Photo by Flickr user dklimke
In the 1500s, beagles were bred to be rabbit-hunting dogs by English gentry, while larger hounds went after deer. Aside from their remarkable hunting ability, the beagle’s steady temperament, charming personality, and handy size makes them one of America’s most popular dogs. Snoopy is a beagle, and he’s one of the coolest dogs of all time!
Good-Natured and Social
You can always depend on a beagle to greet everyone, excitedly, with a wagging tail. They’re sweet companions and devoted friends that love being around people. Playful and gentle, especially with kids, they’re a great addition to the family. They enjoy the company of other dogs, too.
Beagles are a happy breed, overall.
Beagles (like bloodhounds) have one of the best developed senses of smell of all dogs, and because of their hunter nature, they tend to follow their noses… which sometimes leads them astray, or to mischief. Once they pick up a scent, only The Search matters to them. So when you’re calling them and it seems they don’t hear you—it’s because they’re in the zone. Make sure they don’t wander off too far.
Because of their acute sense of smell and tracking skills, beagles are often employed as detection dogs for prohibited agriculture imports and food in quarantine around the world.
Adaptable and Versatile
Beagles adjust easily to different lifestyles and environments.
- Wonderful house and apartment pets, as long as they get plenty of outdoor playtime. Don’t feel bad if you have to keep them in the backyard or kennel—they’ll get along fine. Remember to give them a change of scenery and scent every so often.
- Skilled hunters. Rabbits and hares, beware!
- Gun dog competitors—excelling in field trials, bench shows (for conformation qualities), and in tracking, agility, and obedience competitions
Cute and Compact
Not too big, not too small—beagles are a compatible size for almost all households. The breed has two height varieties, 13 inches and 15 inches.
Their adorable faces, big pleading eyes, and charming personality make them hard to resist.
Energetic & Healthy
Beagles are active, with plenty of stamina. They love the great outdoors. Beagles have a low risk of health problems, but it always pays to be on the lookout for epilepsy, eye, back, or heart issues.
Regular Mental and Physical Exercise
Because beagles are highly energetic, they require daily exercise—mental and physical—to keep them calm. Take them on a brisk walk and let them run around the yard. Even though they’re small they still need space!
Keep their minds and olfactory systems stimulated by playing tracking games with different scents. This will satisfy their hunting instincts.
Train and Socialize as a Pup
Begin obedience training at puppyhood. Though beagles are fast learners, their strong-willed personality can sometimes translate to stubbornness during training sessions. Tip: They respond well to positive methods that rely on repetition and rewards, rather than intimidation and punishment.
Because they’re easily distracted, constantly switching their attention from one thing to the next, they need consistent and firm handling.
Socialize beagles with non-canine animals (cats and other household pets) in puppyhood as well. Otherwise, they won’t learn to control their hunting instincts, and can’t be trusted around them.
Keep Them Close
A fenced-in yard and a leash while on walks or unfenced areas will keep beagles from straying when they pick up an irresistible scent. Remember, these little guys can be mischievous.
Beagles aren’t high-maintenance in the grooming department. Their short, dense, waterproof coat is easy to manage, especially since they usually keep themselves clean. But a daily brushing to control their average shedding is recommended. Any dog with long, floppy ears is prone to infections, so clean their ears every day.
Beagles are more than tenacious hunters. They’re trusted companions, fun friends, and low-maintenance pets.