As a great family dog that loves to be with people, the Beagle is a popular dog breed for a reason. Here’s what you need to know about these fun and playful companions before bringing your new Beagle home.
Basic Characteristics of Beagles
The Beagle is a perfectly mid-sized breed that isn’t as imposing or bulky as larger breeds but also isn’t small and delicate like tinier breeds. Male Beagles clock in at about 15 inches in height, while their female counterparts will typically fall just a little bit below them at 13 inches. However, both male and female Beagles tend to fall between 15 to 30 lbs. when it comes to their weight, and this usually corresponds to their final adult height.
These dogs have an average lifespan of about 12 to 15 years, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to play and enjoy your pup’s company after adopting them, and they tend to have relatively good health for the duration of their lifetime.
Beagles have always been a popular and well-known breed, and they’ve actually been around ever since as far back as the 1400s. Although they primarily serve as loving companions and wonderful family dogs now, this breed was actually utilized for rabbit hunting in its earlier days. The littlest members of this breed earned the nickname “pocket beagles” thanks to their smaller size allowing for them to be carried in hunters’ pockets when they would go out on horseback to seek out rabbits, wild pigs, and even jackals. Today, some are still used as hunting dogs, but most pet parents of this breed prefer to just have a perfectly-sized furry pal for the sake of companionship.
Grooming and Varieties
These hound dogs all have medium-length double coats and lovable floppy ears. Many Beagles come in the most common coat colors of white with brown and tan markings, but there are actually quite a few other variations out there, too. Some Beagles may have ticked markings, red and white coats, or even lemon-colored coats. Regardless, their appearance nearly always remains very recognizable despite any of the potential color variations.
Although they may not have very long hair compared to other breeds, a Beagle’s medium-length coat still requires a bit of grooming. This is less due to the coat itself and more due to the Beagle’s tendency to follow their noses into anything that smells particularly interesting—things that usually won’t smell so great to the rest of their family members. In great news, a simple bath is often perfectly sufficient to get your pup smelling much fresher while also keeping their coat healthy. However, you’ll want to avoid bathing your Beagle too often due to the risk of making their skin feel irritated, dry, and itchy.
Brushing is another task you’ll want to try to do at least twice per week to keep your pup’s coat healthy and in great shape. This breed sheds throughout the year, so regular brushing will help you cut down on the hair you find everywhere else throughout your home.
When shedding season rolls around, you can expect your Beagle to require much more maintenance as they blow their entire coat in a relatively short amount of time. Their smaller size makes the shedding quite a bit less noticeable compared to larger breeds that shed just as much, but you’ll quickly notice how much some consistent brushing will help cut down on the amount of dog glitter on your clothes, your furniture, and every other surface of your home.
Temperament of Beagles
If you’re looking for a pup that is fun, loving, and full of energy, a Beagle may just be the perfect match for you. These dogs are great for individuals as well as families, and they’re well-loved for their great temperament. This breed is very excitable and vocal, making them great for alerting you to an unexpected presence in or around the home, but their trusting nature also means that they’re going to be more likely to happily welcome an unexpected guest rather than deter one.
As a hound dog, pet parents of this breed will have their hands full reigning in a Beagle that’s caught a scent of special interest. They’re already a bit less obedient than most of the more people-pleasing breeds, and they can easily become overly focused on what their hound dog nose has picked up, so training and working with them on a regular basis is quite essential. Their noses can lead them out on unexpected adventures (which a pet parent may not have approved), into some unsavory and smelly situations, and sometimes into trouble.
These pups may be sweet, but they require vigilant caretakers that can keep a close eye on them to make sure they stay safe and don’t wander too far from home.
Training may be a bit more difficult for this breed, but consistency, training in an environment that’s as distraction-free as possible, and rewarding your pup with plenty of treats and praise can help overcome the stubbornness and distractibility of most.
Being such a loving companion, Beagles are also prone to experiencing separation anxiety and becoming bored and destructive when left alone too often or for too long. Staying on top of providing plenty of love and attention while present, as well as considering a safe option like crate training, is essential with a Beagle in the home.
