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How to Identify a Purebred Beagle: A Complete Guide

At A Glance

The easiest way to identify if a Beagle is purebred or not is by its tail. Beagles have tails that stand up straight, and purebreds have a distinct white tip. Long, droopy, and floppy ears are another purebred trait.

Keep reading to find out more about this gentle, even-tempered breed.

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Last Updated on: Jan 07, 2022

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You may be wondering how to identify a purebred beagle puppy. Loved for their floppy ears, sharp hunting instincts, and loyal natures, beagles are among the most popular breeds of dogs.

Belonging to the hound family, beagles are also known as scent hounds due to their sharp sense of smell and extremely sensitive noses. Thanks to their distinctive olfactory powers and incredible stamina, beagles are the best rabbit and small game hunters in the canine universe.

Getting a purebred assures you a dog that possesses the much-loved physical and behavioral characteristics that the breed has become known for. How do you identify a purebred? Let’s dive in!

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How To Identify a Purebred Beagle?

From the way they bark to the markings on their coats, every little aspect of this dog breed helps determine whether they are purebred or not. To point out purebred beagles from the rest, you need to look into physical cues, behavioral cues, and other indicators.

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Physical Indicators

Beagles are unique in their physical appearance. They have distinguishing characteristics such as their hound-like ears, white tipped-tails, and recognizable color coats. There are several physical details that can help you identify a purebred beagle.

Here’s a list of physical indicators that you must look into if you want to bring a purebred beagle home:

beagle standing

Coat Color

Purebred beagle puppies have coats that are a combination of three colors – black, white, and brown. These are the ones that are most commonly found at pet shops and breeders.

The American Kennel Club also recognizes another variety of beagle puppies with bi-colored coats. These are known as lemon beagle puppies. These types of purebred beagles feature a coat that has a white base with light, lemon-colored markings. These markings are mostly found on the puppies’ back and tail areas.

There are many kinds of purebred beagles based on color. The beagle world has 25 color combinations and 10 standard colors as well as different shades, sizes of markings, spots, and more.  Mixed breed beagles are multicolored too. This is why it’s important to know how to identify a purebred beagle based on other characteristics apart from its color.

White Streak on Head

If you’re wondering whether the beagle puppy you are about to adopt is purebred or not, look for the white streak on their heads. It’s almost always like a white mask that partially covers their noses and rises upward like a streak.

Besides color combinations and the white streak, purebred beagle puppies are also distinguishable from mixed breed puppies by their multicolored markings, spots, and ticks.

Did you know: The most commonly recognized ticks are blue and red.

Ticks are like freckles on their coats. If you go to a legitimate beagle breeder, don’t be surprised if you come across beagle puppies who have black and tan-colored coats with blue or red ticks. While such puppies may look unique and rare, they are still purebred with a slight twist.

Blue ticks can be various shades of blue. Some blue ticks can be a light shade of gray while some lean towards a darker shade that is almost black. Red ticks are sometimes in maroon or orange shades.

Ticks and streaks can get darker or lighter but they are totally normal as long as they are some shade of blue or red and not any other prominent color.

beagle sitting on the floor


Beagle puppies have the cutest ears. They are long, floppy, and soft. When adopting a purebred beagle, watch out for the puppy’s ears. The ears must always be long and droopy. If the ears are pointy, short, or placed higher on the head, it’s not a purebred beagle.

Purebred beagles have wide ears that almost look like two semi-circular caves around the head. If you notice a slight roundness at the tip of the ears that curve slightly inward, you’ve found yourself a purebred beagle.

Back in the day, beagles were used to hunt game and their extraordinary noses could pick up the scent of prey from miles away. However, their ears had a huge role to play in hunting too. Whenever beagles went on a sniffing spree, their ears would grab the scent and store it like some sort of memory. The scent would remain at the tip of their ears for better recall.

Fun Fact: the shape of their ears and the way they fall around their faces help beagles smell better.

Upper Body Appearance

A purebred beagle’s upper body is moderately muscular. Their necks are of medium width and length and they ascend independently from their shoulders. The coat around their neck, throat, and chest area should be completely wrinkle-free and thick. Purebred beagles have broad, strong chests and sturdy shoulders.

If you’re trying to identify a purebred beagle puppy from a mixed-breed one, notice their skeletal framework and muscular makeup. Typically, a purebred beagle is characterized by its moderate weight and firm muscles. If you see a beagle that’s too thin, with clearly visible ribs and bones, it’s an indication of a genetic health issue that may be caused by faulty breeding.


The most common way to identify a purebred beagle is to look for the white-tipped tail. Most purebred beagles have prominent white markings on the tips of their tails. If you see one without, make sure to get it tested to ensure that it’s not a mixed breed.

Another thing to look for is that the tail that is never too short nor too long. The tail of a purebred beagle is medium length and shorter than other types of hounds. Usually, it rises high but it never goes over the back of the dog.

