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Beagles Won Hearts Even Before Show Win

article by Alicia Robinson for The Press Enterprise - Riverside, CA

 

Richard Craig, of Norco, explains his love for beagles:
More people may want to bring home a beagle after "Uno" a Beagle, won the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but Inland dog breeders say the beagle has never really gone out of style.

"If you were to go to the American Kennel Club Web site and look at the popularity of various breeds, you would find that the beagle has been in the top five for almost forever," said Richard Craig, who shows and breeds them through his, MisBehavin' Beagles, in Norco.

At most pet stores, requests for beagles are frequent year-round. When a beagle arrives at a pet store, he said, "They are sold very quickly, sometime within minutes."

Norco dog breeder Richard Craig walks in his backyard with four of his female beagles, from left, Andy, Rosy, Hope and Lola. A beagle named Uno was named this year’s Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Craig said beagles have been one of “the top five” most popular breeds for “almost forever.”

But the dogs' higher profile, thanks to Westminster Best in Show beagle Uno, may come with complications. "It's like '101 Dalmatians' -- everybody wants a Dalmatian and they haven't got a clue what a Dalmatian's going to do," said Craig.

"Beagles aren't for everybody." Fellow Breeders, who show beagles and occasionally sell litters from their champion dogs, said a few people have called looking for puppies since Uno's win. Craig said but since UNO’s win, many more people have called him because of it. It was the first time that a beagle won Westminster's top prize, but breeders said the beagle has long been popular because it generally spawns good pets.

Breeders described beagles as smart, affectionate and good for families. Craig refers to beagles as "a cat in a dog suit" because of their playfulness.

"Children of any age can usually go up to (a beagle) and play with it, pull on its ears and lay all over it, and the beagle just loves it, "Craig said. Beagles also are considered stubborn or single-minded. Bred as rabbit-hunting dogs, they may appear oblivious to all else when they are following a scent. Their barking, if always left alone, may generate complaints, but breeders said beagles are easily trained and behave best when they have people or other dogs around to keep them occupied. "They need a job -- lots (of) exercise and training”. They need people who will be good 'pack leaders' -- who understand (or will learn) doggie psychology and commit to first learning themselves and then working with their dog daily".

Craig and most responsible Breeders try to discourage people from getting a beagle on a whim without considering whether it will fit into their lifestyle. We try to explain the needs of a Beagle and how best to bring them into a new family, so that there will not be a surge in beagles in shelters because new owners have not trained  their new family member - or realize that they're not great little apartment dogs who can be left home alone all day."

Dog breeder Richard Craig grooms Hope, an 18-month-old beagle, before a dog show. Craig shows and breeds dogs through, “MisBehavin’ Beagles”, in Norco.

Craig said, even if buyers are not sure what they are getting into, those who jump on the beagle bandwagon may be less likely to dump the dogs later, because they are so lovable.

Craig said that when buyers have returned dogs to him, "the problem's usually always with the owner" rather than the dog --someone is moving away or getting a divorce, for example. "They very affectionate and very loyal," Craig said. "They're very prettyare dogs and have fewer health problems than most of the breeds."

Beagles get along with everyone in the household rather than picking one person they like best, as some dogs do. But, he added, the best way to a beagle's heart is the proverbial way -- through its stomach. "When I sell a beagle I tell people, 'You want to be the leader of the pack?' Feed the dog every night," he said.

 

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photo by: Robin Swanson Photography

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