Five Famous Beagles (Just in Time for this Weekend's BeagleFest)

So two guys walk into a one-acre field and release a mouse. They send Beagles, Fox Terriers, and Scottish Terriers out to see who can find the mouse the fastest. The Scottish Terriers never found the mouse. The Fox Terriers took 15 minutes to find it. And the Beagles found the mouse in less than a minute.

If there's a moral to this story -- which is a true one based on the research of John Paul Scott and John Fuller in the 1950s -- it's probably simply that Beagles kick butt. And these scent hounds are so popular that they get their own festival in Phoenix; the 10th Annual BeagleFest is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, at Kiwanis Park. More than 1,000 people and 600 Beagles are expected to attend.

In honor of beagles and their impending festival, we present "Five Famous Beagles:"

Bagel: Like the child of a celebrity, Bagel's famous by proxy. She was the beloved first Beagle of musician Barry Manilow, and was featured on several of Manilow's album covers. Manilow got Bagel in the early 1970s, and when she had puppies, Manilow gave one to Marie Osmond for her 18th birthday on the Donny and Marie Show. Bagel had died by the early '90s, but will be forever immortalized on album covers in the "easy listening" and "adult contemporary" sections of record stores.

Snoopy: As the star of the Peanuts comic strip (sorry, Charlie Brown), Snoopy has demonstrated his exceptional skills since his debut on October 4, 1950. Initially a silent character, Snoopy grew into a dog that essentially thought he was a person: he walks on two legs, reads Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, and plays the accordion. He also takes on other persona, like the World War I Flying Ace, Joe Cool, and even a Flashdance-type character named "Flash Beagle."

Odie: The main sidekick of Garfield in Jim Davis' comic strips, Odie is nothing like Snoopy. He's dumb, he's hyper, he drools, and he gets kicked off the table by Garfield all the time. But he's famous for his idiocy and constantly flapping tongue -- just like some people.

Lyndon Johnson's beagles: Former United States President Lyndon Johnson had several dogs, but perhaps the best known were Him and Her, Beagles born in 1964. President Johnson was often photographed walking the dogs, and caught hell from the American public in 1964, when he lifted Him up by his ears while greeting a group of people on the White House lawn. In 1964, Her died after swallowing a stone, and the following year, Him died after being hit by a car while chasing a squirrel across the White House lawn.

The Beagle Boys: Is there anything cuter than a criminal gang of Beagles in red shirts trying to rob an old duck? We think not, which is why this gaggle of nefarious-but-adorable Beagles from the world of Walt Disney makes our list. They first appeared in a ten-page story in 1951, and have been trying to rob Scrooge McDuck since 1952. They further show they're top dogs by having a pet dog of their own, a dachshund named 64.

Perhaps the next big Beagle will be at BeagleFest, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Ruben Romero Corporate Ramada in Kiwanis Park, 6111 S. All-America Way in Tempe. Admission costs $5 per person; Beagles and children younger than ten get in free. Visit for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea