Voices of Experience: The Beagle
BY CLAIRE “KITTY” STEIDEL continued
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
278 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2019
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