Beagle 101: The Essential Guide

OriginEngland
SizeMedium
Height           13 inches and under & 13 to 15 inches
WeightUnder 20 pounds (13 inches and under) & 20 to 30 pounds (13 to 15 inches)
Life Expectancy10 – 15 years
Breed GroupHound Group
Affection Level⭐⭐⭐
Friendliness⭐⭐⭐
Activity Level⭐⭐⭐
Barking/Howling Level⭐⭐⭐
Pet Friendly⭐⭐⭐
Kid-Friendly⭐⭐⭐
Shedding⭐⭐
Easy to Groom⭐⭐⭐
Easy to Train

Origin

The Beagle’s history isn’t well-documented, and speculations suggest that they’ve been around even before the Roman era as pack hounds, but the modern ones are deemed to be from England. 

Since the breed is vocal and fond of baying, it’s believed that the name Beagle was referenced to such a trait which, in French, means “open throat.”

Since the ancestry of the Beagle remains cloudy, several accounts show dogs that are similar to the Beagle breed. They were used in Greece for hunting in the 5th century BCE. Though no formal name has been given to these mysterious dogs, people consider them the ancestors of the first Beagles.

In the 1800s, it’s often perceived that the Beagle breed was developed through the Southern Hound, the Talbot Hound, and the North Country Beagle. They were further improved by purposefully breeding them to become laid-back yet with strong hunting characteristics. 

In the 1840s, the development of the standard Beagle has resulted in four varieties which are:

  • Fox Beagle.
  • Lapdog Beagle.
  • Medium Beagle.
  • Rough-coated Beagle.

In 1887, the low count of documented Beagles urged fanciers to preserve the lineage, which is why the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles and the Beagle Club were formed. 

Appearance 

The Beagle is a medium-sized, compact, and sturdy pooch with hardy-boned legs. The hind legs are angular and proportionate to their body, and all four paw pads are hard and tough. 

Usually, the breed is longer than tall, and they’re known for their white-tipped tail, which they use during hunting to let their human companions understand where they are while they lower their heads to the ground to sniff and track a scent.

The Beagles stand with power and regality at a normal pose, with their tails raised high. The most identifiable feature of the breed is their long, floppy, and wide ears that gracefully rest against their cheeks. Their square-shaped body also commonly exhibits a tri-colored coat. Some of the natural colors are:

  • Red.
  • Tan. 
  • Blue.
  • Black.
  • White.
  • Brown.
  • Redtick.
  • Bluetick. 

There are also markings, and the usual ones you can see are the tan markings, spotted and ticked. 

Temperament

There are several reasons why the Beagle is one of the most sought-after breeds in the world. Aside from the gentle look on their face, this pooch is also known to have particular quirks and remarkable personality traits that are just too adorable to ignore. Let’s know them better below:

Affection

There’s no denying that both male and female Beagles are affectionate. However, while in most dog breeds, it’s usually the male that appears to be more outgoing and fun, the case doesn’t apply with the Beagle.

The female counterpart is more intense and demanding of your love and affection. They’re not even afraid to openly display or express their emotions. Even after a long walk at the park or a lively play in the yard, the female Beagle will still have the energy to do certain things just to grab your attention.

Meanwhile, male Beagles are more casual. They’ll still love you but in moderation. From time to time, they’ll ask for pets, hugs, and kisses. Once the bonding session is over, they’ll resort to their bed and snooze to give you the space you need.

Reading tip: Male or Female Beagle: Which One Is a Better Pet?

Friendliness

The AKC describes the Beagle to be a friendly dog. They can interact with almost anyone in the house, including your children and other pets. However, if your other pets are considerably tiny in size, like a hamster or a bird, care is needed should they interact according to the PDSA. After all, the Beagle is a hunting dog, and their prey drive might kick in during their bonding moment. 

The Beagle is initially wary and aloof when it comes to strangers, but they’re easy to win over. You just have to introduce them to the guests properly, let them warm-up, and they’ll be asking for pets and affection from the new people after some time.

This also hints that you shouldn’t rely on this pooch to become your guard dog. Aside from the disadvantage in size, the Beagle’s barks and howling are only enough to make them an alert dog, but they’ll do little of this if the intruder is already confronting them.

