Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding and exciting decisions in a person’s life. Known as man’s best friend, dogs are some of the world’s most popular pets. They provide a certain level of comfort and happiness into any home. However, owning a dog also requires a little bit of knowledge and responsibility. Dogs are their owner’s responsibility, and it’s important to make sure that you are prepared to care for and love a dog properly. Dogs are definitely an easygoing pet, but they still have needs just like any other person or animal. One important thing to know about these creatures is that they are not all the same! There are many different breeds of dogs, all of which have specific and unique characteristics. Not to mention, just like humans, each individual dog has its own personality.
One of the most beloved breeds of dog to keep as pets are beagles. This breed originated in England and are well known for their white, brown, and black coats. The beagle is a descendant of several different breeds of hounds, like the Talbot hound and Greyhounds. The modern-day beagles that exist today were exported from England to North America in the mid-1800s. They ended up becoming even more popular in North America than they ever were in England! Nowadays, beagles can be found all across the globe, primarily as pets. Along with golden retrievers and German shepherds, beagles rank as the most popular dog breeds in the world.
10Beagles Were Originally Hunting Dogs
Way back when, before beagles could be found in nearly any pet shop, they were actually bred and used as hunting dogs. Dogs have been around for quite a while, definitely longer than any sort of reliable documentation. For that reason, it’s hard to define exactly where the beagle breed began. However, most researchers believe that the beagles’ ancestors were found in 5th century Greece and later in 11th century England. These hounds were called the St. Hubert Hound and the Talbot Hound, bred specifically as tracking and hunting dogs. As such, they developed an incredibly sharp sense of smell.
Although the hounds were great at tracking, they lacked the speed to be amazing hunters. Historians believe that the hounds were bred with greyhounds to create a dog with a great sense of smell and impressive running speed. After even more cross-breeding, with breeds like the Foxhound, the modern beagle that we know and love today was born. Many of the previous beagle breeds ended up in extinction due to the different breeding practices.
Most beagles in England and Greece were used for hunting rabbits and other similarly sized creatures. Nowadays, beagles don’t do much hunting, but they still retain many of their hunting instincts. Beagles don’t hesitate to chase anything they see running- especially small animals like rabbits, mice, or birds. They have been known to bring small animals they’ve killed back to their owners occasionally. Some other remaining hunting characteristics that beagles retain is their love of running and the outdoors, as well as their high-energy disposition.
9Every Beagle Has a White-Tipped Tail
Beagles are well known for their auburn, white, and black fur. Although all beagles have slightly different markings and patterns on their coats- there is one thing that they all have in common. Every single beagle has white fur at the tip of their tail. It may seem crazy or far-fetched to say that every single beagle in existence has the exact same tail marking, but it’s true! This trait has become so dominant in the breed that it’s nearly impossible to find a purebred beagle without one. If you see a beagle without a white-tipped tail, it’s more likely that the dog actually isn’t a purebred beagle, but rather mixed with another breed of dog. Sometimes, the beagle’s whitetail may be so small or have so much hair that it doesn’t look white anymore.
In some cases, breeders dock their beagles’ tails. This is a controversial practice generally regarded as inhumane since it involved cutting off most of a dog’s tail. In the case of beagles, tail docking was originally done to avoid the tail becoming a nuisance or a hindrance during hunting. Nowadays, beagles who are still used for hunting often have their tails docked. If you’re considering owning a beagle, it’s best to take a look at the dog’s tail- ensure it is not docked and that the tip of the tail is white. This way, you can be sure that your dog is a veritable beagle. Not to mention, an undocked tail helps beagles guide themselves, balance, and of course, express their happiness!
8The Pocket Beagle Is Now Extinct
When beagles were first bred, they were small enough to fit into a pocket. The small dogs varied from about six to nine inches large. The goal was to bring these dogs on hunting trips more easily and conveniently. Adorable, right? It’s even rumored that Queen Elizabeth I owned several pocket beagles and allowed them to run around on her serving platters on occasion, for entertainment. However, as cute as pocket beagles sound, they have already gone extinct. Throughout the years and the many rounds of beagle breeding, the pocket beagle disappeared. It’s believed that the bloodline of the pocket beagle ceased to exist as early as 1901. There is only one official breed of beagle since the other variations’ bloodlines have long since disappeared.
It’s important to be aware of this distinction since some dishonest breeders still attempt to advertise pocket beagles. Beagles that appear smaller than normal nowadays have definitely been mixed with other dog breeds- there is no such thing as a miniature purebred beagle. Although a smaller mixed beagle may be cute, the breeding practices for such dogs are unethical. Beagles that are too small have a tendency to develop many health issues, like underdeveloped organs and the like. Not to mention, these smaller “beagles” often have less energy and have a lot of strain on their hearts. In the end, it’s best to avoid any breeder falsely claiming to have pocket beagles. If you have your heart set on owning a tiny dog, it’s vital to opt for a breed of dog that is naturally smaller to avoid supporting unethical practices or running into health problems in the future.
