There's no doubt that a Beagle is coveted because of his hunting ability, but the sweet disposition of these dogs also makes them a favorite when hunting isn't a top priority. The Beagle is probably a cross between several English dogs. Some say the Harrier is probably the biggest gene contributor to the current day Beagle. While most breeds tend to have a hunting preference and will want to hunt either alone or in packs, the Beagle will adapt to either situation. If turned loose in a pack, this breed will work with other dogs, fanning out to search for scent of game and joining the chase when any dog in the pack strikes a trail. But a hunter can also take a single Beagle out to the woods and this dog will also happily start working on his own.
Their ability to scent added to their good nature has made them a popular narcotics dog with some law enforcement forces. They are often easily trained to do various tasks and are agreeable toward learning new things. Beagles tend to be some combination of white, brown and black, most with all three colors appearing at random across the body. They appear almost "square" with wide foreheads and a compact body.
Most Beagles reach an adult weight of no more than 20 to 25 pounds. The standard approves two different sizes, those that are less than 13 inches tall and those that grow to a height of 13 to 15 inches. Some Beagles have heart problems. Just as this disease runs in family lines, you'll see that some Beagle lines are more prone to this problem. They typically live to an average age of 10 to 12 years, though some who have extremely healthy lives with no real health problems may live longer. In many ways, the Beagle is a rather plain looking dog.
They don't attract the attention of those who love the furry breeds and they aren't either large or small. But anyone who is ready to look a little closer will find an incredibly expressive face with eyes that can almost communicate their intelligence and their questioning nature. The Beagle's tail is long and slightly curved, and he'll often carry it over his back when he's happy, excited or on the trail of something that has captured his interest - which is often. These dogs tend to be cheerful, always ready to greet family and friends with a smile, a bark and an extra wag of that busy tail.
Beagles can be trained to be indoor pets, but remember that they need exercise. If they are kept indoors, they'll tend to play and romp anyway. They are highly trainable, though the nose sometimes overrides the commands.
Even if told to stay, they seem simply unable to resist following an interesting trail. If left to their own devices, they'll gladly follow a trail for long distances making them prone to be lost, picked up by animal control or stolen.
For more information on Beagles and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Hound Dog Directory