Beagle Breed Magazine - Showsight

Beagle Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard for the Beagle Head : The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears -Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad-with almost entire absence of erectile power-setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek-rounded at tip. Eyes -Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle -Muzzle of medium length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined. Jaws-Level. Lips free from flews; nostrils large and open. Defects-A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome, eyes small, sharp and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long, snipy or cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-face expression. Ears short, set on high or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin. Body: Neck and Throat- Neck rising free and light from the shoulders strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable. Defects-A thick, short, cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed "throatiness." Shoulders and Chest: Shoulders sloping-clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded-conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest deep and broad, but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. Defects-Straight, upright shoulders. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth. Back, Loin and Ribs: Back short, muscular and strong. Loin broad and slightly arched, and the ribs well sprung, giving abundance of lung room. Defects-Very long or swayed or roached back. Flat, narrow loin. Flat ribs. Forelegs and Feet : Forelegs-Straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to size of the hound. Pasterns short and straight. Feet-Close, round and firm. Pad full and hard. Defects-Out at elbows. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked or Dachshundlike. Feet long, open or spreading. Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs and Feet : Hips and thighs strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical and moderately bent. Feet close and firm. Defects-Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet. Tail: Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; short as compared with size of the hound; with brush. Defects-A long tail. Teapot curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail with absence of brush. Coat : A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality. Color : Any true hound color. General Appearance: A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and- tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.

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Scale of Points Head Skull







5 25




Chest and shoulders


Back, loin and ribs

15 35

Running Gear Forelegs

10 Hips, thighs and hind legs 10 Feet

10 30




5 10



Varieties: There shall be two varieties: Thirteen Inch-which shall be for hounds not exceeding 13 inches in height. Fifteen Inch-which shall be for hounds over 13 but not exceeding 15 inches in height. Disqualification : Any hound measuring more than 15 inches shall be disqualified.

Packs of Beagles

Score of Points for Judging

Hounds General levelness of pack


Individual merit of hounds

30% 70%







Levelness of Pack: The first thing in a pack to be considered is that they present a unified appearance. The hounds must be as near to the same height, weight, conformation and color as possible.

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Individual Merit of the Hounds: Is the individual bench-show quality of the hounds. A very level and sporty pack can be gotten together and not a single hound be a good Beagle. This is to be avoided. Manners : The hounds must all work gaily and cheerfully, with flags up-obeying all commands cheerfully. They should be broken to heel up, kennel up, follow promptly and stand. Cringing, sulking, lying down to be avoided. Also, a pack must not work as though in terror of master and whips. In Beagle packs it is recommended that the whip be used as little as possible. Appointments : Master and whips should be dressed alike, the master or huntsman to carry horn- the whips and master to carry light thong whips. One whip should carry extra couplings on shoulder strap. Recommendations for Show Livery : Black velvet cap, white stock, green coat, white breeches or knickerbockers, green or black stockings, white spats, black or dark brown shoes. Vest and gloves optional. Ladies should turn out exactly the same except for a white skirt instead of white breeches.

Approved September 10, 1957



By Dr. Charles Kitchell

tone-age people in Europe, some 20,000 years ago, tamed dogs to help them track game.

13 " Dual Ch Frank Forest was named the winner of the fi rst event. 1901: Ch Windholme’s Bangle, a bitch, was the fi rst Beagle to received a best in show. Windholme was the leading kennel and pack in the early twentieth century. 1921: F. Banting and H. Best injected the fi rst dog, a 15" tri-colored Beagle named Marjorie, with the new insulin extract that has saved the lives of numerous human and animal diabetics. 1925: Th e Wisconsin Snow-Shoe Beagle Club was formed. Four years later the fi rst licensed Beagle specialty was held. Imp Th orpe Satchville Bellman was named the fi rst Best in Show. Th e Wisconsin Beagle Club is the oldest Beagle specialty in the world. 1930: “Snow-Shoe” was dropped when cottontails were hunted. Also, the 13 " gold and white Ch Saddlerock Sandman was named number one sire and proved that “any hound color” was permissible. 1937-38: Mrs. W. “Sadie” Edmiston received three bests in show with her 14 " bitch, Ch Merry Hicks. Sadie was the fi rst AKC female all-breed judge. Also, Fd Ch Sammy R was said to be “one of the very best 13 " dog hounds in America today.” 1945: A picture of Ch Duke Sinatra was published. A painting of Duke Sinatra is permanently displayed at the AKC o ffi ces in Raleigh, NC. Th e picture is often mentioned as the epitome of the Beagle standard. 1949: Life Magazine featured 15" Am Can Ch Th ornridge Wrinkles in its publication. Wrinkles was the number one conformation sire of all time. 1954: Fd Ch Gray’s Linesman remained number one fi eld trial sire of all time. Lineman was known as the “sire of sires.” Owned by Elmer Gray, Indianapolis. 1970: Eight time best in show winner 15" King’s Creek Triple Th reat, was named Best of Breed at the fi rst national specialty held at Aldie, Virginia. Bred by all-breed judge Michelle Leathers Billings. 1976: Seven-time Best in Show winner 15" Ch Navan’s Triple Trouble Rick was the fi rst Beagle to win successive breeds

