The Kerry Beagle is one of the oldest Irish Hounds, believed to be descendant from the Old Southern Hound or Celtic Hounds, detailed pedigrees date back as far as 1794. Originally bred as a scent hound used to track game, larger hounds were then sent in to do the actual hunting. This breed is still used today for hunting hare and takes part in drag trials. The Kerry Beagle almost died out and may have been revived by adding braque de l'Ariège, a French hound.
The Kerry Beagle is a medium sized hound with a broad head, a short coat and long ears. Height is between 56–61 cm (22–24 in). Weight is up to 27 kg (60 lb). Black and Tan is the more common colour but the coat may be tan and white, blue mottled and tan or black. The breed's looks suggests speed and endurance.
Kerry Beagle "Coco" - 18 month old 40lb Kerry Beagle mix circa 2012
This breed of dog is a pack hound and does hold the hunting instinct strong. They do however make very good pets as they are good with children and other dogs. They require a lot of exercise, regular twice to three times daily walks and free runs.
Juliette Cunliffe (2001):- Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. ISBN 0-7525-6561-3. Published by Parragon