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Gonna Find Me a Beagle

In This Chapter

If the Snoopy-dog’s big-eyed stare, happy-go-lucky personality, low-maintenance coat, and awesome versatility have you hooked, congratulations! Now you’re ready to start the next step toward finding the dog of your dreams: figuring out where to look for your new Beagle.

Fortunately, you can search for your new hound in several great places — at least three, in fact. Unfortunately, though, Beagles may abound at a couple of other types of places you should avoid. This chapter gives you the scoop on where to look for your Beagle — and where not to look as well.

Good Places to Look

You can find a Beagle from plenty of places, but some places are decidedly better than others. The three sources I describe in this section deserve unqualified endorsements.

A matter of breeding

If you’re looking for a puppy, your best chances for finding a happy, healthy baby Beagle reside with a reputable breeder. That said, not all breeders are created equal. Some breeders produce Beagles strictly for monetary profit, sacrificing quality to enhance their financial bottom lines. Others, however, breed these little hounds because they want to improve the Beagle as a breed. These breeders put puppies ahead of profits — and if you want a puppy, you should put these types of breeders at the top of your list of places to contact.

Why work with a breeder?

A good breeder offers many advantages to the person who wants to raise a Beagle from puppyhood. First, your puppy won’t surprise you when she reaches adulthood; in other words, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what kind of adult your puppy will grow up to be. That’s because a breeder can show you the pedigree of the puppy you’re interested in, and also the pedigrees of the puppy’s parents. You’ll also be able to meet the puppy’s mom — and if you like the mom, you’ll probably like her pups, too.
A good breeder also makes sure that a puppy’s parents are certified as being free of health problems that are inherited in their breed, such as the following:

Joint problems: Many Beagle breeders have their dogs’ hips and elbows rated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to ensure that the joints have developed properly. The ratings are self-explanatory; for example, hips rated “excellent” are just that. If the joints haven’t developed correctly, the affected dog may eventually suffer from hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, both of which are painful conditions that can lead to irreversible arthritis. Other breeders opt for another procedure called PennHIP — otherwise known as the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. This procedure uses multiple X-rays to analyze a dog’s hips, and many vets consider it to be more accurate than an OFA analysis.

Eye diseases: Good breeders also screen their Beagles for eye diseases and obtain certification by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).

Technical Stuff

These certifications are called clearances, and they’re all performed by veterinary specialists such as orthopedists or ophthalmologists, although vets can also perform the OFA or PennHIP procedures.

A reputable breeder also will try to learn a lot about you. She’s likely to ask you lots of questions about your lifestyle, previous dogs you’ve owned, and other members of your family. Her questions have two purposes: to ensure that your home is suitable for a Beagle, and to learn enough about you to help you choose exactly the right Beagle puppy. (See also the “What the breeder will ask you” section in this chapter.)
And after you get your Beagle puppy, the reputable breeder won’t disappear. Instead, she’s ready and willing to serve as an expert resource who will help you solve any problems you encounter after bringing your baby Beagle home — even years later.
That said, working with a reputable breeder has some disadvantages. For one thing, a high-quality Beagle puppy doesn’t come cheap. Expect to part with several hundred dollars if you opt to buy a puppy from a good breeder and plan on having that puppy be strictly a pet. If you want a show-quality Beagle, you’ll probably pay even more. Chapter Choosing Your Beagle Soul Mate tells you more about choosing a show-quality Beagle, a pet-quality Beagle, or a Beagle who’s been bred to hunt.
Another possible problem in working with a good breeder is that you may have to wait a long time to buy a puppy. That’s because reputable Beagle breeders generally have only a few dogs and may raise only two or three litters each year. Consequently, the demand for healthy Beagle puppies generally far outstrips the supply of such dogs, and buyers may have to wait many months before a puppy is available.


No option is perfect. But if you’ve set your heart on raising your Beagle from puppyhood, the reputable breeder is the way to go.