at the national specialty. Bred by Nancy Vanstrum, Florida. 1980: 15" Am Can Ch Starbuck’s Hang ’Em High was named number one Beagle of all time. “Pru” amassed 21 all-breed Bests in Show and 8 specialty Bests of Breed. Bred by David and Linda Hiltz, Michigan. 1985: 13 " Am Can Ch Teloca Patches Littl’ Dickens was named number one sire and 13 " Beagle of all time with 12 Best in Show wins, 1 national specialty win and 3 Westminster varieties. Bred by Marie Shuart, Florida. 1993: Twenty-four time best in show winner 13 " Ch Lanbur Miss Fleetwood was named number one Beagle of all time. “Judy” also received two national specialty bests of breed. Bred and co-owned by Wade Burns and Jon Woodring, North Carolina. Co-owned by Eddie Dziuk.

700s: St. Hubert, the Patron Saint of the huntsmen, kept a pack of pure hounds in the Ardennes, Belgium, during the early 700s. 1066: William the Conqueror introduced the Talbot Hound when he invaded England from France in 1066. Th e Talbot hound became the old Southern Hound and had a strong in fl uence on the breed’s development. 1695: King William III, William of Orange, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, kept a pack of Beagles. William organized the great hunt at Welbeck in 1695 that was followed by 400 horsemen. Later hunts were enjoyed on foot. 1735: William Somerville wrote the classic poem, “ Th e Chase,” in 1735. He kept twelve couple of Beagles. 1845: Royal Rock Beagles, the oldest active pack in the world, was established. 1857: Th e Cockermouth Beagles were established in 1857 at Cockermouth, England. Dr. John Henry “Stonehenge” Walsh, fi rst all-breed judge in England, referred to the Cockermouth Beagles to compile the “points and description,” the fi rst Beagle standard. 1876: Beagles were exhibited, for the fi rst time, in all breed shows in the US in the three cities of Chicago, New York (not Westminster) and Kansas City. Lee (Turner’s Warrior x Rowett’s Rosie) placed fi rst at Kansas City. 1877: Th ree of the seven Beagles exhibited at the fi rst annual Westminster show were bred by General Richard Rowett. 1884: Dr. L.H. Twaddell, General Richard Rowett and Norman Elmore authored the fi rst American Beagle standard at the request of the American English Beagle Club. Th e standard was based on the Stonehenge standard. 1890: Th e National Beagle Club “merged into” the American English Beagle Club. A fi eld trial was held during the fi rst year.

BIO As a first grader, Chuck Kitchell purchased his first Beagle in 1940 for three dollars. Th e mother was a pretty tri-colored Beagle; the father came from a

good neighborhood. Ten years later, unpre- pared Chuck entered Com Belt Kennel Club’s first sanctioned show in Illinois and placed third in a class of three with ungroomed and untrained 13" field bred Smokey. During the late seventies, three unrelated Chardon (Charles/Donna) bred bitches were bred to 15" Am Can Ch Starbuck’s Hang ’Em High, the number one Beagle of all time. A series of linebreedings and inbreed- ings followed with several of the o ff spring. Chardon then outcrossed with two matings of Am Can Ch Teloca Patches Littl’ Dick- ens, the number one 13" Beagle of all time. During the following years Chuck and Donna produced five number one Beagles in the nation, the all-time top winning Wiscon- sin Specialty entry with 5 bests of breed wins, a Westminster best of breed winner, 15 con- secutive never-less-than Best of Opposite sex Wisconsin specialty entries and over 227 known group placers in twenty countries. S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014 • 177


By Michelle Sager NBC Education Committee Chairperson


he National Beagle Club Education Committee completed a revised Visu- alization of the Beagle Standard in 2013. It’s available via the AKC

website, or at http://nbcjudgeseducation. For this article, I’ve taken some sections of our standard/visualization that the breed fancy and education com- mittee feel need particular attention by our conformation judges, either to interpret vague parts of the standard, things that we feel many judges need to pay more attention to, or often place too much emphasis on. General Appearance Th e Beagle standard states, “General Appearance: A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and- tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.” Th e proper English Foxhound is a beautifully proportioned hound, elegant in style, balanced fore and aft and nicely boned. “Big for its inches” means plenty of bone (particularly the round bone of the forelegs) for the height of the hound. Too much bone results in coarseness, too little in a spindly look. Th ere should be no sug- gestion of ‘toyishness”. Presentation in the Ring Th e Beagle is a working scent hound and should have a natural look. Excess hair may be trimmed from the neck and body, tidying the outline, but still maintaining a natural appearance, not appearing bar- bered or shaved. Th e long hairs at the tip of the tail are shaped to give a smoother natural appearance, ending in a properly rounded tip, not flattened or squared o ff , nor should the hair on the tail be teased and backcombed to resemble a bottle brush. Whiskers may be trimmed to give a clean line to the muzzle, but may also be left untrimmed. Whiskers serve as sen- sory organs, probably serving to protect