Activity Level

Beagles are naturally active dogs, so they aren’t often seen lying around like couch potatoes. They aren’t lazy because they’ve been bred to help hunters in hunting games. The early Beagles will endlessly go after rabbits and other small animals all day. 

It’s ideal to have a yard at home that they can freely access. However, their nose can bring them anywhere, so make sure that the area is secured. A fence around will keep them within the property, so consider using only robust and long-lasting materials. 

To add, Beagles are excellent escape artists. Since they also used to chase after foxes, digging is part of their behavior. Dog-proof your fence to avoid ending up with a missing Beagle.

Check out: Top 13 Fence Ideas to Keep Your Dog Secure at All Times

Care

Beagles are great family pets, and the good news is that they’re not too tricky to take care of. This doesn’t mean that you can show the bare minimum when maintaining this dog, though. Just make sure that their basic needs are met to keep them happy every day.

Grooming

Beagles shed a lot. They let go of their fur in moderation in regular months, but it gets worse during the shedding seasons; spring and fall. This makes them unsuitable for those who have dog allergies unless they pour in great effort to minimize their contact with fur and dander.

Anyhow, maintaining this loyal companion’s fur is not a complex task at all. Help promote growth by brushing them weekly, or whatever frequency works for you and your dog. Use a soft bristle brush and run it gently all over their body.

To add, never over-shower your Beagle. This only strips them of their natural oils, leading to dry, flaky, and sensitive skin. Bathing them can take place every 6 to 8 weeks or whenever they’re dirty or stinky.

Take note of their floppy ears. Although it looks unique, fascinating, and lovely, they actually require more attention compared to other dog breeds. They’re so prone to ear infections, so keep the areas clean. You’d know if they have ear issues if they exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Whining.
  • Excessive ear scratching.
  • Rubbing their ears to the ground.

Use the right dog wipes intended for the ears and avoid the urge to utilize baby wipes since they’re only meant to be used for human babies. 

You might be interested to read: Can I Use Baby Wipes on My Dog? Why You Can’t + 3 Alternatives

Food and Diet

How much you feed your Beagle depends on their age, activity level, health, and metabolism rate. The general guidelines are stated on the back if you choose to provide them with commercial dog food. Still, you have to know that every dog is an individual.

If they’re losing weight despite giving the suggested amount, it’s best to consider adding more. Of course, you can also ask for help from a vet so they can formulate the proper diet for your dog. This includes:

  • What to give them.
  • And how much to provide them with. 

If the Beagle is still a puppy, they will eat more often than adults; at least 3-4 times daily. This aids them in developing healthier and reaching their full size without issues. 

It is to be expected that their food needs to be changed at one point in their lives. Never switch so suddenly to avoid upsetting their stomachs or putting them at risk of allergy.

Follow the formula below:

  • 1st week: 3/4  old food + 1/4  new food.
  • 2nd week: 1/2 old food + 1/2 new food.
  • 3rd week: 1/4 old food + 3/4 new food.
  • 4th week: The entire serving is composed of the new food.

You also have to know that Beagles love food way too much. Try not to be tempted to give them more than they need, as they can quickly gain weight.

Exercise

As a fairly active dog, the Beagle would be happy to have 60 minutes of exercise daily. You don’t have to use up all the time in one period but rather divide this into smaller sessions. This keeps them from overheating and over-exhaustion. 

Since they’re originally hunters, the breed will thrive well outdoors and would love to roam around with their strong sense of smell. If you’re out in a doggy park, ensure they’re leashed as they can run off quickly.

Though they love to do little explorations outside, Beagles also find happiness indoors. That calls for you to purchase and invest in dog toys to keep them busy and preoccupied. Puzzle toys, tennis balls, or chew toys can keep them from boredom. As you know, if they’re bored, destructive behaviors may take place. 

The common signs are:

  • Chewing on furniture. 
  • Digging holes in the yard.
  • Peeing in inappropriate places.
  • Unnecessary howling and barking.

This may ultimately lead to them developing separation anxiety, making them overly clingy and fearful whenever you have to leave the house.

Training

Don’t be easily fooled by the gentle looks of the Beagle. They’re, by far, one of the most challenging breeds to train. They’re stubborn, and they tend to do whatever they like. The reason behind their hard-headedness to comply is due to how they were bred.

