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Some enthusiasts of the breed say that this is the world's best hunting dog and family pet that was already used as such in Great Britain when the Romans arrived there.

He is the forerunner and smaller cousin of the Foxhound or Harrier, which is used for foxhunting on horseback in England and therefore is also known in some parts or circles as the Miniature Foxhound.
However for the last 200 years or so the Beagle has established himself as a scent hound that also uses his eyes to advantage. He is also a cousin of the Basset Hound.

The most common colour combination is the tri colour variety; white nozzle (black nose), white paws, white chest, white tipped tail, lemon coloured body and black saddle. However many other variations of colour are available. The acceptable average height in Australia is about 32 cm (13 in) at the shoulder. Weight should be about 14 kg. The thick short weatherproof coat looses hair to some extend all year round but in particular at spring and autumn times.

This medium sized, quick learning compact hound with its big boned muscular body is happy to run and play all day.

Beagles enjoy the outdoors and should be taken daily for walks and a large period of it should be off the leash. They like to use their marvellous noses to pick up and follow scents of anything, in particular food. If not taken regularly for walks, the Beagle will find a way to do this by himself and he is very resourceful at that.
This hound experiences most of the world through his nose while he possesses excellent eyesight and hearing, but while his nose is to the ground he can exhibit selective hearing loss.

The Beagle is not a "yapper" and possesses a musical voice, which he uses to express himself with.

His demeanour is a very happy one. The tail is a good indication of his state of mind. When on a scent, his tail sticks happily into the air, curved slightly forward . He likes to be stroked, groomed and fussed about which make him an excellent pet. Though originally bred for hunting hares, his temperament is very gentle and sociable, making him the ideal dog for small children. Some individuals can however be a little shy and need encouragement, but as in any breed there can be individual differences.
Because of his tendency to "shoot through" when not taken for regular walks, it is advised that the dog be fitted with a secure collar and identification and registration tags. Having your pet micro chipped is also a good idea.

Health Issues
Beagles appear as and are very robust animals. Keeping their bodies, housing, bedding and eating implements clean goes a long way in keeping them healthy.

Cherry Eye, or an infection and swelling of the third eye lid is somewhat common in Beagles but can be treated by antibiotics or a simple surgical procedure.
Back or disk problems occur occasionally, and Lameness, or the tendency to carry one food of the ground can be caused by a thorn or other injury in the foot, or the foot has fallen asleep while the dog was in the basket.

Specimen of some poor strains or inferior Beagle families may suffer from Epilepsy.
Some peculiar behaviour of Beagles, commonly known as "Running Fits" occurs at times when the hound is running or hunting and suddenly runs off, around and about in circles as if being chased by a demon or having a hornets nest under its tail, looks back at the owner and ignores all commands. See remark under lifestyle below. A number of theories have been voiced about this condition, including internal parasites. This writer says that it is simply a demonstration of exuberance and excess energy.

Their dewclaws are usually permanently removed at an early age but the other claws grow quickly and need to be trimmed if the dog is not exercised on hard surfaces such as gravel or concrete paths.

Depending on location, a heartworm medication and anti tick treatment should be applied.
Feeding them chicken wings and neck's as well as other bones keeps their gums and teeth clean and healthy.

Although they usually do not like it, teeth my need to be cleaned by brushing with a toothbrush and canine tooth paste or salty water. Active dogs should have their ears inspected regularly for entry of grass seeds and or the formation of mites. Do not hesitate to see your veterinarian for advice to any problems.

Lifestyle Suitability
If not trained and used for hunting, a Beagle should have ample opportunity to use his natural gift, his nose and therefore should be taken regularly for walks into open areas. An inner city or unit environment is therefore hardly the ideal place for this hound. Neither can elderly nor infirm people provide the necessary stimulation for an active dog, provided the animal himself is older or infirm and does not need nor appreciate exercise.  It is this writer's opinion that because of some of the unusual behaviour of the Beagle, only a person or family having previous experience with other breeds of dogs and who are able to get used to understand this breed, can truly enjoy it. It is not a dog for new bees.

The tips of the ears get usually very dirty, being dragged on the ground while the hound is sniffing, and should be washed daily. A daily brushing is appreciated as part of the bonding ritual but not necessary otherwise. The thick coat should be brushed monthly with a hound glove and at the same time checked for parasites, which can be hidden by the coat . Also see health issues above.

Because of his habit of picking up scraps on his walks and his natural love for food, the hounds diet should be closely monitored to keep weight normal.
For an older dog once a day, a cup of dry biscuits of choice with one large spoonful of good quality canned dog food is about the right amount. The above can be varied by addition or substitution of chicken wings or chicken necks and sardines in oil for a healthy coat. Fortnightly, a raw bone cut lengthwise to expose the marrow makes for a varied and interesting menu.

A younger dog should be fed several times a day with the appropriately formulated fare. A breeder or vet are probably the best persons to consult for that. No cooked bones should ever be given to a dog, as these can splinter and cause internal injuries.

If not sleeping inside in a basket (or chair), the outside kennel should be dry, off the ground without draft and weather tight. A series of old blankets or rags make the hound more comfortable and keep him warm. To prevent fleas from breeding in them, these blankets or rags should be aired frequently and if necessary sprinkled with flea powder.

Further Information
  Books - Beagle Pet Love
  Books - Beagle a new owners guide

Frank Pirchmoser

Last Update: 05/03/07 23:21 Views: 3920

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