According to dog registration information from the American Kennel Club, the beagle has been among the most popular breeds in the United States since at least 2003. Part of what makes these hunting dogs so appealing is their appearance. From their height to their coloration to their bodies, a number of key physical features set the beagle apart from other breeds, particularly its large eyes, perky tail and droopy ears.
The AKC recognizes two beagle categories based on height: 13 inches or below and between 13 and 15 inches. While beagles who are not participating in dog shows may be taller than 15 inches, this height range shows beagles are generally smaller hounds. Beagles normally weigh between 20 and 35 pounds. Beagles are prone to obesity because they will eat any food they are given or can find.
According to AKC standards, the beagle should look like a “miniature foxhound.” They also have many of the key hound features, including large expressive eyes and well-proportioned bodies. Similarly, beagle coat colors should be any accepted hound color. Those colors include the traditional tricolor; lemon and white; red and white; chocolate; tan and white and the less traditional blue tricolor. Coat colors can come in an assortment of patterns and shades.
Beagles have a distinctive head. Their muzzle is long and squared at the end. Their skulls are also long compared to other breeds. Like many hounds, beagle ears are not cropped but are long enough that their tips could reach the end of the dog's nose. The ends are also rounded. Beagle eyes are large and seem always to be begging for something; their eyes are either hazel or brown in color, according to the AKC standard.
Beagles have a high-set tail that stays upright and usually is feathered at the end. Their front legs are straight while their back legs are more angled and muscular so they can chase after game with more speed. The dog's shoulders should slope down a little and their chest should be broad while still being proportionate to the beagle's body. Beagles do not have silky or long coats. Instead, they have a medium-length close, hard hound coat.
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