A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: A sturdy compactly-built hound, conveying the impression of quality without coarseness.
CHARACTERISTICS: A merry hound whose essential function is to hunt, primarily hare, by following a scent. Bold, with great activity, stamina and determination. Alert, intelligent and of even temperament.
TEMPERAMENT: Amiable and alert, showing no aggression or timidity.
HEAD & SKULL: Fair length, powerful without being coarse, finer in the bitch, free from frown and wrinkle. Skull slightly domed, moderately wide, with slight peak. Stop well defined and dividing length, between occiput and tip of nose, as equally as possible. Muzzle not snipey, lips reasonably well flewed. Nose broad, preferably black, but less pigmentation permissible in lighter coloured hounds. Nostrils wide.
EYES: Dark brown or hazel, fairly large, not deep set or prominent, set well apart with mild appealing expression.
EARS: Long, with rounded tip, reaching nearly to end of nose when drawn out, set on low, fine in texture and hanging gracefully close to cheeks.
MOUTH: The jaws should be strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
NECK: Sufficiently long to enable hound to come down easily to scent, slightly arched and showing little dewlap.
FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders well laid back, not loaded. Forelegs straight and upright well under the hound, good substance and round in bone, not tapering off to feet. Pasterns short. Elbows firm, turning neither in nor out. Height to elbow about half height at withers.
BODY: Topline straight and level, chest let down to below elbow. Ribs well sprung and extending well back. Short in the couplings but well balanced. Loins powerful and supple, without excessive tuck-up.
HINDQUARTERS: Muscular thighs. Stifles well bent. Hocks firm, well let down and parallel to each other.
FEET: Tight and firm. Well knuckled up and strongly padded. Not hare-footed. Nails short.
TAIL: Sturdy, moderately long. Set on high, carried gaily but not curled over back or inclined forward from root. Well covered with hair, especially on underside.
GAIT/MOVEMENT: Back level, firm with no indication of roll. Stride free, long reaching in front and straight without high action; hind legs showing drive. Should not move close behind nor paddle nor plait in front.
COAT: Short, dense and weatherproof.
COLOUR: Tricolour (black, tan and white); blue, white and tan; badger pied; hare pied; lemon pied; lemon and white; red and white; tan and white; black and white; all white. With the exception of all white, all the above mentioned colours can be found as mottle. No other colours are permissible. Tip of stern white.
SIZE: Desirable minimum height at withers 33cm (13ins.) Desirable maximum height at withers 40cm (16ins.).
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
THE ILLUSTRATED BREED STANDARD
The Beagle Club has produced an illustrated breed standard which explains the above points in depth.
It is available from the club stand or by post at a cost of £1.50 plus P&P. Overseas enquiries welcome.
It is a must for all aspiring judges.