the eye as the Beagle hunts in close brush. Provided the coat is a true hound color, color and markings in the breed are of no consequence. Artificial enhancement to color of the coat, nose or eye rims, is pro- hibited by the American Kennel Club and is not to be tolerated. Size Height is the only disqualification in the Beagle Standard and thus proper impor- tance should be placed on it. Th e division into two sizes should be just that, the 13 " should be a smaller replica of the 15 " . And both should be smaller proportionate ver- sions of the English Foxhound. In the ring there is no other preference to size, includ- ing variations of height within a variety. Th e height of a Beagle can be very deceiving, dependent on shoulder place- ment. If a hound has poor shoulder angu- lation, it’s possible that the highest point over the shoulder blades could reach up into the neck. A Beagle with good shoul- ders can actually be a considerably over-

all larger hound and still measure within the limits of 13 or 15 inches. Judges are encouraged to measure as part of their rou- tine examination of the Beagle. Head & Bite Th e head accounts for 25% of the scale of points in the Beagle Standard, and while it is a hallmark of the breed, the Beagle is by no means a “head breed”. Th e head is important and should be carefully studied to understand correct construction. But, do not judge the Beagle as a “head breed”, recognize a correct head, but place impor- tance to the functional portion of the hound, the body. Th ere is no specific mention of the bite in the Beagle Standard, but the English Fox- hound Standard calls specifically for teeth which meet squarely, neither overshot nor undershot. Th e level jaw asked for in the Beagle Standard indicates that a scissors bite is preferred in the Beagle, but a level bite is acceptable. An occasional skewed or miss- ing tooth is not to be penalized.


Body & Feet Balance is critical. Th e length of body measured from prosternum to point of but- tock is longer than distance from withers to ground. Th ere should be prosternum vis- ible in front of the shoulder. Additionally, there should be some “dog behind the tail”, which is created by proper angulation of the pelvis as it meets the femur. As a result, the Beagle is o ff square, longer than tall. Although the standard calls for a short back, the back must have su ffi cient length to allow for proper rib construction and a well muscled loin. Ribs should extend well back. Back length should be long enough to allow for a ground covering side gait; hounds that are too short cou- pled will not be able to accommodate the angulation necessary for endurance in the field. A shorter backed Beagle is not nec- essarily more correct. Feet account for 10 points, emphasiz- ing their importance. A firm cat foot with hard, full pads allows the Beagle to hunt for hours over di ffi cult terrain. Bent pasterns, flat spreading feet or long feet are ine ff ective supports for a working hound. Occasionally a foot with an exceptionally short outer toe is seen, nearly always on the front legs. An x-ray of the foot reveals a short metatarsal bone for that toe. Th is does not conform to the required cat foot and is generally found on feet which are otherwise quite tight and firm. A short toe is to be penalized, as it does not allow for a complete foot on the ground, resulting in an ine ff ective support for balance or turning.

Movement Th ough not specifically mentioned in the standard, proper movement is implied by the description of the running gear, shoulder and rear construction. Th e Beagle works in the field at a walk, trot and gallop. While hunting the scent of the rabbit, the Beagle trots with nose to the ground, cir- cling, nosing under brush. Once the trail is found, the Beagle signals with his full- voiced cry and o ff he goes in hot pursuit. Hours of hunting may be required. In the conformation ring, the Beagle should be viewed from the side, front and rear while moving at a moderate trot. Th ere should be good reach of the front legs and good drive from the rear when viewed from the side, movement should be e ff ortless. On a Beagle with good reach and drive, the front leg extends straight out at approximately a 45 degree angle with the toes extending to a vertical line drawn down from the tip of the nose. Th e rear leg is 45 degrees the opposite direction. When viewed from the side the topline should remain fairly level when the Beagle is moving properly. From the front, the forelegs should move straight forward, with the hind legs follow- ing in the footsteps of the front. From the rear, the hocks should move perpendicu- larly to the ground, neither too wide nor too close. Th e Beagle double tracks at a mod- erate trot, meaning the front and rear legs remain parallel with each other. As the speed of the Beagle increases, the legs will continue to move in the same planes, and only a slight inclination to single track will occur.

Coat & Color A coat as described in the standard provides protection from brush and brambles, a requirement for a hunting hound. “Any true hound color” includes traditional black/tan/white tri, or blue tri. Th e tri-colored Beagle can be either richly and deeply colored or faded (the blanket containing more tan than black or blue hairs). Other, equally acceptable colors, are tan/white, lemon/white, red/ white & chocolate, as well as variations and dilutes of these colors. While ticking on a Beagle is fine, grizzle or brindling are not acceptable. Markings can add or detract from the overall appearance of the Beagle. Th e qual- ity of the hound, not the arrangement of color, is the important matter. Markings can sometimes create optical illusions when evaluating a Beagle but should not be allowed to distract from the actual con- formation or movement. Th e words “Any true hound color” in the Beagle standard cannot be emphasized enough. Any artificial enhancement of coat color is to be penalized. Th e National Beagle Club Education Committee is in the process of adding videos on properly measuring a Beagle and examples of desirable movement to our Education web site, so please check back for updates. We also encourage both prospective and approved Beagle judges to take advantage of mentoring and semi- nars to better understand the nuances of a great Beagle versus a good one.


