The Beagle is a small hound that was originally developed for hunting hare and rabbit by scent, and was followed on foot by hunters. Beagles hunted in packs of 12 or 24 hounds.

The need for Beagles to track wily hares that twisted and turned, even backtracking over fields, is what dictated a Beagle's size. Different sized Beagles worked over different terrain – from open fields for the smaller hound to the high and mountainous English Border country for the larger hounds, with various sized dogs for in-between terrain.

Average lifespan
These lovable dogs can easily live for 13 years, but given the right nutrition Beagles can often live up to 16 years of age.

Average size
The female of this breed is usually 10kg and 33cm tall, and the male is normally 15kg and 38cm in height.

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
It is in a Beagle's nature to be a loyal companion. They are usually gentle, but they can be as robust and as tough as you care to make it. It is also a great children's playmate. In fact, the Beagle will become very ‘human’ if you forget to remind it that it is in fact a dog.

Affectionate and obedient with its owners, a Beagle should never be nervous or aggressive under any circumstances. This is a happy, versatile and adaptable hound that can be used to hunt in the morning, be your children's devoted companion in the afternoon, then curl up and play the part of the lap-dog in the evening.

Compatibility with other pets
Beagles are pack hounds and as such are definitely better off with some company during the day.

Care requirements
Beagles require minimum maintenance, but do watch their weight, as left to their own devices they tend to become obese as they love their food – and their pleading eyes are hard to resist especially at meal times. Beagles are scent hounds and therefore should not be walked off the lead because if they get a whiff of an enticing smell they will do what nature intended – and hunt. It is said that when a Beagle's nose switches on, its ears switch off! These dogs need a secure yard as they have little or no traffic sense and tend to have the attitude that cars will stop for them if they are on the road.

Please take note
Beagles do not cope well with being on their own for long periods of time. They can be very naughty if they become bored, and dig holes, escape, or pull the washing off the clothes line.

Ideal owners
Anyone who can provide the stimulating environment this attractive little breed needs.

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.