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.
188 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014
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