JUDGING THE BEAGLE By Kathy Forbes T he General Appearance portion of the AKC Standard gives great insight into the essence of the Beagle. A miniature Foxhound,

solid and big for his inches, with the wear- and-tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death. One side note, it is referring to an English Foxhound and the quarry is rabbit and/or hare. Beagles are a moderate breed. If your eye is drawn to some exaggerated portion of the dog, it is not correct. Please remember the drag of this breed is long and low. We have issues with dwarfism in this breed, and you will see some of those characteristics in the show ring today. A 15" body on 13" legs does not make a 13" Beagle. Balance is key! Th e only disqualification in this breed is any hound measuring over 15" in height. As a judge you should never utter the words, “I did not use your dog because I felt it was too big.” When in doubt, measure! Th e standard refers to a Beagle who is solid and big for his inches. Th ere can be quite a size range within each variety. Th e standard refers to a beagle that is solid and big for his inches. 13 ½ " Beagles may appear too small next to a Beagle measuring 15". We have a lot of high quality, 13 ½ " Beagles who get lost “THE STANDARD REFERS TO A BEAGLE that is solid and big for his inches.”

in the mix because. Judges don’t look at them as individuals but instead compare them to the larger exhibits in the ring. Remember, the standard says solid and big for his inches not solid and big. Please look at every Beagle as an individual when assessing size, bone and balance.

Often referred to as the “Merry Little Beagle” it goes without saying you want to see them moving around the ring in a happy manner. Aggressive or shy behavior should not be tolerated. When viewing the Beagle in profile on the table, first of all, make sure the front

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“The first thing to catch my eye from the front IS EXPRESSION .”

end of the Beagle matches the rear not only in angulation but also in mass. We are seeing too many Beagles who are heavier in their front ends than in their rears. Th e rears should have good depth of thigh and second thigh. Th ey should not look like Bulldogs. Th e topline and underline should mirror each other. Although the standard calls for a slight rise over the loin, the top line should be level. Th e rise comes from the muscling around the loin and not the spine. You want to feel good muscling around the loin. Short rib cages with long loins are a huge problem in this breed. Due to the short rib cages, we are seeing too much tuck up. Beagles hunting in thick brush need to have the protection of long rib cages with good spring of rib for lungs and short loins for agility. Th e first thing to catch my eye from the front is expression. Th ey should have a soft, pleading, hound expression. When you look at a Beagle’s face, you should want to hug it! Th e Beagle is not a head breed, but the head is a hallmark of the breed. Most of the expression comes from the eyes. Th ey should be large, set well apart, with a soft and hound like expression, gentle and pleading, brown or hazel in color. You want a full eye but certainly not round or almond. We are seeing a lot of round eyes, small pig eyes and light colored eyes. Th is destroys the soft, hound like expression that is so important to our breed. Th e skull from the occiput to the stop should equal the length of the muzzle. Th e skull should be slightly domed at the occiput with the cranium broad and full. In other words, you do not want to see too much dome with an exaggerated stop or a flat skull, and no wrinkles! You want plenty of back skull without it being coarse, and it should not be too narrow. Th e muzzle should be straight and square cut with a moderately defined stop. We do not want to see heavy brows, snipey muzzles or

large flews. Since this is a scenting breed, it goes without saying they should have a nose with large, open nostrils. Th ere is no mention of the bite in the standard, however, it does refer to level jaws, which will produce a scissor (preferred) to level bite. In profile you want to see the skull and muzzle parallel to each other. Th ere are quite a few down faced Beagles. Th is throws o ff the expression. Th e ear set should be in line with the corner of the eye, long enough to almost reach the end of the muzzle, fine in texture, rounded at the tip and lying close to the head. When checking for ear set, always look at them when they are relaxed. We do not want to see small, high set ears. Th e Beagle’s neck should be of medium length. A lovely crest of neck flowing smoothly into well-Iayed back shoulders extending into a level topline ending at the base of the tail is gorgeous! Th e front assembly should have well-Iayed back shoulders plus the return of upper arm to match. Th ere should be some prosternum. Th e front legs should be set back under the Beagle in a direct line with the well- Iayed back shoulders. Another huge issue in this breed are fronts that are set too far forward. Also, the distance from the top of the withers to the elbow should match the distance from the elbow to the ground. Th e chest should come to the elbow. We are seeing way too many Beagles with chests reaching far below the elbow giving the appearance of short legs. Th e legs should be straight with short pasterns and plenty of bone. Beagles with slightly curved front legs are showing up in the ring. Check the legs from the front as well as the side. You never want to see knuckling. Sometimes dogs on the table will knuckle over. If you see this, look at them on the ground to confirm or deny your observations on the table. Beagles

should be examined on the table and judged on the ground! Th e feet should be round and firm with full, hard pads. No flat feet, splayed feet or hare feet. Feet are very important to a hound that has to run all day. Th e standard calls for a short back. If you have an animal with a short back and short loin, it can only be assumed that you have a Beagle that is square. I can forgive a little length as long as it is accompanied by two things: the extra length must be seen in the ribs and not the loin, plus the dog has to be able to move. If a Beagle is a little o ff square and still minces around the ring, I cannot forgive the length. I am talking about a little length and not a freight train! Th e Beagle’s coat should be a close, hard, hound coat of medium length. With today’s improved shampoos you will most likely never see a hard coat. Th ere should be a su ffi cient amount of coat to cover the body and tail for protection from harsh brush and brambles. When you run your hands over a Beagle, the coat should not feel thin. Having personally witnessed Beagles coming in from the field with blood flying from their tails and scrapes on their bodies, I now realize the importance of proper coats. One of the things that o ff ends me as a Beagle breeder and judge is the practice of what I call poofing out the tails. Beagles are not Poodles! Th e opening up of that tail coat defeats the exact purpose for which it is intended. An open coat does not protect. My last comment about coat is to remind judges to check the topline with their hands. Many Beagles carry extra coat over their shoulders and in front of the tail area. Often times the Beagle will have a level topline but due to excess coat it will appear to be the opposite. Strong, well-muscled hips and thighs are very important in this breed. I look for good turn of stifle flowing down to short rear pasterns. Once again we want to see round, tight

