The beagle, a small to medium sized dog, is a member of the hound group. The breed known as the modern beagles was developed in Great Britain in the 1830s as a combination of the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and the Harrier. The modern beagle is, specifically, a scent hound, and is an exceptionally popular hunting dog, used for tracking fox, rabbits, and other small game. This excellent sense of smell and sharply honed tracking instinct has also earned the beagle a place as a detection dog, employed in airports and cargo depots around the world to scent illegal agricultural imports and prohibited food.
Though the beagle is an excellent working dog, its size and good temper make it a very popular family dog as well. Beagles are not aggressive, neither are they timid. They may be slightly shy with strangers, but are easily won over and quick to become comfortable with people. Their gentle nature makes them the perfect dogs for families and additionally the best pet dog for kids.
Beagles are highly intelligent, but can be very stubborn, and not easy to train; as a result, they do have not historically featured well in obedience trials. Beagles do respond well, however, to food reward training, though they can become bored and easily distracted.
The breed is not prone to inherited health problems, however it is very susceptible to weight gain, which can be warded off through regular exercise. They have a natural level of energy that means they do not easily tire during exercise, and do not need to be exercised to exhaustion.