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History The Kerry Beagle is among the oldest breeds of Irish Hounds. Kerry Beagles are believed to be the descendants of Celtic Hounds or Old Southern Hounds, which are pedigrees dating back to as far back as 1794. Kerry Beagles are said to have arrived with the Celts and have been developed throughout the years due to crosses with French Hounds and Southern Hounds. By the 18th and 19th centuries, these dogs have dwindled in number. There was only enough of them to fit in one kennel, which was owned by the Ryan family of Scar-teen, County Limerick. The interest of various individuals in native breeds paved the way for the increase in number of Kerry Beagles.
Many specimens of this breed were brought by Irish immigrants to the United States, where they contributed to the Trigg strain of American Foxhounds. Kerry Beagles also played a big role in the development of the American Black and Tan Coonhound. In 1991, the Irish Kennel Club granted recognition to this breed.
Appearance The Kerry Beagle is similar in appearance to the American Black and Tan Coonhound. Kerry Beagles are fairly large dogs with a broad and long head. Their eyes are deeply set, have an intelligent expression, and come in shades of brown and yellow. Their well-proportioned muzzle is medium in size, and they have a black nose that is self-coloured according to their coat. They have a level or scissors bite. These dogs have a medium length, strong, arched neck. Their chest is deep and they have straight and strongly boned forelegs with muscular thighs. They have feet with well-arched, round toes. Their tail is long and carried gaily.
Colours The coat of these dogs may come in colours of black, white, tan, black and tan, or blue mottled and tan.
Temperament These dogs are energetic and free-spirited. Being pack hounds, Kerry Beagles have strong hunting instincts. It's best for them to be kept on a leash in case they need to be out in public, because they might chase other animals. Despite being hunting dogs, though, they still make good pets because they can get along well with children and other dogs.
Weight These dogs have a height that ranges from 22 to 24 inches, and a weight that can be up to 60 pounds.
Problems There are no known health problems specifically associated with Kerry Beagles. The ailments affecting dogs of this breed are those common to other dog breeds as well.
Living Conditions Dogs of this breed can be kept inside apartments as long as they're given sufficient exercise. It's still best, though, for these dogs to be provided with a yard where they can run around and do some physical activities.
Requirements As with other dog breeds, Kerry Beagles need much exercise. They should be taken out for long walks twice or thrice daily. It's also advisable for these dogs to be allowed to run around in a large, secure area.
Training Requirements Kerry Beagles should be trained and socialized properly at a young age. These dogs are responsive to obedience training and can pick up commands fairly quickly. Owners should train these dogs using firm and gentle methods, and they should also know how to display strong leadership skills and make the dog see that humans are higher in pack rank than canines.
Life Expectancy Kerry Beagles are expected to live for around 10 to 14 years.
Grooming Little grooming is needed for these dogs. Their coat should just be brushed occasionally, and bathing these dogs should be done only when they are already too dirty or when they smell bad. Bathing these dogs frequently can strip natural oils off their coat.
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More Kerry Beagle Information: Check out our Kerry Beagle Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.
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