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Playful, perky, personable — Beagles can win over anybody’s heart in a jiffy with their unmistakable personalities. From Bob Dylan to Miley Cyrus, this feisty little dog has charmed celebs and dog lovers alike over the years. It comes as no surprise that they’re among the top ten of America’s most favorite pets.
Today, let’s get to know the Beagle dog breed up, close, and personal, The Upper Pawside style.
To this day, the origin of Beagles remains somewhat shrouded in mystery.
But just like Labrador Retrievers, Beagles can be traced back to Europe, more specifically to 5th century Greece to a small but alert scent hound used to hunt rabbits. But it was not until 1830 that Reverend Phillip Honeywood of Great Britain bred North Country Beagles with Southern Hounds to start the lineage of Beagles as we know them today.
Even with such a colorful ancestry in tow, Beagles did not reach the American shores until the years after the Civil War. Yet, immediately upon their arrival, they gained great favor among local hunters for their remarkable sense of smell, ever-curious nature, and nimble feet. By the 19th century, they were a household name.
Since then, Beagles have made a permanent place in the homes and hearts of Americans. Some of them have even gained recognition as compassionate and remarkably loyal emotional support animals.
Tiny but mighty, that’s Beagles for you.Read more
As you can very well guess, Beagles are small to medium-sized dogs.
Stout and robust, Beagles have a heavy set bone structure in an otherwise smallish body standing on short legs. But it is their eminently boopable nose set on a square muzzle, expressive eyes, and floppy “pendant” ears that give Beagles their characteristic cuteness. Don’t forget their high set tails which are always in the air, giving the breed its alert and playful disposition.
Beagles usually come in two size variations: one that stands at less than 13 inches tall and the other that’s usually 13-15 inches in height when fully grown. They can weigh anywhere between 20-35 pounds.
Fun Fact: Snoopy, the Beagle from Charles Schulz’s famous comic Peanuts is a whopping 329 years old in dog years!
Even though frugal in size, these dogs have quite well-proportioned muscular bodies covered in a short-haired tri-color fur coat. Beagles can also come in a variety of other “hound” color combinations, including red and white, tan/chocolate, and white, going up to a total of 25 color variations.
They also have characteristically domed skulls and broad chests with a straight back — dapper and gentlemanly in every way.
Beagles can go on to live and accompany you for a good 12-15 years.
Equal parts sassy and stubborn, Beagles have big personalities that demand attention.
They love the company of others and are very friendly towards both humans and other animals. This makes them an excellent choice for multi-pet households.
Because they’re hounds, Beagles have a highly curious nature and can often stray off exploring smells or sounds that intrigue them. That’s why you should not leave your dog unattended — you never know where they might end up. Combine that with their highly playful nature and you have yourself a dog that’s going to befriend a lot of strangers on your walks.
But that also means that the Beagle dog breed does not do very well when left alone for long periods of time. So, if you’re a single dog parent who needs to be away from your pet regularly for work, do not get a Beagle. They suffer from separation anxiety.
However, the one thing that makes Beagles who they are is their urge to “talk”. They make it a point to voice their emotions, be it curiosity, excitement, animosity, or anything else. In fact, some believe that these scent hounds get their name from the French word begueule, which, when roughly translated, implies “open throat”.
Such is their propensity to “talk” that these feisty little munchkins do so in many different ways. Apart from barking, they also bay, and yowl — each for a different purpose. You cannot silence your Beagle, so do consider this fact before you get one home.
Also, always keep an eye out for your Beagle. They’re quite the mischief-mongers who can run away from home to wherever their nose beckons.
Beagles have quite an appetite. More than that, they love to eat just about anything they can sniff out, from their own food to your dinner and even throwaways in the bin. They’re not picky eaters. That’s why they have a high tendency of gaining excessive weight and getting obese.
To prevent that from happening, you must keep your Beagle on a highly regulated and vet recommended diet. Feed them only twice a day, no matter how much they beg you for more.
Remember, Beagles only require anywhere between 674-922 calories a day.
You can go for any protein-rich, high-quality, and grain-free commercial dog food. But make sure it does not contain offal or other meat by-products, cereals, etc.
Apart from that, you can safely feed your Beagle meats and fish including beef, chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, eggs, and the like. Certain fruits and vegetables, like bananas, blueberries, carrots, strawberries, watermelon, carrots, etc. are safe for them too.
