Beagles are small, active dogs. They’re loyal, sweet, friendly, and they get along quite well with kids and other dogs. Though they’re not exactly easy to train, you’ll find that it’s not so much due to low levels of intelligence but because of high levels of stubbornness. As an owner, you’re going to have to equip yourself with extra creative ways to effectively train your Beagle.
Beagles are scent hounds and they will depend on their sense of smell for a great deal of their lives. They are amazing at tracking small game such as rabbit and hares, and this is what Beagles were originally bred for.
Beagles topped the list of the most popular dog breeds in the US from 1952 to 1959 when beagling was at the height of popularity. Though this dog breed isn’t as used much for hare hunting or beagling in the US anymore, Beagles are still one of the most popular dog breeds in the US, placing 7th on the 2019 list.
Small and fun-loving dog breeds like Beagles are wonderful choices for families of all sizes. Once a Beagle is settled and properly trained, they look at their trainers to be the alpha dogs, and will be protective of other members of their family – dogs and people alike.
|Needs Grooming||●○○○○||Tends to Howl or Bark||●●●●●|
|Needs Exercise||●●●●●||Tends to Gain Weight||●●●●●|
|Needs Social Interaction||●●●●●||Tends to Develop Health Issues||●●●○○|
|Easy to Train||●●○○○||Affectionate||●●●●●|
Adaptability and Trainability
Beagles are sensitive, intelligent dogs that love routines and mental exercises. They’re not necessarily on top of the list of dogs for first-time owners because they’re definitely not easy to train.
While they do like to wander around and require regular physical exercise, they can adapt to living in apartments quite well – just as long as they don’t see something they can chase and bark after and they have constant social interaction. Since Beagles are hound dogs, the sight, smell, and sound of prey can trigger their instinct to howl, bark, or chase after prey even over long distances.
Beagles in general are even-tempered, gentle, fun-loving, and excitable dogs. They love to be around people and other dogs even if they are of a different breed. They may not sit well with cats at first, but they get used to cats and other smaller pets over time. They’re very affectionate towards family and are comfortable with company even if they are strangers. When left alone for long periods though, Beagles tend to tap on their destructive sides to make up for the lack of socialization.
Beagles don’t drool and shed much, and they don’t need much grooming as much as they need regular exercise. As hound dogs, they need high amounts of physical stimulation and exercise to help keep them in shape. They are intense, high-energy dogs that love playing and running around. As they grow older, Beagles have a tendency to gain weight, which could lead to serious health problems.
Beagle Size (Male & Female)
Beagles are considered medium-sized dogs. Its build, shape, and general appearance are that of a foxhound, only smaller, and they are even sometimes called miniature foxhounds. Instead of foxes though, Beagles were developed to chase smaller game like rabbits. Beagles of different weights and heights can occur in a single litter.
Beagle Height (Male & Female)
Beagles are divided into two height categories: 13 inches and under, or between 13 to 15 inches. Males are generally taller than females.
Beagle Weight (Male & Female)
Between the two height categories, a Beagle’s weight ranges from 20 pounds and under for the smaller height category, and around 20 to 30 pounds for the bigger height category.
Beagle Life Span (Male & Female)
The average life expectancy for Beagles is around 10 to 15 years old, which is normal for hounds and other medium-sized breeds. It’s about 2 years longer than the average dog’s lifespan.
Beagles are very popular house pets and companions because of two things: they’re friendly and affectionate. They aren’t known to have bouts of anger or violence. They do have a tendency to howl or bark though, and their barks can be deep and sound scary for some people.
One of two things happens when their senses are stimulated – they either howl or bark to “sing along” with the stimulant, or they tune out their other senses and go into hound mode.
When they’re in hound mode, they focus on an object or a prey and effectively tune out all other sounds. This could mean that they won’t come back until after they’ve caught their prey or until they’re tired out. This is why they can be quite difficult to train, especially for newbie dog owners.
Beagles are highly social, and they tend to act out when left alone for a long time. They may experience anxiety when separated from their pack, and take their anxiety out on things around them by chewing and destroying them.
Beagles aren’t good guard dogs. They rarely bark at strangers, and are largely just curious whenever a new person arrives. It’s great for families that frequently have guests over though.
It’s said that a dog’s personality should match their owners, but it should be an owner that matches a Beagle’s personality. This breed’s personality is quite stubborn, and they can be quite destructive when given less than ideal attention and stimulation.
Scent hounds like Beagles require lots of exercise, and the exercise requirement is a deal-breaker for a lot of aspiring Beagle owners. Not everyone can set aside an hour or two for dog exercises. Beagles will need to walk and run around for at least an hour every day to help keep them in shape. They will also require lots of patient and consistent training, which should be a different from playtime and exercise too.
Remember that Beagles are scent hounds, so they may pick up an interesting scent on any regular exercise trail and run off to find the source of said scent. Unless they are playing and running around in a safe and secure space where they cannot just dash off to follow a scent, Beagles should be kept on a leash during exercise.
