Beagle Dog Breed Info: The Spunky, Attention Seeker!
Beagles are small hound dogs initially bred for rabbit and hare hunting. Although they may have once been valued primarily as hunters, beagles make excellent pets. They are alert and affectionate dogs that love to play and interact with their owners.
While they are friendly and eager to please, beagles are also highly social animals that require a great deal of attention. This is great if you're running a busy home with kids and pets but not ideal if you're a single professional who's frequently on the go and not home much.
Getting a dog of any kind is a commitment, and you want to do your research before you take the plunge and add a four-legged family member to your home.
This guide gives you all the information you need to determine whether or not a beagle is right for your household.
Beagles are relatively small dogs, making them an excellent option for families that want a pup but don't have much space. Read on to learn more about the physical and personality traits that make beagles unique.
Beagles are solidly built and heavy for their height, thanks to their athletic bodies and dense muscle mass. They usually have a short and smooth coat of hair in black, white, and tan shades. The dogs are further known for their big brown ears and long, floppy hanging ears.
Beagles come in two recognized sizes:
- The smaller dogs stand 13 inches or less and weigh about 18 pounds.
- The larger dogs stand taller than 13 inches and weigh about 30 pounds.
Since they were initially used for hunting, it should be no surprise that beagles are physically active dogs. They have high energy levels and require sufficient mental and physical stimulation. The dog will need at least 20 to 40 minutes of exercise per day.
If they don't get enough exercise, beagles may put on weight, resulting in health issues. Additionally, they may act out emotionally — for example, by chewing on furniture.
Beagles are good with other pets and kids. Cheerful and loving, these pups like to have company. They don't do well in isolation and may bark excessively or exhibit destructive tendencies if left alone, which is the beagle owners’ primary complaint.
If you're looking for a guard dog, this isn't the animal for you. Beagles are very friendly canines. When confronted by an intruder, the dog may bark but is unlikely to take any action beyond a friendly wag of the tail.
Since they are hound dogs, beagles are naturally curious and inclined to roam. As a beagle owner, you have to take care that the animal doesn't wander off and get into trouble. A fenced-in yard or leash is a must.
These dogs do well in all kinds of environments. Such as:
- Adaptable to apartment living.
- Tolerant of cold or hot weather.
- Low-sensitivity, meaning they can tolerate inconsistent routines and noisy environments (like households with kids).
If you are a first-time dog owner, a beagle is an excellent choice. They are easy-going dogs, resilient, and eager to please. They are also relatively easy to train, making them great for novice owners.
Beagle Care & Grooming
Another benefit of beagles is that they are relatively low-maintenance. Again, this makes them great if you're busy with a large household of kids, pets, and other obligations. Read on to learn how to care for a beagle, including feeding, grooming, training, and general health tips.
Different breeds of dogs are predisposed to specific health issues simply because of their genetic makeup. Beagles are no exception.
Here are some of the ailments beagles may be prone to:
Intervertebral Disc Disease
The spine protects the spinal cord, the body's central nerve highway. The spine is made up of bony vertebrae with gel-like discs between them. Intervertebral disc disease occurs when the jelly-like interior of these discs protrudes, putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Hip Dysplasia: This inherited condition occurs when the dog's hips don't fit snugly into the hip joint. It can cause pain or lameness in the back legs.
Beagles are prone to glaucoma, resulting from excessive pressure in the eye. They may also experience a cherry eye, a condition in which the gland beneath the eyelid protrudes at the corner of the eye. Another eye issue experienced by beagles is progressive retinal atrophy, which may cause blindness over time.
This doesn't mean that a beagle will have any of these ailments! We just want to inform you that such health risks are a possibility with this dog breed. To minimize the risk, opt for a mixed breed instead of a purebred dog.
Training Your Beagle
Beagles require some patience while training, but you will have a docile dog that recognizes you as the pack leader if you stick with it. Training should include both housebreaking and obedience. Beagles respond well to praise, so heap it on when your pup does well.
One of the biggest challenges about training beagles is also one of the dog's most endearing traits — the beagle's curiosity! These canines have a fantastic sense of smell, and they are attracted to explore everything by their noses. Mastering commands like "stay" and "come" are thus critical.
Do Beagles Need Grooming?
Beagles don't require much in the way of physical upkeep. Since they have short hair, their grooming needs are minimal. You will not have to deal with a lot of hair around the house. Still, these dogs do have grooming needs that need attending.
You should invest in a quality bristle brush, grooming mitt, and bath products for your pup. Brush once a week to keep the dog's coat glossy and stimulate blood flow to the skin. Bath them every three weeks (or more if they spend a lot of time outdoors).
Beagles need a protein-rich diet. When shopping for manufactured dog foods, steer away from products with artificial coloring or chemical additives or by-products. By-products include fatty tissue, stomach lining and intestines, and even chicken beaks.
Your beagle should be getting real meat, such as chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, and fish. The dog food label should simply list the meat or refer to it as "meal," e.g., beef meal, chicken meal, etc. This just means that the meat has been condensed, providing more protein per gram.
So, how much should you feed your dog? An adult beagle usually needs one cup of dry food per day. Split it between the morning and evening. Beagle puppies need more to support their growth. Two cups of food should do.
Costs & Buying Tips
If you decide a beagle is right for you; you can buy a puppy from a breeder. Do your research to make sure the breeder is reputable and established.
How can you be sure a beagle breeder is legitimate?
Ask these five questions:
- Are they a member of the National Beagle Club of America? If so, do they show their dogs?
- Do they screen the dogs they breed for eye diseases, hip problems, or other common health issues?
- How often do they breed their female dogs? An established breeder won't breed dogs under two years of age, and they will never breed a female more than one time per year!
- Do they raise the puppies inside their own home, socializing them as soon as possible after birth?
- Have the puppies been taken to the veterinarian for a first checkup and shots?
Do your due diligence to ensure that you are supporting an honest, trustworthy business. A certified purebred beagle from a quality breeder will run from about $1,300 and $6,000. You can get a purebred for less if you don't require official certification (which validates the dog as 100% purebred).
Alternatively, you can opt to get a rescue beagle. These pups should cost you about $50 to $250. Keep in mind that you have to account for the costs of veterinary visits, vaccinations, and spaying or neutering on top of the actual purchase price. Getting a rescue is a beautiful way to give a loving dog a home.
If you're looking for an affectionate pet that will fit well into your household with other animals and kids, a beagle is an excellent choice. Be prepared to put some time into training your pup, and you will have a loyal low-maintenance friend for life.
The only other caveat to beware of is that beagles need a lot of attention and affection. If you don't have the time or energy to deliver that, this may not be the breed for you. Beyond these words of caution, however, rest assured that beagles make lovely companions.