— Breed of the Month —
Who doesn't love a beagle’s doe-like eyes and happy, easy-going nature? Their cute, floppy ears? As a member of the hound family, they live to use their nose and love to eat! They are excellent as scent detection dogs at airports and can search out weapons, drugs, and illegal food items with ease. Originally bred in England to hunt, the Beagle has long been popular as a family companion.
It is believed the name “Beagle” comes from the Middle French words “bee gueule,” which literally translated means “wide throat,’ or perhaps more colloquially translated as "loudmouth."
Breed Traits and Characteristics
According to the American Kennel Club, here are some breed characteristic you can find in Beagles.
13 inches & under, 13-15 inches
Under 20 pounds, 20-30 pounds
- Life Expectancy
- Coat Type/Length
Beagles have been around so long that no one is quite certain of their origins. Similar size and type dogs were found in Ancient Greece in the 5th century BC to hunt rabbit and hare. Early Beagles during Medieval times were small and stood only 8 to 9 inches tall. They were called "pocket Beagles" because they were small enough to fit into a hunter's pocket. As larger dogs were needed for hunting larger prey, these smaller Beagles became extinct in 1901.
The more modern breed which is larger in size originated in Great Britain in the 1830s as a cross between two breeds: the Southern Hound, and the North Country Beagle. A man named Reverend Phillip Honeywood of Great Britain started a breeding program and King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I fell in love with the breed. Wanting to improve on the breed, Thomas Johnson produced dogs that were more stately in appearance and better hunters.
General Richard Rowett from Illinois imported some Beagles from England and began breeding what is known as the standard Beagle today. The Beagle was accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884.
Today, the breed is as noteworthy as a family companion as it is as a hunting dog.
Beagles are loving, gentle dogs with a fierce independent streak. As a pet parent, you will have to be patient and persistent since this breed is so strong willed.
When training your Beagle, always have him on a leash or he will follow his nose versus your commands and head off in search of an enticing scent.
Before you go over the moon for this breed, know that they love companionship and do not like to be alone. Therefore, separation anxiety can be an issue.
As Bark Busters trainers, we have seen Beagles plow through drywall when left alone for too long. To cut down on the destruction, Beagles need a lot of exercise, education, and an outlet for their energy.
Beagles are often known as the “Goldilocks” of dogs – not too big, not too small, not too aggressive and not too shy. Because of their acute sense of smell, they are often called a “nose with feet.”
Know also that they are so vocal, they might not make the best apartment dwellers… you can hear them howl loudly. For a dog its size, the Beagle has a BIG voice. A Beagle’s voice is not only typically louder than other breeds its size, it has a passionate tone that other breeds do not have.
The breed is multi-talented and is often used by U.S. Customs to search for illegal food, plants and drugs because of their phenomenal sense of scent. It’s not uncommon to see beagles in airports, sniffing around the baggage lines.
Beagles are also great hunting dogs. Beagles are fiercely loyal, highly energetic and hunt with all their heart. Remember, they were originally bred to hunt hare and rabbit. They are particularly good at being left loose in the field and hunting their prey without instruction. It is this independent streak that contributes to their stubbornness. This is in contrast to dogs like Labradors who hunt on command.
However, the Beagle doesn’t have to hunt to be happy – he can he just as happy on the lap of a loving dog owner.
Fun Facts About Beagles
Beagles are a beloved breed of dog that have captured the hearts of many with their adorable and friendly nature. They are well-known for their exceptional sense of smell and their playful personalities. Whether you are a long-time Beagle owner or are considering owning one for the first time, here are some fun facts you might not know about the breed.
Beagle Points of Interest
- Beagles are scent hounds and are wonderful escape artists so a fenced in yard or a leash on a walk is essential.
- One of the most vocal dogs as they bark, bay and howl.
- Pack animals that do well with other dogs.
- Eyes are either hazel or brown and look like they are pleading.
- Most don’t like to swim.
- Not great as guard dogs-they are generally everyone’s best friend.
- Beagles have approximately 220 million scent receptors compared to the 5 million in people.
- The "Beagle Brigade" patrols the baggage-claim areas at more than 20 international airports and other points of entry into the United States. They are used for this purpose because of their appeal and the fact that most passengers don’t fear this breed.
- The Beagle has ranked among the top 10 most popular dogs since its acceptance into the AKC in 1885
- The “Peanuts” character Snoopy was a Beagle and possibly was the reason behind some of this breed's more recent popularity.
