Although scent hounds have been bred for thousands of years, the modern Beagle was developed in Great Britain in the 1830s. One of the forebearers of modern beagles is the pocket beagles popularized in Elizabethan England as a small scent hounds that could be carried in a saddlebag. Like other scent hounds, Beagles have an incredible sense of smell with far more olfactory receptors and even more than most other dog breeds. They are valued not just as hunting companions, but also by police and customs.
Beagles have been popular in the United States ever since being recognized by the AKC in 1885, and have won two Best in Shows at Westminster in the past decade (2008 and 2015). They are a relatively healthy breed, although they suffer from hereditary eye disorders and their long, low ears, which help them track scents by directing odors towards their nose, are prone to infection.
The distinctive baying bark led to its name in the Middle Ages from the French ("bee gueule" which literally means “wide throated”).
Explore some Embark dogs that share Beagle ancestry.