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  • Temperament: Friendly, Curious, Merry
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 5 of 194
  • Height: 13 inches & under, 13-15 inches
  • Weight: under 20 pounds (13 inches & under), 20-30 pounds (13-15 inches)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-15 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Beagle head and shoulders in three-quarter view facing forward
Beagle sitting in three-quarter view facing forward
Beagle lemon and white colored coat detail
Beagle lying down facing forward in three-quarter view
Beagle standing facing forward in three-quarter view
Beagle head and shoulders facing left
Beagle sitting facing forward
Beagle black tan and white colored coat detail
Beagle

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and-tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.

HEAD

The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears-Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad-with almost entire absence of erectile power-setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek-rounded at tip. Eyes-Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle-Muzzle of medium length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined. Jaws-Level. Lips free from flews; nostrils large and open. Defects-A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome, eyes small, sharp and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long, snipy or cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-face expression. Ears short, set on high or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin.

BODY

Neck rising free and light from the shoulders strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable. Defects-A thick, short, cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed “throatiness.”
Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest deep and broad, but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. Defects-Straight, upright shoulders. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth.

LEGS

Hips and thighs strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical and moderately bent. Feet close and firm. Defects-Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet.

COAT

A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality.

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beagle illustration

About the Beagle

There are two Beagle varieties: those standing under 13 inches at the shoulder, and those between 13 and 15 inches. Both varieties are sturdy, solid, and “big for their inches,” as dog folks say. They come in such pleasing colors as lemon, red and white, and tricolor. The Beagle’s fortune is in his adorable face, with its big brown or hazel eyes set off by long, houndy ears set low on a broad head.
A breed described as “merry” by its fanciers, Beagles are loving and lovable, happy, and companionable—all qualities that make them excellent family dogs. No wonder that for years the Beagle has been the most popular hound dog among American pet owners. These are curious, clever, and energetic hounds who require plenty of playtime.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Beagle

Find a Puppy: Beagle

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Beagle Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Beagle should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Beagle has a smooth, dense double coat that gets heavier in the winter, so spring is shedding season. Beagles also shed moderately year-round. Weekly brushing with a medium-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove will remove the loose hair, and promotes new hair growth as well. Beagles don’t need to be bathed too often, unless they happen to get into something particularly messy. As with all breeds, the Beagle’s nails should be trimmed regularly, because overly long nails can cause the dog pain as well as problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Beagles are active, energetic dogs who need at least an hour of exercise every day. This doesn’t mean just letting them out in the backyard. 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. Beagles are escape artists, so an exercise area must have a fence at least five feet tall that extends underground to prevent tunneling. Walks must always be taken on a leash, because as a scenthound with a very strong hunting instinct, a Beagle will not be able to resist the urge to run off in pursuit of a compelling scent.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

As with all dogs, early socialization and puppy training classes are a must. Treats are a huge aid in training. Beagles do not respond well to harsh techniques, but patience, positive reinforcement and even a little creativity will win out in the end.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap), and eye disorders. As with all breeds, a Beagle’s ears should be checked weekly, and the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • MLS DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

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History

The origins of this ancient breed have been the subject of conjecture for centuries. Even the breed name is a shrouded in mystery. Some experts say it derives from the Gaelic word beag (“little”), while others point to the French term for the sound hounds make while hunting: be’geule.

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.” By the 1500s, most English gentlemen had packs of large hounds that tracked deer, and smaller hounds that tracked hares. The smaller, more compact hounds were ancestors of our modern Beagle.

The phrase “foot hound” is vital to understanding the Beagle’s broad appeal for hunters in England, the Continent, and North America. Unlike larger pack hunters like foxhounds or Harriers, the Beagle could be hunted on foot—no horse was necessary. Those who couldn’t afford to feed and stable a mount, and ladies and gentlemen too old spend a hard day thundering across the countryside on horseback, could easily keep up with a pack of Beagles on foot.

Beagles imports began arriving in America in the years after the Civil War, and their popularity among U.S. rabbit hunters was immediate. The AKC registered its first Beagle, named Blunder, in 1885. To this day, “beaglers” in woodsy areas of North America still swear by their breed’s great nose, musical voice, and enthusiastic approach to rabbit hunting.

Did You Know?

In 1888 the National Beagle Club was formed and held the first field trial.
The height limit of a Beagle in the United States is 15 inches and in England 16 inches; in addition, there are two varieties of Beagle within the prescribed height: those under 13 inches and those over 13 but at or under 15 inches.
The American Beagle standard contains a section with "Recommendations for Show Livery," with the appropriate items to be worn on a hunt.
Lyndon B. Johnson owned three Beagles named "Him," "Her," and "Edgar."
The Beagle we know today is the result of select English importation; previous to about 1870 in the US, the little hunting hounds of the south, called Beagles, were more of the type of straight-legged Bassets or Dachshunds with weaker heads than the Bassets.
Beagles do not drool or have a doggy odor, and shedding is minimal.
Beagles are scent hounds used primarily for hunting rabbits to larger hares.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and-tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.

HEAD

The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears-Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad-with almost entire absence of erectile power-setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek-rounded at tip. Eyes-Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle-Muzzle of medium length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined. Jaws-Level. Lips free from flews; nostrils large and open. Defects-A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome, eyes small, sharp and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long, snipy or cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-face expression. Ears short, set on high or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin.

BODY

Neck rising free and light from the shoulders strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable. Defects-A thick, short, cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed “throatiness.”
Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest deep and broad, but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. Defects-Straight, upright shoulders. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth.

LEGS

Hips and thighs strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical and moderately bent. Feet close and firm. Defects-Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet.

COAT

A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality.

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beagle illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 018
Black Red & White Check Mark For Standard Color 027
Black Tan & Bluetick Check Mark For Standard Color 029
Black Tan & White Check Mark For Standard Color 030
Black White & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 034
Blue Tan & White Check Mark For Standard Color 291
Brown & White Check Mark For Standard Color 063
Brown White & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 066
Lemon & White Check Mark For Standard Color 115
Red & White Check Mark For Standard Color 146
Tan & White Check Mark For Standard Color 197
Black 007
Black & White 019
Black Fawn & White 023
Black Tan & Redtick 292
Blue 037
Blue & White 045
Brown 061
Lemon 114
Red 140
Red & Black 141
Red Black & White 147
Tan 195
White 199
White Black & Tan 219

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 013
Black Markings 002
Brown Markings 022
Spotted 021
Tan Markings 012
White Markings 014
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