Finding a good breeder

How do you find these paragons of Beagle breeding? One place to start is the American Kennel Club (AKC), which you can find on the Web by logging onto There you’ll find a list of breeder referral contacts: volunteers from different breed clubs who help prospective buyers find nearby breeders. (Simply locate the “Breed Contacts” heading, click “Breeder Referral,” and scroll down the alphabetical listing of volunteers until you find the Beagle entry.) E-mail the breeder referral contact for the National Beagle Club (NBC) of America, and she’ll respond promptly with some names of local Beagle breeders for you to contact.
In fact, the NBC has a list of breeders on its own Web site; just mosey on over to There you’ll find a state-by-state list of NBC members who have puppies for sale, at least occasionally. Another way to find reputable breeders is to attend a dog show. To find a dog show near you that will include Beagles, log onto the AKC’s Web site at Here you can ferret out shows that feature Beagles as much as a year in advance in up to three states per search. After you find a show, drive to the event, buy a catalog (a program that lists when and in which rings the various breeds will be shown), and take a look around the puppy has a major health problem the breeder should be willing to either refund your money or replace the puppy. Chapter Choosing Your Beagle Soul Mate explores purchase and adoption contracts in detail.

Do you belong to the National Beagle Club of America? Membership in the NBC shows that the breeder is committed to producing better Beagles in each generation. And check to see whether any of the breeder’s dogs have earned their breed championships (also known as conformation titles); a breeder with plenty of champions to brag about is a person who not only wants to breed great Beagles but has succeeded in doing so. An answer in the negative is a reason for caution; the breeder may have the best of intentions, but without the club membership or titles, you can’t be sure that she’s committed to breeding better Beagles, let alone any good at doing so.

Do you have references? A good breeder will point you to satisfied puppy buyers to help you confirm that she is, indeed, reputable. If she refers you to her veterinarian, that’s even better.

What do you want to know about me? A breeder who doesn’t respond to this question with lots of questions of her own may be a breeder to avoid. Her lack of interest in you may reflect a lack of interest in where her puppy ends up.

What the breeder will ask you

After you’ve put a few questions to the breeder, she’s likely to want to query you in return. Don’t be offended by her questions or feel that she’s trying to be nosy. Her first concern is for the welfare of her puppies. To that end, she’s likely to ask you the following questions:

Why do you want a dog? A breeder asks this question to be sure that you’re ready to commit yourself fully to raising her puppy for that puppy’s entire life, and that you’ve done some research before you’ve set off in search of a new canine companion. Good answers to this question include wanting to give and receive unconditional love; wanting someone to nurture; and wanting company. A breeder’s likely to raise her eyebrows if you respond that you want to teach your kids to be responsible (they shouldn’t be practicing on a Beagle) and looking for protection (if you’ve done your homework, you should know that Beagles aren’t meant to be watchdogs or protection dogs).

Why do you want a Beagle? A breeder asks this to see whether you know something about the breed. Chapter The Incredible, Lovable Beaglecan give you a head start on developing the right answers in advance.

Who will be primarily responsible for the puppy or dog? A breeder asks this question because she wants to be sure that a responsible adult will be the main caregiver for the puppy or dog. The right answer here is “me,” “my spouse,” “my partner,” “Mom,” or “Dad.” The wrong answer is “my kids.” No child, no matter what her age, should be the primary canine caregiver.

Have you ever owned a dog? No wrong answer here. Knowing whether you’re an experienced dog owner gives a breeder important information that helps her determine which of her puppies is best for you.

How will you exercise this dog? Good answers include walking your Beagle three or four times a day on a leash and/or letting the dog run in your securely fenced yard.

Do you have children — and if so, how old are they? Having kids doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a Beagle puppy. However, some breeders may hesitate to sell a puppy to families with children under school age.

Does anyone in your household have allergies? As Chapter The Incredible, Lovable Beagle explains, Beagles do nothing to improve a person’s allergies. If your family includes allergy sufferers, a breeder might ask whether you’re willing to make adjustments such as cleaning and vacuuming your house frequently and keeping the puppy out of the allergic person’s bedroom.

Does your living situation permit a dog? Only one right answer here: yes. And be prepared to back up your answer in the form of a lease clearly stating that pets are permitted, or documents showing that you own your home.

How do you feel about taking your dog for training and obedience classes? Once again, only one right answer: fine. Although you can start your Beagle’s training by employing the info in Chapter Choosing Your Beagle Soul Mate, the two of you are more likely to live together happily ever after if you also avail yourself of professional guidance.