Lower Body Appearance

The lower body of a purebred beagle is muscular, strong, and even. They have a strapping rib cage that helps them spring to action with power and agility. They are seldom overweight.

Purebred beagles are either 11 inches or 15 inches tall. They have shorter backs compared to other hounds and their loins are wide and a bit arched. The majority of their muscular strength lies in their hips and thighs. While running and hunting, they tend to use their hips and thighs for maximum impact.

beagles are standing


Purebred beagles always have straight legs. They are relatively short but not as short as basset hounds. Their legs look smaller than the rest of their body making them look tinier and more petite than they really are.

If you’re looking for confirmation, look for white-legged beagles. All purebred beagles have white legs. If you see spots or colored markings on the legs, it isn’t purebred.


A healthy, purebred beagle must have four, medium-sized, white paws. Note that purebred beagles always have solid white paws without any exceptions. If you see a beagle with different-colored paws, it’s probably a mixed breed.

Coat Appearance

Purebred beagles have soft and silky coats. In the winter, all purebred beagles develop a double coat. Unlike dogs with longer fur, purebred beagles shed in moderation though this can be hard to detect with their thick short fur. There is never an off-season for shedding. Well-bred and well-fed beagles shed year-round.

beagle running in a park

Behavioral Indicators

To identify purebred beagles from mixed-breed beagles, you’ll need to go beyond their physical appearance. You should look at their behavior as well. Beagles have unique behavioral patterns, temperaments, and characteristics which can help you distinguish purebreds from mixed breeds.

Here are a few standard behavioral indicators:

Loves to Sniff

Purebred beagles are sniffing masters. The act of sniffing constitutes a large part of their daily routine. They tend to shove their noses into every little corner of their surroundings. They sniff all the time and are known for having the maximum number of olfactory receptors which sets them apart from other canines.

Even as puppies, purebred beagles are perpetual sniffers. You will often see beagle puppies walk around for hours because they are busy sniffing.

This is an indication of their inquisitiveness and physically active lifestyle. These are hyper, friendly dogs that are always up for an adventure. If you come across a beagle that’s lazy and bored, it isn’t a purebred beagle.

Barks A Lot

If purebred beagles were people, they would be chatterboxes. Whether they are excited, happy, or agitated, they will bark in certain ways to make you aware of how they are feeling. They will even bark to ask for food and walks.

Purebred beagles are always heard. If they’re bored, they’ll sigh or whimper. If they’re hurting, they’ll squeal. They are also attention seekers and will whine when they feel ignored. When they’re looking for fun, they will howl and make their intentions clear.

Purebred beagles are loud, vibrant, and communicative. If you notice a beagle that’s quiet, tame, and timid, it isn’t purebred.

owner training the dog

Difficult to Train

Beagles are clever and focused to such a degree that it’s hard to distract from their chosen course. They immerse themselves in activity so intensely and are unapologetically themselves. Their stubborn and hardcore nature makes them hard to train.

You can’t tell a beagle what to do and how to do it. They are just way too intelligent and smart to give in to training. If you see a beagle that is docile and easily obeys orders, it’s a mixed breed.

beagle sitting under the sun

Your Extended Checklist

Identifying a purebred beagle goes above and beyond observing the physical and behavioral. There are other aspects when determining whether a beagle puppy is purebred or not.

Look Into the Paperwork

A beagle is officially purebred if it is registered as a pedigree with the American Kennel Club. If your breeder has given you your puppy’s pedigree certificate, you’ve found yourself a purebred beagle.

Investigate Its Ancestral History

Look into a puppy’s ancestry and lineage. This is possible if your breeder has the puppy’s parents and grandparents. If their documents are in order, you might find some important, breed-related information from them.

Given the fact that certain traits and features are unique and standard for purebred beagles, the right details and specifications will allow you to figure out if a dog is purebred.

Go for Genetic Testing

For accuracy and complete assurance, run a DNA test to check if a puppy is purebred. A DNA test will give all the data you need about your puppy’s genetic roots and origins. This information will tell you more about your beagle’s biological status like future health issues, growth tendencies, and what your puppy could weigh when it matures and becomes an adult.

beagle with a leash on

Give Your Beagle Some TLC

The simplest clues can help you on how to identify a purebred beagle. You should also be mindful of the odor, hygiene, dead hair, and nails which signal the puppy’s state of health. To be assured of your purebred beagle’s health conditions, adopt one from a reputable breeder who understands the complexities of dog breeding.

Every dog, irrespective of its breed and lineage, is deserving of love, care, affection, and companionship. Be it a pure or mixed breed, beagles are undeniably a gift to mankind. They make the most loyal friends and are an absolute delight to have around. Bred as scenthounds, Beagles are undoubtedly one of the best family pets.

Check out this article on the difference between a male and a female Beagle.


Beagle identify a purebred beagle

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.