Beagles are one of the world’s most popular dog breeds. In fact, one particular Beagle is famous! In 1950, Charles Schulz introduced the comic strip world to Snoopy, a black and white Beagle with attitude. Snoopy shares his dominant traits with other Beagles; a tendency to be hyper focused, a love of exercise and a very high energy level.
While your Beagle may not be prone to flights of fancy like Snoopy, it will certainly do the Happy Dance to greet you when you come home. Originally bred for hunting, the Beagle has a keen sense of smell and is often referred to as a “scent hound.”
Adding to their suitability for hunting is the iconic white tip on their tails. If you and your Beagle are out hunting in the woods, or simply out for a walk, the white-tipped tail will act as a beacon if you find yourself searching for them as they go off exploring.
A Beagle’s body looks similar to that of a miniature foxhound. They have a small, compact body with a domed skull. The thighs, legs, and paws are muscular and strong. It has a broad nose with a square-shaped snout. Beagles have a straight back with a deep chest and a long tail which has a white marking at the tip. The white tip on their tail can help you to keep track of them if they run off while you have them out on a walk.
The ears are large and rounded which lay against the back of their face. They are known for having dark brown or hazel colored eyes. The large eyes and overall facial characteristics bring forth a pleasing and gentle look to the Beagles.
Beagles have a dense coat that is straight and smooth. The coat is resistant to rain and gets thicker during the winters. This helps make the cold winters a little easier to handle.
The coat comes in appealing shades of red and white; lemon and white; white and chocolate; tricolor; and white and tan. The most common is tricolor which features a tan brown color on the body, white shade on chest, legs, neck, and the tip of tails with a black saddle.
Beagles generally have a calm and friendly attitude. They don’t have any aggressive tendencies and are known for their playful nature. Beagles find it easy to bond with people (especially children) and get along well with other dogs and pets. This is why they’re known for being excellent family dogs.
Though they are medium-energy dogs, they love to spend time relaxing with their owners. A good ear scratch and the occasional treats keep them happy.
One thing you will notice when you take them outside, Beagles love to go out and spend time sniffing here and there. They should be kept on a leash when taking them out for walks. This makes sure that they do not run away if they smell something, and should help get their attention back to you faster.
Beagles though appear to be small and cute, they are known for being difficult to train. The first thing you will want to start with is potty training. It is always good to use words over and over to help them to know what you want. Eventually when you ask them if they need to potty, they will know exactly what you mean.
You need to have patience to train them as they can sometimes behave stubbornly and frustrate you. Teach them simple commands like sit, stand, come, fetch, and no. Train them to follow these instructions both outdoors and indoors. As they are known to sniff and lick things, you should particularly focus on making them follow the ‘no’ command.
Kennel training should be provided when the puppy is introduced to your home. It helps to reduce separation anxiety in dogs and lets them stay calm when you are away. You could start by letting them stay inside the kennel for 5-10 minutes and increase this to 30 minutes as they get more accustomed to it.
Socialization training should be given early by exposing them to different pets, strangers, and taking them out for walks.
One of the nice things about having Beagles as family dogs is that they bond very well with children. They are generally well behaved while playing with kids. Beagles also like the attention of children.
One thing to watch for is that they have a habit of licking things a lot and picking things up. If they are not getting enough exercise they may also grab your child’s toys and start chewing them. This could be dangerous for the Beagle as they could accidentally swallow parts of it which can cause severe health issues. Even if they dogs are well played with it is best to keep the toys away from the Beagle to ensure they do not chew them.
Another nice thing about Beagles is their small and lightweight body prevents them from jumping on children. You generally don’t need to worry about them hurting children as the children are usually bigger than they are. However, it is still recommended that an adult supervises interactions between children and the dog until they become accustomed to each other.
When you first bring this dog home it is also a good idea to teach all children to keep away from the dog while they’re eating. Usually this will not be an issue with their personality type, but most still do not like to be bothered while they’re eating. By teaching them to keep their distance while the dog eats you avoid any possible problems.
Beagles are more comfortable in hot weather than cold weather. They have a fairly short coat that does increase in the fall, but cannot provide protection from freezing temperatures. If you plan to take them out in the snow, make sure the walk is brief. Snow can cause itchiness and frostbites in the dogs. If you live in a colder part of the country you can always have them wear a coat or booties to protect them from the cold on their walks.
