Beagle

Interested in learning about one of the world’s most popular dog breeds? Take a look at today’s guide for all the Beagle info you need.

Beagle on meadow

Beagle Characteristics:
Height:
13-15 inches
Weight: 8-14 kilos
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Below are the pros and cons of the Beagle traits:

Pros:

  • Sociable and friendly
  • Low grooming maintenance
  • Excellent family pets
  • Adaptable to different environments and living spaces

Cons:

  • Stubborn, not ideal for first-time owners
  • High exercise needs
  • Likes to dig and howl
  • Housebreaking can be difficult

Overview

Beagles are scent hounds originating from the United Kingdom. Originally used to hunt small game, the breed is now a popular companion and works as a detection dog. Whilst they look similar to the larger Fox Hound, it’s their size that was prized by hunters. Unlike other hunting dogs, the Beagle could be followed on foot.

The Beagles personality is what makes them so appealing to dog owners across the world. They are friendly, gregarious, gentle, outgoing, and just everything a person could hope for in their doggy companion! Thanks to their small size Beagles are able to live in apartments.

Beagle puppy on grass

Beagles aren’t just popular in their native country, America also loves this breed! Remember Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon created by Charles Schulz in 1950? The canine featured was in fact a Beagle! President Lyndon Baines Johnson was another Beagle enthusiast who had a number of these canines whilst living in the White House.

These dogs are adaptable to a variety of different living environments. They can happily live in the city like they would in rural areas. Moving homes isn’t an issue for this breed as long as they’re with their family. Food and love are two of the Beagle’s favorite things to receive… but that’s probably the case for any dog!

History

The modern Beagle was created in Britain during the 1830s. Before this, the name Beagle was used to describe small hounds existing centuries prior. They share similarities with the Harrier and the now extinct Southern Hound. Modern Beagles are scent hounds that were developed to hunt hare, rabbits, and other small prey.

In the past, smaller Beagles were found in hunting packs. They were often referred to as ‘Pocket Beagles’ and would reach a maximum of 9 inches in height. They became extinct by 1900 and were even popular with King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1830, Reverend Phillip Honeywood produced a breeding program that is thought to have outlined the initial standards of the Beagle. His pack consisted of North Country Beagles and Southern Hounds. Thomas Johnson continued the development and produced a rough and smooth coated Beagle.

In 1840, there were 4 different Beagle types. This consisted of the Fox Beagle, the Medium Beagle, the Rough Coated Beagle, and the Dwarf Beagle. Rough coated Beagles became extinct by the 20th century. Soon after in 1890, the Beagle Club was formed outlining the expected breed standards.

To this day, some Beagles are still used as working dogs, found in packs amongst Britain’s countryside. Beagle packs normally consist of 10 or more hounds which explains the breed’s sociability! They’re also used for their exceptional scent skills as drugs and other types of detection dogs. Most Beagles, however, are now used as family companions.

Related: Learn about the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed here.

Personality

Beagle Dog Temperament:

Beagles are calm, friendly, playful, cheerful, and intelligent. They’re highly sociable and aren’t known to show aggression. It’s one of the main reasons why they’re so popular amongst families. But it can’t all be good! These canines are known to love the sound of their own voice and also have a stubborn streak.

Although the Beagle dog is often described as ‘even tempered’, first time owners may struggle with their occasional headstrong attitude. Many first-time owners aren’t aware of the Beagle’s naughty side, but that’s not to say they couldn’t train this breed.

Are Beagles Good With Strangers?

Yes, overall the Beagle is generally well behaved with strangers. Whilst they might be cold or shy towards them at first, they should settle after a while. Beagles aren’t great guard dogs but they will alert you to any strangers knocking on the door.

Beagle in forest

Are Beagles Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is excellent with children. Beagles make fantastic playmates thanks to their gentleness when engaging in play. Their size makes them ideal to have around smaller children but a Beagle puppy can be a little too boisterous. These canines are just as affectionate to children as they are towards adults.

Are Beagles Ok With Other Dogs?

