Eventhough this breed is named Beagle, which is derived from the Irish word beag meaning small, this is actually medium to large sized breed with average height between 56-61 cm, which is 22-24 inch and weigh is usually around 27 kg, which is 60 pounds.
According to the official breed standard, the Kerry Beagle has a short, close and smooth coat. The coat is most often in black and tan, but it can also be blue mottled and tan, black tan and white or just tan and white.
The Kerry Beagle is a strong and athletic breed with relatively squar shape. These dogs have strong arched necks, long but also broad head, slightly arched muzzle, large oval shaped eyes, long hanging ears that are set low on the sides of the head and the tails is long and evenly furnished with hair.
The Kerry Beagle was bred for work, more specifically to hunt and their utilization formed their personality. Originally, they were bred to hunt larger game like staghounds, but today, they mostly hunt foxes or hares.
To be good hunters, the Kerry Beagles must be lively hounds built for speed and endurance and indeed, these hounds are known for amazing speed. Of course, they have very strong prey drive and because they were used to hunt in groups, they also have strong pack mentality. These dogs are also quite vocal, known for their baying, which can be heard for miles.
But this is not only amazing hunter. The Kerry Beagle makes excellent family companion, active family companion. They are known for being extremely gentle with kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with young child unsupervised. They typically also do not have problems with other dogs in the family. Other household pets might be problematic, due to the breeds strong preydrive, but it can be influenced by early socialization.
As you can probably imagine, these dogs require quite a lot of daily physical exercise to stay healthy and happy. Especially if you are not using this dog for hunting, than they need daily longer outdoor walks acoompanied with some playtime.
It is believed that the Kerry Beagle is very old dog breed and it is possible, that they are the second oldest living dog breed of Ireland, right after the Irish Wolfhound. Because they have long history, its very hard to properly track their exact date of origin nor their exact ancestry, but it is popularly thought, that they are descendants of dogs, vaguely known as The Old Southern Hounds or some other Celtic Hounds.
The Kerry Beagle was quite popular hunting companion, but their numbers extremely declined in the 1840s during the Great Famine. The breed survived in low numbers on Scarteen House, a canine training facility in Limerick Country and they did not become extinct. But, even today, their numbers are low and the breed is extremely rare, especially outside Ireland.
It is believed that Kerry Beagles were brought to North America by Irish immigrants and is is possible that they are one of the foundation breeds of todays American Coonhounds.
Health and Grooming
The grooming of Kerry Beagle is extremely easy. Even without any brushing they will keep the coat in great condition. They do shed some deal and if you want to keep the coat as clean as possible and also minimize the shedding, than you can brush the coat from time to time. These dogs also do not need much bathing, only when its really necessary.
The long floppy ears should be checked regularly and keep them clean and dry to prevent problems such as infections. You should also regularly check the eyes, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
There is no scientific studies about the breeds health, but according to some owners this is usually very healthy dog with average lifespan between 11-14 years.