Ye Olde Pocket Beagle, also known as the Miniature Beagle, the Toy Beagle, Teacup Beagle, or even the Queen Victorian Beagle, is a small dog whose history dates clear back into the 1300’s. In modern days, however, they are a dog that is threatened with extinction, having been replaced by larger, long-legged cousins and other toy breeds that are more frequently seen in the spotlight. Sadly, Ye Olde Pocket Beagle is rarely seen in the countries of his origin – England, Wales and Ireland, and only a few select breeders raise true examples of this amazing little breed.
Pocket Beagle History
Dating back to the 1300 and 1400’s, the Pocket Beagle was considered to be a miniature hunting dog, standing no more than 9 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder). Small in stature, but large in heart, these tiny individuals were commonly known as “glove” dogs, because of their tiny size, or “pocket Beagles” due to the common practice of carrying these small dogs in one’s pocket as the hunters rode off in the hunt of rabbit and fox. When the quarry “went to ground” or escaped into the thicket where larger dogs could not go, the Pocket Beagles could be loosened, to flush the prey from their hiding spaces and allow the hunt to continue.
Coming from the same bloodlines as their larger hunting brothers, the Pocket Beagle was recognized as simply being a smaller version of the same dog and the practice of breeding exceptionally small specimens with one another helped to preserve the Miniature Beagle’s small size. Desired both as a small hunting dog and as a companion for the ladies, the smaller Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle, the larger price he would fetch and, for quite some time, the Pocket Beagle enjoyed his fair share of popularity.
Sadly, however, with the changes in game hunting and the ever-changing fashion trends of the court, the Pocket Beagle would eventually be put aside in favor of more exotic and unique lap dogs and longer-legged and more capable hunting hounds. By the mid-to-late 1900’s, Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle had disappeared from England, Ireland and Wales, and less than 50 specimens were found in the United States. The Miniature Beagle was at risk of becoming extinct.
Modern-day Miniature Beagles the subject of much controversy and debate. Where the term once referred to a hearty and robust little hunting dog, the Pocket Beagle of today is often viewed as a severely inbred, dwarfed, or crossbred Beagle, due to the number of unethical breeders who were quick to jump on the Teacup puppy bandwagon. For this reason, if choosing Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle for a pet, always demand to see the Pocket Beagle puppy’s parents to ensure they are sound, healthy, and also Miniature Beagles as well. Reputable breeders are not afraid to answer questions and discuss the history of their dogs and the breed, in general.
Pocket Beagle Appearance
Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle is a miniature version of the standard Beagle and, for this reason, should be viewed as such. While the original Pocket Beagles of old were commonly said to be no more than 9 inches at the shoulder, in an attempts to revive this unique little dog and save them from extinction, the standard on Ye Olde Pocket Beagle has been raised to allow any dog under 12 inches in height and they can weigh anywhere from 5-15 pounds in weight, with occasional individuals weighing a bit more. With the allowance of larger specimens, breeders hope to expand the Pocket Beagle gene pool and eliminate the unhealthy practice of inbreeding to produce the teacup or toy varieties.
Pocket Beagles come in all the regular hound colors, which means they can be black and tan, black tan and blue tick, black tan and white, black tan and redtick, blue tan and white, tan and white, black red and white, brown and white, red and white, lemon and white, black and white, black, black fawn and white, blue, blue and white, lemon, brown, red, tan, or even white. In addition to this diverse color variety, they can also be ticked, spotted, or can have black, brown, tan, or white markings. In a nutshell, Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle can come in just about any color and style you can imagine.
Pocket Beagle Temperament
Like their larger counterparts, the Pocket Beagle is known for his fun-loving and affectionate nature, as well as for his loyalty to his family. For centuries, these adorable little dogs have served both as loving lap-dogs as well as reliable hunters, proving their versatility and desire to be around people. However, it is important to note that the Miniature Beagle was bred as a hunting dog for centuries and, because of this, his hunting instinct is very strong. While he will rarely do more than hassle the cat, many of these dogs are known for their tendency to run off after some scent that’s attracted their attention, often resulting in their winding up in the “Lost Dog” category of the local paper.
In addition to his love of wandering off, the Toy Beagle is also notoriously hard-headed and stubborn. While this determination is a great bonus in a hunting dog, the same trait can prove daunting when applied to the pet Pocket Beagle. Anyone considering adopting one of these little rebels into their family had best be prepared to bring a lot of patience to the plate – chances are, you’re going to need it.
Pocket Beagle Exercise Info
The Pocket Beagle is a bundle of energy who loves to run around, chase things, and follow any number of interesting scents. For this reason, it’s very important that anyone considering a Toy Beagle realize that, despite their small appearance, these guys do demand their fair share of exercise. No pampered and lazy dog is this; the Pocket Beagle wants to chase balls and play fetch, he likes to wrestle and run, and he’s not afraid to throw back his head and serenade you with a soulful song when he’s finished.
Pocket Beagle Grooming Info
Grooming the Pocket Beagle is relatively easy – a good brushing with a soft bristled brush will take care of any of those itchy spots, as well as loosening up any dander or loose fur, and a bath once or twice a month will keep your Olde English Pocket Beagle’s coat simply glowing. Keeping the toenails trimmed short will help to prevent sore paws, as well as risking them catching them on the carpet, and the Pocket Beagle, like any floppy-eared dog, should have his ears checked regularly for any signs of dirt or infection.
Pocket Beagle Training Info
If you are challenged with training a Pocket Beagle, be ready to put your patience to the test in most cases. Fun-loving and stubborn as a bull, most Pocket Beagles simply can’t be bothered with learning tricks and such mundane tasks as lay down and roll over. Lay down? Shyeah-right’ only after he’s finished making the cat run for cover and making sure there isn’t a bird traipsing about in his back yard. If you want to train a Pocket Beagle, you basically have to trick them.
In order to train one of these little rebels, you will want to use a technique known as “positive reinforcement.” This means that, rather than scolding your dog when he does something you don’t like, you simply ignore him and, when he does something that you want, you reward him with a treat and lots of excitement, happiness, and praise. Making a big production of the desired behavior encourages Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle to continue doing this action, in hopes of getting more goodies and attention.
Pocket Beagle Health Info
Surprisingly, unlike most purebred dogs, the Pocket Beagle is known for having almost no genetic problems. Hale and hearty, true examples of this breed commonly live long and healthy lives with relatively few trips to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, unethical breeders have resorted to breeding dwarfed or inbred specimens and the result is that many Olde English Pocket Beagles that are advertised are of very poor quality, commonly possessing a wealth of genetic problems. In truth, Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle is said to have no commonly seen genetic problems. Potential buyers should be wary of the following however:
- Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Cherry Eye
- Luxation of the Patella
- Hip Dysplasia
Pocket Beagle Right Breed Info
If you have a very active and fun-loving family with a lot of patience, chances are that you may find Ye Olde English Pocket Beagle to be an ideal pet. With minimal grooming requirements and very few genetic health concerns, they are a happy little dog with a lot of love to give during their long lives. Perhaps, the only downfall to this breed is in the difficulty that is finding a good specimen. Careful consideration should be made, prior to purchase, and it’s highly recommended that you ensure the puppies come with written proof of a guarantee, should your veterinarian find them to be suffering any form of genetic or hereditary defect.
If you take the proper precautions and choose wisely, you’re sure to find a Pocket Beagle that’s just right for you. Now give him lots of affection and praise and you’re sure to find he’s a little dog that will give you lots of love in return!
More Information about the Pocket Beagle Dog Breed