The modern beagle has developed over the centuries from small hounds brought to the British Isles by the Romans and interbred with the indigenous hounds that were found there. The predominantly white Talbot Hound, the Southern Hound, the Northern Hound, and other influences contributed to the creation of the small scenthound that was developed to hunt hare and other small game in packs. The Reverend Phillip Honeywood established the first working pack in Essex in the 1830’s and The Beagle Club was established in 1890. General Richard Rowett imported beagles from England in 1876 and was the first to begin the careful breeding and selection of beagles in the US. Beagles were recognized by the AKC in 1885 and the National Beagle Club was established in 1887.
Today, through the careful breeding of centuries past, the beagle is a small, versatile hound, adaptable to a variety of lifestyles and pursuits. To imagine life with a beagle, it is important to understand the purpose for which the breed was developed – to spend entire days hunting small game in packs – because the attributes that make the beagle suitable for this purpose were bred into the breed for centuries and still exist today. Through the careful breeding of responsible breeders, the stewards of the breed, today’s beagle is a healthy, happy hound that continues to do it’s work in the field but has also found success in the show ring, in agility and obedience trials, and perhaps most importantly, on the family couch.
If you’re thinking about making a beagle a part of your life, spend some time with a reputable breeder and their dogs. Ask questions. Get to know the breed before making a 15-year commitment to your new companion. A good breeder will appreciate your interest and thoughtful consideration. Beagles are wonderful dogs but they are not for everyone…and not every lifestyle situation is suitable for a beagle. A reputable breeder will honestly discuss with you both the pros and the cons of the merry little hounds that we love.