Beagles are high-energy dogs, and they need something to spend all their energy on. Jogging and running is a great way to exercise Beagles, but younger Beagles may find this routine boring and repetitive. Dogs older than 18 months old will benefit better from exercises like these.
Like humans, Beagles tend to gain weight as they grow older, and this lack of exercise can lead to various health problems. They may also become lazy as their energy levels wane as they age. This dog breed is prone to weight gain and obesity, so it’s best to start them young on the exercise and training and be consistent with it as they grow older.
Beagles must be trained during their puppyhood, and a pack of other dogs will make it easier to do so. Because of their stubbornness, training a fully adult Beagle would prove to be very difficult. By the time a Beagle reaches adulthood, it would be nearly impossible to train them.
In terms of training, Beagles could be a lot to take in. They require lots of physical exercise to keep them in shape, and they require lots of mental stimulation for their training. This is why training Beagles and housebreaking them could easily take months.
Beagles are scent dogs, so they can be extremely focused on a scent stimulant. Without proper stimulation, they can be easily distracted and extremely hard to train. A Beagle owner may find themselves always looking for new and creative ways to keep their pet’s attention.
Like many other dogs, food is both stimulant and motivator for a Beagle. And it wouldn’t matter how much they’ve already eaten! Beagles are a naturally curious bunch, and one might even find Beagle pups rummaging through garbage, old food, or even cat litter.
Food, however, shouldn’t be the main motivator. Stubborn dogs require consistency and patience from their owners. Beagles thrive best with owners they can respect and look up to, essentially their pack leader.
A quick look at a Beagle and it’s easy to see that it’s a hound dog; it’s literally a small foxhound. Though some hound dogs are quite small – like the Dachshund, Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, and the Basset Hound – many hound dogs are big, tall, and lean. The Great Dane, for example, is a hound dog that many recognize as one of the tallest dogs in the world. So, where did the smaller Beagle come from?
- 8th century – There were written records of the St. Hubert Hound (which are believed to be the ancestors of bloodhounds). The Talbot Hound was bred from the St. Hubert Hound.
- 11th century – Talbot hounds were introduced to England as hunting dogs. However, hunters deemed their running capabilities inadequate.
No known records of this exist, but it’s possible that Beagles and foxhounds were the result of breeding the slower, foreign Talbot hounds with the faster, local greyhounds.
- 13th century – Small Beagles called pocket Beagles became popular. These were supposedly so small that they can fit in saddlebags so hunters can easily carry them.
- 15th century – Relatively bigger Beagles that stood at 9 inches tall were made popular by Elizabeth I, but they weren’t very fast runners so their popularity was short-lived.
- 17th century – Foxhounds in, Beagles out – but that’s only in England fortunately. Other countries where rabbit and hare hunting were still popular continued to breed Beagles.
- 18th century – Beagles were being bred for both looks and hunting abilities. Americans imported Beagles from England so they can hunt rabbits and hares with them too.
The original English Beagles were a bit taller at around 15 to 17 inches, while the American Beagles were bred to be shorter at 13 to 15 inches.
- 19th century – Beagles were first registered in the American Kennel Club in 1885.
- 20th century – Today, Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US. Every year since their registration in AKC, they have held a spot in the Top 10 for the most popular American dog breeds.
Beagle Health Problems
A responsible dog owner needs to know which diseases their dogs are more susceptible to have or develop. Below are some of the most common diseases Beagles suffer from.
The most common health issue for the Beagle is obesity. Their waning energy level, laziness, and stubbornness can cause obesity in their old age. And obesity does bring about some health risks. A Beagle may also inherit heart problems.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Beagles are such curious eaters, so the symptoms of IBS may be hidden from owners for a long time. Owners may think that throwing up, excessive gas, diarrhea, and bloating are normal for a heavy eater, but these may already be symptoms of IBS.
Dental diseases and gum infections are common in Beagles too. Not all dogs need daily tooth brushing, but Beagles do. A dog’s overall health is affected if they lose their teeth or suffer from undiagnosed dental diseases.
In older pets, one of the most common causes of death is cancer. Since Beagles live longer than the average dog’s lifespan, most Beagles’ demise will likely be due to cancer. And in Beagles, this cancer comes in the form of lymphoma. Cancers can be removed surgically, or through chemotherapy. Lymphoma in Beagles may be caused by obesity and genetics, making exercise even more important even in their old age.
Seizures in Beagles are usually genetic, and owners would begin seeing signs and episodes as soon as they’re 6 months or until they’re 3 years old. If the cause isn’t genetic, traumas and tumors are the most likely culprit.
How to Care For Beagles
Taking care of a Beagle isn’t for a newbie dog owner, as this dog breed can be very stubborn and hard to train. However, taking good care of Beagles isn’t rocket science.
