Showsight Presents The Beagle

JUDGING THE BEAGLE

By Michelle Sager NBC Education Committee Chairperson

T

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. wordpress.com. 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.

186 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014

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