A hardy, sturdy, squarely built small hound, the Beagle has a sleek, easy-care, short coat, most often in red, orange, or lemon, with white trim (legs, collar, blaze, and tail tip) or on a white background, and often with a dark saddle. The Beagle looks like a small English Foxhound. The skull is broad and slightly rounded, and the muzzle is straight and square. The black nose has full nostrils for scenting. The long, wide ears are pendant. The brown or hazel eyes have a characteristic pleading expression. The tail is carried gaily, but never curled over the back. There are two height classes: 13 to 15 in. and under 13 in.
The Beagle is one of the most popular scenthounds because of his energy, willingness, and sweet disposition. The breed probably originated as a cross between the Harrier and other hounds in England. The Beagle has been used in packs, alone, and in pairs for hunting hare, pheasant, and quail. He has also served as an excellent narcotics-, contraband-, and even termite-detection dog and makes a fine family companion. Unfortunately, because they are fairly uniform in size and small, Beagles are often used for medical experimentation.