7Beagles Are the Most Used Research Dog
Unfortunately, many products and medications are still tested on animals. Not to mention the scientific studies and research projects that use various animals as their pilots. When it comes to dogs, there are simply so many varying breeds and mixes out there. In order to get any sort of clear data, the scientific community essentially had to select one breed to focus their research on. This breed happened to be the beagle. Researchers chose the beagle as their subjects for the same reasons that many people choose beagles as pets- they are kind, docile, and trusting. Not to mention, beagles are mid-sized, creating a perfect standardized dog test subject. Today, the U.S., Japan, China, and Australia use up to 60,000 dogs, mostly beagles, for experiments.
The beagles used for this research are usually bred specifically for that purpose and moved to labs by the time they are one year of age. The main reasons for animal testing on beagles is to verify the effects of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals. As a potential beagle owner, it’s important to be aware of this use for the breed. Many beagles are rescued or retired from testing facilities and put up for adoption. These beagles need a lot of extra care and love since they often struggle with anxiety and are not trained or housebroken in any way. Most previously tested beagles are devocalized, meaning they are completely unable to bark. This is an important characteristic to watch out for when adopting a beagle.
6Beagles Have a Surprising Skill- Sniffing Out Bed Bugs
As former hunting dogs, it’s not surprising that beagles have a keen sense of smell. However, it may be even more impressive than most people think. In fact, beagles are able to sniff out one of the most annoying household nuisances- bed bugs. Bed bugs are everyone’s nightmare. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter- if you own a mattress, getting bed bugs is the worst. Luckily, a trusty beagle may be able to help. Beagles have proven very effective when trained in pest detection. All dogs have significantly better senses of smell than humans, but the beagle has one of the best. Their success rate at detecting live bed bugs was as high as 98 percent. Not to mention, they were also able to sniff out dead bugs and even eggs. Could beagles be the key in the future of the pest control business? It’s possible. But, either way, this is definitely a plus when it comes to owning a beagle.
They have proven to be even more effective than human pest detectors- up to 70 percent more effective- due to their hunting instincts. Dogs don’t rely on their sight nearly as much as humans do. Without that to distract them, they are better able to focus on other cues like smell and sound. Since beagles are particularly receptive to training, it’s not far-fetched to consider training any beagle to detect bed bugs or other pests. Since bed bugs spread quickly and have multiple health risks, this is a very valuable skill.
5Beagles Are Known for Being Loud
All dogs bark, that’s a given. But, beagles are known for being a bit excessive in that department. They even have a bit of a bad reputation because of their tendency to howl. Beagles tend to communicate by barking and howling more than any other dog breed. However, this seeming annoyance actually has an interesting backstory and may not be as frustrating as it seems. It all traces back to their hunter roots. Beagles were bred to loudly communicate their location to their owners in order to avoid getting lost. Once they caught their prey, beagles would howl to notify the owner of their location. Although barking and howling are part of any beagle’s nature, they won’t be as loud if they are able to get lots of exercises and use up their large amount of energy daily.
Beagles actually make three distinct types of sound. The first is a normal bark, like all other dogs. The second is a howling bark, more commonly referred to as baying. It sounds like a mix between a bark and a full-on howl and is not held for very long. The last sound is a proper howl, a sound that beagles tend to hold for as long as they can hold their breath. Beagle howls usually sound quite solemn, and they usually only use this sound when they are calling for their owner or feeling bored. Beagles are very attentive dogs and like to alert the people around them of everything they notice. That’s why they are constantly making noise.
4Their Long Ears Actually Serve an Important Purpose
One of the most noticeable characteristics of any beagle is their long, soft, floppy ears. Beagle ears usually hang low and frame their whole face. However, these cute long ears were no accident- beagle breeders specifically aimed for this unique trait. Aside from being adorable and providing the dog’s sense of hearing- what could the beagle’s long ears possibly be used for? Well, interestingly enough, the long ear characteristic of beagles actually goes back all the way to their hunting days. The breeders wanted to improve upon the beagles’ sense of smell as much as possible, and the long ears were just the way to do that.
When a beagle has its head to the ground, following a scent, their long ears usually drag against the ground. This not only picks up and retains whatever scent they are tracking, but it also brings all the scents right up to the beagle’s nose to make their job easier. The scent gets trapped by the beagle’s ears, making it harder to lose track of. Long, soft ears are one of the things that potential pet owners love most about beagles, so it’s quite interesting that it all started as an important hunting skill. It just goes to show how perfectly suited beagles are for their original purpose. Almost every part of a beagle’s anatomy- from their long ears and necks to their white-tipped tails, works together to make them the ultimate hunters. Even though they have no need to hunt nowadays, their instincts and predispositions are still as strong as ever.