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“Different markings over the back CAN BE DECEIVING.”

feet. Always check for muscle tone and overall condition. This is a working hound and should be fit. Th e tail should be set moderately high. It has a slight curve and should not be bent over the back. Th e tail (not including brush) should come to just above the level of the head. You will see gay tails and long tails. Th ere should be a su ffi cient amount of brush to protect the tail. Th at does not mean it has to look like a Labrador tail. Th e judge should gently pull the coat away from the back of the tail to confirm there is enough brush to protect the tail. Beagles can be any true hound color. In 30 years, the only Beagles I have seen with inappropriate color are those who have been dyed. Di ff erent markings over the back can be deceiving. Although our standard does not men- tion movement, you will note that the most heavily emphasized portions directly correlate to a well-moving hound that can work all day. Th e best description of Beagle movement comes from longtime breeder, Mandy Bobbitt. Mandy actively hunts and shows. Mandy describes excellent Beagle movement as being long, low and e ffi cient. Watch for good reach and drive with no interference. Beagles should not be racing around the ring. Your first cut should be based on type. From that cut focus on soundness and movement. Balance coupled with form and function will be your guide to good Beagle judging. May your ring be filled with Merry Little Beagles exceeding in breed type, soundness and movement! BIO Kathy Forbes has been breeding and exhibiting Beagles for 30 years under the kennel name Skyline along with her mother,

Judy Forbes, Connie Conger and Nick Peaker. Kathy was the National Beagle Club’s Judges Education Chair for nine years. In 1996, Kathy became licensed to judge Beagles. She is currently licensed to

judge the Hound Group, Best In Show, Junior Showmanship and some sport- ing breeds. Kathy has judged the Beagle National as well as other Beagle specialties in the US, Australia and Denmark.

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B reeders do not always agree on an individual dog or the quality of a certain bloodline or the value of a particular stud dog or brood bitch. Yet if one asks for the basic necessities in their breed, for example a good Beagle, likely there is agree- ment. I have information from two well respected sourc- es I would like to share with those breeding, exhibiting and judging the Beagle. These are voices of experience. First a bit of history, next voices from long-time breed- ers with decades of experience—one East Coast and one West Coast. Finally their assessment of today’s Beagle and breeder biographies. SOME HISTORY The word Beagle appears to have developed from ancient Celtic, French and old English languages: beag, beigh and begle —all meaning small. Greek author, Xeno- phon, mentions small hounds hunting with man on foot in 450 B.C. In addition, Onomasticon , a Greek dictionary by Pollux, reports dogs alongside man in 1300 B.C. Further there is mention in Chaucer in the 14th Century of a small dog accompanying man hunting hare. During the Middle Ages, two types of hounds were prevalent in England—the Northern and the Southern Hound. They were rather large hounds yet it is suspected by some that the Northern and Southern Hound were bred with the Harrier resulting in the Beagle or that the Beagle resulted from miniaturizing the ancient Harrier. Necessary to understanding any breed is some knowl- edge of its history. His size, his temperament—most of the breed’s features contribute to doing a job. Even though there may not be a certifiable date of a breed’s origin, in addition to the job or purpose, clues may be derived from examining the environment and climate where a breed was developed. The Beagle’s origin is uncertain. Is it down from the Harrier, the old Southern hound or the Foxhound or both? We are not sure but we know he is a scent hound developed in Britain where he hunted rabbit and hare pri- marily in packs with huntsmen following mainly on foot or horseback. The local area—its terrain, climate and size of prey—determined the type of Beagle that evolved. Larger prey in England demanded a larger dog. Yet, eventually in the US, as the population of larger game declined, the

Ideal head: Skull fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, cranium broad and full. Eyes large, set well apart, fine in texture, inturning to the cheek, soft and hound- like expression—gentle and pleading.

(All photos courtesy of Lesley Hiltz)

Beagle’s purpose became centered on rabbit. FROM SURVIVAL TO SPORT

Out of necessity, very early man used the dog for sur- vival to hunt his food; however, eventually that hunting activity became sport, and pastime, particularly with the

1978’s Top Dog. Note overall balance, clean shoulders and musculature, no heaviness.