Exercising Your Beagle
Due to their background as hunting dogs, Beagles have plenty of energy and can get into plenty of mischief if that energy doesn’t get redirected. This breed typically needs about an hour to an hour and a half of exercise per day, and this should include plenty of stimulation to keep them satisfied. Obedience training, walks, agility training, and “hide and sniff” games are all great options to keep your Beagle pup happy and engaged.
They are prone to climbing, digging, and escaping nearly any yard or enclosure if they get bored enough, so you’ll want to make sure they’re as satisfied, relaxed, and well-entertained as possible.
The average adult Beagle will require about one cup of food per day. If your particular Beagle is a bit more active than most, though, additional food may be required to ensure their calorie needs are being met and they remain in great health. Beagles don’t tend to have specific dietary requirements like some other breeds, so generally, a standard but high-quality dry food is plenty sufficient to meet their dietary needs.
It’s worth noting that Beagles have a bit of a reputation for wanting to eat everything all of the time, so it’s important to make sure you feed your pet well while also providing them with plenty of exercises to stay in shape and avoid becoming obese. Although Beagles don’t have specific dietary requirements and are easy to care for when it comes to feeding them, some dogs in this breed may still develop health issues and require dietary modifications, just like certain members of any other breeds.
Beagles are typically quite a healthy breed, but they do still have a few common ailments that may occur. In general, taking proper care of your Beagle pup may prevent most of the common Beagle-related issues, but some may still require medications or veterinary assistance to manage.
Those long, floppy ears may be adorable, but they also place Beagles at an increased risk of ear infections. The likelihood of Beagles experiencing allergy problems only increases their chances of developing more ear infections. Regular cleaning of your pup’s ears can significantly improve their overall ear health and help avoid ear infections from occurring, but this is still a common problem in the breed.
Thanks to their voracious appetites, Beagles have no qualms with eating far more than what they really need in a day. When their diet isn’t kept consistent and reasonable, or they’re provided with opportunities to snatch up foods they certainly shouldn’t be having, this breed is likely to become obese. Monitoring your Beagle’s food intake and ensuring they receive plenty of exercise to stay in shape is important in maintaining your pup’s long-term health.
Cherry eye is common in a number of breeds, but this inflammation of the tear duct can result in serious eye infections sometimes. Occasionally, this condition may resolve on its own, but surgical intervention may be required in some cases, too.
Compared to other breeds, the likelihood of a Beagle developing epilepsy over the course of its lifespan is much higher than most. Epilepsy may first present in a Beagle when they’re between the ages of two and five years old, and it’s most commonly recognized by the seizures that it causes, which may be mild or severe in nature. If your Beagle displays behaviors such as involuntary body movement, thrashing about, involuntary defecation or urination, or losing consciousness, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for evaluation and emergency medical care. This condition can typically be controlled with anti-seizure medications.
Lastly, hypothyroidism frequently occurs in older members of this breed but may be managed with medications to avoid your Beagle dealing with the unpleasant side effects of the condition. If your Beagle develops hypothyroidism, it may experience unexplained weight gain, hair loss, or changes in its coat.
Bringing Your Beagle Home
If you’re looking for the perfect-sized companion to bring into your home, the Beagle is a wonderful choice for those who can also devote the time and attention needed to keep these mischievous pups content. For those interested in adopting a Beagle that meets AKC requirements, it’s important to find a reputable breeder with good reviews and a history of breeding healthy Beagle pups. However, for those simply wanting a furry friend to spend their days with, there are plenty of Beagle rescues that have Beagles of all ages in need of forever homes.
After you’ve finally found the perfect Beagle to bring home to your family, we know it can get a bit hectic settling in. That’s why, here at Space Coast Pet Services, we offer all kinds of services to help you and your new fur baby adjust to all of the changes in your home and schedule. Whether you need in-home pet visits, pet sitting when you’re away from home, or some extra walks to burn off all of that fun Beagle energy, feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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