Beagles have been in pop culture for decades, so it’s easy to see why everyone loves the breed. And although they’re famous for their incredible sense of smell, I bet there’s a lot about the breed that you didn’t know.
From the insane reason why the US government employs 120 Beagles, to the reason why over 1,000 Beagles gathered in the UK, and one of the coolest Guinness world records set by a Beagle – these 10 incredible Beagle facts will leave you stunned.
These are the 10 most interesting Beagle facts that almost no one talks about. By the end of this article, make sure to leave a comment and let me know which facts you already knew, if any at all.
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1. Zoos around the world rely on a Beagle to detect pregnancies in polar bears.
We all know about the Beagle’s incredible sense of smell, and their ability to detect cancer, explosives, and even Covid 19. But did you know that they’re able to sniff out pregnancies? And they detect it in the polar bears…of all animals.
A Beagle named “Elvis” had been trained to detect specific proteins that polar bears produce when pregnant. And if you’re concerned about the dog’s safety, don’t worry. Elvis never makes direct contact with the bears.
Instead, he’s brought into a lab with fecal samples of the polar bears to analyze. Now, you must be wondering why we do a simple lab test to locate these proteins. Well, it’s because lady polar bears show all the signs of pregnancy after mating…despite not really being pregnant.
Lab tests aren’t reliable because the hormones produced by pseudopregnant bears and actual pregnant bears are close enough to throw off the results. But for Elvis? He has an impressive 97% accuracy rate.
2. A Beagle helped bring 900,000 fans into a baseball stadium.
When the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants departed from the big apple, the city established the New York Mets in 1962. One fun fact is that their original mascot was a Beagle named “Homer.”
Despite the miserable record of the inaugural Mets baseball club, some believe the fact that the Mets still manage to attract over 900,000 fans in attendance was due to Homer. The fan-favorite Beagle even had his own spot behind home plate at the Polo grounds stadium.
And fans loudly cheered every time Homer made an appearance. He was pretty much a celebrity in New York city. So what happened to the fan-favorite mascot?
Homer was trained to celebrate a Mets home run by running the bases. And while the Beagle executed flawlessly during rehearsals, in his first real performance, he touched first and second base before taking a detour towards the center field.
Sadly, he was “fired” after that. It’s likely all the odors in the field got him distracted, so we don’t blame him. Could you pull this off if all you could smell were the juicy new york hot dogs?
3. The Beagle has achieved something no other dog breed has in canine popularity.
Everyone knows someone with a Beagle. But did you know that the Beagle was the most popular dog breed in America from 1954 to 1959? They’ve been consistently popular – landing in the top 10 popular list every single decade.
In fact, no other dog breed has done this. It’s crazy to think that not even the Labrador Retriever, who’s made headlines for being the most popular dog breed for 31 consecutive years, has pulled off such a feat.
However, there may be a few reasons for their consistency. For example, Beagles were popular during the heyday of hunting. And throughout the decades, the breed has made appearances in pop culture many times, such as the introduction of Snoopy from Peanuts.
Or Odie from the Garfield comics. And let’s not forget Courage the Cowardly dog, or US president Lyndon B. Johnson’s two Beagles named “him” and “her.”
With the whole world being reminded of these dogs from time to time, it’s no surprise they’ve been popular for so long.
4. A Beagle can smell you out from over 10 miles away.
To be specific, some Beagles have shown the ability to smell humans or objects as far as 10 to 12 miles away. And considering the average suburb to be roughly 10 miles wide, that means a Beagle can actually track you down all the way from the other side of a city.
In fact, the typical Beagle can pick up odors as small as a picogram. A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram! But what makes them so efficient at tracking scents isn’t only because they have a ridiculous amount of scent receptors.
These dogs were practically built to sniff. Have you ever wondered why Beagles have long, low-hanging ears? Well, it’s because the ears help sweep scent molecules on the ground into their nose. And their short legs allow them to comfortably keep their nose stuck to the ground when tracking.
But it doesn’t stop there. Beagles also have a much larger olfactory bulb than other dogs, making them much more efficient at processing and analyzing odors.
5. Beagles were nicknamed the “jelly dog.”
Throughout history, Beagles have been called many things. There’s the “pocket beagle,” the “singing beagle,” “regal beagle” and so much more. But there’s one nickname that’s a bit peculiar, especially when you find out the reason behind it.
And that’s the “jelly dog.” In what universe would a dog be associated with jelly? This one took a little bit of digging, but as it turns out, the Beagle has long been associated with hunting hare and rabbit.
