Dogs of a similar size range and purpose to the Beagle have been around since the 5th century BC and can be traced back to Ancient Greece. The Greek historian, Xenophon, who was born approximately 433BC, mentions a hound that used to hunt hares by their scent and then proceeded to follow the scent followed by human companions on foot.
During the 11th century William the Conqueror brought the Talbot Hound into Great Britain. This hound is now extinct but was once a snowy white hunting breed of dog, it originated in Normandy but was essentially developed in Great Britain. The breed is known for being the late ancestor of the modern day Beagle.
From as far back as the medieval times the term ‘Beagle’ has been used to describe any small built hound. There were even miniature Beagle type breeds around during the times of Edward II and Henry VII; they were named Glove Beagles as they were apparently small enough to fit on a standard glove.
Queen Elizabeth I kept a Pocket Beagle which only stood around 8 or 9 inches tall at its shoulder, the concept was that these little breeds were perfect to take on the hunt and sit inside a pocket or saddlebag. The larger dogs in the pack would hunt the prey down and then the smaller ones would be released to continue the chase through the undergrowth where the bigger dogs could not fit.
The Beagle was in the USA by the 1840’s and by the early 1870’s serious attempts at establishing a bloodline were undertaken. The trusty Beagle was recognised by the American Kennel Club as a true breed of dog in the year 1884 and during the 20th century they had spread worldwide to become the popular breed of dog that they are today.
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