Since these are scent hounds, Beagles were used to getting locked on the specific scent and ignoring any other stimuli. What’s more, is that they’re naturally independent and curious. Once they’re determined to do something else, they’ll pursue it and leave you hanging during training.

In order to make them follow your commands, there are a few steps you need to take. Check the list below:

  • Choose an appropriate training area.
  • Establish yourself as the pack leader.
  • Slightly tire your Beagle before training.
  • Develop a strong bond with your Beagle.
  • Always prepare foods and rewards to reinforce good behavior.

Always train them regularly and consistently. Show patience as they can be hard work at times. Whenever they show eagerness to cooperate, make sure they gradually learn the following basic drills:

  • Socialization. 
  • Potty training.
  • Crate training.
  • Basic obedience.
  • Formal dog training.

The length of time needed for a Beagle to learn certain things would vary a lot. While others can absorb the drills reasonably quickly, some may take months. It’s indeed challenging to own a Beagle, but the effort will be worth it once they become well-trained. 

Health Problems

Beagles that are ethically bred are generally healthy and robust. Since they’re purebred dogs, they can be prone to a series of medical problems requiring a licensed vet’s attention. Usually, they suffer from the following conditions:

  • Allergy. 
  • Obesity.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Glaucoma. 
  • Cherry eye.
  • Patellar luxation.
  • Hypothyroidism. 

The list may even get longer if the Beagle was a result of backyard breeding. Always avoid puppy mills as you won’t have any guarantee that the Beagle puppy is in good health condition.

Often, they’re raised in harmful environments that are cramped and unsanitary. The healthy ones get mixed up with those who have severe ailments, and some who suffer from serious health problems can get neglected and not receive any proper care.

Pros and Cons of Having a Beagle

Pros

  • Compact. 
  • Easy-going. 
  • Highly social.
  • Very affectionate.
  • Typically friendly.
  • Very low in maintenance.
  • They can be therapy dogs.
  • They’re excellent watchdogs.
  • Highly adaptable family dogs.
  • Great for outgoing dog lovers.

Cons

  • They love to dig. 
  • They have so much energy.
  • They can be loud and noisy.
  • They’re notorious escape artists.
  • Not a hypoallergenic dog breed.
  • They can be a bit challenging to train.
  • They can’t be left alone on their own for too long.
  • Their strong sense of smell can take them anywhere.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize the Beagle?

Several reputable kennel clubs do recognize the Beagle as an official breed. The dog is purebred and has been around for so long. The breed standards have been set up so ethical breeders would have something to comply with and their dogs reach the ideal proportions that are considered healthy. 

The remarkable kennel clubs that have listed the Beagle as one of their official breeds are the AKC and the UK Kennel Club. Both of them recognize that the Beagle has two variations: the 13 inches and under type of Beagle and the 13 to 15 inches one. 

Currently, the Beagle is at the 6th spot in the AKC’s popularity ranking, which is pretty impressive considering there are now 205 dog breeds on the list. 

Cost

A Beagle puppy’s price ranges from $800 to $1,500. That’s a rate you’d encounter from regular reputable breeders. If you’re after Beagle puppies that are top-quality or have superior lineage, the price can go beyond $2,500.

It all depends on what you’re after. Pet quality Beagles have not reached the breed standards but remain healthy. They’re more affordable. On the other hand, the show quality Beagles are qualified concerning breed standards and are healthy. They cost a lot more.

Be careful when buying a Beagle puppy, though, as scams are prevalent these days. The AARPA has a few tips for you:

  • Meet the breeder in person.
  • Check the legitimacy of the breeder.
  • Use only credit cards when paying in case of fraud or dispute.

Be noble, though, and make a difference. Each year, thousands of dogs end up in rescue homes and shelters. By visiting a Beagle rescue center, you’ll end up with one or two lovely dogs that are as good as those from the breeders.

You only have to pay a small fee of around $250 to $500 to cover certain expenses before you can ultimately bring them home. 

Where to Adopt or Buy a Beagle

Beagles are always high in demand. This means it’s not that difficult to find one at a shelter or look for a reputable breeder, as there are so many out there. 

It comes with caution, though, if you’re dealing with a breeder. Not all have come to the business with the right intention, so always research them before closing a deal. 

Anyway, here are my top picks, whether you’re adopting or buying; consider the list below:

ADOPT

BUY

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