Beagle-gate: Beagle owners worldwide bite back
PUBLISHED: 14:23 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:23 11 April 2016
In our April issue editor Jan Raycroft told us why she wasn’t a fan of Beagles – and preferred black Labradors.
It’s had a big reaction after a reader posted a photo of the article on Facebook. If you love pictures and videos of Beagles, www.facebook.com/berksandbucks is the place to be, and you might enjoy some of the comments there, Beagle fan or otherwise!
Meanwhile, for those who haven’t seen the original article in our print magazine, here it is...
Truly Great British dogs
It’s time to get personal as editor Jan Raycroft reveals her favourite canine companion and the one breed she’d never have
A cosy lunch with the girls in Côte Brasserie, and it all comes pouring out from across the table… “I can’t stand him much longer, can’t even say his name – the one hope is that he runs off and moves in with the older woman next door.”
Sympathetic heads nod. We’ve either been in this sort of relationship before, or know someone who has. Eventually my lunch companion blurts out the word: “Beagle, that’s all I call it.”
Now, my friend and her partner also share their nice home with two Labs, so I know they were on the right track at one time. With plenty of room, they decided to sublet to a close friend who, seeing their dogs, asked if he could have one of his own.
“Well why not?” she confides as the waiter gets to grips with the idea that we all want two starters each as our lunch, rather than mains. “The more the merrier, we thought. Beagle arrived – our friend explained that he’d met a couple who were looking for a new home for him for family reasons. They said we could come back for more details any time. When we did – they’d moved!”
My friend lives near the coast and was assured that Beagle loved beach walks. Beagle went into hysterics at first sight of the sea, dropped flat and rigid and had to be lugged home in that position. Beagle was house-trained they understood – let’s not even go there, the stories are too revolting for a family magazine.
The only glimmer of light is that while the humans go out to work, a lady next door looks after the dogs. Even though she calls the miscreant ‘Bad Beagle’ she appears to have a soft spot for its nonsense. As my friends contemplate a move nearer to us, they are fantasising about somehow leaving Beagle with the neighbour, and no forwarding address.
I have now come into contact with three beagles, and all seemed to be off their heads. That’s if there’s anything in their heads at all, because they are notoriously difficult to train, regularly appearing in ‘10 Least Liked Dog’ lists, sometimes faring worse than pitbulls and those creepy bald things. We are not alone.
Meanwhile Labradors always top the lists of favourite British dogs, and that’s where my heart lies. Not in waddling, drooling ones or loo roll advert style Labs, but black working dog build, fleet of foot and quick of brain. You know, the ones her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family always seem to have hanging around, gazing nobly into the distance.
These skinnier Labs are the dolphins of the dog world, and not just because of their smiles. My last one could swim the width of the Thames, once horrifying me as it wrecked a fishing match on the Windsor side of the river, having set off from the Brocas at Eton to retrieve a floating ball.
And yes, Labradors can be both food stealers and as disgusting as beagles – as anyone who’s gagged their way through a bathing session after they’ve rolled in a rotting carcass will know – but we make room for this because of all their charms such as when you ask them to find you a stick and they bring back a felled tree trunk.
So readers, if you wish to argue the merits of your beagle, do let me know. I will even visit to witness and record the miracle. Just as long as you don’t try to put Beagle in my car when I make my escape.