A Quick Look at Beagles...

Beagles are a scent hound that is medium sized and has a fantastic sense of smell. He is a hearty, sweet loving soul that is very energetic, valiant and gentle. He is a sociable canine that loves to be in the company of humans, and greatly enjoys investigating the interesting smells he picks up.

Beagles are very curious dogs with natural hunting instincts. They have very independent minds but are dependant on the companionship of their family (pack). They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time, are prone to separation anxiety, and they are very vocal, making a baying sound instead of a bark.

The Beagle can be a fabulous pet but is not the ideal choice for everyone. He needs a dedicated and confident owner.

Here are some fast facts about the Beagle:

Dog Group:
Hound (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 22-25 lbs. (10-11 kg)
Bitches – 20-23 lbs. (9-10 kg)
Dogs - 14-16 in. (36-41 cm)
Bitches – 13-15 in. (33-38 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
12 – 15 years (average of 12 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

Beagles have existed since the 16th century and originated in England. They were initially bred for hunting and tracking small animals including rabbits, pheasant, hare, quail and so on. It is believed that the Beagle breed was developed from other scent hounds including the Talbot Hound, North Country Beagle and other English hounds. Though it is uncertain where their name came from, some believe their roots could stem from various words that all mean "small" (i.e. "begele" - Old English, "beag" - Celtic "beigh" - French) or from the French word "be’geule", which refers to the baying sound the dog makes.

The beagle was celebrated for their ability to hunt alone and in packs. However, his loveable nature and cheerful disposition is one of the main reasons why this dog has maintained his popularity and became a great family pet. Beagles were very well liked in America and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

One of the most famous beagles in U.S. pop culture is Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s dog from the Peanuts Comic Strip. To this day Beagles remain one of the most popular breeds of dogs.

Beagle Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - The Beagle is a compact, resilient small hound dog that has a squarely built body. His skull is rather long and he has a slight dome shape, while his muzzle is square, straight and medium in length. One of his trademarks are his long and wide, low, floppy ears that give him a soft look and are the perfect compliment to his large brown or hazel bright eyes. His black nose is broad with full nostrils to help him track during the hunt. He has round and strong feet and a tail that is set relatively high and is carried gaily, not flopped or curled over his back.

The coat of the Beagle is medium in length and is close, hard and glossy. Any type of coat color is acceptable, including tri-color, black and tan, red and white, lemon, lemon and white, orange and white, red tick, blue tick, etc.

Typical Temperament - Beagles have a very friendly, loving and sweet personality. They are good family dogs, enjoy the company of children immensely and are happiest when they are with their pack. That being said, beagles have minds of their own and can be very willful and determined if they are not provided with proper training. Furthermore, they have a lot of energy and need to be stimulated both mentally and physically on a daily basis to maintain health and happiness. Also, the beagle often makes his trademark baying sound to alert their owners to strange sounds or smells they encounter and can howl for extended periods of time. Hence, though not a stellar guard dog, he excels as a watchdog.

Basic Beagle Caring Requirements

Grooming - It is easy to care for the Beagles coat. The smooth and short hair requires a brushing a few times per week and the task can easily be accomplished with a firm bristle brush.  Brushing will help control shedding by removing lose hairs. He does not need to be bathed often, and the occasional dry shampoo is usually all he needs to keep his coat clean and healthy. His nails should be clipped monthly and his teeth should be brushed every other day to maintain good dental hygiene. Make sure to check and clean his ears daily to prevent infection.

Exercise - The Beagle is a very energetic breed and he has plenty of stamina. Since this is the case, he requires plenty of exercise including a brisk 30 minute daily walk as well as play time and the opportunity to roam freely in a well fenced yard. A fence is imperative because this canine will roam and will want to track any scent that interests him if given half the chance. For this reason, it is also important to ensure he is always secured to a lead when he is walked to prevent him from wandering off should a smell entice him.

Approximate Food Cost - The average cost of food for a Beagle varies between $30 - $40 per month. The amount of food he eats on a daily basis depends on various factors including his age, his activity level and so on.

General Health Information

Beagles are a relatively healthy dog breed but there are certain illnesses that they are prone to, some of which are the result of lifestyle, age or genetics. For instance, many beagles are prone to epilepsy and back trouble. However, a very common issue is ear infections that often occur due to their long floppy ears, which have limited air flow and can lock in moisture, allowing bacteria to grow. Thus, great care needs to be taken to ensure ears are clean and dry. They are also at risk of eye problems, including glaucoma and corneal dystrophy. Moreover, inactive dogs can become obese, which puts them at greater risk for health ailments.

Common Illnesses include: Epilepsy, ear infections, heart disease, eye problems, chondroplasia (dwarfism).

Are You the Right Beagle Owner?

Living conditions - Although Beagles can live happily in an apartment dwelling, as they are very active indoors, they do best when they are in a home with a fenced yard, which allows them more freedom to play, run and roam around. Keep in mind, regardless of where a Beagle may live, his owner must provide him with adequate daily exercise for his health and wellbeing.

Beagle Training - Beagles need leadership and guidance to become a true credit to their breed. As such, they require firm training that is consistent and resolute. They are very independent thinkers and will try to overstep their boundaries and climb the pack ranks if given half the chance. Therefore, don’t give this pooch any reason to question your authority. You must be their kind, fair and constant leader. Keep in mind you cannot train natural instincts out of your pet. Hence, you cannot stop him from tracking.

Common Problems - This is not a breed that likes to be left alone and is prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors. You need to include him in as much of your life as possible to prevent him from developing this issue. You may also find it will help to provide him with another canine companion for comfort. Howling or baying is another common issue which can become very annoying to owners and their neighbors. Finally, Beagles need to be socialized and need strong leadership to prevent behavioral issues, such as guarding, possessiveness, snapping and biting.

The bottom line...

The beagle is a beautiful canine that can be a wonderful addition to any family looking for an active, fun loving and high spirited companion. He enjoys playing games with children, will want to travel with you everywhere and is a true friend to the end. However, the Beagle isn’t the best choice for everyone. Though friendly and accepting towards humans and his fellow dog, he is not compatible with other household pets, including cats and especially rodents, which he sees as prey. Furthermore, he likes to make noise, he is often more interested in following a smell than a command and he won’t take kindly to being left alone.

Owning a beagle takes great responsibility and care and is not something that should be considered lightly. As long as you are dedicated to providing him with a happy and healthy life, you will experience a friendship like no other.

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