Kerry Beagle – Astonishingly Speedy

What makes the Kerry Beagle Unique?

Not your average beagle, the Kerry Beagle is better qualified as a hound. This dog is believed to be one of the oldest of all the Irish dog breeds, originally introduced to Ireland by the Celts. Although they are best know as a hunting dog, the Kerry Beagle is known as a friendly dog, ideal for families.


Size: Males – 56 to 61 cm (22 to 24 inches)
Females – 56 to 61 cm (22 to 24 inches)
Weight: Males – 22 to 27 kg (50 to 60 pounds)
Females – 22 to 27 kg (50 to 60 pounds)
Origin: Ireland
Life Span: 10 – 14 Years
Colour: Black and tan, blue mottled and tan, black/tan/white, or tan and white
Litter Size:

Is the Kerry Beagle Right For You?

Although this Irish dog breed is a specialized hunter, the Kerry Beagle makes a good family pet, interacting well with children and other dogs. This energetic dog requires a good amount of exercise. They are quick, however, so leash Kerry Beagles when in public is strongly recommended. Regardless of its background in hunting, this breed is known for being gentle and friendly.

In 5 Words

  • Active
  • Confident
  • Independent
  • Intelligent
  • Trainable
Fun Fact

The Kerry Beagle is an ancient breed, believed to date back to the 16th century, detailed pedigrees date back as far as 1794.


Health Issues

Learn About the Kerry Beagle



General 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.

Short History

Short History of the Kerry Beagle

Of all Irish Hounds, the Kerry Beagle is believed to be one of the oldest breeds. It is said that the “gadhar,” a dog written about in ancient Irish texts, is a direct ancestor of the Kerry Beagle. It was most likely introduced to Ireland during the Middle Ages with the arrival of the Celtics.

Although the exact history of this dog breed is under dispute, it is said that the Kerry Beagle is a descendant of the Old Southern Hounds. The Kerry Beagle was developed over time, mixed with other hound breeds, possibly to create an ideal dog for hunting.

There was a great decline in the number of Kerry Beagles in later centuries, nearly leading to the breed’s extinction. However, the breed’s popularity eventually did increase, and even spread to other areas like the United States. The Kerry Beagle was formally recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1991.



A noble scenthound noted for astonishing speed and agility as well as for exceptional hunting skills, the Kerry Beagle is also valued highly for its great temperament as family pet. Although, the dog appears aggressive and ready to take action when it is hunting, it displays a calm and friendly disposition when around its family. It is an active and fun loving dog that forms strong bond with its human family. This obedient, loving, loyal and affectionate breed is very gentle, kind and playful with children. Accustomed to working in a pack along with other dogs, this dog gets along well with other dogs and pets in the family. This intelligent and obedient dog is easy to train. It is not a dog for full time indoor activities as it likes to be outside, doing some work or playing. The Kerry Beagle makes an exceptional hunter as well as a great and fun loving family pet.

Caring for Your Kerry Beagle


General Health

Kerry Beagles have an expected life span of 10 to 14 years. There are no known health problems specific to this breed.

Grooming & Bathing

Grooming & Bathing

Short and close fitting coat does not require much grooming. Its coat will remain clean and healthy with a weekly brushing. When the dog returns from hunting, it will need thorough brushing to remove burrs and thorns that may have attached to its body.

Exercise & Training

Exercise & Training

The Kerry Beagle is an easy to train dog with its bright and eager to please nature. The dog’s willingness to learn helps a great deal training. It can learn basic commands and tricks very easily and quickly. As with any dog, proper leadership skills will need to be displayed to win confidence and respect of this breed.