The following scale of points and description of the beagle has recently been issued by the club which looks after its interests :

Head

Head of fair length, powerful without being coarse, skull domed moderately wide with an indication of peak, stop well defined, muzzle not snipey, and lips well flewed.

Nose

Nose black, broad, and nostrils well expanded.

Eyes

Eyes brown, dark hazel or hazel, not deep set or bulgy, and with a mild expression.

Ears

Ears long, set on low, fine in texture, and hanging in a graceful fold close to the cheek.

Neck

Neck moderately long, slightly arched, and throat showing some dewlap.

Shoulders

Shoulders clean and slightly sloping.

Body

Body short between the couplings, well let down in chest, ribs fairly well sprung and well ribbed up, with powerful and not tucked up loins.

Hind Quarters

Hind Quarters very muscular about the thighs, stifles and hocks well bent, and hocks well let down.

Fore Legs

Fore Legs quite straight, well under the dog, of good substance, and round in bone.

Feet

Feet round, well knuckled up, and strongly padded.

Stern

Stern of moderate length, set on high, thick, and carried gaily, but not curled over the back.

Colour

Colour, any recognised hound colour.

Coat

Smooth variety: smooth, very dense, and not too fine or short. Rough variety: very dense and wiry.

Height

Height, not exceeding sixteen inches.

General Appearance

A compactly built hound, without coarseness, conveying the impression of great stamina and vivacity.

Classification

It is recommended that beagles should be divided at shows into rough and smooth, with classes for "Beagles not exceeding sixteen inches and over twelve inches," and "Beagles not exceeding twelve inches"

Value.

Head..........

20

Ears........................

10

Eyes and expression

10

Body ........................

15

55

Value.

Hind quarters........

10

Legs and feet............

20

Stern...............

5

Coat...............

10

45

Grand Total 100.

Pocket beagles must not exceed ten inches in height. Although ordinary beagles in miniature, no point, however good in itself, shall be encouraged if it tends to give a coarse appearance to such minute specimens of the breed. They shall be compact and symmetrical throughout, of true beagle type, and show great quality and breeding.

Disqualifying Point

Any kind of mutilation. (It is permissible to remove the dew claws.)

The real and proper work of the beagle is to hunt hares and even rabbits, and such charming little hounds as some of those already alluded to, do this work wonderfully well. Any man of ordinary pedestrian powers can follow them from start to finish, for a rabbit does not as a rule live long before hounds - and, as all know, will go to ground at the earliest opportunity. The hare, too, fails to go away at such a break neck pace when the slower beagle is plodding after her, as she succeeds in doing when bullied and flustered by the dashing harrier with a lot of foxhound blood in him.

From the earliest times there have been at least three varieties of the beagle, ordinary smooth coated, rough or wire haired, and others black and tan in colour. Richardson, in 1851, writes of a Kerry beagle, which, he says, is "a fine, tall, dashing hound, averaging twenty-six inches in height, and occasionally, individual dogs attain to twenty-eight inches. He has deep chops, broad, pendulous ears, and when highly bred is hardly to be distinguished from an indifferent bloodhound." The same author further says they are used to hunt the deer, and that there are two packs in the neighbourhood of Killarney.

The Beagle Disqualifying Point

I have made enquiries in various parts of Ireland, as to the survival of the Kerry beagle and his present whereabouts. One of the packs alluded to by Richardson - that of Mr. Herbert, at Muckross - was discontinued as long ago as 1847. These hounds were twenty-six inches in height, most of them black and tan in colour, some of them all tan. The other pack alluded to by the same authority, that of Mr. John O'Connell, at Grenagh, Killarney, was dispersed at the same time, which was during the distressful period of the great famine, when many of the Irish gentry, almost ruined, were compelled, under the Encumbered Estates Act, to sell their family domains at an enormous sacrifice. I could name more than one instance where a valuable estate was sold for five years purchase! The late Mr. O'ConnelFs hounds, were likewise black and tan. A few couples of these hounds were taken by Mr. Maurice O'Connell's nephew to Mr. John O'Connell, who kept them at Lake View, increasing his pack to about twenty couples. In 1868 he, however, handed them over to Mr. Clement Ryan, of Emly, co. Tipperary, who now preserves the only pack of Kerry beagles (the Scarteen) in the kingdom - -not many years ago they were the most popular hounds in the south of Ireland.

At Darrinane a pack was kept for many generations; the late Mr. Buller, of Waterville, and Mr. Chute, of Chute Hall, all in County Kerry, had small lots of hounds. I have had kindly forwarded to me a description of this hound as he ought to be, and it was compiled by Mr. Macnamara, of Killarney, who has made a special study of the variety.

Head

Moderately long broad skull, oval from eyes to poll, about same length from nasal indenture between eyes to point of nose - should slope or slightly arch from eyes to point of nose. Forehead low, eye-brows strong and raised somewhat, cheeks not full. Eyes large, bright, and intelligent, varying in colour from bright yellow to deep buff, and deeper brownish yellow. Muzzle long, slightly arched round, and full under. Nose fine in texture, not square, but slightly tapering. Nostrils large. Upper lips hanging, and fuller towards the corner of the mouth. Teeth level, of elegant form, and strong.

Ears

Large, pendulous, falling below the neck, and set on low on the side of the head.

Body

Muscular, fairly thickset, moderate length, strong, well set on legs.

Neck

Slightly arched, thick, nearly level with the back of the skull at the point of joining. Skin full in front, and dewlap developed.

Chest

Deep, not broad underneath. Shoulders strong, and broad across the back, which is moderate in length, and strong.

Loins

Broad and muscular, and slightly arched. Thighs thick and slightly curved.

Tail

Long and evenly furnished with hair, thickest at the root, and carried curved upwards from the loins.

Legs

With plenty of bone and muscle, short, and strong; feet round and close.

Coat

Hard, close, and smooth.

Colour

Black and tan; blue mottled and tan; black, tan, and white; tan and white.

Height

22 inches, more or less, which should depend upon the depth of the body."

I have dwelt thus long on this hound because, so far as I am aware, its description has not hitherto been published, and because there is a likelihood of this fine old variety becoming as extinct as the dodo, and, perhaps, it is in danger of being forgotten altogether.

Mr. Ryan writes me that his hounds average about twenty-four inches, are smooth coated, black and tan, with "very long ears, and hanging jowls, but have no strain of the bloodhound in them. They are remarkable for their tongue, which is rich and wonderfully sweet. Their noses are very keen, and in work they are true and persevering. Not so fast as the foxhound, they possess a considerable turn of speed, are docile, and take to hunting at once."

These beagles at Emly were formerly restricted to hare hunting, but with the increasing scarcity of that quarry the master has had to fall back upon deer, and he and their followers have been very much pleased with the sport they afford with the hare until November, and with the deer for the remainder of the season. Mr. Macnamara further says that their cry in the chase is full, sonorous, and musical; when hunting in full cry the head is thrown upwards frequently; on trail their note is of prolonged sweetness.

Allusion has been made to the Stud Book, which, published by the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles, has now reached its sixth volume. It is carefully edited by Mr. L. E. Rickards, and will no doubt be useful in preserving the identity of both these varieties of the hound.