Playful. Energetic. Family friendly. Ears as soft as velvet. What’s not to love about the Beagle?
These natural hunters are curious, have great noses, are on the independent side, and are prone to tracking when out of doors. If you want your own “Snoopy,” be prepared for a cuddly, curious pet, but one who will challenge you and who requires training and exercise to keep him happy.
Beagles and their Ancestry
Beagles, it’s been said, date back to the ancient Greeks. The Greek ancestors were similar to the Beagles of today, but were much smaller. Over time, the popularity of this friendly little dog extended beyond the Greeks to the French Normans. In fact, the Beagle name was bestowed upon the breed by the Normans. The name translates to “gape throat,” and was given because of the noise they make when they’re running in a pack, tracking game. The UK established the first Beagle Club in 1895, and their popularity continued to grow until they made their way to the US in the late 1800s.
Characteristics of the Beagle
The Beagle comes in two sizes: under thirteen inches and over fifteen inches. They may look small, but they are a sturdy dog. This medium-sized breed is happy living in the city or in the country, in an apartment or a house. Tip: Beagles require exercise to keep them happy, healthy, and out of trouble!
Beagles, although short-haired, shed a lot. However, they require little grooming other than frequent brushing. Beagles are prone to yeasty ears, so be sure to check them regularly for buildup.
This breed can live up to fifteen years. Beagle dwarfism is a health condition unique to the Beagle, and they are more prone than other breeds to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and epilepsy.
The Beagle’s Personality
This breed does well with active families. The love children and are eager to play. They are courageous, loyal and smart. Their sweet, open expression is one of the traits that make people fall in love at first sight!
Stacy Mantle, editor at PetsWeekly, and a long-time Beagle owner said, “They are loving, devoted to family and are very gentle. They are also hilarious and very pack-and family-oriented.”
While this breed has many endearing attributes, they are not for the dog owner who isn’t clued into their unique personalities. In fact, many Beagles are surrendered simply because the owner didn’t know how to deal with the following behaviors:
Their tendency to howl—especially when left alone.
Their loud, braying cry.
Their instinctual behavior to track and hunt. (You may not be able to let them off-leash because if they pick up a scent, they may run off.)
They are friendly with other dogs, but unless they are raised with cats, they may not fully accept them.
Their stubbornness: An intelligent breed, requiring patience and training.
Training a Beagle
Christie Zizo—Beagle pet parent and writer at Life With Beagle—said, “Having a Beagle is like having a gifted child; they are crazy smart and crazy stubborn. Beagles are eager to learn whatever you want to teach them so they can spend a lifetime finding ways to avoid doing it.”
When it comes to training, Zizo said, “You need to have steel in your veins when you are confronted with a begging Beagle…those heart-melting eyes, the cock of the head…it will get you every time.”
As a long-time Beagle owner, Zizo cautioned, “Prospective parents need to be prepared to deal with two things from the get-go: Beagles seem to have no ability to tell if their bellies are full. The second thing is their nose and their instinct to want to follow a scent could take them far away from you, if you’re not careful and if they’re not leashed.”
Beagle Fun Facts
Snoopy, of Charlie Brown fame, is an AKC-Registered Beagle.
Many Beagles have white tipped tails which make it look like a flag when they’re running.
President Lyndon B. Johnson had three Beagles.
Singer Barry Manilow’s Beagle graced his album covers
Beagles are used in airports to sniff out food from travelers’ bags in order to prevent food-borne illnesses.
Beagles have also been trained to sniff out bedbugs.
If you want to add a Beagle to your family, check with a local Beagle rescue and connect with other Beagle owners. They are certainly a fun, and adorable breed, for the pet parent willing to face the challenges of Beagle ownership as well as the joys.
Editor’s Note: From fur to dirt, dogs pose a challenge to keeping a clean home. With these everyday cleaning tips for dog parents, keeping your home clean doesn’t have to be a constant struggle.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.