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Beagle – Everything You Need To Know

Beagle is an active, cheerful, and fun-loving medium-sized scent dog. Beagles are nosy (unlike the humans) pooches with a commendable sense of smell, and no scent escapes these dogs. They were bred to be hunting dogs and primarily used to hunt hares and rabbits. And as a fact, Beagles have approximately 220 million scent receptors that help them follow and smell any kind of scent. 

Beagles are gentle, playful, and compact. Though Beagles belong to the hunting group, their petite size, gentleness, floppy ears, and expressive puppy eyes make them appealing as family pets. In addition, they are super friendly and constantly look for a new best friend in every pet or human they encounter. On a lighter note, prepare yourself to be less possessive of your Beagle fur babies before getting one. They are dogs with high energy and require a lot of exercise. Lack of exercise and activities leads them to bark, howl, and destructive behavior.

Beagle Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Family petsHowls and barks
Pet-friendlySheds a lot
Low grooming needsDifficult to train

Beagle Basic Information

  • Name: Beagle
  • Origin: England
  • Group: Hound dog
  • Size: Small to medium
  • Height: 13-15 inches
  • Weight: 18-30 pounds
  • Coat: Short and flat
  • Color: Tricolor combinations of tan, black, white, reddish, brown, and pale lemon
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Walking, tracking, hiking, playing fetch, companion dogs
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 1-10 puppies
  • Another Name: English Beagle
  • Original Pastime: Hunting, tracking scents
  • Life Span: 10-15 years

History of Beagle

The facts leading to the history of the Beagle dog breed are blurry and believed to be brought to England by the Romans to hunt small rabbits and hares. However, there is a mention of Beagle-like dogs in the Greek documents dating back to 400 BC and thought to have been bred with local hounds later on. Similarly, the origin of its name, “Beagle,” is also unknown. Some believe it may have been derived from the French words begueule or beugler, meaning open throat and bellowing, respectively. Few others think it may have come from the old English word, beag, meaning small, due to its compact size. 

The now extinct Talbot hounds were brought to England by William The Conqueror during the Norman Conquest in 1606. Talbot Hounds are believed to be the ancestors of Beagles and FoxHounds. Beagles became popular among the Royal and High-Class English Society as early as 1300 A D. During the times of Edward II(1307-1327) and Henry VII(1485-1509), Glove Beagles became popular. Glove Beagles are extremely small in size that fit the size of a glove. There were also Singing Beagles that had a musical note to their voice. Elizabeth I(1533-1603), too, had a pack of Pocket Beagles that were only 9 inches tall. They were depicted as short-legged and pointy-nosed in the paintings belonging to that era. 

During the 1700s, Foxhounds were used for hunting, and Beagles were not favored. Thanks to the farmers of England and Ireland, who kept the Beagles for hunting hares and rabbits and saved them from becoming extinct. Again in the mid-1800s, Beagles were bred for hunting skills, and they are believed to be the ancestor of modern-day Beagles. Around the same time, Beagles were imported to America and were produced smaller to hunt rabbits. 

An Interesting Beagle strain called Patch Beagle was developed with white as the primary line and a big tri-colored spot in Newyork and was very popular during the 1940s and 1950s. Presently, lemon, white, red, and white Beagles are called “Patch Beagles.” It is interesting to note that AKC and the first Beagle Specialty Club was founded in the same year, in 1884. Also, AKC recognized Beagles in the following year, 1885. Beagles are now the seventh most popular breed of America.

Types of Beagle

Beagles have been classified into two varieties based on their size. Except for the size, other characteristics remain the same.

  • Smaller Beagle- This variety does not exceed 13 inches in height. 
  • Larger Beagle- This variety grows between 13 – 15 inches 

Beagle Highlights

  • Beagles are challenging to train and take almost a year to house train beagle puppies completely. 
  • They get bored when left alone and engage in activities like digging, howling, and trying to escape.
  • They are prone to excessive barking and howling and require appropriate training.
  • Beagles are scent hounds, and their nose controls their brain. This causes them to wander off at any exciting smell.
  • They are stubborn and independent and may require obedience training.
  • Beagles are overeaters, and they sniff out the food. They should be monitored for obesity.
  • Beagles are over-friendly dogs and not suitable as guard dogs.
  • Beagles are two sizes, and both are born to the same litter of puppies.
  • They are brilliant and great problem solvers.

