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The Beagle is a small hound dog breed developed in England around the 1830s. While their origins are largely unknown, their ancestors include the now extinct Talbot hounds and North Country Beagles. They were accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, and their popularity has since exploded. Today, you can find Beagles worldwide.
Beagles are members of the scenthounds group and were initially bred for hunting, meaning they have a sharp sense of smell and high prey drive. Because of their incredible sniffing skills, they also make excellent detection dogs. Even so, their cheerful and loving nature makes them a popular family pup, too.
Meet the Beagle
These compact hounds will reach an adult weight of 18 to 30 pounds and stand 13 and 16 inches tall. They have muscular bodies with broad chests, long tails and strong jaws. However, their most distinctive features are their large, floppy ears and short, tricolour double coat. Additionally, their round brown eyes, usually chocolate or hazel, add to their adorable looks.
The black, tan, and white tricolour is the most common patterning, consisting of a black saddle with white legs, chest and belly. However, Beagles can also come in other shades, including tan and white, lemon and white, red and white, and chocolate and white. Regardless of their colour, all Beagles typically have white tips on their tails.
Their double coats are short, smooth and water-resistant. They don’t shed much but brushing them a couple of times a week will help. They are a pretty hardy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Even so, there are a few things you should bear in mind when bringing this canine into your home.
Because of their floppy ears, air doesn’t circulate well in the ear canal, so they can quickly get infections. Thus, you should check and clean them every one or two weeks to prevent wax buildup. Furthermore, they can be prone to epilepsy and hypothyroidism, and they are a chondrodystrophic breed, meaning they’re prone to some disk diseases, too.
The Beagle’s temperament
Beagles are usually happy, friendly, and affectionate canines that make fantastic companions. Although some may bark a lot, they have a gentle disposition and are typically not aggressive. Thus, they make great family pets, and their high energy and exercise needs make them fantastic playmates for children.
This breed does need multiple walks and exercise sessions every day to keep its high energy in check. Additionally, their playful nature means they always look for someone to play with, whether another dog, a friendly child or even a cat.
This breed can be pretty loud and will bark and howl. Beagles are typically quiet and settled when around their owners, but they might bark a lot when left alone. Moreover, as Beagles want to be with their owners at all times, they can become destructive if they are regularly left alone.
The most impressive thing about the Beagle is its incredible sense of smell. These pups walk around with their head to the ground at all times, exploring their environment with their noses. They can smell other animals from a mile off, making them excellent hunters. However, their curiosity and hunting instinct means they tend to roam. Because of this, you’ll need to secure your garden so that they cannot escape and go wandering in search of the local wildlife.
Although these dogs are intelligent, they can be stubborn, making them difficult to train. However, establishing a consistent and patient training regime is vital if you choose to bring this canine home. With training, you can prevent excessive barking, howling, trying to escape and destructive activities.
10 reasons to add a Beagle to your family
- They are friendly towards everyone - Beagles are very pleasant and usually become instant friends with whoever they meet.
- They are super affectionate - Beagles are bred to live in packs. Thus, they see their family unit as the most important thing and always show love and devotion.
- They’re adorable - Their floppy ears and brown “puppy” eyes will melt your heart, no matter how naughty they are being.
- They are great with other animals - These friendly, playful pups adore having other dogs around and can make great friends with cats, too.
- They are an ideal family pet - Most Beagles are gentle and even-tempered, making them a good companion dog for families with young children.
- They will keep you active - These dogs don’t tire quickly, so they love long walks. Thus, you’ll likely increase your exercise levels when you get a Beagle.
- You don’t need to take them to the groomer - Their short, low-maintenance coats means you won’t have any expensive trips to the groomer with this breed.
- They are adaptable - While Beagles love to have a big garden to sniff around in, they can adapt to any environment. Thus, if they live in a flat, a Beagle will happily settle for regular trips to the park instead.
- They prevent food waste - Beagles love food and will eat anything and everything. Thus, you’ll never have to throw food away again as your Beagle will eat any scrapes (as long as they are dog-safe, of course!)
- Their excitement is contagious - Whenever you come home, their long white-tipped tail will wag for ages as they make it clear how excited they are to see you. Their cheerful nature will always rub off on you.
Best homes for a Beagle
Beagles do best with active owners as they have high energy levels, so they will thrive in a home where they get lots of long walks, hikes and play sessions in the garden or park. They are also best suited to those with previous experience of training dogs as they can be stubborn.
There is no reason why Beagles cannot do well in a flat or apartment, providing they get plenty of walks and outdoor exercise. If keeping them in a home with a garden, make sure it is fully fenced and secure, so this curious pup cannot go wandering off. Lastly, because they are gentle and friendly towards everyone, they do well with young children and other dogs. They also do well with cats, providing you train your Beagle not to chase them.