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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Beagle (dog)

The Beagle is a breed of small to medium-sized dog, who is a member of the Hound Group.

The origins of the beagle are clouded but they probably originated in Wales, where the Celts raised the ancestors of today's breed.

A beagle-like dog was used in France as a courser for hares and brought to England at the time of the Norman Conquest.

The first mention of the beagle by name in English literature dates from ca. 1475 in the Esquire of Low Degree.

During the days of King Henry VIII of England, beagles were sometimes bred with wiry coats and were so small they could be carried to the hunt in coat pockets.

The modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound.

Beagles were in the United States by the 1840s at the latest, but the first dogs were imported strictly for hunting and were of variable quality. It was accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1884.

Former US President Lyndon Johnson had several Beagles, and caused an outcry when he picked up one of them by its ears during an official greeting on the White House lawn.

In June 2006, a trained Beagle assistance dog was credited with saving the life of its owner after using her owner's mobile phone to dial an emergency number.

A 9-year-old beagle called Purin broke the world record for the most balls caught by a dog with its paws in 2015 —14 balls in 60 seconds.

The Peanuts character Snoopy denied being a beagle, the first time he was referred to as one in the strip. As Snoopy dozed, Charlie Brown paraphrased Gertrude Stein: "Beagles on the grass, alas." To this, Snoopy replied, "I ain't no stupid beagle!"

Beagles are the dog breed most often used in  animal testing, due to their size and passive nature. Of the 8,018 dogs used in testing in the UK in 2004, 7,799 were Beagles (97.3%).

Most Beagles are born with a white tipped tail. That was a trait selected by breeders to make them easier to identify among tall grass and dense vegetation while hunting.

Some Beagles exhibit a behaviour known as reverse sneezing, in which they sound as if they are choking or gasping for breath, but are actually drawing air in through the mouth and nose. The exact cause of this behaviour is not known, but it is not harmful to the dog.

Sources Wikipedia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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