A sturdy hunting dog, the Beagle should look like a foxhound in miniature. His hunting ability, combined with a merry personality, has made the Beagle one of the most popular dogs in the United States according to AKC® Registration Statistics. The most famous Beagle of all is Snoopy from the comic strip "Peanuts." Today’s Beagle comes in two height varieties (13 in. and 15 in.) and any true hound color, including tri-color, red and white and lemon.
In the 1500s, most English gentleman had packs of hounds. Larger hounds tracked deer, while smaller ones went after rabbits. These were the first Beagles. The origin of the name "Beagle" may have been derived from the French term "be’geule," referring to the baying voice of the hounds when in pursuit of game, or possibly the diminutive size of the hound.
Beagles are happy-go-lucky and friendly, making them a wonderful family pet. They are also favored for their compact size and short easy to care for coat. Since they lived in packs for hundreds of years, they naturally enjoy the company of other dogs and humans. Curious and comedic, they often follow their noses–which can lead to some mischief if they are not provided with daily activity.
-info taken from American Kennel Club website