3Beagles Are Among the Most Employed Dog Breeds
Because of their hunting abilities and friendliness, beagles are some of the top contenders for canine employment. While other bulkier breeds like German shepherds are often preferred for law enforcement, beagles are not overlooked. Their tracking skills and easy trainability makes them great for detecting drugs, bombs, and other things. The U.S. even has what some people call a “beagle brigade.” The Department of Homeland Security uses these natural hunters to detect prohibited agricultural products being taken across borders.
Working in law enforcement isn’t the only job for beagles, though. In fact, their great sense of smell puts them in demand for a lot of interesting jobs. One beagle named Elvis even has a job detecting pregnancies- in polar bears. Polar bears are known for occasionally exhibiting pseudopregnancy. When zookeepers are unable to tell if pregnancy is real or not, it can make their jobs quite challenging. That’s where Elvis comes in. He is able to tell by the scent of a polar bear’s scat whether she is really pregnant or not. This is one of the most unique jobs of any dog, but it’s a great example of how versatile beagles can be. There are many other jobs- such as pest detector- that beagles are able to do but that isn’t very common as of yet. In short, beagles can be trained to do almost anything. They are used as therapy dogs, police dogs, security dogs, and many other positions- although they shine brightest in positions where their sense of smell is needed.
2Beagles Get Along Great with People and Other Animals
The main reason that people love to have beagles around is that they get along with everyone. Beagles are rarely aggressive and don’t make very good guard dogs because of their tendency to trust everyone they meet. They’re also fiercely loyal and always gently curious about new faces. Beagles are not lone wolves by any measure- they are pack dogs through and through. This makes them happiest when they’re with someone, whether it’s an adult, a child, or even another animal. They get along great with other dogs and are even known to behave nicely with cats. Because of their hunting past, when beagles would have spent all their time with their owner and a couple of other hunting dogs, beagles develop tight-knit relationships with the people around them. They are known to be protective of their families and are not known to lash out.
Beagles are a top choice for families with young children or other pets because of this adaptability and friendliness. Beagles are also a particularly intelligent breed of dog, which is what makes it so easy to train them. They are particularly good at mastering commands and have an innate ability to focus, which many dogs aren’t very good at. All in all, beagles are quick to make friends, and once they know you, they are loyal for life. This is exactly why they make such good family pets- with a beagle; there are no concerns about aggression or unwarranted attacks. In many ways, what you see is what you get with a beagle- they are a remarkably genuine dog.
1Beagles Can Be Found All Over the Place in Pop Culture
All of the beagle’s beloved characteristics come together into one small, cute package. That’s why they are loved by nearly everyone- including the media and many celebrities. Beagles carry a certain attitude of innocence and joy with them wherever they go, which is why many characters have been adapted based on the breed. The world’s most famous beagle is Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon, who has become an icon in pop culture. Odie from the famous Garfield franchise is also a beagle. Not to mention, the cartoon dog superhero, Underdog. These characters fit the beagle profile perfectly-being happy, curious, and friendly dogs.
Beagles have had a prestigious spot in pop culture for quite some time. The royal family in England, particularly Queen Elizabeth I, have always had a soft spot for the docile breed. U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson owned two beagles while he was in office and was outspoken about his love for the breed. Renowned American artist Barry Manilow was also well-known for having a pet beagle named Bagel. Bagel even had a small claim to fame when she was featured on one of Barry’s album covers. Beagles have a reputation as some of the friendliest and innocent pets, which is why beagle lovers are usually so outspoken about their pets! They’re also known for being intelligent and curious, as portrayed by beagle characters like Gromit of Wallace and Gromit, and Brains from Inspector Gadget. There’s no denying that beagles have earned their place in popular culture and media, becoming one of the most known and recognizable breeds.
In conclusion, it’s clear why beagles are beloved all over the world as pets. These dogs have one of the sweetest and gentlest temperaments of any dog breed. Not to mention, they are great with children and always up for some activity. Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, in more ways than one. Like many other dogs who were originally bred to hunt, beagles have become curious and inquisitive creatures who have adapted well to modern life. Their hunting instinct makes them helpful to their human owners. However, it’s essential to be sure that you’re adopting your beagle from a reputable source. If you’re considering owning a beagle, it’s important to know about some of the sad truths of the breed as well. Since they are often used in research labs for a variety of studies and are some of the most desired dogs as pets- unethical beagle breeding practices are common.
It’s vital to prepare and research any animal before considering owning them as a pet. As you’ve learned, this is especially true of the beagle. Understanding the unique history of the breed and the intriguing characteristics they bring to the table will help you be a better owner. Not to mention, it will help you be appreciative of the small intricacies that make beagles unique- even if they’re not always the most exciting traits, like their chasing instincts or loudness. In the end, all of these things have come together in order to produce the beloved beagle, one of the best pets and most adored breeds of dog.