beagle, breed of small, compact hound developed over centuries in England and introduced into the United States in the 1870s. It stands between 10 and 15 in. (25.4–38.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 20 and 40 lb (9.1–18.1 kg). The breed is divided into two varieties on the basis of size: those under 13 in. (33 cm) in height and those between 13 and 15 in. (33–38.1 cm). The beagle's short, close-lying, harsh coat is usually colored black, tan, and white. Once widely used, either singly or in packs, to hunt hares, today it is more popular as a field-trial competitor and pet. See dog .
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