Yes, this sociable dog gets along very well with other pooches. After all, they were developed to hunt in packs of more than 10! Other dogs will be happily welcomed into the home and cats can also find a special place in their heart!

Exercise

The Beagle dog breed needs up to one hour of exercise each day. If their activity needs aren’t being met, the Beagle’s naughty side will shine through! As fantastic escape artists, these dogs will need a garden that’s completely enclosed. Otherwise, their nose will take them on some serious adventures!

Beagle dog on the scent

Try to involve strenuous exercise at least once in a day. Beagles have active minds that need mental stimulation. Factor this into their daily exercise routine. Interactive games, hide and seek, sniffing and exploring, treat puzzles and dog sports are all ways to mentally stimulate a dog.

Health

Find out the Beagle’s breed-related health issues below:

  • Epilepsy- The dog will lose control of its body due to a seizure. These can range from mild to severe and is the most common neurological condition affecting dogs.
  • Hypothyroidism- This endocrine disease affects the thyroid glands. This will then affect the dog’s metabolism due to the lack of thyroid hormones produced.
  • Meningitis- The membranes covering the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. Symptoms include neck pain, fever, and muscle spasms.
  • Otitis Externa- An inflammatory disorder affecting the lining of the ear canal. Signs include odor, head shaking, discharge, redness, and scratching.

The Kennel Club advises Beagles to be tested for the following conditions before breeding:

  • Factor VII Deficiency- A blood clotting disorder inherited from the parents.
  • Musladin-Lueke Syndrome- Known previously as Chinese Beagle Syndrome, is a developmental disease affecting the skin and connective tissues.
  • Cobalamin Malabsorption- A gastrointestinal disease caused by the dog’s inability to absorb Cobalamin from their food.
  • Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration- This disease damages the cells of the cerebellum. It will affect a dog’s coordination and balance.

Recommended: Learn about the Cockapoo in this guide.

Intelligence & Training

Beagles can be a challenge to train thanks to their stubborn streak. Their scent can also play a part in distraction and by instinct, they will naturally follow their nose. Find something that motivates them. Time, consistency, and patience are all that’s needed to overcome this.

Training sessions should only last around 10-15 minutes long. This easily distractible breed won’t be able to focus much longer. Praise and food are the way to a Beagle’s heart and ears! If you want them to listen, food will be their best motivator! Keep an eye on their treat intake to prevent weight gain.

Housebreaking a Beagle can be a bit of a struggle, especially if they live in an apartment. Some Beagle owners have found crate training a good way to combat this. Create a toilet routine that is followed strictly. As your dog begins to learn and fall into this pattern, toilet training will become much easier.

Recall is one of the hardest commands to teach a Beagle. Trying to divert this breed from tracking a scent if they walk off too far, won’t be easy. Beagles want a reward at the end of the command so always keep a treat to hand. Test their recall in an enclosed space where they can roam around. Retractable leads are great for practicing in open spaces. 

Exercise goes hand in hand with training. If a dog’s activity requirements aren’t being met then bad behaviour will follow. Always make sure your dog has been exercised before starting a training session. Pent up energy can make the Beagle more distractible than they already are!

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Grooming

When it comes to grooming, Beagles are fairly low maintenance. Ideally a quick brush once a week will be enough to keep their coat in top shape. Some owners brush more frequently than this to prevent shedding, especially during the Spring and Autumn seasons.

Bristle brushes, slicker brushes, and grooming mitts are the best tools to use for the Beagles coat. Brushing helps stimulate blood flow, distributes natural oils, and keeps them looking fresh. Whilst their fur does shed, some dead hairs will remain in the coat.

Beagle puppy on the floor

Naturally, their coat prevents dirt and debris from sticking. Baths can be given from two to six months depending on odor. Frequent bathing can dry out the skin so if they get dirty quicker than usual, give them a wipe with a cloth or a quick hose down.

The large ears of the Beagle don’t allow much airflow. For this reason, they can be prone to ear infections. Ensure their ears are cleaned weekly. Nails should be filed every two weeks if this seems necessary. Ideally, vets recommend teeth are brushed every day so aim to do this at least twice a week.

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