Voices of Experience: The Beagle


aristocracy—no longer merely means for survival. Since the English landed-gentry engaged in blood sports as a social activ- ity, they followed deer, fox, hare and badger with both large and small dogs on horse- back and on foot. In England, the British aristocracy kept stockmen to rear and select Beagles for their packs. In time, an evenness and uniformity of pack became important and very competitive. Due to regional dif- ferences in terrain the dogs did not resemble each other much in general but they were very similar to each other in a given region. Many strains developed: all were used to locate, flush and drive hare to hunters. WHAT ARE POCKET & GLOVE BEAGLES? Popular pets with the royal family were pocket Beagles, those under 10 inches, sometimes even under 9 inches, bred for

amusement and their melodious singing voices. These small Beagles could fit in a hunting coat pocket or a gauntlet. It is said the Beagle was considered little darlings of the aristocracy. However, in the lat- ter 19 century, when more interest in fox hunting prevailed with the elite, interest in the Beagle declined. With fox hunting, rather than rabbit hunting, becoming the new fashion amongst the landed gentry in England, Ireland and Wales, the Beagle instead became the favorite of the farmers and small landowners in hunting rabbit to guns. This new ownership likely saved them from extinction. BEAGLE COMES TO AMERICA It was 1873 when the British KC first recognized the Beagle; they were exhib- ited in packs at shows. Meanwhile here in

America in 1876, General Richard Rowett of Illinois imported the first Beagles from several different kennels in England. Since so many lacked the head, body and legs of a good animal, the fanciers of the day took steps to ensure that the Beagle resemble a miniature Foxhound. A Beagle Club was formed in Philadelphia and this helped to improve type and uniformity. In 1887 a first Standard for the breed was written. In America, the National Beagle Club formed in 1890 to hold field trials for improving tracking qualities and type. After rejection by the AKC, the Beagle Club merged with the National Club to be known as the National Beagle Club. They purchased a 400-acre Institute Farm in Aldie, Virginia, which to this day is home to all the NBC activities. One might wonder why we have both 13 and 15 inch Beagles in this country. The variety by size may be explained by the job he does. The 13" hound is designed to get into the brush and flush out the rabbit; he needs a very protective coat. The 15" vari- ety chases cottontail rabbits. Cottontails run in a circle to waiting guns. Yet another theory is hunters did not feel it was fair for the under 13" hounds to be competing/run- ning with the under 15". PERSONALITY The Beagle has always been a popular breed. He is amiable, friendly and alert. His disposition allows him to meet and face any situation. His handy size and good nature make him a great family pet. While not a guard dog in any sense, he will give voice freely at any intrusion or unusual event. Throughout the world the Beagle is known for his even, dependable temperament. Regardless of his size he is a solid, cheerful character and especially good with children. Beagles are found in nearly all countries of Europe and thanks to ground work of Eng- lish and American bloodlines also seen now The Beagle is described in his standard as a small breed; however, “big for his inch- es” whether 13" or 15" variety, he is strong, sturdy and sound. His weight is approxi- mately 20-25 pounds. Some of our very good Beagles that measure over 15 inches here in the US go to the UK for show. It is felt that no good Beagle is a bad color: structure is way more important. From their book, The International Encyclopedia of Dogs , Annie R. Clark and Andrew Brace describe the essentials of the breed: “The head should be fairly long, slightly domed at the occiput with moderately low set ears that can reach to the end of the nose. The stop should be moderately well in some parts of Eastern Europe. BASIC DESCRIPTION

Top Beagle 2010. Strong and sturdy. Note the straight legs, the substance, no sign of cloddiness.


Voices of Experience: The Beagle


Left: 2008 Best in Show winner at Westminster. Right: Compare others to this Beagle from the 70s. Note less balance and especially rear angulation in the right-side photo.

defined, the muzzle square cut and the large, set apart eyes should be dark brown or hazel which help to create the unique soft, pleading expression that is so very much a part of the Beagle’s charm.” (Clark and Brace) The neck should allow him to easily scent, shoulders clean and sloping, chest broad and deep, back short, muscular and strong, with close round paws, rear well bent stifles and muscular thighs, the tail set high but never curled over the back. Gait should be free, far reaching in front and drive in the rear. Coat must be short, dense and weather resistant. FROM THE BREEDERS From Marcelo Chagas The Beagle standard states that Beagles should be a Foxhound in miniature. It also states that both 15" and 13" dogs should be proportionally the same. Unfortunately, breeders and judges alike have lost sight of this aspect. Our 15s have become big and clunky, and the 13s are small and cobby. They often do not look alike, and the idea of “the smaller and shorter the better” is far from true. Clean and elegant, but substantial and strong is what I believe a Beagle should be. Well laid back shoulders, with a moder- ately angled front, and a strong forechest. The body is thick but not tubular nor

is it racy. It is slightly longer than tall, to allow for correct movement. The rear is moderately angled, neither straight in hips or stifle. I’ve seen many dogs to be beautiful examples of our standard, but I’ve also seen some that are less than satisfactory. I sup- pose it is up to personal preference when it comes to the finer details, but structure is structure in the ring, judges seem to want a flashy, tricolor Beagle. A Beagle should always be two of those things; happy and with a pleasing expression. Remember, a Beagle is of any hound color, and the amount of white on it doesn’t constitute a nice dog. Movement should cover ground efficiently, but does not have to be fast, or fancy. Today’s Beagles have their faults, as do they their strengths. Every generation will be that way. It is up to us as breeders to rec- ognize both, improve with each generation, and preserve our beautiful breed. From Lesley & David Hiltz What do the breeders and judges get right today and what needs to be addressed? This is how I would like to see people judge our breed. When the dog first comes into the ring I want to have the impres- sion of a merry hound. When I move them around the ring I am not looking for the fastest dog but the dog that takes the least

