What Are Beagles Bred For?

Everyone knows Beagles. Made famous from everyone’s favorite comic strip and cartoon – Let’s face it, Snoopy is the real star when we watch and read The Peanuts. He can often be seen howling and tracking down the Red Baron. Snoopy is a great example of a character that exudes the typical Beagle’s behavior.

But what exactly are beagles bred for? Beagles are part of the “Hound” group. They were originally bred and used to hunt down rabbits and hares on foot in the early 1500s in England. However, there are records of Beagles actually dating all the way back to the Romans suggesting they have been used throughout time.

So, what constitutes a standard Beagle? It all begins with their history…

Beagle History

Beagles are an ancient breed that dates back to the Romans. However, they are much more famous for their hunting capabilities that were commonly used by the British in the early 1500s.

Beagles are tracking hounds. As most Beagle owners can attest, Beagles are a loud and active breed.

“There are reports of small pack-hounds employed to hunt rabbit and hare in England long before the Roman legions arrived in 55 B.C. An English authority called the Beagle the “foothound of our country, indigenous to the soil.” “

American Kennel Club – History of Beagles

They definitely are not the best dog to own if you are living in cramped quarters.

However, a Beagle’s compact appearance, need to bark, and activity level appears as a unique package in this little dog due to the way they were originally bred.

Beagle Appearance – How Does their Breeding Come into Play?

Beagles come in two standard sizes: 13 in. and 15 in.

They usually present themselves in the typical tricolor formation found in most hounds. This being, white, brown, and black.

All three of these colors typically making an appearance on the Beagle’s coat. Whether or not this is a possible advantage for blending in (camouflage) for hunting is unknown.

Beagles are also generally a small, yet stout breed. They have short, sturdy legs that can propel them at top speeds – perfect for hunting down hares.

However, due to such short legs, Beagles are often seen referred to as the “Foot Hound”. Meaning that unlike some breeds, Hunters did not need horses to keep up with this dog. Beagles could easily be followed and tracked on foot.

Their small, stout build makes them the best for getting into the hares’ above ground nests.

Nowadays, Beagles can easily get off their leashes if they want to. It’s not uncommon to see this breed running away from their owners when they catch a scent.

Beagle Vocals – A Hunter’s Pride

Beagles have a range of three different vocal performances that you will still hear from them often in today’s world.

  • Standard Bark
  • Baying
  • Howling

Barking, just like all of these other vocal tendencies, was once a way to indicate to a Beagle’s master that they were hot on the trail to find their prey. Nowadays, you will notice Beagles howling for a variety of reasons.

Baying is the sound that Beagles would use while hunting. When a Beagle would bay, it was meant to help other Beagles in their pack, as well as the British hunters to know that they had caught the scent and were close to tracking its source down.

Howling was once a way for telling a Beagle’s master that their prey had been caught and captured. However, now Beagles tend to howl because it makes them happy. Especially when you howl alongside them.

Howling can bring a sense of comradery to your pet Beagle as it was once their pride to tell their pack they were gaining on their prey. Although this isn’t a behavior that you should necessarily be encouraging nowadays.

Beagle Temperament – Happiest in a Pack

As most Beagle owners are aware, Beagles are an extremely intelligent, yet high energy breed.

The American Kennel Club has an answer related to a Beagle’s breeding about this particular struggle for Beagle owners.

“…Beagles were bred to work in packs and are happiest when they have company. A Beagle who is left alone inside or outside for long periods of time will tend to become destructive. This can be avoided if he has a companion (whether human or canine) to play with…”

American Kennel Club – Beagle Exercise

Keeping this idea in mind makes things much easier on the owners, as well as the Beagle themselves as we come to understand why our Beagles may seem to be acting out in a certain way.

Today, owners and family act as a Beagle’s new pack. They often suffer from Separation Anxiety when left alone for too long.

Beagles are quick to want to bond with their family. As such, if they are given the right opportunity, a Beagle can make the perfect family pet. Especially for families with younger children.

But, it takes a lot of work to train and contain the breeding of a Beagle.

Taking Beagles for a walk can become extremely difficult and frustrating for its owner when catch and latch onto a scent. If you aren’t holding on tight enough to your Beagle, they will definitely leave you in the dust.

However, this hyper-focus and quick ability to catch the scent of other animals is what made Beagles perfect for hunting and why they are considered a part of the Hound Group.

What are Beagles Bred for Today?

Today Beagles are being bred to be family pets. While they are no longer meant to be used as a hunting dog, this breed is still hardwired to hunt.

However, this can often be used to the advantage of the Beagle’s owner. As hunting dogs, Beagles love to learn and work – making them easier to train than other breeds.

Although, breeding Beagles does take a good amount of time and effort on your part. You should be training your Beagle if you want a well-behaved dog. Otherwise, a Beagle’s nature could take hold of them.

For Beagle owners today, it is recommended that you take advantage of your Beagle’s need to hunt as a way to use excess energy.

Using this as a mental exercise could provide today’s Beagle with the stimulation they can and will need.

Take advantage of your Beagle’s breeding to help train them and keep them occupied.

Simply use some treats or dog food and scatter it around the yard and let your Beagle’s innate tracking abilities take over from there.

All in all, today’s Beagle makes an excellent family pet as they are quick to bond with their family and often see children as a member of their pack. This breed is quite social and thus is happiest in a family.

Due to the Beagle’s sensitive nature, they make excellent Emotional Support dogs. They are happy to go out for a walk with their owner – so long as they don’t run off!

But, their easygoing personalities make them loving and happy to keep their owner company.

As such, Beagles are a low maintenance breed when it comes to grooming, but not in activity levels. Beagles would make a great Emotional Support Animal to anyone who loves to be outdoors and can keep up with their Beagle’s energetic personality.

Related Questions:

What Breeds make up a Beagle? It is unclear whether Beagles are originally bred from the well-known Foxhound or if the Foxhound originated from the Beagle. Whatever the case may be, both breeds were largely used for hunting on foot. However, Foxhounds were once a popular breed in both England and in the United States.

Are Beagles Protective of their Owners? Beagles are not an aggressive breed. However, they can be territorial when need be. They may see a reason to bark and protect their home from a stranger if and when given the opportunity to do so.

Do Beagles like to Cuddle? Beagles are extremely loyal to their owners. They often experience Separation Anxiety when their owner or family is gone for long periods of time. Beagles were bred to live and work in a pack, so their owners being away from them hits them harder than other breeds of dogs.

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