Beagle Personality

Beagles are of two types of sizes- small and medium. The smaller Beagles weigh 20 pounds, and the larger ones weigh 20-35 pounds. They are small yet powerful dogs. All Beagles are double-coated, and their coats are short and smooth. They come in various colors but mostly have tri-colored coats of black, tan, white or blue, tan and white, lemon and white, red and white, and chocolate and white. They are not hypoallergenic and are prone to shedding throughout the year. They shed heavily, especially during the spring season. They have expressive big and brown puppy eyes,  square and floppy ears, and erect tails tipped in white.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Family-friendlyHigh
Kid-friendlyHigh
Dog-friendlyHigh
Stranger-friendlyHigh 

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingHigh
Good for new ownersMedium
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceLow
Heat toleranceHigh

Beagle Physical Features

  • Head: The head is relatively long, broad, and complete, with a slight dome at the back part of the head. The ears are round at the tip and reach the nose’s end; eyes are large and set apart. They are in the color of brown or hazel and are expressive. The muzzle is square.
  • Neck: The neck is solid and medium length, long enough to bend down and pick a scent.
  • Topline: The topline is level and firm. They have a deep and muscular chest.
  • Body: The body is compact, small, or medium. The chest is broad and profound; shoulders are muscular and not heavy; ribs are flat. 
  • Tail: the tail is moderately high, turned forward over the back with a slight curve. 
  • Forequarters: The forelegs are straight with the feet close, round and firm. 
  • Hindquarters: The hindquarters are well balanced and powerful. The hips and thighs are muscular and well-muscled. The feet are close and firm.
  • Feet: The feet are close and firm. The pad is hard and full.
  • Coat: They have double-coated, medium-length coats.
  • Color: Any true hound color.
  • Gait: The action is free with well-balanced movement.

Beagle  Temperament

Beagles are active, happy, outgoing, lively, and fun-loving dogs. They are very appealing with their soft, pleading expressions and always lookout for a new friend. Beagles love food, and their focus remains undeterred when it comes to food. They take their food pretty seriously. The exciting part is that they have three different vocalizations – bark/growl, a baying howl, a half baying howl. 

Beagles get along with other animals and strangers quickly. They are scent hounds and escape when they find any exciting smell. However, they get bored when left alone, leading to barking, howling, digging, and even trying to escape. They are kid-friendly and make a good family dog.

Beagle Training

Beagles’ noses work more than their brains, and they love to sniff and track the smells. They need to be on leashes and trained to control to prevent the dog from tracking. We recommend you to crate train them at an early stage. Beagles are strong-willed and require proper obedience training, without which they tend to become unruly. They are challenging to train and command, and hence it has to be made fun and entertaining. They need to be socialized early with all kinds of people, animals, and the environment.

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainLow
IntelligenceHigh
Prey driveHigh
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh
Wanderlust tendenciesHigh

Beagle Exercise Needs

Beagles are active, energetic and need loads of regular exercise. A daily routine of 60 minutes of exercise is ideal for keeping the dog’s mental stimulation intact. Walking twice a day with lots of space to run and play keeps the dog happy and healthy.

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh
IntensityHigh to medium
PlayfulnessHigh

Beagle Grooming

Beagles are double-coated and water-resistant. The coat is short with a high to moderate level of shedding. They don’t require frequent bathing. The floppy ears need to be cleaned regularly to prevent ear infections. Nails need to be trimmed to avoid overgrowth and any injury. The teeth should be brushed twice a week for good oral health.

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow 
Amount of sheddingMedium

Beagle Health

Beagle is a healthy and active dog. Yet, it’s always wise to be aware of the health conditions they are prone to.

Health Overview

General healthLow
Weight gain tendenciesHigh
SizeLow

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A degenerative eye disorder that causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eyes. It can be detected earlier. A very later stage is blindness. Dogs with this condition can survive for several years since they have other senses to compensate.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is outwardly a painful disease that occurs when the bones of the back legs do not fit properly in the joints. While some dogs will exhibit symptoms, the majority of canines will not. Hip dysplasia is primarily genetic, although other causes such as accidents, excessive weight gain, and inappropriate training can also cause it. Even though this disease is fatal, therapies range from medicine to hip replacement surgery. This condition causes defects or damage to the hip bones and joints and worsens without treatment. To avoid this problem, avoid breeding dogs with hip dysplasia parentage and get annual examinations.

