Kerry Beagle

Type: Hound

Height: 22-24 inches

Weight: 60 lbs.

Life Span:

Litter Size:

Country of Origin: Ireland




Description: The origin of the Kerry Beagle description as "beagle" is unknown, as the Kerry Bealge was never a small dog like the familiar Beagle. In fact, in earlier times, the Kerry Beagle was even larger, but has carried the label of Beagle for centuries. The present-day word for the breed in the Irish language is pocadan, which describes him as a hunting dog. In the beginning, he was mainly used for stag hunting, a sport requiring speed and stamina. He is now generally utilized for hare hunts as well as drag trials. The exhilarating sport of foot hunting for hare is pursued in Ireland mainly for the enjoyment of following a fine pack of hounds. Watching these dogs from a high vantage point as they work the rocky mountainsides is a never-ending thrill, and listening to their beautiful voices echo across the valleys culminates the hunt. The Native Dogs of Ireland says that, "it is extremely rare if a hare is caught. The Hunt Master invariably calls off the hounds should the hare be in any danger or distress." Drag trials are held in Ireland for the Kerry Beagle. The Kerry hounds fan out in a large circle when casting, and automatically turn to the first dog that finds the scent and indicates it by "opening" with a loud bay. They have astonishing speed and independence.

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Other Names: Pocadan

Colors: Black and tan, blue mottled and tan, black/tan/white, or tan and white

Coat: Hard, close and smooth

History: From very early times, a large distinctive scent-hound has trod the Emerald Isle. He most likely arrived with the Celts and has been refined over the years with crosses to the Southern Hound and French hounds. By the 18th and 19th centuries, their numbers had dwindled until they were primarily in only one kennel owned by the Ryan family of Scar-teen, County Limerick. With interest in native breeds growing, however, there are now a good number of fine packs with Kerry Beagles hunted throughout rural Ireland. Many specimens came with Irish immigrants to the USA, where they contributed to the famous Trigg strain of American Foxhounds as well as being one of the major stems of the American Black and Tan Coonhound.

Registries: Irish Kennel Club (IKC)