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The Beagle – An Incorrigible Sniffaholic!

Portrait of Beagle done in pen and ink by pet portrait artist Shafali - Cats, Kittens, Dogs, Pups and Wildlife drawings, sketches, art.
“So much to sniff, so little time to bay. A pack of beagles sounds like a symphony with individual instruments–a low oboe, a staccato bell, a bicycle horn, a stuttering trumpet, crescendo and decrescendo until there is just the oboe…and then little whoops…then silence when the scent is lost.”– Stephanie Lilley, Regency Romance Writer, Beagle-lover, and Dog-blogger.

I think that quote says it all. We beagles are scent-hounds, and for us heaven is made of a million scents.

{I’ll let this crazy artist talk about us, but being a Beagle, I’ll sniff it all out once it’s written. You’ll find the beagle wisdom in brackets similar to the ones used here.}

Portrait of the Beagle

Portrait of Beagle done in pen and ink - Custom Portrait Commissions of Pets by Shafali - Animal drawings, Sketches, Wildlife art, Artworks etc. in black and white.

Portrait: Beagle | Medium: Pen &amp | Ink, Size: 8 inches x 10 inches

Beagle are scent hounds, which means that they are super-sniffers. {Oh yeah! Who doesn’t know that?}

In past, they were employed as hunting dogs and they would accompany hunters to help them discover rabbits, deer, and other small animals. {Just clarifying… Deer aren’t small.}

While the credit of developing beagles as scent hounds goes to the United Kingdom, they are known to have existed for more than 2000 years. However, after the nineteenth century they became popular around the world.

The now-extinct Talbot hounds are said to be their ancestors. The Talbots were first brought to the UK (from France) by William the Conqueror. He had the idea that they could help in hunting stags. As the number of stags dwindled, the Talbots were gradually transformed into the smaller, cuter, but equally smart beagle. {I think that we are a lot smarter. We aren’t extinct, you see?}

So why do Beagles have long and floppy ears?
Actually, a beagle’s long and floppy ears hold the scent better. They sweep the scent and concentrate it between them so that they may push the scent closer to the nose. In fact, the only dog that’s a better sniffer, is the Bloodhound. Once the beagles and the bloodhounds detect a smell, it’s almost impossible to recall them. {Have you tried recalling us with something that smells better – for instance, our favorite treat?}


So why Bloodhounds are employed as sniffer dogs more often than the Beagles?
It boils down to trainability. Beagles are somewhat stubborn. They are like this artist here. They are happier choosing their own sniffables; they don’t like anyone telling them what to sniff and what not to. This obviously means that they’ve got to take a hit on their fame-quotient, but that how they are…and in fact, that’s a big part of their appeal. {I’ll go with that.}

Beagles are very affectionate and they are very good with kids. They love to live with a family which showers attention on them and because they have a pack orientation they can be trained to accept a family member to be the alpha of the pack. Due to their pack-psychology, they have a very high level of loyalty. Quite like the Collie and the Boxer, they can be noisy if left alone in isolation for a long time. They prefer homes where the family members are present all the time. They love to exercise and prefer to live in a house with big yards. While beagles need a lot of exercise, generally they are low maintenance dogs with low aggression. {Phew! That paragraph was a big enough yard for my whole pack.}

The Beagle’s Physical Attributes:

  • Height: 12-15 in
  • Weight: 15-30 lb
  • Coat: They are generally tricolor with tan, black and white or lemon, black or white. Their back is predominantly black, and chest, legs and top middle portion of the snout has white. Head and ears mainly have red or lemon color. They have a short-haired coat and they do not require a lot of maintenance.
  • Life Span:  13-14 years
  • Alternate Names: English Beagle

What Beagles do for Humans?

Beagles Brigade of US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Beagle’s extraordinary ability to detect smells has led USDA to establish a team of more than 60 Beagles to detect illicit food articles like banned meats, fruits and vegetables across 21 international airports across the country. This team of Beagles is given a special name: The Beagles Brigade. Each beagle who is selected to be included in the Beagles Brigade is trained for weeks before he or she earns his commission. Read more about the Beagles Brigade here.

Beagles in Medical Testing

Beagles have an unusual capability of not passing their genetic disorders to their progeny. This has landed them in trouble as they are widely used in medical testing. Lot of animal rights groups have been protesting. We hope that the laws are soon changed and our Beagles don’t have to go through those ghastly experiments any more.

Read more about Beagle Freedom Project which is a service of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME). Founded in 2004, ARME is a nonprofit advocacy group created to eliminate the suffering of all animals through rescue, public education and outreach.

Real Life Beagle Heroes


Daniel, the “miracle beagle” that survived Alabama gas chamber, wins American Hero Dog Award


Belle, a 17 pound Beagle makes a cellphone call to save owner’s life


Madie the beagle pup saves the family from carbon monoxide poisoning


AKC Page for Beagles:

Visit this link to seek more information on Beagles on American Kennel Club Website.


One comment on “The Beagle – An Incorrigible Sniffaholic!

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