Beagles have consistently been a popular choice of family pet and companion dog for decades. They have also been a firm favourite in the show ring both with judges and crowds alike. Although, they have retained their hunting instinct, the Beagle is renowned for being relaxed and happy in a home environment too. Nothing phases these little dogs and there's nothing a Beagles enjoys more than being involved in everything that goes on in a household and they quickly become valued members of a family.
Beagles boast kind natures, they love life and are a real pleasure to have around because they are always so eager and willing to please. They are medium sized dogs that adore being around people and generally get on well with other animals and pets too. However, they hate being left to their own devices and crave human company which is something to bear in mind if you are hoping to share a home with a Beagle.
Dogs very similar to the Beagle have been around for centuries with records of them in paintings and literature dating as far back as the reign of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. However, these dogs were wirehaired and so small they could be carried by huntsman in their pockets. Over the years, larger dogs were bred although smaller versions still existed which came to be known as "Pocket Beagles" and these little dogs still exist today.
It was in the 1830s that Reverend Phillip Honeywood developed a pack of Beagles which are the dogs that formed the foundation stock of the breed we see today although at the time, there were two other packs that existed. However, it was the pack that Honeywood developed that was reputed to be the best of all three packs and a man called Thomas Johnson refined the breed producing attractive dogs that were skilled hunters. There were in fact two types of Beagle back then, one being a smooth coated dog and the other being rough coated which although successful in their day, these dogs do not exist today.
There were 18 packs of Beagles by 1887 which ensured the breed survived and then The Beagle Club was established in 1890 in the UK with a first breed standard being drawn up at the same time. The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was formed the following year which ensured the breed prospered and by 1902, there were 44 packs throughout the UK.
Today, the Beagle is among one of the most popular choices of family pets with people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world, all thanks to their lovely looks and kind, affectionate, loyal natures.