The American Kennel Club (AKC) provides comprehensive breed standards for all recognized purebred dogs, including the beloved Beagle. This guide will help you understand the intricate details that make a Beagle a Beagle, according to the AKC’s standards.
According to the AKC, one of the most distinguishable features of a Beagle is its head. The skull should be fairly long and slightly domed at the occiput. The cranium is expected to be broad and full, giving the Beagle its unique, adorable appearance.
Beagle ears are a defining characteristic of the breed. According to the AKC, Beagle ears should be set moderately low and be long, reaching nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose when drawn out. They should be fine in texture and fairly broad, with an almost complete absence of erect power – a notable characteristic that sets Beagles apart from other breeds.
The ears should sit close to the head, with the forward edges slightly turning to the cheek, rounded at the tip. This gives the Beagle its distinctive “hound” look, which dog enthusiasts worldwide love.
The eyes of a Beagle are another captivating feature. They should be large and set well apart, contributing to the breed’s soft and hound-like expression. Beagle eyes are typically of a brown or hazel color, giving a gentle and pleading look that many find irresistible.
The Beagle’s muzzle should be of medium length, straight, and square-cut. The stop, or the point where the muzzle meets the skull, should be moderately defined. This structure contributes to the Beagle’s overall balanced facial features.
Beagle jaws should be level, with lips free from flews, which means that the lower lips shouldn’t hang below the jawline. Their nostrils should be large and open, a characteristic that enhances their scenting abilities, a trait that Beagles are well-known for.
The AKC also defines certain physical traits as defects in Beagles. These include a very flat skull, narrow across the top, excess of dome, eyes that are small, sharp, and terrier-like, or prominent and protruding. A long, snipy or cut-away muzzle is also considered a defect.
The body of a Beagle should exude strength and agility while maintaining a sense of elegance.
Neck and Throat
The Beagle’s neck should rise free and light from the shoulders, strong in substance yet not loaded and of medium length. This attribute, along with a clean throat free from folds of skin, contributes to the breed’s overall well-proportioned appearance. However, a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw may be allowable.
In terms of the body, the AKC considers a thick, short, cloddy neck a defect. This is because it deviates from the agile and free profile that is desirable in a Beagle.
Shoulders and Chest
The Beagle’s shoulders should slope, appearing clean, muscular, and not heavy or loaded. This conveys the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength – a reflection of the breed’s active nature and history as a hunting dog.
The chest of a Beagle should be deep and broad but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. This contributes to the balanced proportions of a Beagle, allowing for their distinctive gait and agility.
According to the AKC, straight, upright shoulders are considered a defect in Beagles. Similarly, a disproportionately wide or narrow chest is not considered ideal for the breed.
Back, Loin, and Ribs
The back of a Beagle should be short, muscular, and strong. The loin should be broad and slightly arched, and the ribs well sprung, providing an abundance of lung room. This body structure is crucial for the breed’s endurance and agility.
The AKC identifies a very long or swayed or roached back as a defect. A flat, narrow loin or flat ribs are also undesirable in Beagles.
Forelegs and Feet
The Beagle’s forelegs should be straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to the size of the hound. The pasterns (the joints between the paw and the leg) should be short and straight.
The Beagle’s feet should be close, round, and firm, with full and hard pads. This solid footing is essential for a breed that was originally bred for long hunts in a variety of terrains.
We’ll need to extract more information from the document to understand the defects related to the forelegs and feet. Let’s continue with the next portion of the text.
Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs, and Feet
The Beagle’s hips and thighs should be strong and well-muscled, providing abundant propelling power. This is a reflection of the breed’s history as hunting dogs, where speed and endurance were highly valued.
The stifles (the dog’s knees) should be strong and well let down, and the hocks (the joints between the paw and the leg on the hind legs) should be firm, symmetrical, and moderately bent. Like their forefeet, the Beagle’s hind feet should be close and firm.
According to the AKC, cowhocks (when the hocks turn inward), straight hocks, a lack of muscle and propelling power, and open feet are all considered defects in Beagles.
The Beagle’s tail is set moderately high and is carried gaily but not turned forward over the back. It has a slight curve and should be short compared to the size of the hound. The tail should also have a brush (a thicker section of hair).
The AKC considers a long tail, a teapot curve, or a tail inclined forward from the root as defects in Beagles. A rat tail with an absence of a brush is also not desirable.
The Beagle’s coat should be close, hard, and of medium length – a true hound coat. This type of coat provides some protection against environmental factors during hunting or outdoor activities.
According to the AKC’s breed standard for Beagles, a short, thin coat of soft quality is considered a defect.
In terms of color, the AKC accepts any true hound color for Beagles. This leaves room for various color combinations and patterns in the breed, such as the blue tick beagle and many more.
Generally, a Beagle should resemble a miniature Foxhound, solid and big for their inches. They should have the “wear-and-tear” look of a hound that can last in the chase and follow their quarry to the death. This general appearance reflects the Beagle’s rich history as a durable and tenacious hunting dog.
