The loyal, courageous, affectionate, gentle, and loving Beagle is a wonderful family dog. They get along marvelously with children because they are very tolerant of the foibles of childhood and they're always ready for a good "romp". Bred to be a pack hunter, the Beagle needs plenty of human or dog companionship.
The Beagle is an independent dog that may run away, hot on the trail of a scent. It is important to keep him fenced in the yard and to train him early to listen to commands. The Beagle can be trained quite easily to respond to most of the basic dog commands. He loves a good howling session once in a while, which can be bothersome to neighbours.
The Beagle is tough for his size, and he can handle almost anything that other dogs can handle. He is not bothered by difficult weather or treacherous hikes and no amount of exercise can tire him.
The Beagle is one of the oldest of the scent hounds, dating back to pre-Roman times. He can be found in ritings as far back as Chaucer in the 14th century. Though the history of the Beagle is somewhat cloudy, it is believed that he originated in England or Wales. He was used alone or in groups to hunt rabbit and hare, with the hunter walking close behind.
The name Beagle may have originated from the French word meaning "open throat", in reference to their baying. It may have come from the Celtic, old French, or old English word for small. By the 1800's Beagles were known to come in many different sizes. The pocket-sized variety were the most common, some of which were only 9 inches tall! The smaller Beagles were especially popular with ladies and elderly because they could keep up with these little Beagles as they tracked the hare.
The British Kennel Club first recognized the Beagle in 1873. He was the favourite of the huntsmen at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. After the war, British imports formed the basis for the American line of Beagles. The Beagle found his way to France in the 1860's, where he became very popular. Some of the blood lines in England are very old, and are carefully guarded by breeders to this day.