The history of the emergence of the dog beagle breed

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The history of the emergence of the dog beagle breed
The history of the emergence of the dog beagle breed

A general description of the dog, the version of the breeding of the beagle and the meaning of its name, the development and recognition of the breed, the revival of the animal, the popularization and the current position of the variety. The content of the article:

  • Versions of origin and the meaning of its name
  • Dog breed development
  • Recognition history
  • Revival and popularization
  • Current situation

Beagle or Beagle are small dogs belonging to the group of hounds. They are very similar to the Foxhound, but with shorter legs and long, soft ears. Originally developed to track the wild hare, these canines have an excellent sense of smell. A keen instinct with its exceptional friendly personality, dedication to learning and compact size made the breed an ideal choice for police use in drug and smuggling searches.

Versions of the origin of the beagle and the meaning of its name

Three beagles
Three beagles

The emergence of these dogs is surrounded by secrets, and a lack of facts to explain their birth. Some theories date back to the 15th century (the time of King Henry VIII), while others, thousands of years ago, referring to Xenophon who lived 430-354 BC. NS. His treatise on hunting includes a guide to catching rabbits with dogs and describes small Celtic dogs called "segusians".

Five hundred years later, his work will be expanded upon by the ancient Greek historian and geographer Arrian. It should be noted that his opinion of these early hounds is a bit biased, as the scientist was more impressed by the faster early greyhounds. Originally written in Latin, his work was translated into English in 1831 by William Dancy.

If the dogs mentioned by Xenophon and later by Arrian are in fact beagles, it can be assumed that the breed is one of the most ancient and can be considered the likely ancestor of many modern hounds. However, there is no clear evidence to support this.

It is more likely that the canines described were some of the native aboriginal types that were slightly larger than the modern beagle and probably closer in appearance to the much larger Kerry Beagle. Whichever breed the authors actually refer to, it is likely that they were the predecessors of a number of late hounds.

In addition, much of the confusion comes from the time when canines were named according to the job they did or the region from which they originated. Thus, any number of distinct species could be designated as "beagle", whether they were physically similar or not.

There is also confusion about the origin of the breed's name. Some people argue that it comes from the French "bugler" or "buegler" - "to roar", or "begueule" - "open throat." While others argue that it is from Old English, French or Gaelic "beag" - "small" or German "begele" - "to scold."

The author William Drury, in British Dogs, Evaluating, Selecting and Preparing for the Show, (1903) points to the existence of a beagle during the time of King Knud. There he suggests that the now extinct talbot is the progenitor of the beagle. It is known that from the 5th to the 15th centuries the name "beagle" was used to describe any number of small canines believed to be significantly different from the modern breed.

In the 16th century, it becomes apparent that a concerted breeding effort led to smaller, more specialized types of hounds, known as beagle, which became popular among the nobility of the time, although they were far from uniform. The zoological book of 1868, The Living World, tells of similar canines that Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) had. There is also a mention of them in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, written around 1601, 17th century.

Throughout the 19th century, famous writers described beagles. Sydenham Edwards, in the 1800's Cynographia britannica, divides them into two types. In 1879, John Henry Walsh recounts three additional strains of these canines in his book Dogs of Great Britain, America and Beyond.

Beagle dog breed development

Beagle dog for a walk
Beagle dog for a walk

Of course, a representative of the breed in one form or another has existed for centuries, and the current standard of the species did not begin to take shape until the 19th century. The ancient history of this species may seem to some to be of little relevance to today's beagles. It should be mentioned that prior to the appearance of the modern type in general, it was largely influenced by the penchant for smaller, similar hounds from the time of Queen Elizabeth I and continued throughout the 17th century.

These tiny "novelty" beagle, although popular with the ladies, were useless for hunting. Numerous texts from the 18th-19th centuries warn about their fragility or advise the trapper to carefully choose the hunting zone so that it is free of deep water channels in which these small dogs could easily die. The lack of physical stability in the beagle and the increasing popularity of fox hunting among those who would like to engage in a more "exciting" sport (than watching hounds trapped in a hare) have pushed the breed out of its position.