Will someone be home during the day to care for the dog? The ideal answer is “yes,” but the minimally acceptable answer is that someone can come home several times a day to care for the puppy. If neither option is possible for you, show that you can arrange for a petsitter to come and care for the puppy. Chapter Traveling (or Not) with Your Beagle discusses how to find a good petsitter or dog walker.

Do you have a veterinarian, or do you know of one? Either way, a yes shows that you can get professional care for the puppy you’re considering. See Chapter Preparing for Your Beagle’s Arrival for additional advice on choosing a vet.

Gimme shelter

If you’re OK with getting an older puppy or adult dog, you may well find the Beagle of your dreams at your local animal shelter.
Maybe you thought that animal shelters carry only mixed-breed dogs, and that you’re not likely to find a purebred dog like a Beagle. Actually, though, a substantial number of animal shelter dogs are purebreds; in fact, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that a full one-third of the canine guests in most shelters are purebred. And with the Beagle being among the five most popular dogs in the United States, the chances of finding a Snoopy-dog in a shelter are reasonably good — especially if you’re patient.
You may have thought, too, that animal shelters are bleak, depressing places that look as though they’ve come straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. Think again. More and more cities, such as Richmond, Virginia, and San Francisco, California, are turning their shelters into state-of-the-art animal palaces. At these top-of-the-line establishments, canine and feline guests stay in luxuriously appointed animal apartments complete with soft beds and oodles of toys to chew and play with.
Even those shelters offering more spartan accommodations are doing more to attend to the emotional needs of their guests. I know of one municipal shelter that’s located in a very grim section of a major metropolitan city — but the shelter itself offers soft blankets and towels for its doggy guests, a daily ration of rawhide chews, daily runs in an adjoining field, volunteers to teach the dogs basic good manners, and even a doggy agility course with A-frames, a tunnel, and a tire ring to jump through.

Why adopt from a shelter?

Adopting a Beagle from an animal shelter carries two major advantages over getting one from a reputable breeder:

– The shelter dog costs much less — generally, no more than $100 to cover the cost of the dog’s care in the shelter.

– The adopter gets the enormous satisfaction of knowing that she’s saved a dog’s life.

That’s not to say that a shelter Beagle doesn’t offer some challenges over the puppy purchased from a reputable breeder. Some shelter dogs have behavioral problems — and those problems may not show up right away. For example, you may realize that your Beagle has no idea where he’s supposed to potty until after you’ve had him with you for a couple of days.
And while they make every effort to give tender loving care to every animal who needs it, shelter personnel often don’t know much about many of those animals. Those who come to the shelter as strays, of course, have no known histories at all — but even those surrendered by owners may come with very little information. In fact, such owners often give reasons for surrendering their dogs that have little or nothing to do with the real factors behind their decisions.
That said, many dogs find themselves in shelters through no fault of their own. More often than not, they’ve been the victims of irresponsible owners who haven’t taken the time to train and care for them properly. Others are victims of life changes such as the death of an owner or some other change in a family’s circumstances.

Understanding the adoption process

In some ways, the process of adopting a dog from an animal shelter doesn’t differ all that much from buying a puppy from a breeder. Both sources want to be sure that you offer a suitable home for a Beagle. Both will ask you a lot of questions to determine whether, in fact, you make the grade.
Adopting a pet from a shelter usually isn’t a one-day event. Generally, after you decide on a Beagle at an animal shelter, you’ll need to fill out an application that’s likely to include an extensive questionnaire. The questions will focus on your history with dogs, your family, your work schedule, and your living situation. If you rent your home, be prepared to give the shelter your landlord’s telephone number; many shelters will call to make sure that your landlord allows you to keep a pet. Be prepared, too, for a shelter volunteer to come visit your home to make sure that it’s suitable for your Beagle. After your application is approved, the shelter will arrange for your Beagle to be spayed or neutered, if that operation hasn’t taken place already. After the dog has a couple of days to recover from the surgery, you’ll get the all-clear to take your new friend home.
You can find more information about shelter adoptions from Successful Dog Adoption by Sue Sternberg (Howell Book House) and from another For Dummies title, Adopting a Pet For Dummies by Eve Adamson.

