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English Beagles

English Beagle Dogs

We have received quite a bit of email asking us what the difference is between an English Beagle and an American Beagle. This page is dedicated to this subject to clear up any misunderstanding.

There is only ONE Beagle breed, simple called the Beagle…without the name of the country. With this being said, while there is only 1 breed, England and the United States have slightly different breed conformation standards.

So, what does this mean? It basically means that a Beagle that is bred to fit the English conformation standards will have a slightly difference appearance than a Beagle that is bred in the United States to fit the AKC conformation standards. 
two Beagles sitting at window
Photo courtesy of Paul Sozio
Therefore, while they are both the same breed, one can also say that there is a difference with the English Beagle dog.

In order to get a clearer idea of what these differences are, it is best to look to the official guidelines.

In some cases, it is only a matter of wording… in other cases the wording will call for a slightly different look that affects the dog’s appearance. We have broken this down for you.

So, as you will see, the wording is dissimilar yet the context is the same for the most part…and the largest variance is the acceptable size.
Conformation Variances

General Appearance:

English Beagle Version: A sturdy, compactly-built hound, conveying the impression of quality without coarseness.

AKC: A miniature Foxhound, solid and big for his inches, with the wear-and-tear look of the hound that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.


English Version: Amiable and alert, showing no aggression or timidity.

AKC (Put under the term “Manners”: The hounds must all work gaily and cheerfully, with flags up--obeying all commands cheerfully. Cringing, sulking, lying down to be avoided.

Head and Skull:

English Version: Fair length, powerful without being coarse, finer in the bitch, free from frown and wrinkle. Skull slightly domed, moderately wide, with slight peak. Stop well defined and dividing length, between occiput and tip of nose, as equally as possible. Muzzle not snipey, lips reasonably well flewed. Nose broad, preferably black, but less pigmentation permissible in the lighter coloured hounds. Nostrils wide.

AKC: The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Muzzle--Muzzle of medium length-straight and square--cut--the stop moderately defined Defects--A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome, eyes small, sharp and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long, snipy or cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman-nosed, or upturned, giving a dish-face expression. Ears short, set on high or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin.


English Beagle Version: Dark brown or hazel, fairly large, not deepset or prominent, set well apart with mild appealing expression.

AKC: Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike--expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color.


English Version: Ears long, with rounded tip, reaching nearly to the end of nose when drawn out. Set on low, fine in texture and hanging gracefully close to cheeks.

AKC: Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching when drawn out nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad-with almost entire absence of erectile power-setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturning to the cheek--rounded at tip.


English Version: The jaws should be strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e., the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth, and set square to the jaw. 

AKC: Jaws--Level. Lips free from flews; nostrils large and open.


English Beagle: Sufficiently long to enable hound to come down to scent easily, slightly arched and showing little dewlap.

AKC: Neck and Throat--Neck rising free and light from the shoulders strong in substance yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of skin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable 
English Beagle dogs

English Version: Shoulders well laid back, not loaded. Forelegs straight and upright, well under the hound, good substance, and round in the bone, not tapering off to feet. Pasterns short. Elbows firm, turning neither in or out. Height to elbow about half height at withers

AKC: Forelegs--Straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to size of the hound. Pasterns short and straight. Defects--Out at elbows. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked or Dachshundlike. Feet long, open or spreading.

Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs and Paws

English Beagle: Hips and thighs strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power. 
Stifles strong and well let down. Hocks firm, symmetrical and moderately bent. Feet close and firm. Defects--Cowhocks, or straight hocks. Lack of muscle and propelling power. Open feet. 

AKC: Feet--Close, round and firm. Pad full and hard. Defects--Out at elbows. Knees knuckled over forward, or bent backward. Forelegs crooked or Dachshundlike. Feet long, open or spreading. 

English: Topline straight and level. Chest let down to below elbow. Ribs well sprung and extending well back. Short in the couplings but well balanced. Loins powerful and supple, without excessive tuck-up.

AKC: (Does not specially mention the body, but goes over the shoulder and chest area & then has separate text that covers the back, loin and rib area) : Shoulders sloping--clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded--conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest deep and broad, but not broad enough to interfere with the free play of the shoulders. Defects--Straight, upright shoulders. Chest disproportionately wide or with lack of depth.

Back, Loin & Ribs…Back short, muscular and strong. Loin broad and slightly arched, and the ribs well sprung, giving abundance of lung room. Defects--Very long or swayed or roached back. Flat, narrow loin. Flat ribs.


English: Sturdy, moderately long. Set on high, carried gaily but not curled over back or inclined forward from the root. Well covered with hair, especially on underside. 

AKC: Set moderately high; carried gaily, but not turned forward over the back; with slight curve; short as compared with size of the hound; with brush. Defects--A long tail. Teapot

See also: Beagle tails


English Beagle: Short, dense and weatherproof.
AKC: A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects--A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality.


English Version: Any recognized hound colour other than liver. Tip of stern white. 

United States : Any true hound color.

Size (This is the one element that stands out, the AKC has designated 2 different size categories for the Beagle, while the English Beagle has 1 size only).

English: Desirable minimum height at withers 33cm (13 ins). Desirable maximum height at withers 40cm (16 ins). 
American: There shall be two varieties:

Thirteen Inch--which shall be for hounds not exceeding 13 inches in height.
Fifteen Inch--which shall be for hounds over 13 but not exceeding 15 inches in height.

Disqualification - Any hound measuring more than 15 inches shall be disqualified. 
See also: 

Beagle hound dogs- Why this breed is in the hound group.
Pocket Beagle information - Details on smaller than standard Beagles
What is a bench Beagle - There are actually two different definitions.
What are bed bug Beagles -  Sometimes this breed is put to work in an unusual way.
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