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So You Want A Beagle?

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If you’re charmed by the cute long ears of a Beagle and are considering adding a Beagle puppy to your home, this is just the right blog post for you!

Although I never had a Beagle as a personal dog, many of my dog walking and pet sitting clients were Beagles. 

That said, I can paint you a pretty good picture of the Beagle universe and I’ll preface this by saying that they’re not the best dogs for apartments despite their smaller size.

Are you intrigued?

Beagle pup lying on wood floor

So You Want A Beagle: 18 Facts About This Breed

OK, let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the ugly about Beagles.

1. Beagles Were Bred As Rabbit Hunting Dogs 

Beagles trace their origin back to Ancient Roman times, but it wasn’t until  18th century England that they were bred as scent hounds and hunted hare in packs. 

So if you’re looking to keep your yard bunny-free, a Beagle might just be the right dog for you! 

Beagle Maggie
Beagle Maggie

2. With 220 Million Scent Receptors, The Beagle Nose Is Powerful

Their nose works almost as well as that of Bloodhounds, which means they like to zig-zag on walks as they follow the most interesting trails…

As scent hounds, Beagles are known for their excellent sense of smell, which makes them valuable in scent detection work.

As a matter of fact, you may have seen a working Beagle in an airport!

The “Beagle Brigade” is a term used to refer to Beagles employed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help detect contraband agricultural products at airports.

Thanks to their strong hunting instinct, they’re also often used in field trials and scent work competitions.

From left to right: Lucy, Kismet, Sammie & Bogart 
From left to right: Lucy, Kismet, Sammie & Bogart 

3. Their Long Ears Support The Beagle Nose


That’s right, when a Beagle nose is close to the ground following a scent trail, their long droopy ears help stir up scent particles and channel them towards their nose.

Beagles Cindy, Kismet and Bogart show off their long ears
Beagles Cindy, Kismet and Bogart show off their long ears

4. Beagles Have A Distinct Look

Beagles have a compact, muscular build with a sleek, short-haired coat that comes in various color combinations, including:

  • Tri-color
  • Lemon, and
  • Red and white

There’s two Beagle varieties – the first one measures under 13” and weighs up to 20 lbs, and the second one measures between 13-15” and weighs between 20-30 lbs.

Beagles with different coat colors
Beagles with different coat colors

5. They Have A Double Coat That Sheds

You may not be able to tell at first glance because of their smooth, short coats, but Beagles actually have a double coat that sheds quite a bit! 

Whenever I watched my pet sitting Beagle clients, that included daily vacuuming, so make sure you have a vacuum cleaner that’s up for the job. 

For example, the Bissell 2252 Upright Pet Hair Pick Up!

6. Beagles Like To Roll In Stinky Stuff

Especially poop, so be prepared for bathtime! 

But it’s easy enough to give them a bath at home thanks to their compact size. 

Just make sure you don’t run out of good smelling, powerful doggie shampoo.

Living the best Beagle life: Rolling around in stinky stuff while howling!

7. Small Dog, Big Voice

Oh yeah, Beagles like to howl…a lot!

And not just when they’re excited or on the hunt, but also when they want to go out, come back in, ask to be fed, someone’s at the door…the list goes on and on. 

Since they’re such a vocal dog breed, Beagles aren’t the best apartment dogs. All the Beagle pups I cared for lived in single family homes with large outside areas.

Of course some Beagles will howl more than others, but 3 out of my 5 Beagle clients were super vocal, and one male pup, Bogart, in particular – especially around his meal times!

Which brings me to the next Beagle fact you need to be aware of.

8. Beagles Are Food Motivated

Just like Labs, Beagles love to eat and will likely ask for a refill once they’ve cleaned their bowls

Of course their food motivation can come in handy when you’re teaching them a new trick.

But when you’re out and about on a walk or a hike, the smellier the treats the better…I’m talking stinky green tripe dog treats if you want to stand a chance to trump the wonderful scents on the ground.

Did someone say treats?!
Did someone say treats?!

9. They’re Prone to Obesity & Ear Infections

Beagles are pretty healthy overall, but they face two issues:

  1. Since they love to eat, they’re known to get chunky fast. So do your best to resist those pleading brown Beagle eyes asking for a bowl refill and don’t free-feed them.
  2. Their long, floppy ears can create a warm and moist environment within the ear canal that contributes to the growth of bacteria and yeast, leading to infections.  

On that note, make sure to check and clean your Beagle’s ears weekly!

To do that, you’ll need cotton balls or pads and an ear cleanser for dogs. 

For example:

Now, gently hold the base of one ear and lift the flap to expose the ear canal. 