Finding a shelter in your area

You just may find your very own special Beagle at a nearby animal shelter. Begin your search by checking your local print or online telephone directory to uncover shelters located near you. Then, log onto the shelter’s Web site (they all are on the Web now, it seems!) and check their list of available dogs. If you see a Beagle, pay the shelter a visit. But plan on being tough-minded; don’t fall for the first pair of winsome Beagle eyes you see.

Rescue me!

If you like the idea of saving a dog’s life, are comfortable with adopting an adult dog, but don’t want to wait too long to find a Beagle, your best bet might be to adopt a dog through a breed rescue group. Read on to find out why the rescue route may be the way to go — and what to keep in mind if you choose this option.

Defining breed rescue

Beagle breed rescue is a multifaceted enterprise that aims to place homeless Beagles into permanent adoptive homes. The first part is the actual rescue. Beagle rescuers — all of whom are volunteers — look for Beagles who need help; for example, a dog who’s due to be euthanized at an overcrowded animal shelter. In fact, a shelter often will ask Beagle rescuers or other purebred rescue groups to take in a purebred dog so the shelter can make room for new arrivals.
Other ways that Beagles enter rescue is via their original owners. A change in life circumstances, the death of an owner, or an owner’s inability to properly care for a dog are all reasons that a person may surrender a dog to rescue. And all too often, Beagle rescuers take in dogs that have been cruelly treated or otherwise neglected.
After the Beagle enters rescue, the group assigns the dog to a temporary home — or what rescuers call a foster home. The foster-care provider takes charge of the Beagle’s everyday care. She takes him to a veterinarian for an initial examination to uncover any health problems the dog may have and gives the dog any medical care he needs. She also observes the dog carefully to determine whether he has any training deficiencies or behavioral problems and then takes steps to deal with those issues. The Beagle who pees in the house begins housetraining; the shy Snoopy-dog receives gentle encouragement to engage with the world.
As the Beagle’s rehabilitation progresses, the foster-care provider — with the help of other volunteers — begins to look for a permanent home for the dog. The group’s aim is to find a happy ending for each rescued Beagle: placement in a loving forever home.

Considering rescue pro’s and con’s

Working with a rescue group to find the Beagle of your dreams carries many advantages. For one thing, by adopting a rescued Beagle you know that you’re giving him a second chance to live in a happy, permanent home. Many people reap tremendous satisfaction from knowing that they’ve changed the lives of down-on-their luck dogs. That satisfaction increases when the rescued dogs heap love and devotion onto their new human companions. Many adopters of rescued Beagles and other dogs believe that their new canine buddies somehow know that they’ve gotten second chances and that they’re grateful.
Another plus to getting your Beagle through a rescue group is that the volunteer foster “parents” usually get to know their foster “kids” very well. The foster-care provider can provide you with a detailed description of how a fostered dog behaves in a household and will give you a heads-up on possible challenges a particular dog may pose. Such knowledge not only helps you determine whether a dog is right for you and your lifestyle, but also enables the rescue group to place each of its Beagles in the best possible homes. For example, the group may discover that Beagle A isn’t crazy about children (which would be very unusual, but it can happen) and would take care to place that dog in a child-free home.
Still another reason to consider adopting a rescued Beagle is the relatively low price tag. For example, Beagle Rescue, Education,  and Welfare (BREW) charges an adoption fee of just $200. That’sreally a pittance considering what that fee covers: spaying or neutering, any immunizations needed, deworming (if necessary), heartworm testing, microchip implanting, and any other medical treatment the Beagle may need. However, other rescue groups may charge a different amount or provide fewer services — so make sure that you know exactly what your fee is paying for.
However, a rescued Beagle is not necessarily a problem-free Beagle. Many Beagles find themselves in rescue because of behavioral problems. Before you adopt any Beagle (or any dog, for that matter) from a rescue group, make sure you find out whether that dog has any emotional baggage. Ask whether the dog has any fears, phobias, or other behavioral challenges. Then, after you find out what the Beagle’s issues are, figure out how you’ll deal with those issues — and make a rock-solid commitment to do so. You may need simply to spend more time with your new dog than you anticipated. (But then, Beagles are so cute you’d probably do that anyway!) On the other hand, the Beagle’s issues may be so complicated that you need to work one on one with a trainer or animal behaviorist to solve the dog’s special problems. Chapter Schooling Your Beagle can help you deal with many of those challenges, either on your own or with the help of a professional.

