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Beagle

Tags: hound, Adaptable to apartment life, Kid-friendly

Let me take you back, merrily, to old England. My really ancient-ancestor hounds were prized for hunting, even by the Third Century. And by the 1500s in England -- an early heyday of selective dog-breeding and a time when the landed gentry needed packs of hounds according to the size and fleeing habits of the quarry they were hunting -- deer were chased by the bigger, lankier hounds. And the rabbits looked back over their shoulders to see (and hear) a loudly baying pack of beagle-sized (13 to 16 inches high, 33-44 pounds) black-tan-white canines on their tails. We beagles got to be that way thanks to purposeful crossbreeding of other hunting dogs like the Foxhound, the Beagle Harrier, and a smallish bloodhound called the Kerry Beagle. Our name, Beagle, is an Englishman's way of saying a French word that means, loosely, baying as a pack with gaping throats. Or something like that (we can't really hear our name when we're loudly beagling).

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Coat needs regular care
  • Courageous canine
  • Easygoing
  • Energizer doggie
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Hardy hunter
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Lives to work
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Outdoors enthusiast
  • Outgoing extrovert
  • Playful pal
  • Pleased to please
  • Caters to the country, tolerates town
  • Ready to romp
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Sweet disposition
  • Takes to training

What to expect

If you're going to keep me in a small place -- say an apartment where my ever-fashionable black-tan-white color scheme compliments most any d├ęcor -- I get a say in the issue. Don't be surprised to hear me bark. And when we're out -- on leash or off -- mind my instinct to chase rabbit-like things. And bark some more. Please get my training and socialization started early. Then try not to giggle about how eager (and adorably cute) a beagle pup is when trying to learn the paces.

Watch for

A generally healthy, hardy breed, but always the possibility of neurological and bleeding disorders, and some vision and orthopedic problems.

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