Entering the 19th century, seeing the damage these miniature versions did to the variety, the beagle lover Rev. Philip Honewood created a pack in Essex England in 1830. He began to take proactive measures to reverse the tendency to be tiny and to return the breed to normal. This amateur wanted to create a dog, bigger, stronger and more resilient, that would run all day without getting tired, but still had a small enough size, could chase hares and remain slow enough for the hunter to follow her on foot.

Although no trace of the origins of Honewood's pack has been recorded, it is believed that he used the north country beagle and southern hound for breeding. There are also some suggestions that "harrier" was used in the selection.

Philip's efforts focused mainly on a small, capable hunter with about 10 inches at the withers and a pure white coat. Prince Albert and Lord Winterton also had packs of beagles during this time, and while royal favor may have sparked some interest in the breed's revival, Honewood's canine lines are the most trusted and popular. In fact, Philip's Beagles became so popular that he, along with members of his regular hunting team, were sometimes called "Merry beaglers of the meadows", and three groups, along with a large pack of these dogs, were immortalized in a painting by Henry Hall called "The merry beaglers." 1845). As the Honewood hounds spread throughout England, returning to a wave of renewed interest in the breed, compatriot Mr. Thomas Johnson came across these effective but somewhat ugly specimens. While hunting with the Beagles near Whitchurch around 1883, he decided to take it a step further by creating an attractive dog that would also be a competent animal catcher, thus bringing together the best of both worlds. To this end, Thomas established his own breeding program, choosing only those specimens for breeding that had white fur with black and brown markings and long, rounded ears.

Both Johnson and Honeywood are credited with creating the modern beagle, but Johnson is primarily responsible for developing the species we see today. His efforts to breed beagles, which not only hunted well but also excelled in beauty, later spread the breed to England as it developed into a beautiful working dog. It should be noted that the work of this amateur has formed not only a close representative of the smooth-coated variety that we have today, but a coarse-coated version that is almost unknown. The now extinct last species is believed to have been well known in the 20th century, with records of its appearance in dog shows dating back to 1969.

Beagle recognition history

Beagle dog on the floor
Beagle dog on the floor

The formation of the English Kennel Club, with its regularly organized dog shows, took place in 1873. The first bigley entered the show ring at the Tunbridge wells dog society show on August 21 and 22, 1884. It was attended by about nine representatives of the breed in classes that recognized any size. In the category of the best dog, the winner received a prize: a silver cup and a hunting horn.

Although the species was hunting again by this time and found its way into the show ring, there was no organization in charge of these activities. Therefore, in 1890, the Beagle Club of England was created to promote the breeding of beagles for sports and shows. The organization held its first show in 1896 and published the Exterior Standard for the Breed in 1895. These criteria will be used by the English club to form the basis of the species. His goals and aspirations, first officially published in 1899, remain unchanged to this day.

In March 1891 a second organization was formed, the Association of masters of harriers and beagles (AMHB). She limited membership to registration of individuals actively engaged in hunting. At that time, the main interest of the committee was to improve the beagle by creating a breed book and including them in the Peterborough hound show in 1889. The association took responsibility for working dogs.

Regular display of the breed and strict adherence to both the Beagle Club and AMHB standards resulted in a uniform type, and the Beagle's popularity continued to grow until the outbreak of World War I. when all the shows were suspended. After the war, the species was in poor condition, the registration dropped to an all-time low and the species struggled to survive in the UK.

Revival and popularization of the beagle

Beagle puppy
Beagle puppy

The few remaining breeders banded together and resumed breeding the beagle. As their numbers increased again, they began to recover quickly and popularity also grew at an astonishing rate. In 1954 there were 154 registered, in 1959 - 1092. Registrations will increase from 2,047 in 1961 and 3,979 in 1969, when the breed became the most sought after dog in the UK. Since then, the species has declined slightly and the Kennel Club ratings show that it is ranked 28th and 30th in the registration rankings for 2005 and 2006.