number of strides for the same distance. It should be an effortless gait—this is a dog that works all day in the field and has to have endurance. Endurance is not obtained by taking lots of quick steps. After taking the dogs around to the table, stand back and look at the dog on the table both from the side and from the front. From the side you’re looking for overall balance. From the front you are looking for straight front legs, fill in of chest and good cat feet. Now move up to the head where you need to see a gentle, pleading expression. You don’t want to see frown or wrinkle because that makes the dog look worried and this not a characteristic of the breed. The eye color also adds to the expres- sion. My theory is that if the eyes are the first thing you notice then they are too light (standard says brown or hazel). Also many Beagles are appearing in the ring with small, Terrier-like eyes, which is not typical. Another feature of the expression is the ear placement, which is moderately low, set in line with the corner of the eye. All Beagles can raise their ears a little if a noise is made so it’s preferable not to do that. Have the exhibitor show you the bite, the standard just says, “jaws level”, but as breeders we all want a scissor bite, but will tolerate a level one. Neck into shoulders—this is currently one of the more challenging areas in the


Voices of Experience: The Beagle


For those wishing more information and multiple photos on the Beagle, go to the following links that Lesley Hiltz of Starbucks Torbay has created for the National Beagle Club website. The topics range from colors of the Beagle, top winners by years, to tips for judging the breed.





A 13" bitch of lovely proportion, not a fancy color, not dyed but of truly exceptional balance. Lovely head, neck into shoulder, topline and tail.



Following her move to the US in 1988, she entered the AKC system, and recommenced her judging career from the beginning, now approved by AKC to judge the Hound, Toy, Herding and Non Sporting Groups as well as nine Working breeds. She has judged Beagle Specialties in Australia, Ger- many, Chile, Czech Republic, Philippines, Den- mark, Sweden, the UK and Norway as well as National Specialties for Beagles and Basenjis in the US. She has judged international all-breed competi- tions in the countries just named as well as China, Taiwan and Italy.

breed. Many Beagles are very upright in shoulder and short in upper arm, which gives a tendency to produce a shorter, higher stepping movement in many cases. You want a firm topline and a short com- pact body (but this is not a square dog) with the ribs forming approximately 75% of the length of the body and a short compact loin. We are seeing a lot of very short ribs and in some cases the sternum is not coming back beyond the elbows. Please feel to see how far back the sternum comes and also check the length of rib, as we are also find- ing short rib cages creeping into the breed. You want a dog with a level topline, a tail set on high and carried gaily. You should never reward a Beagle that will not put its tail up at least some of the time it is in the ring. Perhaps it just needs more ring train- ing and socialization and on another day it may be just fine but do not reward it on this day. Movement is not mentioned in the Bea- gle standard, so let me express my opinion of what I think is ideal Beagle movement. Viewed from the side the back should be level and firm, there should be no indication of a roll. The stride is free, long reaching in front and straight without high action; hind legs showing drive. The dog should not wave paws when coming and going while from the rear hocks should be parallel and not move close behind. Then we come to color. A very large proportion of the tricolored specials in the ring today are dyed. This is because exhibi- tors think you have to have a black saddle to win. It should not be so, as it is the qual- ity of the dog, not the color that you are judging, after all the standard says, “any true Hound color”. If judges would reward faded tricolors, then perhaps this practice would cease. Some enlightenment on Beagles! Thank you for your insight David, Lesley and Marcelo!


Gilbey, Sir Walter. Hounds of Old Days . Saiga Publications, 1979 Clark, Ann R. and Brace, Andrew. International Encyclopedia of Dogs , Howell, 1995 Popular Dogs, Visualization of Breed Standards . Publisher George Foley, 1962



ABOUT THE BREEDERS David Hiltz Starbuck Beagles

David has owned Beagles since 1965 and started showing in 1971. He has bred, owned and shown many of the top Beagles in America. Ch. Starbuck’s Hang’em High, was owned, bred and handled by David to become the breed record-holder in his day. This Hound is still the leading sire in the breed today with 130 champions. David originally showed under the Starbuck prefix and now with his wife, Lesley, use StarbuckTorbay. (This is a combination of each of our kennel names.) As well as in as America, David has shown Beagles in Scandinavia, Europe, England, New Zealand and Australia. David has lived in Aus- tralia and has owned/bred seven Australian champi- ons. He believes this coupled with the fact that he has seen Beagles in most parts of the world gives him a unique perspective on the breed. He has judged Beagle Specialties in Denmark and Sweden and has judged National Beagle Club (US). Lesley and David are the first husband and wife to have had that honor.

