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Facts about Beagles for Kids


The Beagle is a breed of small-sized hound, similar in appearance to the much larger foxhound. With a great sense of smell and their tracking instinct, the Beagle is employed as detection dog for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world.

  • Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television, and comic books.
  • Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as “the world’s most famous beagle”.
  • Dogs of similar size and purpose to the modern Beagle can be traced in Ancient Greece back to around the 5th century BC. Xenophon, born around 430 BC, in his Treatise on Hunting or Cynegeticus refers to a hound that hunted hares by scent and was followed on foot.
  • In the 11th century, William the Conqueror brought the Talbot hound to Britain.
  • Long extinct, the Talbot strain probably gave rise to the Southern Hound which, in turn, is thought to be an ancestor of the modern-day Beagle.
  • Miniature breeds of beagle-type dogs were known from the times of Edward II and Henry VII, who both had packs of Glove Beagles, so named since they were small enough to fit on a glove, and Queen Elizabeth I kept a breed known as a Pocket Beagle, which stood 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm) at the shoulder.
  • By the 18th century two breeds had been developed for hunting hare and rabbit: the Southern Hound and the North Country Beagle (or Northern Hound).
  • The beagle-type dogs were crossed with larger breeds such as Stag Hounds to produce the modern Foxhound.
  • The beagle-size varieties came close to extinction but some farmers in the South ensured the survival of the prototype breeds by maintaining small rabbit-hunting packs.
  • Reverend Phillip Honeywood established a Beagle pack in Essex in the 1830s and it is believed that this pack formed the basis for the modern Beagle breed.
  • Although details of the pack’s lineage are not recorded it is thought that North Country Beagles and Southern Hounds were strongly represented; William Youatt suspected that Harriers formed a good majority of the Beagle’s bloodline, but the origin of the Harrier is itself obscure.
  • The rough-coated Beagle survived until the beginning of the 20th century, and there were even records of one making an appearance at a dog show as late as 1969, but this variety is now extinct, having probably been absorbed into the standard Beagle bloodline.
  • Beagles were in the United States by the 1840s at the latest, but the first dogs were imported strictly for hunting and were of variable quality.
  • On 12 February 2008, a Beagle, K-Run’s Park Me In First (Uno), won the Best In Show category at the Westminster Kennel Club show for the first time in the competition’s history.
  • Beagles are excellent with children and this is one of the reasons they have become popular family pets, but they are pack animals, and are prone to separation anxiety, a condition which causes them to destroy things when left unattended.
  • Beagles appeared in funny animal comic strips and animated cartoons from the 1950s with the Peanuts character Snoopy billed as “the world’s most famous Beagle”; Walt Disney’s Beagle Boys; Garfield’s friend and “chew dog” Odie; and Beegle Beagle, the constant companion of Hanna-Barbera’s Grape Ape and Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dog.