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Beagle Dog Breed Information & Characteristics


Beagles are small to medium-sized dogs with short, smooth coats that come in a variety of colors, including white, black, brown, and tan. The Beagle temperament is characterized by a friendliness, playfulness, intelligence, and a happy-go-lucky spirit. Originally from England, Beagles were first bred to track small game, such as rabbits and foxes. This can lead them astray if they catch a scent during outdoor walks, so owners should ensure their dogs are on a leash to prevent them from wandering too far. They are still used for hunting today, but they are also popular as companion dogs. This breed are relatively low-maintenance dogs, and they require regular exercise and grooming.

Training is essential for Beagles, and their intelligence makes them quick learners. However, they can also be independent thinkers and may have a stubborn streak, especially if they catch an intriguing scent during training sessions. Positive reinforcement, especially in the form of tasty treats, works wonders. This breed’s friendly and affectionate nature extends to other animals. Beagles make good companions for other dogs and cats, especially if they are raised together from an early age. Early socialization and positive experiences with other animals can further enhance their amiable disposition.

When considering a Beagle, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a dog in need. However, if you decide to search for Beagle puppies for sale, it’s absolutely crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their dogs. Reputable Beagle breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for their Beagle puppies. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy pup while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: England
  • Size: 13-15 inches tall at the shoulder, 20-30 pounds. The Pocket Beagle is slightly smaller than average, weighing 7-15 pounds.
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Breed Group: Hound
  • Temperament: Friendly, gentle, playful, curious
  • Grooming needs: Low; requires weekly brushing
  • Health concerns: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye problems, allergies
  • Beagles are known for their baying, which is a high-pitched howl that they make when they are excited or following a scent.
  • The iconic cartoon character Snoopy is a Beagle
  • Former President Lyndon B. Johnson had four Beagles.
  • Shiloh is a Newbery Medal-winning children’s book that follows the story of a young boy who befriends a mistreated Beagle named Shiloh. The novel explores themes of compassion, loyalty, and the bond between humans and animals.

Is a Beagle a high-maintenance dog?

Because of their easygoing nature, moderate exercise needs, and low grooming requirements, the Beagle is not considered a high-maintenance dog breed. They are relatively low-maintenance compared to other breeds, requiring only basic care such as regular brushing, bathing, and nail trimming, along with a proper diet to thrive. It is worth noting these highly affectionate and devoted pups also embody the velcro dog persona. They shouldn’t be left home alone for long periods of time as they can be prone to separation anxiety.

Relate: Australian Shepherd Dog Breed Information & Characteristics

Beagle Dog Pictures

Beagle Overview

It’s hard to resist the appeal of a Beagle’s dark brown or hazel eyes, accompanied by their soft, pleading expression. They exude happiness, outgoingness, and love, traits balanced by their hound nature, which makes them inquisitive, determined, and highly food-focused. While not yappy, they possess three distinct vocalizations—a bark/growl, a baying howl, and a half-baying howl, often used when they spot prey or decide it’s time to wake the neighborhood at 6 a.m. As pack dogs, Beagles generally get along well with other animals and eagerly embrace new human friends.

The most significant characteristic of the Beagle is their scenthound nature. Their nose takes precedence, always close to the ground, in constant search of intriguing trails to follow. With approximately 220 million scent receptors compared to our paltry 5 million or so, Beagles possess an exceptional ability to detect scents. Dave Barry humorously referred to his in-laws’ Beagle as “a nose with feet.” This incredible sense of smell has even led to their use at airports, where Beagles patrol baggage-claim areas to sniff out contraband food. Their small, friendly, and cute demeanor puts people at ease, allowing them to focus on specific food articles while disregarding non-contraband items.

Despite their versatility, Beagles remain exceptional hunters of small game. AKC-sanctioned field trials at the National Beagle Club’s Institute Farm and similar activities in many other countries put breeders with packs to the test. These trials showcase the Beagle’s superb hunting skills.

The Beagle’s adaptability makes them suitable for apartment living, provided they receive regular on-leash walks several times a day, regardless of the weather. They thrive with about an hour of exercise daily, and without adequate exercise and attention, they can exhibit destructive behaviors if left alone for extended periods.

Beagle Highlights

  • Origins: The Beagle originated in England, and it is believed to date back to Roman times. The modern breed was developed for hunting small game, particularly rabbits.
  • Size: Beagles are a medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 20 to 30 pounds and standing about 13 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Coat: They have a short, dense, weather-resistant coat that comes in a variety of colors, including tri-color (black, white, and tan), lemon, and red and white.
  • Temperament: Beagles are known for their friendly, curious, and sociable nature. They are often good with children and other pets.
  • Intelligence: Beagles are intelligent dogs with a keen sense of smell, making them excellent scent hounds. This can, at times, lead to their strong-willed and independent nature.
  • Exercise Needs: Beagles are an energetic breed that requires regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Lack of exercise can lead to boredom and potentially destructive behavior.
  • Famous Beagles: Snoopy, the fictional character from the “Peanuts” comic strip, is one of the most famous Beagles. The breed has also been featured in various films, TV shows, and commercials.
  • Popularity: Beagles consistently rank among the most popular dog breeds in the United States due to their friendly disposition and versatility as both family pets and working dogs.