Pour a small amount of the ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Be sure to follow the instructions on the ear cleanser bottle.

Gently massage the base of the ear for a few seconds. This helps distribute the cleaning solution and loosens any debris or wax present in the ear canal.

Next, release the ear and allow your Beagle to shake its head. The shaking action helps dislodge debris and excess solution from the ear. 

Because of that, it’s best to clean their ears outside or in an enclosed shower stall!

Take a cotton ball or pad and gently wipe the visible parts of the ear, including the inner flap and the opening of the ear canal. 

But don’t push the cotton ball too far into the ear.

Repeat on the other ear!

10. They Need Lots of Exercise

Don’t let those short Beagle legs fool you – Beagles have lots of energy they need a daily outlet for. 

Obviously, daily walks or runs will help keep your Beagle at a healthy weight, too!

Out on a walk with Beagle client Cuddles
Out on a walk with Beagle client Cuddles

But be warned – since Beagles have a strong prey drive, they’re prone to chasing small animals.

That’s why they should always be on a long leash when you’re taking them for walks and hikes, even in areas without leash laws.

Click here to learn all about How Long Should A Dog Leash Be?

11. Beagles Are Intelligent But Can Be Stubborn

Beagles are really smart dogs, but if they’re not happy, they’ll let you know!

My Beagle client pup Maggie always pouted when her Daddy left her home alone, and although she was house trained, she’d mark on the carpets.

Beagle Bogart even figured out how to open doors, and I frequently found him in the laundry room, under the kitchen sink and even inside the pantry when I came for my visits!

12. Beagles Are One Of The Most Popular Dog Breeds In The US

Beagles belong to the hound group of dog breeds and were officially recognized by the AKC in the 19th century.

Ever since, Beagles have been amongst the most popular dog breeds in the US!

13. Famous Pop Culture Beagles Snoopy And Gromit

You can’t help but fall in love with fictional Beagles Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip and Gromit from Wallace and Gromit, a British stop-motion animated movie series.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with these iconic pop culture Beagles:

Snoopy is Charlie Brown’s dog who loves to eat and read, nap on his doghouse and daydream about exciting adventures.

Gromit is inventor Wallace’s loyal, highly intelligent dog who often helps him out of tricky situations. 

14. Beagle “Miss P” Best In Show in 2015

In 2015, a Beagle named Miss P became the first Beagle to win the prestigious “Best in Show” title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

That’s one of the most prestigious dog shows on this planet and a big deal in the dog show world!

15. Beagles Are Happy-Go-Lucky Dogs

Beagles are generally sociable and get along well with children and other dogs.

They have a friendly and outgoing temperament and love TLC, which makes them great family pets. 

One of my human Beagle clients fostered a lot of dogs, specifically from the Triangle Beagle Rescue in NC, and her resident Beagles were always super welcoming and didn’t have any problem sharing their home.

Belly rubs for Beagle Maggie
Belly rubs for Beagle Maggie

16. That Friendliness Makes Them Great Therapy Dogs

Since Beagles are so friendly and love human attention, it makes them a popular choice for therapy dog work. 

That said, they need consistent training and a firm handler since they can be stubborn.

17. Unfortunately, Their Docile Nature Also Makes Them The #1 Dog Breed for Lab Experiments

Beagles are used extensively in biomedical research due to their small size, docile nature, and adaptability.

That means they’re easy to handle and don’t take up much space. 

Once they’re “retired” from their research careers, they usually end up in rescue shelters.  

18. Beagles Live 12-15 Years

As many other smaller dog breeds, Beagles have a fairly long life expectancy and can easily live beyond 10 years. 

Senior Beagle pups ARE some of the cutest pups! 

This is senior Beagle Kismet. She had the most velvety ears I’ve ever felt on a dog.
This is senior Beagle Kismet. She had the most velvety ears I’ve ever felt on a dog.

Bottom Line

So, do you still want a Beagle?!

I’ll always remember what my human client said who fostered Beagles – they’re gross but I love them!

While they’re compact size snuggle pups, they do howl, roll around in dirt and follow their nose wherever it leads them, so that’s something to be aware of.

But if you love long walks and don’t mind a zig zagging pup on leash, a Beagle may just be the right dog breed for you. Especially if you have kids who want a partner in crime!

Plus, retired research Beagles will be forever grateful if you give them a loving home for their golden years. 

Who knows, I may just go down that route myself eventually. 

What about you, can you envision life with a loyal Beagle by your side? Let us know in the comment section below!

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So You Want A Beagle? - Beagle puppy lying on the floor head facing us.

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