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The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.
Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.
Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
There is considerable doubt as to the origin of the Beagle. Beagles are known throughout Europe, and are the smallest of the scent hunting hounds. In literature, they were mentioned as far back as 1475.
Their popularity has been greater in the United States and Canada. Beagles have been in the "Top Ten" of most popular breeds for over 30 years, and are one of the most popular breeds in America.
The UKC Hunting Beagle is a "total" dog, excelling as a hunter while possessing excellent conformation. Looks and ability go hand-in-hand in developing the ideal UKC Hunting Beagle.
The Beagle has been referred to as “a foxhound in miniature”. A smooth, short-haired hound, slightly longer than tall. Ears lay close to the head. Usually tri-color (black, white and tan), but all typical hound color combinations are acceptable.
Because the Beagle is first and foremost a hunting hound, scars (the result of honorable wounds) shall not be considered faults nor shall they be penalized by Judges. This includes cuts, nicks, notches on the ears, and/or ears that are frayed at the edges from working in brush, tall grass, etc.
Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
An independent personality is a generalization of most hounds, although individuals may vary. Has a good hound voice. Usually friendly disposition. Can make a good house pet or outside dog.
Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Head & Skull
The skull is fairly long. It is slightly domed at the occiput. The cranium is broad and full. The muzzle is of medium length. It is straight, and square cut, with the stop moderately defined.
A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors or level bite.
Disqualifications: Overshot bite. Undershot bite. (Overshot or undershot is defined as having a visible gap between the upper and lower teeth.)
The large eyes are set well apart. They have a soft, hound-like expression; gentle and pleading. They are brown or hazel in color.
The ears are set moderately low, setting close to the head. The forward edge turns slightly into the cheek. They are long reaching when drawn out, extending nearly to the end of the nose. They are fine in texture. The ears are fairly broad and rounded at the tip; with almost no erectile power.
The medium-length neck rises free and light from the shoulders. It is strong in substance, yet not loaded. The throat is clean and free of folds of skin. A slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw is acceptable.
Faults: A thick, short neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulder. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin, termed "throatiness."
The clean, muscular, sloping shoulders convey the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. They are not heavy nor loaded.
The straight forelegs have plenty of bone in proportion to the size of the hound. The pasterns are short and straight.
Faults: Straight, upright shoulder. Out at the elbows. Knees buckled or bent backwards. Crooked or bowed forelegs.
The chest is deep and broad, but not so much as to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. The back is muscular and strong. The broad loins are slightly arched. The well-sprung ribs provide an abundance of lung room.
Faults: Disproportionately wide chest. Lack of chest depth. Very long, swayed, or roached back. Flat, narrow loins. Flat, narrow ribs.
The strong, well-muscled hips and thighs provide an abundance of propelling power.
The stifles are strong and well let down. The firm, symmetrical hocks are moderately bent.
The feet are close, round, and firm. The pads are full and hard.
Faults: Long feet. Open, spreading feet.
The tail is set moderately high. It is carried gaily over the back with a slight curve, not turned forward. It is short as compared with the size of the hound, and has a brush. Faults: A long tail. Excessive curve. Inclined forward from the root. Rat tail with absence of brush.
The Beagle has a close, hard, hound coat of medium length.
All typical hound color combinations. No solid colors are acceptable.
Height and Weight
Not to exceed 15 inches. Height is measured across the shoulders at the highest point (withers), with the hound standing in a natural position, with its feet well under it, not leaning forward or backward.
(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)
Over 15 inches in height.
(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Overshot bite. Undershot bite. (Overshot or undershot is defined as having a visible gap between the upper and lower teeth.)
Download Beagle Breed Standard (PDF)
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Official UKC Breed Standard
Revised January 1, 2013
©Copyright 1990, United Kennel Club