- One of the identifying marks of a purebred Beagle is some white in its tail. It may only be a few hairs at the tip, or it may be mostly white, but a "Beagle" without any white in its tail is probably a mix.
- President Lyndon Johnson had 2 beagles named Him and Her.
- Although we know Queen Elizabeth II as a huge Corgi fan, the first Queen Elizabeth loved the miniature “pocket” Beagles.
- Barry Manilow owned a Beagle named Bagel and featured this breed on his album covers.
Advantages of Beagles
- Inquisitive, determined, loving, easy going
- Compact, short-coated, easy to groom
- Alert, curious & busy
- Intelligent, friendly and easily won over
- Rarely shy or aggressive
- Mischievous and funny
Beagle Personality & Temperament
There are two Beagle varieties: those standing under 13 inches at the shoulder, and those between 13 and 15 inches. Both varieties are sturdy, solid, and “big for their inches,” as dog folks say. They come in such pleasing colors as lemon, red and white, and tricolor. The Beagle’s fortune is in his adorable face, with its big brown or hazel eyes set off by long, houndy ears set low on a broad head. A breed described as “merry” by its fanciers, Beagles are loving and lovable, happy, and companionable—all qualities that make them excellent family dogs. No wonder that for years the Beagle has been the most popular hound dog among American pet owners. These are curious, clever, and energetic hounds who require plenty of playtime.
Beagles are often described as: “they never met a person they didn’t like”. They get along well with kids and other breeds because they are carefree and cooperative. In fact, the Beagle has a fun and curious nature, much like many children. They can thrive both in the city and country, although they do best with plenty of room to roam. If you are looking for a couch potato – this is not the breed to choose as they require a lot of exercise.
The two biggest dog training problems with the Beagle involves coming when called and walking by their pet parent’s side on a leash. Why? Because Beagles have their nose to the ground and prefer to follow that versus you! They will wander around whether supervised or not.
Some people will say that Beagles are not intelligent, but this is far from the truth. Consider the fact that they often get away with NOT following your commands. Beagles are free thinkers, and unlike Labradors who live to please their pet parents, Beagles follow the beat of their own drummer. This does not mean they can't be trained. In fact, the Bark Busters style of training which is based on the way dogs naturally communicate is perfect for this dog. Although training can be a challenge, with persistence and patience you can succeed. He will have to develop respect for your leadership and perceive you as the leader of the pack.
Like many popular breeds, the Beagle has a number of hereditary health issues, like eye problems and allergies. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.
Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.
Many rescue organizations also check for common-ailments before making them available for adoption.
At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Beagle:
- Cruciate ruptures
- Intervertebral disc disorder
- Lameness and limping
- Urinary tract infections
Common Behavioral Issues with Beagles
Beagles are regularly in the top 10 most popular breeds. Even though Snoopy is probably the most well-known Beagle, all dogs are priceless to their families. Beagles' incredible abilities really can come in handy - you may see them at airports as detections dogs, trained to find bed bugs and termites, and you may even see them as therapy dogs.
However, just like any breed, they present unique challenges.
Beagles are scent hounds which means that even more than some other breeds they are ruled by their noses. They will naturally follow a scent until they either find the source or they find a more interesting scent.
Due their prodigious ability to follow a scent they make excellent hunters and trackers.
Tracking is an activity they were born to excel doing. Following their noses however can make them challenging to walk.
Recall, or coming when called, can also be a challenge for Beagles. These are probably the two areas of behaviors that Bark Busters Trainers deal with consistently with Beagles.
Beagles can be prone to becoming anxious when left alone so, as puppies, they definitely need to be confined or crated or you may come home to find holes in your walls. Their “chase first, ask questions later” has caused more than a few Beagles to run through screen doors or to run into glass doors that they forgot were there.
They are short and stocky so, like most of us, you have to watch their weight as they get older. This can become a serious problem as it can lead to other health issues especially if they get lazy.
Bark Busters training can help you to understand your dog and how to not only have your dog love you, but to show him that you are also are a capable leader worthy of his respect.
Tips for Every Dog Owner
Tips for Every Dog - Socialization
Dogs are social animals and like to be part of a structured social group. In the wild, their pack provides this purpose, but in the domesticated world, this consists of the humans they live with and other animals that live in your home.
Tips for Every Dog - Four Basic Needs
At Bark Busters, we believe that every dog has four basic needs. When these needs aren’t being met, misbehavior will likely follow.
Tips for Every Dog - Why Training?
All dogs need some form of training and education. Love is vital to the bond you and your dog share, but on its own and without all the other elements of a strong relationship, your dog won’t feel fully fulfilled.