Beagle History

DogTime share the origin of the word “beagle” remains uncertain. Some theories suggest it could have derived from the French word “begueule,” meaning open throat, or the Old English word “beag,” meaning small. Others propose it may have come from the French word “beugler,” meaning to bellow, or the German word “begele,” meaning to scold.

The breed’s history is also shrouded in ambiguity, as the concept of modern breeds didn’t fully develop until the 19th century. Ancient Greek documents from 400 B.C. mention Beagle-like dogs, and it is believed that the Romans brought small rabbit-hunting hounds to England and crossed them with local hounds. These small hounds, possibly the ancestors of Beagles and Foxhounds, were introduced by William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Beagles gained popularity early in English history. During the reigns of Edward II and Henry VII, tiny Glove Beagles were in vogue, said to be small enough to fit in a gloved hand. Singing Beagles were also named for their melodious voices. Elizabeth I kept packs of Pocket Beagles, standing only 9 inches tall, depicted in paintings as short-legged and pointy-nosed. However, they fell out of favor due to their lack of speed.

In the 1700s, the Foxhound took precedence over the Beagle in England, as fox hunting became the favored sport. The breed would have declined further if not for farmers in England, Ireland, and Wales, who kept Beagle packs for hunting hare and rabbits, preventing their extinction.

In the mid-1800s, Reverend Phillip Honeywood established a Beagle pack in Essex, England, believed to be the ancestors of modern Beagles. Reverend Honeywood focused on hunting skills, not appearance. Concurrently, American breeders imported Beagles from England to improve their own dogs’ looks. They bred them smaller for rabbit hunting, leading to strains like the “Patch” Beagle, known for its large tri-colored spot and speed.

The American Kennel Club and the first Beagle specialty club were founded in 1884. In the same year, the AKC started registering Beagles. In 1916, members of the National Beagle Club purchased land in Virginia to hold field trials, which is now the site of many activities for the National Beagle Club.

Beagle Size

The American Kennel Club acknowledges two Beagle varieties based on height. The 13-inch variety is reserved for hounds not surpassing 13 inches in shoulder height, while the 15-inch variety is for hounds standing between 13 and 15 inches at the shoulder. Depending on their height, Beagles weigh anywhere from 18 to 30 pounds.

Beagle Personality

Beagles exhibit a gentle, sweet, and humorous nature that can bring plenty of laughter. However, their mischievous behavior may sometimes lead to moments of frustration. Beagle owners often find themselves attempting to outsmart their clever companions and resorting to food rewards to encourage temporary obedience. Just like any dog, early socialization is crucial for Beagles. Exposing them to diverse people, sights, sounds, and experiences during their youth helps ensure they grow into well-rounded and balanced adults.

Beagle Health

Not all Beagles will develop every listed disease, but it’s essential to be aware of these conditions if you are considering this breed.

  • Hip Dysplasia: An inherited condition where the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint, leading to pain and lameness. X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose hip dysplasia, and affected dogs should not be bred.
  • Cherry Eye: A condition where the gland under the third eyelid protrudes and needs removal.
  • Glaucoma: An eye disease that causes abnormally high eye pressure, leading to vision loss and blindness. It can be hereditary or secondary to other factors.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disorder causing blindness due to the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye.
  • Distichiasis: Extra eyelashes grow on the oil gland in the eye, causing irritation and squinting. Surgical removal is required.
  • Epilepsy: A neurological condition leading to seizures, which can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Hypothyroidism: A disorder of the thyroid gland treatable with medication and diet.
  • Patellar Luxation: The patella is misaligned, causing lameness and potential arthritis. Severity can vary, and surgery may be needed for severe cases.
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease: Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a degenerative condition affecting the intervertebral discs, the cushions between the vertebrae in the spine, which can cause pain, weakness, and paralysis in dogs.

When purchasing a Beagle puppy, ensure the breeder provides health clearances for both parents, including tests for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and normal eyes certified by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF). Preparing for potential veterinary needs throughout your dog’s life is wise, and a pet insurance plan can help you stay ready.

Beagle Care

A fenced backyard is essential for a scenthound like the Beagle. When outdoors, it’s important to keep your Beagle on a leash in open areas or securely confined and supervised. Beagles have a natural tendency to wander, so it’s common for them to try to escape. To ensure a swift return if they do get out, make sure your Beagle is microchipped and wears identification tags on their collar. Some people opt for underground electronic fences, but these may not deter other animals from entering your yard, and a tempting scent can lead your Beagle to disregard the momentary shock.

Obedience training is beneficial for all dogs, and Beagles respond best to positive reinforcement techniques. They may switch off and become unresponsive when treated harshly. Most Beagles are highly motivated by treats, making them eager to learn and obey commands.

