The Beagle ear
(Thank you to Ann and Colette Wright for helping us translate our articles)
"Long, with rounded tip, reaching nearly to end of nose when drawn out. Set on low, fine in texture and hanging gracefully close to cheeks"
So stated the FCI and English standards concerning Beagle's ears; and the American standard seems to agree, adding some more particulars.
"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."
Although a sufficient clear description, some points leave us in some doubt.
For an example, what does it mean: "Set Low" or "Set moderately low"?
The standard doesn't help us much, in this case, because it doesn't give a measure and neither does it show a method to understand if the eras of our Beagle are set in the correct position.
Dog show culture and
the knowledge and experience of good breeders in the past, give us tips, at times empirical, to assist us in our judgement/decisions.
We list here two alternative methods for assessing the ear position.
The method schematized on the left is that used by the official breed standards, and is of use not only for Beagles, but as a general method to evaluate any dog.
Observing the dog which is looking to the horizon, the ear attachment should be at the same height as the upper part of then eye socket.
The second method, perhaps the most in widespread use among breeders, has the advantage of beeing easier to visualise.
To obtain the correct position, we draw a line that starts from the nose, crosses the eye and ends at the ear attachement.
Using the second method described above, the one we prefer, we can see an ear positioned high on the left, and one set too low on the right.
In assessing the ear position, the dog shold be relaxed. If it is tense or attentive, the ear is raised up. If the dog is frightened or unhappy the ear is set low and back.
In the picture on the right we see a long low set ear (as in our Italian hound), both these characteristics are almost always associated.
Wath does it means: "almost entire absence of erectile power"?
The American standard stated that the erectile power should be absent. It means that Beagles ears must not have inside cartilage or muscles that allows it to stand erect over the point of attachment.
That limited erectile power is present in different terrier breeds, that even having pendant ears are able to pick up their ears over the head.
To be honest it's a rare fault and personally I have nevere seen in my life such a strange trait in a Beagle.
On the contrary I have seen Beagles that when felt showed some "cartilage" or better some thickness of skin. Ears where set close to the head anyway, but shape and mobility where compromised.
How a correct ear is done ?
1. Correct set ear.
2. Rounded at the tip
3. When drawn forward the tip of the ear should reach almost to the tip of the nose.(but not overlap it)
4. The ear is set forward an not low (this trait is not pointed out by the standard but is desirable).
5. The front edge is sligthly folded back (this trait is
present only in the