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‘Beaglelandia’ Dog-Walking Event Is a Guinness Record-Breaker

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Story at-a-glance -

  • The biggest single-breed dog walk ever, organized by a group called “Beaglelandia,” smashed the Guinness World Record when 1,029 beagles met with their respective owners
  • The previous world record for the largest single-breed dog walk had been held by organizers in Mexico, who sponsored a gathering of 783 Yorkshire terriers
  • Beagles, which are gentle, intelligent, full of energy and get along well with other dogs, are one of the best dogs for children and are the 5th most popular dog in the U.S.
  • One reason Beaglelandia’s success was described as “a long time coming” was because the organizers had made previous attempts to round up beagles for such a gathering that didn’t quite hit the mark

If you’ve never seen a gathering of more than 1,000 beagles in one place before, all meeting for a friendly stroll and complete with leashes attached to the humans who love them, your chance would have been Beaglelandia, the “largest single-breed dog walk” on record, held in a park in Cheshire, U.K.

Organized by Merseyside Beagle Club, the Beaglelandia event began with one dog owner, Sean Parkinson, whose goal was to get the word out to other beagle owners and set a date so they could collectively break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of dogs of a single breed. 

It worked. Guinness World Records confirmed the number and legitimacy of each participant, both beagle and owner, and the organizers of Beaglelandia were declared the new holders of “largest single-breed dog walk” title. SWNS.com, a U.K. news organization, reported the reaction Parkinson had when he learned of the event’s success and that it had “smashed” the previous record: 

“I’m over the moon. I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. It’s such a brilliant thing for us to achieve — and we had a great day doing it. People came from all over the UK with their beagles, including one person who even got on the ferry from Ireland. We made a proper event of it, setting up stalls and lots of fun things to do. It was great.”1

For years, the Guinness Book of World Records has elicited thousands of attempts to break previous documented titles, and many of them involve dogs. Record-breakers have “taken home the gold,” so to speak, for their small or incredible height, being the highest-jumpers, having the longest ears, longest tail, being the fastest hoop jumper, balloon-poppers, most tricks performed by a dog in one minute and more.2

Beagles, it turns out, are one of the best dogs for children, and represent the 5th most popular dog breed in the U.S. An ancient breed, they’re gentle, intelligent, full of energy and get along well with other dogs. They’re also trustworthy, apparently. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security even has a “Beagle Brigade” whose job it is to sniff out luggage at airports to ensure illegal agricultural contraband doesn’t make it onto American soil.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Beaglelandia helped raise money for various beagle charities. According to the featured video, more than £10,000 went toward Beagle Welfare and Unite to Care,3 the latter being an organization whose goal it is to “Negotiate the release and re-homing of beagles and other laboratory animals whilst pushing to replace animal tests with modern, safer testing methods” in the U.K.

But Beaglelandia’s success was described by many as “a long time coming,” one reason being because Parkinson and friends had made previous attempts to round up beagles for such a gathering that didn’t quite hit the mark.

While the official Facebook club reportedly has 2,100 members, the group tried for two years and almost made it in 2017, “but we just missed out on it that year,” Parkinson said. “The beagle community is quite big. We actually opened another Facebook group to reach out beyond Merseyside.”4

It may have taken a while for the legitimacy of Beaglelandia’s 1,029 participants to satisfy the proper officials. Parkinson explained that it typically takes around 15 weeks for a world record to be declared official, but everyone involved realized it would take painstaking care to ensure a technicality didn’t ruin their chances.

When such competitions are planned, legitimacy is understandably scrutinized by Guinness experts. Dog owners are required to submit proof of their dogs’ age and breeding when they attend. As such, each dog was strictly recorded. But the dog owners were game. One beagle owner, 35-year-old physical education teacher Abigail Henshall, brought two pups, Roxy and Harley, to join the walk, and reported how “very special” it was to find themselves part of the number. She added:

“It is a special thing to say you have been part of a world record, not many people can say that. There were people from all over the country, some had booked into hotels and there were beagles as far as the eye can see. It must have been a massive undertaking for organizers, but it was an amazing event.”5

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A Successful, Record-Breaking Beagle Gathering

Beaglelandia was a simple gathering after the dog owners registered their dogs to make the event completely legitimate and official. Then the owners and their beloved beagles strolled the prescribed mile past a large pond and wooded areas with lots of trees (and frequent “visits” by the dogs) to circumvent the park.

Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records observed the proud moment for Beaglelandia and everyone who came together to create what participants described as an “amazing” event:

“This attempt was organized by the Merseyside beagle club Facebook group and Bauwow, who reached out to other similar online Beagle forums in order to join forces and break the current record, thanks to their collective love of Beagles.”6