Beagle dogs originated from England in about 1830. Prior they can be traced back a couple of thousand years to Greece.
This breed has origins dating back roughly 2,500 years ago. Today, the Beagle’s keen sense of smell makes it the popular choice for working in airport security, while its amiable nature, size, and lack of health problems make them a common choice for a family pet.
The first modern-day Beagle originated in England in 1830, but the Beagle’s ancestors can be traced roughly 2,500 years prior in ancient Greece when William the Conqueror bred Talbot Hounds to create the Southern Hound. In Medieval times, hunters used what were called “Pocket Beagles” that could fit in the hunter’s pockets and could be released after larger dogs had cornered prey in areas that only smaller dogs could reach. King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I was huge fans of the pocket beagle, which became extinct around the year 1900.
By the 1700s, the North Country Beagle and the South Hound were the two breeds used for hunting rabbits and the Beagle’s main common ancestors. The two breeds were mixed with the Foxhound, as fox hunting became a popular sport in Great Britain. In 1830, the basis for the modern day Beagle would appear when Reverend Phillip Honeywood of Great Britain would begin breeding dogs that slowly moved away from the North County Beagle and South Hound. The first Beagles were smaller and had pure white coats.
In the 1840s, the Beagle now had four variations:
The medium Beagle
The dwarf or lapdog Beagle
The fox Beagle
The terrier Beagle
Approaching the 1900s, the number of Beagles had risen, and the standard for the breed was recorded. General Richard Rowett from the United States had Beagles imported to his home in Illinois, where he would begin breeding them and helping the Beagle become recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1884.
Dogs and Early Man
There is no incongruity in the idea that in the very earliest period of man’s habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in return for its aid in protecting him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats, he gave it a share of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in strange surroundings. One can well conceive the possibility of the partnership beginning in the circumstance of some helpless whelps being brought home by the early hunters to be tended and reared by the women and children. Dogs introduced into the home as playthings for the children would grow to regard themselves and be regarded, as members of the family
In nearly all parts of the world traces of an indigenous dog family are found, the only exceptions being the West Indian Islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malayan Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands, where there is no sign that any dog, wolf, or fox has existed as a true aboriginal animal. In the ancient Oriental lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained savage and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, gaunt and wolf-like, as it prowls today through the streets and under the walls of every Eastern city. No attempt was made to allure it into human companionship or to improve it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilizations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct varieties of canine form.
The dog was not greatly appreciated in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly spoken of with scorn and contempt as an “unclean beast.” Even the familiar reference to the Sheepdog in the Book of Job “But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock” is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognized companion.
The great multitude of different breeds of the dog and the vast differences in their size, points, and general appearance are facts which make it difficult to believe that they could have had a common ancestry. One thinks of the difference between the Mastiff and the Japanese Spaniel, the beagle and the fashionable Pomeranian, the St. Bernard and the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier, and is perplexed in contemplating the possibility of their having descended from a common progenitor. The disparity is no greater than that between the Shire horse and the Shetland pony, the Shorthorn and the Kerry cattle, or the Patagonian and the Pygmy; and all dog breeders know how easy it is to produce a variety in type and size by studied selection.
Wolves become dogs
In order properly to understand this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of the structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of the structure may best be studied in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two animals, which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not easily be detected.
The spine of the dog consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loins, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both the dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes, while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large, bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for the other.
Beagle and wolf howl
Nor are their habits different. The wolf’s natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat vegetables, and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves will divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other endeavoring to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy, a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers when hunting in teams.
A further important point of resemblance between the Canis lupus and the Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf’s litter, and these are blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the end of that time, they can eat half-digested flesh disgorged for them by their dam or even their sire.
The native dogs of all regions approximate closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of those regions. Of this most important circumstance, there are far too many instances to allow of its being looked upon as a mere coincidence. Sir John Richardson, writing in 1829, observed that “the resemblance between the North American wolves and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf seem to be the only difference.
One incontrovertible argument against the lupine relationship of the dog is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canidae express their feelings only by howls. But the difficulty here is not so great as it seems since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups reared by bitches readily acquire the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs allowed to run wild forget how to bark, while there are some which have not yet learned so to express themselves.
The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be regarded as an argument in deciding the question concerning the origin of the dog. This stumbling block consequently disappears, leaving us in the position of agreeing with Darwin, whose final hypothesis was that “it is highly probable that the domestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species of wolf (C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubtful species of wolves namely, the European, Indian, and North African forms; from at least one or two South American canine species; from several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more extinct species”; and that the blood of these, in some cases mingled together, flows in the veins of our domestic breeds.
Beagle Dog Description
Beagles resemble miniature Foxhounds but have a broader head and a shorter muzzle. The following is based off the AKC standard:
Coat: Beagles can come in a variety of colors, such as the Classic tricolor, the Faded tricolor, and the Dark tricolor.
Head: A slightly domed skull and medium-length muzzle. The ears are set somewhat low and hanging almost to the nose. Brown or hazel eyes set well apart in a gentle hound expression.
Body: A sturdy body with a broad and deep chest. Strong legs and sloping shoulders. The tail is set somewhat high. They are a small-sized breed, weighing from 18-30 lbs.
If the dog measures more than 15 inches.
Any cringing or sulking behaviors.
Straight shoulders or a disproportionately wide chest.
Short, thin coat.
A tail that is curved or short.
The America Kennel Club recognizes two different varieties of Beagles:
13-inch Beagle: measuring less than 13 inches (33 cm)
15-inch Beagle: measuring between 13 and 15 inches (33 and 38 cm)
The Beagle is a happy, loving, and outgoing breed that will greet both people and other animals with joy. For this reason, they do not make good guard dogs. Small rodents should not be trusted around Beagles since they were bred to hunt small prey. Beagles are content to curl up on the couch with their owners and relax, but this breed needs daily exercise and mental stimulation. Without it, they can become destructive. Beagles should be trained early and are easily motivated by food.
Grooming: The Beagle’s short coat only requires a quick brush once a week to remove dead hair, and they do not need frequent baths.
Living Situation: This breed can live in apartments or houses, as long as they get a daily walk.
Exercise: A 30-minute walk daily will be sufficient.
Approximate Lifespan: 10-15 years
Common Health Problems: The Beagle is one of the healthiest breeds and therefore, is not susceptible to many health issues. Obesity can occur in Beagles if left to free-feed.
Beagles are healthy, happy pack animals that need homes with multiple people. A fenced yard is a necessity due to their strong scent drive and inclination to wander. Their size is perfect for most living situations, but their tendency to howl can be detrimental to apartment living.