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Beagles are adorable, full of personality, small-to-medium in size, and steal just about everyone’s hearts the second they lay eyes on them.
Beagles are good dogs for the right home. However, they are not the right dog for everyone.
Beagles have many positive traits that make them fit well into many families.
However, there are some negatives to consider that can make them too high maintenance for some prospective pet owners.
If a beagle is adopted into a family that is not ready for their level of care, the dog can become neglected, unhappy, and unhealthy.
Overall, beagles are highly sociable, very energetic, and intelligent dogs who are good with children.
On the other hand, though, they are also very loud, prone to breed-specific health issues, and quite rambunctious, which makes them professional escape artists.
Below, I’ll get into the details of why the beagle is or is not the perfect dog for your home.
The Beagle: A Brief Breed Description
There are two variations of the beagle breed: large and small. The smaller variation typically stands just under 13 inches in height and weighs under 20 pounds.
The larger variation stands between 13 and 15 inches in height and weighs 20 to 30 pounds.
Both sizes are otherwise similar in appearance and characterized by their soft, floppy ears, an elongated snout, and a straight tail that stands up as they move around.
Additionally, both of the beagle’s large and small varieties have a short coat that sheds lightly year-round and more heavily in spring.
They can have several different coat colors, including:
- Black and tan
- White and red
- Black and red
- Black, white, and tan
- Black, white, and red
- Lemon and white
Benefits To Owning A Beagle
Why should you own a beagle? There are many benefits to owning one of these unique and popular dogs.
However, as I mentioned briefly earlier, beagles are not for everyone.
Let’s check if the beagle ticks all the right boxes for you and your family by breaking down this breed’s best traits.
Beagles are sociable dogs. They have a strong pack mentality and do not do well if they don’t have friends.
Consider getting a pair of beagles at the same time or having multiple dogs for them to play and build a pack with to ensure they stay happy and don’t become bored.
If your beagle does not have playmates, they will become destructive and can even become depressed.
If you cannot have more than one dog at a time, then you will be your beagle’s pack.
In that case, it is important that you spend a lot of time with them every single day to maintain that pack structure.
Beagles are also very intelligent dogs. They pick up on routines, games, and hierarchy easily and can surprise you with how much they are able to do.
With intelligence comes the need for mental exercise as well as physical.
Mental exercise will help improve their intelligence, keep them occupied, and work off some of their energy.
Mental exercises can be worked into their feeding time by using a slow-feeder bowl, which makes them work harder for their food.
Another great mental exercise is to take a blanket and lay it flat, then sprinkle some of their kibble onto it.
Tightly roll the blanket up like a crepe and tie it in a loose knot.
Your beagle will enjoy the challenge of sniffing around and figuring out how to untie the knot and unroll the blanket to get to their treats!
If you play this game with your beagle be careful. I’ve had dogs that decided it was easier to chew through the blanket then it was to try and figure out how to unroll. YIKES!
Beagles are very energetic and will require at least an hour of exercise a day.
They should be walked, actively played with, or allowed to run around with company several times a day.
If you take them to a doggy park, they cannot be let off-leash, as they will run…and run…and run.
Keep in mind if your beagle is not exercised every day–both physically and mentally–they will become destructive and a nuisance due to boredom.
You cannot simply put your beagle outside for an hour every day and assume that is enough for them to get exercise; they need a playmate to be properly engaged with.
Other dogs, children, or you will need to actively play with them every single day.
Do not look at this as a chore. This is valuable time you get to spend with your dog, and in time, it will build a very strong bond between you.
Beagles are not clingy dogs. They are fairly independent if their needs are met.
This means they will happily entertain themselves, go on adventures, and be fine alone if they have been or know they are going to be properly stimulated (mentally and physically) with good exercise.
This also means they aren’t as prone to separation anxiety as many other dog breeds.
Puppies and children are notorious for being best friends. Beagles are no different; they love children and are among the most child-friendly dog breeds.
As I touched on earlier, beagles are sociable dogs who feel at home with a large pack.
Children are small and full of energy, so beagles tend to automatically adopt children into their packs and love playing and interacting with them.
However, even though beagles love children and know their own limits, children don’t always know their own strength or how to appropriately interact with a dog.
It is vital that children, especially small children, are not left unattended around dogs, as accidents can happen.
While you are training your beagle to behave, you need to train your children to interact with your dog appropriately, too.
For some helpful tips, check out our article on tips for a successful relationship between puppies and kids.
Challenges To Owning A Beagle
Beagles are not all nose kisses and wiggle butts. As with any dog breed, there are some serious challenges to owning them if you are not prepared.
It is essential for you to be aware of these challenges before you commit to buying or adopting a beagle in order to cultivate a happy, healthy long-term partnership with your furry friend rather than ending up with a neglected dog.
Beagles are classified as hounds by the American Kennel Club. Like all other hounds, they have a very loud bark. They can bay and howl with the best of them.