At least for the British, these animals were traditionally served with red currant jelly. Hence, the nickname, “jelly dog.” It’s an odd connection, but somewhat fitting…i guess.
6. Charles Darwin has a unique connection with the Beagle.
Charles Darwin, famously known for coining “darwinism,” is perhaps the most significant biologist in human history. But did you know he was also a fan of the Beagle? This was largely due to the fact that his voyager ship was named after the breed.
Charles Darwin, at the young age of 22, embarked on a five year journey to South America as a naturalist aboard “Her Majesty’s Ship Beagle”…or the HMS Beagle. In fact, it was the third ship with the name Beagle in it.
This was the very coastal survey mission that contributed to his theory of evolution, so the HMS Beagle is a pretty important ship. So much so that in 2003, the British-led mission to Mars named their probe, the Beagle 2. And yes, it was named in honor of the HMS Beagle.
7. A Beagle holds a world record for most ball catches by the two front paws.
Bet you would have never guessed. However, there’s a Beagle named “Purin” that holds the Guinness World Record for most balls caught in a dog’s front paws in under a minute. The furry goalie set this new record after catching 14 mini soccer balls while standing on her hind legs.
And she did this by beating her own previous world record of 11 balls. According to her owner, the Beagle spends only 15 minutes per day practicing this unique skill. However, the Tokyo-based Beagle is multi-talented.
When she’s not catching balls, Purin can actually skateboard, walk on two legs, jump rope, and other impressive skills. But what’s even more impressive is that this isn’t the only world record Purin has.
In fact, she also holds a Guinness World Records title for the fastest 10 meters traveled on a ball by a dog. She did this in a time of just 11.9 seconds, making Purin a double world record holder.
8. The US Government (USDA) employs 120 Beagles.
If you’ve ever seen a Beagle inspecting baggage at airports, it’s likely you spotted a member of the cute yet effective “Beagle Brigade.” This special group of airport detection dogs was started back in 1984 by the USDA.
The first real test run was at the Los Angeles International Airport, as a way to scan international visitors during the 1984 Olympics in LA. It made a lot of sense with so many international travelers coming into the country.
Their primary role of the brigade is to detect invasive agricultural items, such as certain fruits, nuts, meat and flowers that are potentially carrying diseases, parasites, or insects that could literally destroy the US agriculture overnight.
Here’s one example. Two Beagles named “Chipper” and “Candie” once discovered two Giant African Snails in the luggage of a passenger in Atlanta. These invasive species of snails produce like wildfire, laying over 1200 eggs a year.
And the worst part is that they eat over 500 types of plants, while being incredibly hard to get rid of. In fact, experts estimate that these Beagles saved the department about 10 years of work and roughly $1 million dollars to eradicate the snail if it were to get in the country.
So why did they choose the Beagle? It’s not only because of their insane smell, but also because they’re just less intimidating. But is it a success? Massively. According to the USDA, the Beagle Brigade program is responsible for over 75,000 seizures of prohibited items each year.
9. There’s a Beagle that went from rags to royalty.
What’s better than a heartwarming “rags to riches” story? A” rags to riches” story…about a Beagle. In 2015, a Beagle named “Guy” was found lost in the woods of Kentucky. The dog was taken into a shelter, but despite any effort, his owner could not be found.
Just one problem. That shelter was a kill-shelter, and Guy’s scheduled date to be put down was quickly creeping up. Fortunately, the shelter reached out to a Canadian rescue group that specialized in Beagles.
The rescue group then contacted Meghan Markle, who was in Ontario at the time shooting her TV show, “Suits.” It was the perfect match. Markle brought in Guy as a companion for her Lab-shepherd mix. Since then, Megan met Harry…and the rest is history.
10. Over 1,000 Beagles came together to set a world record in the UK.
Purin may be the most impressive individual Beagle to set a world record, but this is definitely the most impressive collective effort to claim a record. In 2018, an organization called “Beaglelandia” set the world record for the largest single-breed dog walk.
1,029 Beagles came together at Merseyside Park in the UK to take a 1-mile walk and accomplish canine history – beating out the long-standing record held by 783 Yorkies in Mexico City.
Beagle owners brought their dogs from all over the country – including one that went as far as taking the ferry from Ireland. But this event wasn’t just for show. They managed to raise roughly $13k dollars for a few Beagle rescue groups and charities in the country.
This only proves that Beagles can be amazing dogs both individually and as a collective group.
So let us know in the comments section, did you know any of these facts about Beagles? And did we miss any good ones? Let us know!
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