Understanding the rescue adoption process

Rescue groups have one overriding goal: to place the Beagles in their care into forever homes. Unlike many animal shelters, which may need to euthanize dogs who aren’t adopted within a certain time period, good rescue groups will hold onto adoptable dogs for as long as necessary until those dogs find permanent homes. Such a policy means you or any other wannabe adopter won’t get to take home a Beagle until the rescue group decides that you are Beagle-ready.
To that end, many rescue groups post on their Web sites a list of requirements that prospective adopters must meet before they can even fill out an application. For example, BREW requires that an adopter agree to give his Beagle at least 30 days to adjust to life in a new household. Other groups may require adopters to have fenced yards to thwart the Beagle’s all-too-well-known penchant for wandering.
If you meet those requirements, you can fill out an adoption application. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions about your living situation, the members of your family, your work situation, your landlord’s telephone number (if you rent your home), and your knowledge of dogs in general and Beagles in particular. Don’t be offended; the rescue group’s not trying to play Big Brother. The group just wants to be sure that any Beagle you take into your home will stay in your home; in other words, that you can give a rescued Beagle the second chance he deserves.
After you send in your application, a rescue volunteer will check out your references and visit your home to make sure it’s as good as you  say it is. Assuming it is, you’ll get the rescue group’s approval. Withthat thumbs-up, feel free to log onto the rescue group’s Web site to see if you can find a Beagle you want — and hop on over to Chapter Choosing Your Beagle Soul Mate for pointers on picking the right Beagle for you.
If you want to find out more about purebred dog rescue, take a look at Purebred Dog Rescue: Rewards and Realities by Liz Palika (Howell Book House) and Adopting a Pet For Dummies by Eve Adamson.

Finding a rescue group near you

Don’t know where to start looking for a Beagle breed rescue group? Boot up your computer, check out these groups — and if you see a Beagle you like, follow the contact instructions provided on the Web site:

National Beagle Club of America: The club’s Web site includes a page of links to Beagle rescue groups from all over the United States. Log onto

Beagle Rescue Foundation of America: This organization raises money to assist Beagle rescue groups throughout the country. The foundation’s Web site contains a page of links to local rescue groups, including some that aren’t listed on the National Beagle Club of America’s Web site. Log onto

Petfinder: This national online database of pets who need homes lists Beagle and other breed rescue groups from coast to coast. The Petfinder Web site also allows you to search directly for a Beagle by zip code — although most of the hits you’ll get will be Beagle mixes. Log onto


No rescue Beagles nearby? Not to worry. Some rescue groups can help you find a dog who lives outside your local area and arrange to have the animal transported to you. If you’re interested in this possibility, ask the rescue coordinator about whether the group operates a “Canine Underground Railroad,” or whether she can help you find out more about rescue dogs who live beyond your local area.

Just Say No: Poor Places to Look

In the where-not-to-look category are three sources that may help you find a Beagle now, but lead to heartbreak later. If you want to maximize your chances of getting a healthy, happy dog, avoid the quick-and-easy route the following three sources appear to offer.

Classified newspaper ads

If you scan the classified advertising of your local newspaper — particularly if that paper is a big metropolitan daily — you’re likely to see a couple of pages that list puppies and dogs for sale, at least a few of which probably will be Beagles. After each listing is a phone number to call. For you, a busy Beagle searcher, the classifieds may seem like a shortcut to finding your dream dog. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case.
Reputable breeders generally don’t need to advertise their litters anywhere. The high quality and good health of their puppies gives these breeders all the advertising they need. Such breeders have far more potential customers than they have puppies to sell. They keep waiting lists of people who want to acquire Beagle pups. When such breeders do have a litter available (which may be true only a couple of times a year), they contact those on their waiting lists to give them a chance to buy a puppy.