Throughout history, hound dogs were used as hunting companions. Their tall stature means they could run fast and cover long distances, and their amazing sense of sight and smell help hunters track down even the most evasive of preys. Beagles are smaller than many hound dogs, but they’re still hound dogs and they need proper stimulation.
Beagles have the wanderlust. If playing or exercising in an unconfined space, they need to be on lead. They’re very capable escape artists too, and they can be quite creative and daring with their escape plans. Tall fences on big yards are perfect play spaces for Beagles. Many Beagles will try to claw their way underneath fences too, especially if they’re following a scent that’s too interesting to ignore.
If being let out on fields for chasing rabbits, Beagles must be trained to return to their owners first. For their size, Beagles can cover long distances in just a short time and they don’t tire easily! They could focus so much on what they’re chasing that they don’t realize how far away they are from home. Believe it or not, lost Beagles are more than a common occurrence.
Nutrition and Feeding For Beagles
Their everyday diet should depend on factors such as age, activity, size, and build. The quality of the food matters just as much. Some Beagles are bigger or more active than others, and some dog food provide more energy than others.
Beagles love to eat and they’re very curious about food. Even non-food items may be on the everyday menu, and it could lead to some pretty interesting trips to the vet. It’s not uncommon for a Beagle to rummage through garbage and just eat whatever they could find. They can steal food as well so it’s best to train them not to, and keep dog food up and away from where the dog can’t reach them.
Coat Color and Grooming
A Beagle is easy so easy to spot – they’re commonly tricolor, have black saddles, and tans on the ears and around the eyes. They have white tail-ends, white legs, and white bellies. They’re bodies are mostly white or tan. However, Beagles can be dual-colored, and have red coats too.
Beagles don’t shed as much as other long-haired pets, but they do shed their double-coated, rain-resistant fur. Brushes and hound gloves are usual grooming tools for Beagles. In colder seasons, their fur grows thicker to help keep them warm, so shedding a bit more than usual during spring is typical.
As puppies, it’s best to accustom dogs to grooming and examinations so they won’t have problems with groomers and vets later on. Almost all dogs are sensitive about their paws, which could make exams and grooming sessions tricky. Touch their paws regularly.
Speaking of paws, a dog’s nails contain nerves, so cutting them too short can cause bleeding through the nails. Nail cutting is best left to professional groomers if an aspiring owner doesn’t have enough experience cutting dog nails.
Children and Other Pets
Beagles are just so happy to be part of a pack, and sometimes it wouldn’t even matter if it’s a pack with children or another animal. They can get too excited at times though and grab things with their mouths. This and the fact that they’re high-energy dogs means that playtime with kids must be supervised at all times to prevent any accidents. Children must also be taught and reminded about the proper way to approach and play with a dog.
Beagles get along well with their own breed and other dog breeds as they’re not very territorial. Though it may take some getting used to, Beagles can also be a pack with cats.
It’s not easy to own and train a Beagle, and it may even get more difficult as they age. This is why many Beagles end up abandoned or put up for adoption. If you’re interested in fostering or adopting a Beagle, the following organizations help Beagles find their forever homes:
- SOS Beagle Rescue, Inc. (http://www.sosBeagles.org)
- Beagle Freedom Project (https://bfp.org/rescue/)
- Safe Hounds Beagle Rescue, Inc. (http://www.safehounds.com)
Beagles on the Web (http://www.Beagles-on-the-web.com/adopt/) also has a more comprehensive list of Beagle rescue groups and their respective service areas.
For more information about the Beagle breed, check out the following organizations:
- National Beagle Club of America (https://www.nationalBeagleclub.org)
More about This Breed
Can’t get enough of Beagles? Here are some fun facts about this dog breed:
- Beagles have white tips on their tails so that hunters can easily spot them when they’re scent-hunting on tall grasses.
- Beagles are quite loud, but they’ve probably already warned us. After all, one possible etymology of the word is beegueuele, meaning “open-mouthed”. Their vocal range is quite impressive too!
- Beagle ears help them track scents. Their long, droopy ears can help trap scents and bring them closer to the nose every time they drop their head and sniff.
- Beagles are so amazing at scent tracking that they’ve landed jobs in airports as illegal food sniffers. They’re smaller and friendlier, so they’re less intimidating than the regular security dogs.
- Snoopy is a fictional comic character in “Peanuts” and is the world’s most famous Beagle. Gromit from the animated cartoon, “Wallace and Gromit” is a Beagle too. Odie from the “Garfield” comic is a hound dog too, but he’s a dachshund rather than a Beagle.
- Beagles are pack dogs because they were bred to hunt. This is why they get so well with other dogs.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson owned Beagles he called Him and Her. Barry Manilow also owned a Beagle.
- The modern-day Beagle’s history stretches out so far back that no one’s actually sure where they came from. All we have are possible theories, and there have been records of Beagle-like dogs since 500BC.