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia: 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include:

  • Reduced activity and movements
  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run or climb
  • Lameness in the hind limbs
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
  • Grating in the joint during movement
  • Enlarging shoulders
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Epilepsy: Idiopathic epilepsy is a common hereditary disorder. It frequently causes seizures, ranging from mild to severe. In addition, unusual behaviors may indicate a stroke, such as frantically fleeing as threatened, stumbling, or hiding.  Seizures frighten, but dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have a relatively good long-term outlook. Other than unexplained epilepsy, seizures can be induced by metabolic disorders, respiratory illnesses of the brain, malignancies, toxin poisoning, and severe traumatic injury. 

Intervertebral disc disease: They inherit this disease from the parent breeds. The disc that separates the spine’s backbone weakens over time and affects the spinal nerve. This causes severe pain and is life-threatening.

Cherry eyes: This condition causes the dog’s third eyelid gland to bulge out. It looks reddish at the inner corner of the eye. You can treat cherry eyes in dogs surgically.

Patellar Luxation: It is also known as “slipped stifles,” a common problem in small dog breeds that is caused when the patella, which has three parts-the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not correctly bounded. This leads to lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, like a hop or a skip. This condition is caused by birth, although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation leads to arthritis. There are four patellar luxation grades, ranging from phase I, an occasional luxation causing unstable lameness in the joint, to grade IV, where the turning of the tibia is heavy, and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives your dog a bow-legged appearance. Uphill grades of patellar luxation may require surgery.

Hypothyroidism: Low thyroid levels in dogs cause overweight issues and become weak, dull, and not life-threatening.

Distichiasis:  An additional row of eyelashes grows on the eye’s oil gland and protrudes along the edge of the eyelid. This irritates the eye. This is treated by a surgery called cryoepilation in which the excess eyelashes are frozen with liquid nitrogen and then removed.

Glaucoma: This is a painful condition in which the pressure in the eye gets abnormal. The fluid called aqueous humor is produced and drained constantly in the eye. If this fluid doesn’t drain properly, it leads to pressure in the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve. This results in blindness. There are two types.

  • Primary Glaucoma: This is hereditary.
  • Secondary Glaucoma: This condition results from inflammation, tumor, and injury.

Beagle Dwarfism: The dog is smaller, not average in this condition. They may or may not include abnormal conditions such as extremely short legs.

Chinese Beagle Syndrome (CBS): This condition causes broad skulls and slanted eyes. Other than this, the growth is average. Dogs with this condition are prone to heart problems and toe abnormalities.

Beagle  Diet and Nutrition

Beagles require a daily amount of ¾ to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food divided into two meals. They are active dogs and need the right amount of nourishment. Therefore, you can feed them a well-balanced protein diet along with calorie-rich food. However, every dog’s diet depends upon the size, age, metabolism, and activity level. They love to eat and are prone to obesity. Nothing makes them happier than a treat now and then. However, they can be kept healthy and in shape with the nourishing and right amount of meals. At regular intervals, provide your dog with clean and fresh water.

Beagle Living condition

Beagles are scent hounds and must be kept secured and fenced. They have wandering tendencies, so they have to be leashed and microchipped. They are small in size and have a gentle temperament which allows them to be suitable for apartment living. However, they get bored when left alone and tend to destructive behavior.

Did you know?

  • Snoopy from the comic Peanuts is the most famous Beagle. Snoopy was inspired by Schulz’s family dog, Spike.
  • Beagle’s white-tipped tail helps to track it through the woods while hunting.
  • Former President Lyndon B. Johnson had three beagles in the White House during his presidency. They were named Him, Her, and Edgar.
  • Beagles have played roles in many big production screens. Some of the films include  Cats & Dogs, Shiloh, and John Wick.

Beagle Club Recognition

Rescue Groups

Adding a Beagle Dog to Your Family

Things to remember before adding a Beagle Puppy to your family

It is best to get a Beagle Puppy or dog from a reputable breeder to prevent unavoidable circumstances like health and vaccination. In addition, it is best to visit the puppy’s parents to cross-check its health and happiness. Following health clearance certificates are essential:

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Auburn University for thrombopathia.
  • The Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) for eye conditions.

The cost of a Beagle ranges from $550 to $6000.

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