Even if you aren’t a Beagle owner yourself, you probably already know a few things about this breed. For example, most people know that the Beagle is a small-breed dog with floppy ears and a powerful nose. If you are thinking about getting a Beagle, or if you just want to learn a little more about this lovely breed, consider the following fun facts:
- The Beagle is an ancient breed. The Beagle breed has been around for so long that the exact details of its origins are unknown. Beagle-type dogs have existed for more than 2,500 years and their roots can be traced back as far as Ancient Greece and Rome.
- The name Beagle means “loud mouth”. Loosely translated from the French ‘begueule’, the name Beagle means “open throat” or “loud mouth”. This name makes sense because, in addition to having strong noses, Beagles also tend to bark, howl, or bay very loudly during the hunt.
- Early Beagles were much smaller. When the modern Beagle breed was first being developed, the dogs were much smaller than the Beagle as it is known today – they measured between 8 and 9 inches tall. The modern AKC standard for the breed has two size varieties, up to 13 inches and up to 15 inches.
- All Beagles have white tails. Though Beagles display a variety of patterns within their traditional black, tan, and white coloration, a Beagle is not a Beagle (at least not a purebred) unless its tail is tipped in white. This was a development bred into the Beagle breed to help hunters keep track of the dog while its head was down during tracking.
- The Beagle has the second strongest nose. All dogs have a sense of smell up to 45 times more powerful than the human nose, but the Beagle’s sense of smell is among the strongest. Only second to the Blood Hound which has 300 million scent receptors, the Beagle has 225 million scent receptors in its nose.
- Beagles are one of the most popular breeds. According to AKC registration statistics, the Beagle is the 5th most popular dog breed in the United States. The Beagle ranked 5th in both 2015 and 2014 which is one step down from its fourth-tier ranking in 2013.
- There are plenty of famous TV Beagles. Not only is the Beagle a very popular breed in the real world, but there are plenty of famous TV Beagles as well! Consider Snoopy, perhaps the most famous fictional Beagle and one of the main characters in the Peanuts comic strip. You also have Odie from Garfield, Gromit from Wallace & Gromit, and Brains from Inspector Gadget.
- Beagles can have jobs too! You already know that the Beagle has a very strong nose, but did you know that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a brigade of Beagles they use to sniff out drugs and contraband at U.S. airports?
Now that you know a little bit more about the Beagle beyond its size and temperament it should be easy to see why these dogs are so popular. Each and every dog breed is unique in its own way, but the Beagle is definitely one of the breeds you should get to know a little better.
Photo credit: Sergey Shpakovsky/Flickr