the dogs and bitches.

Everything about the breed gives the impression of athleticism and there is no better sight than a Beagle pack in full pursuit, their heads down to the scent, their sterns up in rigid order as they concentrate on the chase. This instinct is mimicked in his everyday behaviour in the park: the man with the lead in his hand and no dog in sight owns a Beagle.

An easy dog to keep, it can get as muddy as he likes but cleans up with a sponge and water, and dries off his short dense coat in a trice.

During the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I there were wirehaired Beagles, some of which were small enough to be carried in the pocket of a hunting jacket. Size has increased over the years but smaller versions of the breed, called ‘pocket Beagles’, can still be born.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
More than 2 hours per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Hound Breed Group

Breeds originally used for hunting either by scent or by sight. The scent hounds include the Beagle and Bloodhound and the sight hounds such breeds as the Whippet and Greyhound. Many of them enjoy a significant amount of exercise and can be described as dignified, aloof but trustworthy companions.

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