Adolescent Beagles are full of energy and require ample opportunities to release it. They enjoy going for walks with their family or engaging in a good run across a field to satisfy their hunting instincts (though proper recall training is crucial before off-leash activities). You can also take them jogging, but it’s best to wait until they are at least 18 months old for repetitive exercises like this.

As Beagles mature, they might become more sedentary and content to lounge around the house all day. However, it’s crucial to prevent them from becoming lazy and overweight, as they are prone to obesity. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential to keep your Beagle healthy and happy.

Beagle Feeding

The recommended daily amount for Beagles is 3/4 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food, divided into two meals. However, the actual quantity your adult dog needs depends on various factors such as size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Just like people, dogs are individuals, and their food requirements vary. Active dogs will need more food than sedentary ones. The quality of the dog food also matters; better-quality food provides more nourishment, so you may need to feed your dog less.

Beagles have a reputation for being food thieves and can easily raid your pantry or garbage if given the chance. They have voracious appetites and will eat until they are full. To maintain a healthy weight, measure your Beagle’s food and feed them twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time. If you’re unsure about their weight, you can perform the eye test and the hands-on test. Look down at your Beagle – you should see a waistline. Place your hands on their back with your thumbs along the spine and fingers spread downward – you should be able to feel, but not see, their ribs without pressing hard. If you cannot feel the ribs easily, your dog may need less food and more exercise. Treats should also be given sparingly; small training treats work just as well as larger biscuits.

Beagle Coat Color And Grooming

According to the breed standard, Beagles can come in “any hound color.” However, the most common color for Beagles is tricolor, featuring a black saddle across the back, white legs, chest, and belly, a white tip on the tail, and tan markings on the head and around the saddle. Another popular color combination is red and white, displaying an Irish spotting pattern on the face, neck, legs, and tail tip. Regardless of color, most Beagles have a white tip on their tails to make them visible while hunting in tall grass.

Beagles have a smooth, dense double coat that resists rain. To maintain their coat’s health, it’s recommended to brush them at least once a week using a medium-bristle brush or a hound glove. This helps loosen and remove dead hair and promotes new hair growth. While Beagles do shed, their short hair makes it less noticeable. Their coat may become thicker during winter, leading to more shedding in the spring. Beagles are generally clean dogs but may occasionally indulge in rolling in something unpleasant. As they are drop-eared dogs, their ears need special attention to avoid infections. Regularly check their ears for signs of infection or waxy buildup and never allow water or oils to enter their ears.

Proper dental care is crucial for Beagles. Brush their teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and maintain good oral hygiene. Daily brushing is even better to ward off gum disease and bad breath. Regular nail trimming is essential to prevent painful tears and other issues. If you’re not experienced with nail trimming, seek guidance from a vet or groomer.

Introduce grooming and examinations to your Beagle from an early age. Handle their paws frequently to get them used to the sensation and inspect their mouth regularly. Positive experiences during grooming with praise and rewards will make veterinary exams and other handling easier in adulthood. While grooming, also check for any sores, rashes, or signs of infection on their skin, nose, mouth, and eyes, as well as their feet. Conducting a careful weekly exam will help you identify potential health problems early on.

Beagle Children And Other Pets

Beagles form strong bonds with everyone in the family, particularly with children. However, due to their playful nature, they can sometimes be exuberant during playtime. Proper socialization and supervision are essential, especially when interacting with very young children. Beagles may exhibit “mouthy” behavior, playfully grabbing objects, including hands, with their mouths. While this is usually done in fun, they can be trained not to do so. As with any dog breed, it’s important to teach children how to approach and interact with dogs, and to always supervise their interactions.

Children should be educated never to disturb a dog while it’s eating or sleeping, and they should avoid attempting to take the dog’s food away. Under no circumstances should a dog, no matter how friendly, be left alone with a child without adult supervision. Beagles have a pack dog heritage, making them sociable animals that thrive on companionship. They dislike being left alone for extended periods. To fulfill their need for companionship, having another dog or even a cat as a playmate can be beneficial for their well-being.

Beagle Rescue Groups

Beagles are often acquired without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. The following rescue groups can help you find Beagles in need of adoption or fostering.

  • The SOS Beagle Rescue
  • BONES: Beagles of New England States Rescue, Resource & Referral
  • BREW is Beagle Rescue, Education, and Welfare
  • Beagles R Us
  • Hound Rescue

Beagle Breed Organizations

Finding a reputable dog breeder is one of the most important decisions you will make when bringing a new dog into your life. Reputable breeders are committed to breeding healthy, well-socialized puppies that will make great companions. They will screen their breeding stock for health problems, socialize their puppies from a young age, and provide you with lifetime support.

On the other hand, backyard breeders are more interested in making a profit than in producing healthy, well-adjusted dogs. They may not screen their breeding stock for health problems, and they may not socialize their puppies properly. As a result, puppies from backyard breeders are more likely to have health problems and behavioral issues.

Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas expert in training and caring for pet dog breeds. Whether he spending quality time with her own furry companions or contributing to websites such as Dogsbreed.org and Animalpet.com, dedicated to our canine.

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