Never substitute human foods or doggy treats completely for meals. Always avoid alcohol, foods containing xylitol, onions, garlic, and the common toxic food for dogs.
Last but not least, keep your food sealed and away from your Beagle’s reach because you have an artful thief at your hands.
Beagles, when kept on a good diet and exercise regimen, are healthy dogs. But like every other breed, the Beagle dog breed is also susceptible to certain illnesses. Most of these are hereditary and can be avoided if your Beagle comes from an ethical breeder.
That said, you should watch out for the following conditions:
Apart from that, they can also suffer from bacterial and viral infections like parvo, distemper, or rabies, but that’s what vaccinations are for. But don’t be afraid, not all Beagles suffer from these health issues. It is just that the breed is susceptible to the conditions we just discussed.
But if these health concerns worry you, do think of investing in good health insurance for your pet(s). You can check out our pet insurance guide here.
Beagles are not very high-maintenance dogs. Yes, they do shed regularly, but running a bristle brush or horsehair grooming brush over their body can take care of it. When done regularly, the process evenly distributes the skin oils on its body, keeping your pooch’s coat shiny and healthy.
You can invest in a de-shedding brush to pamper your pet. Use it after shampooing your dog with good quality, mild dog shampoo. Because they have short-haired, water-resistant coats, you should not bathe your Beagle too often. Once every 2-3 weeks is just fine.
The good part is that these dogs do not accumulate much dirt on their coats anyway. The same cannot be said about their giant, floppy ears. Check for wax accumulation or signs of infection regularly. Do a thorough clean-up every 2 weeks.
Because they love to roam freely and literally put their nose into what’s not their business, both their paws and nose can suffer damage. Clean them with wet dog tissue and use good quality butter or cream to keep the areas hydrated. You might observe your Beagle developing cracks on its paw pads otherwise.
Don’t forget to clip their nails either.
If your Beagle acts in a frisky manner while you attempt to groom him/her, try rewarding him/her with treats. You can also take your dog to a professional groomer. The choice is yours, but do not ignore a Beagle’s hygiene under any circumstances.
Beagles are adorable alright, but they also have a mind of their own. This is an independent breed that is also habitually stubborn. When it comes to training, the Beagle dog breed is not the easiest breed to handle.
Does that mean they’re untrainable?
With proper effort and socialization, you can train a Beagle well. Mentally stimulating your Beagle and arousing their curiosity is key to training them. Train them in fenced but open spaces where they will be at ease and take breaks to let them go on their sniffing missions.
Always try positive reinforcement to make sure your pet enjoys his/her training sessions.
Remember, you cannot scold or scare them into submission. They’re stubborn and will stand their ground. Instead, take your time with Beagles. We highly recommend hiring a professional dog trainer for some hands-on help.
No matter which method you choose, be consistent. As with other dogs, Beagles are creatures of habit too. If you schedule your training sessions close to their playtime, they’ll naturally come to expect it happily instead of outright rejecting it.
Beagles are always buzzing with energy and need their daily dose of exercise. Take them on half an hour walks twice a day and you’ll make your dog’s day. You can also play with them with toys indoors, they will, paws down, love it!
Given how affectionate, intelligent, and adaptable they are, Beagles do make for great pets. They’re good for families with children, or those having other pets as well. Because of their size and low maintenance, they do well as city pets too. However, Beagles are not that great a breed for first-time pet owners.
Here are some additional tips you can follow when you have a Beagle as a pet.
Even though they are energetic dogs, Beagles can get lethargic and lazy as they age. While a Beagle puppy may exhaust you with his/her constant antics, taking your 4-year-old Beagle for his/her morning or evening walk could prove to be a tough act of persuasion.
But it all depends on how you train your Beagle. If you make him/her live an active lifestyle, he/she might not show signs of laziness even with age.
Not at all.
In fact, they’re very friendly and playful. However, if threatened or under adverse conditions, some of them may behave aggressively. Most such behavior is circumstantial.
However, they do shed and need regular brushing. Otherwise, their short and thick water repellent coat keeps the dirt and dust off them. They do require a fair bit of exercise every day, but then you should always take your dogs out for walks, irrespective of their breed.