In the summer months they have a heat tolerance of up to 100 degrees. If the outside temperature exceeds beyond that it would be best to limit their time outside. When they do go out make sure they have water to drink. This will prevent their body from overheating. A moderate climate that tends to lean towards the hot side is the best climate for a Beagle.
Like most family dogs, Beagles like to stay busy. They do not like being left alone and in some cases they can develop separation anxiety. Beagles loves to be praised and cared for by the owners. As mentioned earlier, it is best if you can spend one hour daily with them to take them on walks or exercise them. This will keep them physically fit and also keep them mentally stimulated.
Give them plenty of exercise during the day. Beagles love to go for walks and if you can take them out in the morning and again in the evening you will have a very happy dog. In addition to walks they love to have time to just run around. If you have a fenced yard or a dog park near your home this will be perfect for them. This will meet their exercise needs, and dogs behave much better if they have a way to release some energy.
You can have them play in the yard as they like to be active. If you will not be with them make sure they have something to play with or something to chew on so they will not get bored. When Beagles become bored they tend to act out by digging or chewing things. It’s always a good idea to check your yard around the fence line occasionally to make sure that your Beagle isn’t trying to dig under it and escape. It takes much less time than you think for them to dig a hole under.
While most Beagles will remain healthy through most of their lives, some can develop diseases like hip dysplasia and Intervertebral Disk Disease as they age. Intervertebral Disk Disease is a painful disease that is caused when the soft inner layer of the vertebral column protrudes into the spinal cord. In severe cases, it can cause loss of sensation and paralysis. This requires surgery for treatment.
Beagles can develop eye-related diseases like glaucoma, cherry eye, distichiasis, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA can sometimes lead to blindness. You should check your pet’s eye certificate before buying it from a breeder. Patellar Luxation is another disease found in Beagles that can prevent proper coordination between the limbs. This might alter their regular walk and can also lead to arthritis.
Epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and Beagle Dwarfism are some diseases the breed can experience. Beagles are not known to have allergies but if you find them sniffing or drooling unusually, you should get them checked with a vet.
As Beagles shed moderately, they should be brushed once a week or more in the spring and summer months. To remove the shedded hair, you can use a regular soft bristle brush or wear a hound glove. Apart from weekly brushing, the Beagles have minimum grooming requirements as they tend to keep themselves clean.
Beagles do not require regular bathing. You should bath them once every two weeks or when they get dirty. You should check their ears once every week for signs of infection. As their ears are long and gently rested on the cheeks, they are prone to ear infections. Use a cotton ball to clean only the visible part of the ears. Trim their nails twice a month to ensure they do not scratch the floors or hurt anyone who plays with them.
Be gentle while handling their paws, Beagles are a little sensitive about their feet. Like any other pet, you should check for any foul smell, redness, skin infections when you bathe or brush them. If there are any visible signs of infections, you should take them to a vet right away.
It is important to give the right amount of dog food to the Beagles. The ideal meal size for an adult Beagle is one cup of dog food, served two to three times a day. The size of a Beagle puppy meal would be more and can vary between 1.5 to 2 cups.
Beagles do not seem to develop severe digestion issues, but you should still be careful not to overfeed them. They have a small body and don’t need very much food. Avoid feeding the table scraps and meat. If you wish to serve them human food, first consult your vet.
Establish a fixed feeding schedule to keep them healthy. It is also good to wait for two hours between the last meal and exercise or walks.
Beagles are known to have a strong sense of smell and they have around 220 million receptors. In comparison, humans have just 5 million receptors. You can train them to recognize 50 different smells. This is why they are used widely by law enforcement agencies to locate illegal substances.
Beagles are considered one of the most vocal breeds. They are particularly known for making three sounds – a deep howl, yodel-like sound and a standard bark. Beagles left alone can sometimes create noise and irritate their owners.
All Beagles have a white tip on the tail. This is useful to locate them when they are out in the woods or bushes, or when they have wandered away from you while on a walk. The white-tipped tail makes it easy to spot the Beagle.