The Beagle, also known as the English Beagle, is a Scent Hound that belongs to the Hound group. He is greatly prized for his sharp sense of smell and skills as a Hunting Dog. The dog breed is medium-sized with a short coat, which makes for easy and minimal grooming.
Beagles should not be cooped up in a small apartment without proper exercise. These dogs are known explorers and chasers, prone to escape if not given enough physical stimulation.
They have rather selective hearing, so they seldom come back when called. They also love eating and maybe found looking into the trash bin for food. Their average lifespan is 12 - 15 years.
This small dog is cute, sociable, sweet, gentle, and friendly. Are you thinking of buying a Beagle puppy? Here is a brief background of this Hunting dog.
This breed's origin is a bit complex since there are many claims, but they lack reliable documentation. Some say that there have been hunting dogs of similar appearance and size in Greece since the 5th century BCE.
The Beagle may also have come from the Talbot Hound, which was created from the documented St. Huber hound in the 11th century. The Talbot, which was a slow hunter, was crossed with a Greyhound to increase his speed.
The North Country Beagle and southern hound are other dog breeds thought to be used to develop this hunting dog today. There is still an ongoing debate where the breed's name stems from. Some vouch it comes from the French word beugler, which means 'to bellow.' Others argue that it is derived from the German word begele, which means 'to scold.'
Beagles were the smallest British pack hounds. These dogs were bred in England during the 15th century, and their primary purpose was hare and rabbit hunting. After some time, a miniature variation of the breed was created. These are commonly known as the Mini, Teacup, or Pocket Beagle, and Queen Elizabeth II even kept these smaller versions of the breed in her saddle panniers.
Reverend Phillip Honeywood initiated a breeding programme in 1830. It is believed to have laid the modern version of the breed’s foundation. The very first offspring produced in the breeding programme was small and sports a fine white coat. A man named Thomas Johnson continued to refine the breeding procedure and created two varieties of the breed: one has a smooth coat, whilst the other owns a rough fur.
Four Beagles were made in the 1860s: medium, fox, dwarf, and terrier. Unfortunately, only 18 packs of the dog breed remained in 1887. This prompted the breed’s fanciers to form 'The Beagle Club' in 1890 to keep these small hunting dogs from becoming extinct.
It was followed by the establishment of the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles in 1891. Both organisations worked to create the breed’s standard-type. Through their efforts, the number of packs increased from 18 to 772 by 1902.
The breed standard has been officially accepted by the Kennel Club (KC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). Its miniature variation is not a recognised breed by the KC and the UKC, as many believe that it was just a poorly bred Beagle. On the other hand, many breeders argue that this variation is healthy and has good temperaments.
Beagles in the US can easily be found in two varieties: those standing under 33 centimetres at the shoulder and those between 33 and 38 centimetres. Because of the dog breed's sharp sense of smell, he is used as a scent-detection dog at US airports. His small size and friendliness make him less threatening than other police dogs. Thus, passengers are less likely to get nervous when the dog sniffs and inspects their luggage for weapons, drugs, or illegal food items.
They resemble a miniature Foxhound with a broader head and a shorter, square-cut muzzle. Males stand between 36–41 centimetres at the withers, whereas females’ height ranges between 33-38cm. Males weigh 10–11 kilos and females between 9-10 kilos.
The breed’s physique is strong and lean but muscular. It has a domed skull and long, round-tipped ears. Its nose is black with wide nostrils. It has fairly large eyes that are set well apart and show a mild expression.
Some Beagles have blue eyes, but their eye color generally comes in either dark brown or hazel. In general, these dogs have a deep, broad chest, a straight back, and a moderately long high-set tail.
They are known for their distinct tricolour coat that is short, dense, and weatherproof. They come in a variety of colour combinations. The Lemon Beagle is one of the rarest colourations. Typical colour variations include black-tan-white, blue-white-tan, hare pied, lemon pied, or badger pied.
The Beagle is a moderate seasonal shedder that sheds his winter coat in spring. His short and smooth coat is easy to maintain. Weekly brushing, preferably using a rubber curry brush, is required to remove dead hair. However, frequent brushing is required once the shedding season starts.
He is generally a clean dog and rarely has a doggy odour, so bathing can be done every 4 to 6 weeks or as needed.
The Beagle is drop-eared; thus, it is prone to ear infections. Check and wipe your dog’s ears at least twice a week to prevent problems from cropping up. Be sure to use a dog-safe ear cleaning solution.
Their ears should be cleaned using cotton balls instead of cotton swabs to prevent pushing dirt further into their ears. When wiping your dog’s ears, the cotton ball should not go deeper than the first knuckle of your finger.
Be sure to take care of his teeth and gums as well. Brush them at least twice a week. The nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks to prevent them from overgrowing.
Also, look out for ticks, fleas, and other abnormalities such as injuries, rashes, or inflammation. Regular grooming that is appropriately done will help in the early detection of health problems. Abnormal findings during grooming must be consulted with a veterinarian right away to prescribe proper treatments and medications.
Beagles have an amiable temperament and are considered one of the friendliest dog breeds in the Hound Group. However, their amiable nature keeps them from becoming skilled guard dogs.
Beagles are known for being excessive barkers, but they usually exhibit this behaviour whenever they sense an intruder or lack exercise and interaction. Early training is necessary to stop this behaviour and allow these dogs to thrive in small apartments just as well as in the countryside.