So, who does need to advertise? Generally, a breeder who advertises in the classifieds hasn’t taken the time or doesn’t know how to produce the healthiest Beagles possible. She probably hasn’t done the research necessary to find the best sire (father dog) to breed to her dam (mama dog). She almost certainly hasn’t taken the time or spent the money necessary to ensure that the sire and dam don’t have any serious health problems they could pass on to the puppies. And she may know little or nothing about the best environment in which to raise a litter after that litter is born. In short, the classified ads are probably one of the worst places to look for the Beagle of your dreams.


Although newspaper classifieds generally should be among the last places you go to look for a Beagle puppy from a breeder, sometimes breed rescue groups seek permanent domiciles for homeless adult Beagles by placing ads. If you see a Beagle rescue group’s ad for one or more adult dogs, give it a look — and check out the sections on rescue that appear elsewhere in this chapter for pointers on how to adopt a dog from a rescue group.

Backyard breeders

What wonderful timing! Just as you’ve decided that yes, the Beagle is the right breed for you, your neighbor down the street tells you that she’s breeding her Beagles, Sammy and Sally. What’s more, she’ll let you have first pick of the little Sammies and Sallies she expects to result from this most fortuitous union. Do you take her up on her offer?
In a word, no.
Unless your neighbor is an experienced breeder who has entered her Beagles in dog shows and won multiple titles, she brings even  less to the breeding process than the breeder who advertises inthe newspaper. She may be a great neighbor whose ethics are above reproach. But ethics and neighborliness aren’t nearly enough to maximize the odds that the Beagle puppies she produces will be physically and emotionally healthy. Instead of loving your neighbor (at least in this particular instance), read this chapter to discover how to find the experienced breeder you need.

Pet stores

For the most part, pet stores — especially the kind that used to be ubiquitous in shopping malls and shopping centers — are the last places you should look for a Beagle puppy or adult. The reason: Many of the Beagles and other dogs in these stores come from puppy mills, which are notorious for breeding dogs under horrendous conditions.
Unlike legitimate breeders, compassionate rescue groups, and allbreed animal shelters, proprietors of many pet stores and just about all puppy mills have one overriding motive: monetary profit. Consequently, mill operators generally don’t give their dogs the care they need to be happy and healthy. The puppies that come from these mills almost always are in extremely poor physical condition — riddled with parasites, beset with kennel cough, and often malnourished. They also tend to have way more behavioral problems, especially when it comes to housetraining, than dogs who come from other, more reputable sources. And to add insult to injury, these stores often charge more for their puppies than reputable breeders charge for theirs.
But here is an important caveat: A pet store can be a great place to look for an adult dog — if the dog is there as part of a rescue group event. Many organizations that care for rescued dogs like to bring those dogs to enlightened pet stores as part of a meet-and-greet event for the public. A prospective adopter gets to meet a dog in the flesh, apply to adopt the dog, and buy whatever dog care supplies he needs, all in one place at one time. Log on to the Web site of the rescue group you’re interested in, where you’ll almost certainly find a list of such adoption events.

Proceed with Caution: Adopting from the Internet

Log onto the Web, and on just one puppy-selling Web site alone, you can find well over 600 baby Beagles to choose from. There you  are, sitting in your comfortable home, poring over photographs ofadorable-looking puppies. Kinda like Internet dating, you think. What’s not to like?
Well, actually, you should take some time to pause and reflect. The folks who advertise their Beagle puppies on the Web probably don’t know any more about proper breeding practices than those who advertise in the classifieds. Worse, you probably won’t be able to see most of these puppies in person.
But that doesn’t mean that you should avoid all Web sites advertising Beagles. For example, on the American Kennel Club’s Web site you can search a database consisting of thousands of breeders from all over the United States. After you read the educational materials the AKC has conveniently added to the site, log onto, type in your search terms as directed, and begin your search. The Beagle breeders who pop up will be individuals who are members in good standing of the National Beagle Club of America, and they’ll all be within a half-day’s drive from your home.
The Internet can also be a good place to look for an adult Beagle. Many breed rescue groups, including for Beagles, cooperate with  the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA) to list adoptable dogs on Petfinder ( The listings also provide contact information for the rescue groups that are posting, so if you see a Beagle you like, you can get in touch with the group directly. This humongous Web site should be the first stop for anyone who’s looking to adopt a homeless animal.
by Susan McCullough
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