Beagles were bred to have a distinctive and carrying bay or bark to alert their owners they were on the chase of a juicy rabbit or hare.
Your beagle will, without a doubt, bay and bark at the most inappropriate times, such as during the middle of the night.
This means they are not suited to families who live in small apartments or condos that have noise restrictions.
If your beagle is put outside for their exercise time alone, they will most likely kick up a racket that will have the neighbors complaining in no time.
Sadly, this often leads to people having to surrender their beagles. This is why having a pack for your beagle is so important, even if you’re the sole member of said pack.
Beagles are exceptional escape artists. They have powerful paws that can uproot flower beds, create holes in lawns, and even dig tunnels under fences and walls.
This is another reason why beagles should not be left to their own devices outside for exercise time; you may find them digging up swimming pool or breaching your boundary line if you leave them unattended for too long.
Not only can these powerful paws dig up a storm, they also allow your beagle to jump and climb fences and trees.
You will need to do a careful examination of your yard to check for any trees with branches along the fence that would provide your beagle with a bridge to freedom.
It may be due to their intelligence, or it may be due to their breeding–whatever the cause, beagles are stubborn!
If they do not want to move, they won’t; if they do not want to eat, they won’t; if they do not want to come back inside after play time, they won’t.
It takes an owner who is as stubborn and persistent as their beagle to successfully train them.
It will likely take many months of consistent training to teach your beagle basic commands that other dog breeds pick up on far more easily.
Beagles also take a long time to pick up on training.
Many people give up on their beagles because they don’t anticipate how long it will take for their dogs to pick up on ‘simple’ things like becoming house trained.
It is important to not give up on your beagle during this process. It takes a patient and dedicated owner to properly train them.
For some tips on potty training your beagle, check out our dedicated article.
Generally, the last command your beagle will learn (and will not always obey) is a recall command.
This is why keeping them on-leash and escape-proofing your garden are essential.
Given the opportunity, your beagle may simply bolt and not obey their recall command, no matter how much you scream, beg, and bribe.
As with virtually all purebred dogs, there are a number of health concerns to be aware of with beagles due to inbreeding and back breeding for the perfect combination of characteristics.
Additionally, because the beagle is a small-to-medium dog, there are also health issues to consider that seem to plague small dogs the most.
Of course, it is not a guarantee that your beagle will suffer from these health issues.
However, if they do suffer from health issues, it is likely to be one of the following conditions listed below.
Yearly vet visits are essential to keeping your beagle in good health and preventing chronic illnesses and injuries.
Like most small dogs, beagles commonly suffer from luxating patellas. Patella luxation occurs when the patella (also called a kneecap) dislocates and moves out of place.
If this happens, you may notice your beagle running normally, then hopping on three legs, then running normally again.
This may be due to their knee cap dislocating while they are moving.
It is a painful condition that worsens with time and will eventually need surgery to fix if it is not caught and treated early.
To prevent your beagle from developing luxating patellas, a healthy diet that supports the joints and cartilage is essential.
Beagles shed lightly year-round. During spring, they shed more heavily to get rid of their winter coat.
This constant shedding can cause itching and skin issues. Lots of grooming is required to keep shedding to a minimum to avoid itchy skin.
Your beagle may also develop allergies to certain grasses, which can cause additional itchiness and sensitivity.
In these cases, your beagle may need medication or medicated baths to help ease the itching.
Beagles have floppy ears that tend to trap dirt, which can lead to some serious infections.
To prevent ear infections, your beagle’s ears will need to be cleaned with a wipe every second day.
Being consistent with your dog’s grooming schedule will help reduce the chance of them developing painful, itchy ear infections.
FAQs About Beagles
How do I get a beagle with a reliable temperament?
It is well known in the dog community that beagles do not always have a reliable temperament and their attitudes may change as they get older.
If you want a beagle that has a reliable temperament, consider adopting an adult beagle that you’ve spent some time with.
Alternatively, if you want a beagle puppy from a breeder, find out about the temperament of both parents to get a better idea of what your beagle will be like when it grows up.
Where do beagles come from?
The beagle dog breed was refined in the 1700s in Europe.
They were originally bred to be pocket hounds that owners could literally put in their pockets, ride on horseback to where they were going to hunt, and then let them down to do the hunting.
Rolling Over On Beagles…
Beagles are good dogs for the right home.
An active person who has space for their beagle to explore, has the time to exercise them everyday, and doesn’t mind the barking and baying is the ideal home for the beagle.
Overall, beagles are great dogs because they are:
- Great family dogs
- Great with children
- Full of energy and love exercise
- Highly intelligent
However, they also have a few challenging traits, such as:
- Stubborn nature
- Very loud bark
- Skilled at digging, jumping, and escaping enclosures
- Joint, skin, and ear issues
Be sure to learn all you can about the positives and negatives of this wonderful breed before diving in to buying or adopting one.
Even if you love the breed, you may not have the right home, personality, or lifestyle for them.
Do you have a beagle?
If so, tell us about your beagle in the comment section below.
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