The AKC provides a “Scale of Points” that assigns value to each characteristic of the Beagle:
- Head (including skull, ears, eyes, muzzle): 25 points
- Body (including neck, chest and shoulders, back, loin, and ribs): 35 points
- Running Gear (including forelegs, hips, thighs, hind legs, and feet): 30 points
- Coat: 5 points
- Sternum: 5 points
This scale emphasizes the importance of each trait in determining the overall standard of the breed. It’s clear that the body and running gear, which contribute to the Beagle’s agility and endurance, are considered especially significant.
Let’s continue extracting more information from the document to provide a full understanding of the Beagle’s breed standards.
According to the AKC, there are two varieties of Beagles based on their height:
- Thirteen Inch: This variety is for Beagles not exceeding 13 inches in height.
- Fifteen Inch: This variety is for Beagles over 13 inches but not exceeding 15 inches in height.
This distinction allows for a range of sizes within the breed while still adhering to the breed’s overall standards.
The AKC states that any Beagle measuring more than 15 inches shall be disqualified. This ensures that the Beagle retains its characteristic size as a small to medium breed.
Packs of Beagles
When judging packs of Beagles, the AKC uses a different score of points:
- General levelness of pack: 40%
- Individual merit of hounds: 60%
This scoring system emphasizes the importance of uniformity in a pack, as well as the individual qualities of each Beagle.
Levelness of Pack
When judging packs of Beagles, the first thing considered is that they present a unified appearance. The hounds in a pack must be as near the same height, weight, conformation, and color as possible. This ensures a level of uniformity that is highly valued in pack hounds.
Individual Merit of the Hounds
The hounds’ individual merit considers the Beagles’ individual bench-show quality. A level and sporty pack can be brought together, but the individual qualities of each Beagle are still highly valued.
The Beagle’s manners are an essential part of the breed’s standards. Beagles must work gaily and cheerfully, with flags up (tails wagging), obeying all commands cheerfully. They should be trained to heel up, kennel up, follow promptly, and stand. Cringing, sulking, and lying down are behaviors to be avoided. Furthermore, a pack must not work as though in terror of the master and whips. It’s recommended that the whip be used as little as possible with Beagles.
When presenting Beagles, the master, and whips should be dressed alike. The master or huntsman should carry a horn, and both the whips and master should carry light thong whips. One whip should carry extra couplings on a shoulder strap.
Recommendations for Show Livery
For Beagle shows, it’s recommended that individuals wear a black velvet cap, white stock, green coat, white breeches or knickerbockers, green or black stockings, white spats, and black or dark brown shoes. The vest and gloves are optional. Ladies should turn out exactly the same, except for a white skirt instead of white breeches.
A Good Beagle
It emphasizes that getting a level and sporty pack together does not necessarily mean that every hound in the pack will be a good Beagle. This underlines the importance of individual assessment and care in the breeding and rearing Beagles.
The document concludes by stating that the standards were approved on September 10, 1957. As mentioned earlier, it’s always a good idea to check the AKC’s current standards on their official website for any updates since then.
With this, we have covered all the major aspects of the AKC’s breed standards for Beagles as provided in the document. The standards cover everything from physical characteristics to behavior, color, size, and even the appropriate attire for show events. If there’s anything specific you’d like to delve into further or have any other questions, do let me know!
Here is a summarized version of the critical points about the AKC’s breed standards for Beagles:
- Head: The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at the occiput, with the cranium broad and full.
- Ears: Beagle ears should be set moderately low, long, fine in texture, and broad, with almost complete absence of erect power.
- Eyes: Beagle eyes should be large, set well apart, soft and hound-like, typically of a brown or hazel color.
- Muzzle: Should be of medium length, straight and square-cut. The stop should be moderately defined.
- Jaws: Should be level, with lips free from flews. Nostrils should be large and open.
- Neck and Throat: The neck should rise free and light from the shoulders, strong in substance yet not loaded, and of medium length.
- Shoulders and Chest: Shoulders should be sloping, clean, muscular, and not heavy or loaded. The chest should be deep and broad but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders.
- Back, Loin, and Ribs: The back should be short, muscular, and strong. The loin should be broad and slightly arched, and the ribs well sprung.
- Forelegs and Feet: Forelegs should be straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to the size of the hound. The feet should be close, round, and firm.
- Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs, and Feet: Hips and thighs should be strong and well-muscled. The stifles should be strong and well let down, and the hocks firm, symmetrical, and moderately bent.
- Tail: The tail should be set moderately high, carried gaily but not turned forward over the back, with a slight curve. It should be short as compared to the size of the hound.
- Coat: The coat should be close, hard, and medium length.
- Color: Any true hound color is accepted.
- Varieties: Two varieties exist based on height: Thirteen Inch (for hounds not exceeding 13 inches in height) and Fifteen Inch (for hounds over 13 inches but not exceeding 15 inches in height).
- Manners: Beagles should work cheerfully, obeying commands. They should be trained to heel up, kennel up, follow promptly, and stand.
- Show Livery: For show purposes, specific attire is recommended for individuals.
It’s important to note that these are the standards set by the AKC for the purebred beagle dog breed, and there may be slight variations in individual dogs. Each Beagle is unique and may not perfectly align with these standards, but it can still be a great companion!