Early Beagles — small enough to fit in your pocket
The earliest dogs that were referred to as “Beagles” were small hound dogs that stood at 8 to 9 inches tall. These tiny dogs were called “Pocket Beagles” since they were literally small enough to fit into the pockets of hunters. In the mid-18th century, hunting increased in popularity and larger dogs became the preferred trail companions, leading to this line of miniature Beagles being overlooked, and eventually becoming extinct in 1901.
In the 18th century, two new hound breeds were developed: The Southern Hound and the North Country Beagle. As fox hunting increased in popularity, these dogs were crossed with larger dog breeds such as Stag Hounds, eventually creating the Foxhound. The 1840’s brought the development of the standard Beagle and the distinction of four different Beagle varieties: Medium Beagle, dwarf/lapdog Beagle, fox Beagle, and the rough-coated/terrier Beagle. In 1887, there were only 18 documented packs of Beagles left in England. However, Beagle lovers were determined to preserve their lineage. The Beagle Club and the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles were founded in 1890 and 1891 respectively, and came together to raise the number of Beagle packs in existence to 44 by 1902.