The Beagle Dog are popular little dogs are the loveliest of the hound family. They are the merriest little fellows imaginable, shrewd workmen, with the keenest of noses and the most musical of voices. They are used in hunting rabbits, either singly or in packs of five or ten couples. Although pretty and affectionate enough to make the sweetest of pets, they never forget that their true mission in life is to run the rabbit, and never are they more appreciated than when their bell-like melodious voices open up upon the trail.
As the country has settled up and feathered game been exterminated, lovers of field sports who have heretofore devoted their time in the field to bird shooting over setters and painters, have been obliged to discard their bird dogs in favor of the little hounds, for even in the immediate vicinity of the large cities one can usually find rabbits plentiful enough to furnish good sport.
The origin of the Beagle is lost in obscurity, but it is quite probable that he was evolved from the Foxhound by selecting the smallest specimens and breeding them together until the proper size was arrived at. The typical Beagle is designated in some standards as a miniature Foxhound. This is a mistake. He is a distinct breed, although having many points in common with all hounds, such as short back, compact body, straight legs, round feet, powerful loins, and nicely-placed shoulders. The true Beagle head has a skull free from coarseness, but with plenty of room; a soft, pleading eye; wide and large nostrils; deep, pendulous lips, and thin, long, low-set ears. It is always difficult to get such a head on a perfect body and legs. In color, the blue mottle is very typical and greatly admired, but black, tan-and-white, black-and-tan, lemon-andwhite, or any other hound color is perfectly allowable.
The limit of height for the Beagle is 16 inches; the Pocket Beagle should not exceed 10 inches, and specimens of 8 inches are sometimes shown.
In selecting Beagle puppies, look for a compact body, straight forelegs, a roomy head with welldefined stop, and a square muzzle.
In buying a Beagle don’t take one which is much over 14 inches at the shoulder. Don’t get one which is too much like a Foxhound. A good Beagle has the same lines, but is cobbler and has not such a clean-cut throat. Don’t take a second look at a Beagle which is light in bone, out at elbows, or weak in the ankles. Don’t select one which has weak, splayed feet. Don’t take one with coarse, thick ears, set on high.
The following is the standard of points laid down by the Beagle Club:
HEAD.-Of fair length, powerful without being coarse; skull domed, moderately wide, with an indication of peak; stop well defined, muzzle not snipy, and lips well flewed.
NosE.-Black, broad, and nostrils well expanded,
EYES.-Brown, dark hazel, or hazel, not deep-set or bulgy, and with a mild expression. EARS.-Long, set on low, fine in texture, and hanging in a graceful fold close to the cheek. NECK.-Moderately long, slightly arched, and throat showing some dewlap.
SHOULDERS.-Clean and slightly sloping. BODY.-Short between the couplings; well let down in chest; ribs fairly well sprung and well ribbed up, with powerful and not tucked up loins. HINDQUARTERS.-Very muscular about the thighs; stifles and hocks well bent, and hocks well let down. FORELEGS.-Quite straight, well under the dog, of good substance, and round in bone. FEET.-Round, well knuckled up, and strongly padded.
STERN.-Of moderate length, set on high, thick, and carried gaily, but not curled over the back. COLOR.-Any recognized hound color. COAT.-Smooth variety: smooth, very dense, and not too fine or short. Rough variety: very dense and wiry.
HEIGHT.-Not exceeding 16 inches.
GENERAL APPEARANcE.-A compactly-built hound without coarseness, conveying the impression of great stamina and vivacity.
CLASSIFICATION.-It is recommended that Beagles should be divided at shows into rough and smooth, with classes for “Beagles not exceeding 16 inches and over 12 inches,” and “Beagles not exceeding 12 inches.”
VALUE OF POINTS.–Head, 20; ears, 10; eyes and expression, 10. body, 15; hindquarters, 10; legs and feet, 20; stern, 5; coat, 10. Total, 100.