In the 1500s, most English gentleman ran packs of hounds. Larger hounds were used for tracking deer, while the smaller ones chased rabbits. These were the first Beagles. Prior to 1860 the small hunting hounds of the southern United States were called Beagles, but were more of a straight-legged Basset. These dogs were tireless hunters but lacking in breed type. In the 1860’s dogs from a well-bred strain in England were imported to introduce a beautiful breed type into the American Beagle. In 1888, the National Beagle Club was formed and held its first field trial. A study hunter, the American Beagle today looks like a miniature foxhound. Beagles are very friendly with an easy going personality, making them a great family pet. They are favored for their hunting ability, compact size and short easy to care for coat. Beagles enjoy the company of both people and dogs. They will often follow their noses, which can lead to some mischief. All of this has combined to make the Beagle one of the most popular dogs in the United States today.