These dogs make great family pets that get along well with children. At times, they can be quite rowdy and raucous. Thus, supervision is needed to keep them and the children safe.
The breed is a good companion for other pets, provided that it undergoes early socialisation. That said, as a hunting dog, it has a high prey drive, so always keep an eye on it whenever it is interacting with other pets, especially smaller ones.
When Beagles are left alone, they may develop destructive behaviours, including incessant howling and digging. They are also prone to separation anxiety, so be sure to provide them with enough companionship and playtime.
Having a pet-sitter or furry friend around to keep your dog in company will greatly help in preventing the development of these undesirable traits.
This clever dog has a talent for escaping, as he is skilled at climbing walls and digging holes. With this in mind, ensure that you have high fences. The wires should sink into the ground along the fence line to prevent these clever dogs from digging through.
Don't opt for chain-link fences, as your dog can easily climb over them. High-quality locks must be installed on gates; he might open flimsy latches.
These dogs are challenging to train since they can be very stubborn. So successful house-training will take time to achieve. Obedience training at a young age is crucial. Otherwise, they will grow up to be very rebellious and defiant because of their fiercely stubborn disposition.
As they need to be highly motivated, use positive reinforcement and plenty of treats. But always keep in mind to give treats in moderation, as it is prone to obesity. As a small but highly active dog, the breed excels in various canine sports and competitions, particularly agility and hunting trials.
With that said, certain predispositions may create a bias for first-time pet owners. However, it is crucial to be aware that despite its genetic makeup and predisposed temperament, the breed is shaped based on early socialisation and the time and effort put into the training.
A Beagle's disposition may also depend on his purpose for breeding. Those that are mainly bred as hunting dogs are more likely to have extremely high energy levels and require ample amounts exercise. They are best suited for very active and outdoor-loving families.
The ones that are bred as show dogs are more relaxed and can fit right in a more laid-back household.
A typical serving for a full-grown Beagle is 3/4–1 1/2 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. Since each dog has its own needs, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.
An adult Beagles daily typical calorie Needs:
The Beagle is an active dog that requires a protein-rich diet, with experts recommending a minimum of 25% of its overall diet.
This small dog can easily gain weight, so owners should opt for complex carbs instead of simple ones. Avoid wheat, corn, and soy; instead, choose brown rice, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.
You may also add to his food pumpkin and carrots, which contain nutrients for anaemia that the breed is prone to. Add fish and flaxseed, which contain good fat for a healthy and shiny coat.
The Beagle has an average lifespan of 12 - 15 years. It is generally healthy but prone to certain breed-specific health issues, especially eye-related ones.
The most common health conditions for the breed are:
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary bone, and joint disease wherein the hip ball and socket fail to fit each other. Affected dogs may experience lameness and pain on one or both of their hind legs. They can be cured through medication or surgery.
Cherry eye is a prevalent eye problem in the breed. Beagles suffering from this disease have a noticeable pink protrusion on the corner of their eyes. It’s because the gland under these dogs’ eyelids become irritated. Cherry eye is treatable through surgery, but it may occur again.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Dogs with this condition may exhibit loss of night vision and eventual blindness. There is no cure for PRA; however, blind dogs can still live their lives with happiness with their owners' help.
Dogs of the breed with dwarfism grow up to be smaller than the normal size. Spine problems often accompany this genetic disorder. Some dogs suffering from this health problem may also sport extremely short legs.
Musladin‐Lueke Syndrome (MLS)
It is previously known as Chinese Beagle Syndrome (CBS), an incurable hereditary disease. Common symptoms of this condition are stiff legs, slanted eyes, shortened toes, tight skin, and learning difficulties.
Buy your puppy from a reputable breeder who lets their breeding stock undergo suggested tests, including hip, eye, thyroid evaluation, and DNA testing. These tests will ensure that their dog and puppies are less likely to inherit the aforementioned health problems.
Since this dog breed is vivacious and full of energy, it requires ample amounts of exercise. Sixty minutes of walks or playtime is enough to keep your dog fit and active. To make his exercise regimen more interesting, you can also include hunting and fetching games in a secured garden.
Your Beagle requires long walks as it provides him with more opportunities to track with his nose. Other activities that you can do to satisfy his scenting instincts is to purchase different animal scents and play tracking games.
Avoid allowing these active dogs off-lead unless they are thoroughly well-trained in recall to prevent them from chasing down anything that moves. It also keeps them from wandering off every time their nose catches a curious scent.
Beagle puppies can cost anywhere from £500 to £1000. Expect to pay more for a well-bred pedigree puppy from a KC-registered breeder. Dog supplies and equipment such as collars, lead, bed, crate, and toys will cost around £200. As this dog is a big eater, prepare to spend £30–£40 a month on high-quality dog food and treats.
Expect to pay £800 per year for your dog’s medical care, including initial vaccinations (£100–£120), boosters (£50–£60), and regular vet check-ups. The monthly pet insurance premium is about £20 for basic coverage and £50 for a lifetime policy.
Beagles are often purchased without full knowledge of what is needed to take proper care of this breed. Many Beagles are in need of being fostered and adopted. Below are listed rescue groups that can help you find a Beagle in need a forever home.
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Are you sure the Beagle is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz