In existence for over 2,000 years, the name 'Beagle' was originally applied generically to all variations of smaller hound, which would have greatly differed from the modern Beagle we now know. Primarily bred for pack hunting hare, pheasant and various other small game, the Beagle was a favourite amongst royalty, reputedly owned by Edward II, Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I. Achieving great renown throughout its development, the Beagle is amongst the most popular of canine breeds in the United States and Canada and whilst still utilised in hunting, is currently favoured as a family pet.
Due to its keen hunting and tracking instinct, sharp senses and versatility, the modern Beagle is progressively used in policing, utilising its strong sense of smell for the purposes of illegal drug and explosives detection. Alongside the Bloodhound, the Beagle has the most developed natural senses, which when combined with its inherent boldness, vigilance and stamina, makes it the ideal, all-round policing companion. The Beagle is recognisable for its muscular frame, proportioned limbs, large eyes and natural tricolouring, common in variations of white, tan, red-brown and black. Beagles are also known for their distinctive howl, most prominent when pack hunting.
Despite being a dogged scent hound, the Beagle is known for its affectionate, gentle and easy temperament, making it a popular breed choice for modern families. Additionally, the Beagle is sociable, fearless and curious, comfortable when confronted with new situations and people but, having retained its natural hunting instinct, is inclined to follow its nose and the chase, so extra vigilance when off the lead is essential. The average weight of a healthy adult Beagle is 9-11 kg, with a life expectancy of approximately 12-15 years when cared for accordingly.
Generally a healthy, long-lived breed, the Beagle is susceptible to certain common ailments, including epilepsy, which can be managed with medication, optical and cardiac disease and issues relating to allergy. Beagles are also subject to mast-cell tumours and weight-related illness