Marcelo Chagas Torque Beagles

Marcelo Chagas has been involved in the sport of pure bred dogs since an early age in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He started in Junior Handler competition. In 1981, he went to California to work as an assistant for Bergit and Clay Coady. After a great period, there he went back to Brazil and started work- ing as a professional handler. In 2002, he moved back to US. He always had a passion for breeding and mentor- ing his clients on their breeding programs. He has bred many breeds over the years: Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Pointers, Dober- mans, Wire Fox Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers and Manchester Terriers. When a client of his decided to no longer breed Beagles, over 25 years ago, Marcelo formed a partnership with Marco Flavio Botelho—all his dogs and add to Torque Beagles owned by Marco and his wife Alessandra. Over the years they have bred many champions all over the world, four multiple BIS winners in the US, num- ber one Hound in Canada, two National Specialty Winners in the US and the Top Winning Beagle (both Varieties) in AKC History with 44 All Breed Best in Shows. Nine years ago Marcelo formed a partnership with Dr. Roger P. Travis when he began breeding Manchester Terriers under the “Cottage Lake” prefix. In 2015, they were the proud breeder-owner-handler of the two National Specialty Winners (Beagles and Manches- ters), both bitches with multiple generations behind bred by them.

Lesley Hiltz Torbay Beagles

In the mid 60s, Lesley purchased her first Beagle, and commenced showing the same year. At this time, she was living in Australia. In 1968, she made the first of many trips to America where she vis- ited many of the top-winning Kennels of the day. In 1970 she went to England for two years and dur- ing this time showed Beagles throughout England. In 1988 she moved to the US and continued to breed and exhibit Beagles (in partnership with her hus- band, David). They are still actively breeding and exhibiting today. In Australia, in 1974 Lesley obtained a license to judge all the Hounds, and in 1979 all Toys.



By Denise Nord


hile I was writ- ing this article, a dear friend of mine called to tell me she had just been diagnosed

by the trainer you’ve paid money to. But it wasn’t working. I loved training my dog, even as frustrating as it was; and I was really interested in competing in obedience with her. Th e instructor rolled her eyes and told me to correct Chelsea harder. About the same time, I was fi nishing my BA in psychology and one of my lab classes was to train a rat to press a bar using posi- tive reinforcement. Hmm, slowly a light bulb went on—could I do this to train my Beagle? She liked food. And then Karen Pryor and Gary Wilkes came to town in the early 1990s and introduced clicker training. Much more fun for both Chelsea and I and we began to have success in the obedience ring. Since then I’ve shared my life with 7 more Beagles and we train and compete in con- formation, obedience, rally, tracking, agility and lure coursing. Some day we will add nose work, barn hunt and dock diving to that list. Beagles of all trades! I’ve had three genera- tions of show line Beagles who have excelled in multiple activities. To live successfully with a Beagle, you have to appreciate their independence and sense of humor. Th ey are great problem solvers, often to the dismay of their owners. If you want to compete in dog sports with them, you need to be willing to let your ego go and know that they will embarrass you at some point, no matter how well trained. Th ey will come up with unique ways of getting the job done (or not) Once when showing in Utility, I sent my girl out on the directed (glove) retrieve. She ran out to it, then saw a glove in the next ring and decided maybe she should bring that one back too. Luckily the Golden Retriever in that ring didn’t notice, or care, that sud- denly a Beagle was in his ring, eyeing the glove. Rio came back when I called her— and the judge was laughing so hard he couldn’t write “NQ” on our score sheet. Beagles will stop in the middle of a beauti- ful agility run with their nose up, air scent- ing someone’s ringside lunch and leave to see if they will share.

with cancer. Her attitude is great, she likes her doctors and is being proactive about her treatment plan and I hope to celebrate many holidays and achievements with her for a long time. I met her because of my Beagles. My Beagles have introduced me to some of the best people on earth. Beagle people are much like their dogs: happy, sociable, and we like to hang out together—and eat! A Beagle’s sweet face, sense of humor and wagging tail are beacons to dog lovers. I try to participate in “Meet the Breeds” at shows and events and it was at one of these that I met my friend. She was planning ahead for a puppy; I was planning to breed. Unfortunately my girl only had one puppy who still lives here, but I connected my friend up with another breeder friend and soon a Beagle puppy joined their family. I am so happy right now that she has that Beagle girl as part of her comfort and care team. Th ey give us their unconditional love, and have a great ability to console us while we stroke their soft, velvety ears. What more can you ask of a dog? A Beagle fi rst entered my life over 25 years ago. I brought home a poorly bred puppy who was still too young to leave her litter; and even at 6 ½ weeks old, she was smarter than I was. Oh, did I struggle with her; she lived up to all the bad things I’d heard about Beagles: stubborn, loud, mouthy, single minded; except for ‘stupid’—this was one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever met. Chelsea taught me that Beagles are crazy smart, tena- cious, creative little dogs with a wicked sense of humor. Th at if I wanted her to play my games, I had to make it worth her while. Back then, most dog training was correction based, “Do this or else.” I had a dog that said, ‘Do that and I’m outta here.’ When you are a novice dog owner, it’s hard to buck the sys- tem, hard to not follow the instructions given

Photo by Bill Nord

Photo by Lois Stanfield

Humorist Dave Barry described Beagles as “a nose with four feet”. People bring them home because of their cuteness, failing to realize (or remember) that they were origi- nally bred to hunt rabbits. Th ey don’t need humans to guide them, their instinct takes over and o ff they go. When the nose drops, the ears turn o ff . A Beagle will keep his nose down to fi gure out where the bunny went— when the bunny is sitting in plain sight, 20 feet in front of them! But the bunny got there in a circular fashion, not a straight line, and the Beagle must follow his nose to get there. Th at sense of smell is what drives a Beagle and why they are so food motivated and have a strong prey drive.


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