Although official records dictate that the first Beagles arrived in America in 1876, early 17th century urban records suggest that they actually appeared there centuries ago. Joseph Barrow, in The History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton, Massachusetts, 1834, reprints town notes from 1642 that mention the beagle as part of the anti-wolf militia force.

The canines described were probably not very similar to today's beagle, but were closer in appearance to the original southern hound or small bloodhound. Documents from William and Mary University show that bloodhound has been present in the United States since 1607, when they were imported to protect colonists from Native Americans. There is also no record to indicate that these early beagles were assimilated into the hunting dogs of the time.

Until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, hunters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon border used small hunting dogs to chase foxes and hares. With the end of the war in 1865, interest in capturing animals for food and how the sport increased. Wealthy hunters, wishing to improve the quality of their packs, began to import English breeds of dogs, among which were Beagles.

From 1876, the species were imported from England by the American Civil War veteran General Richard Rowet of Illinois and soon founded the first nursery. His pets became known locally as the "rowett beagles" and formed the backbone of the American herd. Mr. Norman Elmore became famous for the same activity. He brought in the "Ringwood" and "Countess", from which the development of the line of Mr. Elmore proceeded, that he knew the general's breeding program and collaborated with him in breeding the best specimens of the time.

Through the efforts of these and other breeders, the breed began to grow in popularity in both the United States and Canada, leading to its adoption by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884. At the same time, the "Beagle specialty club" and "American-English beagle club" were created. Soon there was some excitement about the name of the organization. Its representatives voted to remove the English prefix, thereby changing the name to American Beagle Club. In 1885, a dog named "Blunder" will become the first individual registered with the AKC.

The American-English beagle club, based in the Philadelphia area, quickly adopted a breed standard that helped eradicate dogs with crooked forelimbs. In 1888, the National Beagle Club was organized to improve the species, as well as improve it in the show ring and field. He applied for admission to the AKC as a parent organization. He was refused, as the American Beagle Club, the successor to the Anglo-English, had already been recognized as such by the AKC.

Despite the fact that the National Beagle Club continued to work on improving the breed to the extent that it was allowed, in 1890, 18 members of the species took part in the 1st field trial organized by them in New Hampshire. Soon, negotiations were held between the management of related clubs and the organization was renamed "The national beagle club of America" (NBC) and accepted into the AKC as a parent. Unlike the UK, during World War I, beagle breeding and display in America slowed down, but did not stop. At the Westminster Exhibition in 1917, 75 individuals were shown, many of which won prizes. In the same quality, the breed proved to be excellent in 1928 and 1939. The popularity of the beagle in America and Canada, more than in its home country, was evident from 1953 to 1959. Their demand has traditionally remained high, in 2005 and 2006 it will take 5th place out of 155, and in 2010 - 4th out of 167.

The current position of the beagle

Small beagle puppy
Small beagle puppy

Although bred for hunting, the modern beagle is the epitome of versatility and plays many roles in today's society. They are not only considered one of the best family pets, but they are also used in the work of finding things, as therapeutic, search and rescue dogs.

In Australia, the beagle's keen sense of smell has led to their use as termite detector dogs. The US Department of Agriculture uses them to find contraband food. Dogs play the same role at airports and ports of entry in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and China.

Due to its gentle nature and sensitivity, the beagle is also often used to visit the sick and elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. In 2006, a representative of the species named "Bel" was honored for being able to dial 911 from a mobile phone to save the lives of patients with diabetes. She also became the first dog to receive the prestigious VITA award.

The unique combination of breed characteristics, love of life, curiosity and a conquering personality have cemented the beagle's place in modern society. He is loved whether he is looking through luggage at the airport, following an irresistible trail for a walk, rescuing those in need, or being a pet.

For more information on the Beagle breed, see the video below: