Beagle

Beagle
The Beagle is one of the best known and loved of all the hound group. These sturdy and bold little scent hounds have kindly expressions and are compact and athletic. They have short coats that are dense and weather-resistant and come in a range of colours and patterns.
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non Hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Beagle Key Facts:

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Weight: 10 – 11kg

Height: 33 – 40cm

Colours: Tricolour (black, tan and white); blue, white and tan; badger pied; hare pied; lemon pied; lemon and white; red and white; tan and white; black and white; all white. These colours can also be mottled, with the exception of all white.

Size: Medium

Kennel Club group: Hound

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5

Exercise needs: 4/5

Easy to train: 1/5

Tolerates being alone: 1/5

Likes other pets: 3/5

Energy level: 4/5

Grooming needs: 1/5

Shedding: 3/5

History and Origins

The Beagle is the smallest of the British pack-hounds - and was developed many centuries ago to hunt hare - and also when hare were scarce, rabbits. They were developed as ‘foot hounds’ i.e. for hunters to follow on foot rather than horse-back hence their diminutive size when compared to larger pack hounds such as the Foxhound. Most hounds were owned by nobility and the Beagle was no different, and in fact for a while was known as the ‘Royal Beagle’ but the ability to be able to follow them without a horse, made them become more popular with less regal sportsmen. Their happy cheerful disposition won them many devotees from outside of the sporting field and they moved from the hunting field to the show ring with ease at the end of the 19th century becoming one of the most popular of the hounds and a much-loved companion dog.

Personality

This is a happy, easy-going dog who is full of life and fun to be around. Beagles are good natured and, as they were bred to be pack animals, will get along with most other dogs. They love children but need to be exposed to cats at an early age in order to develop good relationships with them and may never be safe with strange cats or small furries. The Beagle is a good watchdog, barking at anything unusual, although once the burglar is indoors, the Beagle may prefer a game with him!

The Beagle suits an owner or family who want an active, affectionate, cheerful dog who loves getting involved in games and activities but who are able to cope with their selective attitude to obedience and lack of reliable recall.

Health and Common Issues

Beagles are generally a robust and healthy breed. However as with many breeds, they can suffer from hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. Epilepsy and a type of meningitis (Beagle pain syndrome) also occur more frequently in this breed.

Exercise Needs

The Beagle needs a great deal of exercise – around two hours a day. For many Beagles, this will be on-lead and because of his strong hunting instinct, he should not be let off-lead until owners are confident he will return when called, or else (and more likely!) only in a safe enclosed area. One of the best ways to keep your Beagle happy and well-exercised is to play scenting games and give him a chance to use his exceptional nose.

Space Requirements

Like most hounds, Beagles are happiest in the countryside as they love the scents and open spaces of the great outdoors - and need a lot of exercise. A medium house with a decent sized, well-fenced garden is a must - with lots of close-by walks. They enjoy living with other Beagles too - which increases the space you will need!

Nutrition and Feeding

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Beagles

This breed is easy to keep, requiring a quick brush once a week to remove dead and loose hairs. One slight problem is that Beagles do love to roll in foul smelling material. Luckily, they are quite easy to bathe. The ears should be checked on a regular basis to ensure they are clean and free from infection.

Training Beagles

Beagles are a challenge to train because of their natural scenthound instincts. Scenthounds were developed to find a trail and then to follow it to the exclusion of everything else and not be distracted no matter what might happen. This means that your Beagle is likely to tune you out totally if his mind is occupied with an interesting sniff! This isn’t him being ‘disobedient’, it is him doing what he was bred for.

Recall is a real challenge for Beagles - and while you should spend as much time as possible teaching your Beagle to come back when you call him, it’s wise not to rely on that! He is an escape artist too, so good fencing in vital.

What a Beagle can do is sniff - and so find a reward-based training class who can teach you how to play scent games and exercises with your dog as this will improve the bond between you and give you both something you can excel at.

Did you know?

  • The Beagle is one of the healthiest of pedigree dog breeds, and this coupled with his good nature has not always been good for him, as it has sadly led to the breed being widely used in vivisection and animal experiments.
  • As the Beagle is such a manageable size, and has such an incredible nose, he has found work around the world as a drugs and food sniffer dog in many airports. He is extremely successful in this work – and his appealing look means he doesn’t frighten the passengers.
  • The most famous Beagle of all is Snoopy – who, while he may not look like a Beagle, has made the breed very popular.

Best Family Dog Breeds

Happy and friendly, but still solid and robust the Beagle makes a great family dog. He is gentle enough not to frighten smaller children and active enough to join in games and family activities. Just watch out for children leaving doors and gates open as the Beagle is an expert escape artist!

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

Similar breeds:

English Foxhound

Basset Hound

Otterhound

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What to consider next

Adoption

It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption. Click here for more information.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed. Click here for more information.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information.