Beagles are loved worldwide, and are the only breed to consistently rank in the top 10 most popular dog breeds in North America every year since their AKC registry in 1884.
Do you think you know all there is to know about this lovable breed? Maybe not!
Check out these fun facts about beagles, one of the most beloved breeds in history.
Beagle Fact #1: Ancient History
Although the beagle’s history is long, no one really knows the specific origin of the breed. Records show they were present during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, even as far back as the Roman Empire!
The first mention of a beagle in English literature dates back to somewhere between 1440 to 1520, in an anonymous love poem called The Squire of Low Degree.
You can discover a lot more about beagles in Beagles for Dummies.
Fact #2: Ooo, la la!
The name “beagle” is generally thought to be derived from a French word begueule, meaning “open throat” or “gaped throat” although the actual origin of the name is uncertain.
Other possibilities include beugler (meaning “to bellow”) and begele (meaning “to scold”). Any way you look at it, this is a fairly accurate description of this very vocal breed.
Fact #3: Pocket-sized Pooch
Early beagles were much smaller than the dogs we know today.
Standing under 10 inches tall, these puny pups were called “Pocket Beagles.”
They earned this name because they were actually small enough to fit in a hunter’s pocket or saddlebag, where they often rode during a hunt.
In case you’re wondering, today’s beagles come in two sizes: 13″ and 15″.
Fact #4: Royal Favorites
Beagles have long been favorites of royalty.
First brought to Britain by William the Conqueror, both Edward II and Henry VII had miniature beagle-type dogs known as “Glove Beagles” since they fit in a man’s hand.
Queen Elizabeth I called her Pocket Beagles “singing beagles” and was known to allow them to play among the dinner dishes at her royal table to amuse her guests. (I wonder how much the beagles ate while they were exploring the table?)
Though not royalty, President Lyndon Johnson was an avid fan of beagles.
Fact #5: Gotcha!
In a test of scenting skills, beagles win paws down.
When studying the abilities of various breeds, beagles were able to find a mouse in an acre of land in one minute.
Another breed took 15 minutes, and still others never found the little critter. With over 200 million scent receptors, other dogs don’t stand a chance when there’s a beagle in the room (or in a field, either!).
It’s easy for beagles to get sidetracked and start following their nose. That’s why you should have a sturdy leash when you go out for a walk.
Fact #6: Government Employees
The beagle’s keen sense of smell has also led to the development of the USDA “Beagle Brigade.” The USDA uses these smart sniffers to detect anyone attempting to bring food into the USA from other countries.
You can watch these professional pooches protect the masses in the baggage claim area of international airports.
Beagles have a reputation for being stubborn dogs. However, the Beagle Brigade shows us they can be trained.
Facts about Beagles #7: Charmed, I’m Sure!
Known for their pleasant personality and sweet disposition, beagles can be real charmers.
One Virginia man even publicly chose his beagle over his girlfriend recently, or so the story goes.
For this reason, they do very well as family pets, though they were bred for the hunt. Gentle and playful they are also protective, which makes them a great dog for families with small children.
Fact #8: The Stuff of Legend … or Maybe Fairy Tales
Because of the many stellar qualities of the breed, beagles have been called the “Goldilocks” of dogs. Not too small nor too big, not too shy nor too aggressive, affectionate without being clingy; in short, the perfect pooch.
I hope you enjoyed learning these facts about beagles.