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AKC Breed Standard.

The Beagle Standard outlines exactly what makes a Beagle, a Beagle and is what every show breeder strives to breed for. Conformation dog shows are a competition to find which dog matches closest to its written breed standard, judged by AKC licensed judges. To learn more about AKC conformation dog shows, click here.

Official Standard for the Beagle


The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at occiput, with cranium broad and full. Ears-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. Eyes-Eyes large, set well apart-soft and houndlike-expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color. Muzzle-Muzzle of medium length-straight and square-cut-the stop moderately defined. Jaws-Level. Lips free from flews; nostrils large and open. 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.



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. Defects-A thick, short, cloddy neck carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed "throatiness."

Shoulders and Chest: 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 and 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.


Running Gear

Forelegs and Feet: Forelegs-Straight, with plenty of bone in proportion to size of the hound. Pasterns short and straight. 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.


Hips, Thighs, Hind Legs and Feet: 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.


Tail: 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 curve or inclined forward from the root. Rat tail with absence of brush.

Coat: A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. Defects-A short, thin coat, or of a soft quality.


Color: Any true hound color.

General Appearance

 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.

Scale of Points



Skull 5

Ears 10

Eyes 5

Muzzle 5




Neck 5

Chest and shoulders 15

Back, loin and ribs 15


Running Gear

Forelegs 10

Hips, thighs and hind legs 10

Feet 10



Coat 5

Stern 5






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.

***Not included is the portion on Packs of Beagles. These paragraphs pertain to working field dogs which Van-Mar Beagles does not breed. Illustrations included on this page are from the NBC Judge's Education website.


To read the full standard published by the American Kennel Club, click here.

To read the Visualization of the Standard published by the National Beagle Club of America, click here.

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