Beagle Dog Temperament & Personality
Every once in a while, you see someone walking a Beagle, and you begin to imagine just how fun it could be to own one. It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the US after all, so taking care of a Beagle shouldn’t be too hard, should it?
If you’re seriously considering buying, adopting, fostering, or rescuing a Beagle, know that you will need a bit of preparation and a whole lot of effort to take care of one.
Beagles are an old hound breed. They were brought to the US from England in the 18th century, and were introduced to the US as small prey hunting dogs. The term “beagling” is even used to refer to hare and rabbit hunting with Beagles as hunting companions. This dog breed goes thousands of years back, and has quite a fascinating history.
But while Beagles were bred as scent-tracking hunting dogs, people soon realized how amazing they could be as house pets too. And why wouldn’t they? Beagles are fun, loyal, affectionate, and curious dogs. They’re the ideal size for most households, and they’re great kid-friendly pets. Their warm and gentle nature paired with their sad puppy eyes and droopy ears make the perfect match.
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Training and Exercise Needs
Beagles are fun-loving hound dogs that will rely on their sense of smell more than anything else, and this aspect is one of the most important considerations in training and taking care of them. They are intelligent, to say the least, but housebreaking and training could be difficult for a less experienced owner because they can be easily distracted by their keen sense of smell.
Their exercise needs are high because they tend to gain weight, especially as they grow older. A good Beagle owner is one who can spare the time to regularly exercise and seriously train their Beagles. Not doing so can put them at serious risks of behavioral and health issues.
Shedding and Grooming Needs
Beagles shed but definitely not as much as other breeds. Also, their shedding isn’t as noticeable because Beagles are short-haired dogs. They don’t drool, so as long as their playtime does not involve rolling in mud and puddles, they won’t need to be groomed or even bathed as often.
Though Beagles tend to howl or bark, they are very friendly dogs that don’t discriminate. They are easily comfortable around kids, strangers, other dogs, and even cats. They’re one of the friendliest and least territorial dog breeds, but they are highly social and hate being left alone for long periods of time.
Beagles are gentle, non-violent dogs. They’re bred to be pack dogs, so there’s always that need to feel part of a pack. Beagles and Beagle puppies especially, are prone to biting, chewing, and destroying things around them when they feel alone and under-stimulated.
Beagles are sweet and loyal companions. They get very excited around people, but they aren’t aggressive or territorial at all. Their iconic sad puppy eyes are a source of joy for many, and they’re very good family dogs.
They’re gentle, sweet-natured, and even-tempered, so they’re the perfect dogs for families with small kids. They’re not prone to aggression, but they’re not very timid too.
Most of the time, and most unfortunately, Beagles are used for unethical lab experiments because of their gentle and kind nature. Some of them fortunately wind up in Beagle rescue groups, where they wait for their right owners and their next forever home.
Beagle Size (male & female)
A Beagle’s appearance is best described as that of a miniature foxhound. They’re sturdy and compact, and are considered medium-sized dogs. Because of their size, it’s common for Beagles to be travel companions too.
Beagle Height (male & female)
While there is only one breed of Beagles, breeding standards vary in the US and the UK. For example, English Beagles are slightly taller than American Beagles though they are definitely of the same breed. It’s just so that slightly shorter Beagles were preferred by American breeders for their hare-hunting activities.
Beagles have two height categories in the US. Shorter Beagles measure 13 inches and under, while taller ones range from 13 to 15 inches. For the English Beagles, the desired minimum height is 13 inches, and the desired maximum height is 16 inches.
Male Beagles are heavier, clocking in at an average of 22 to 24 pounds. Female Beagles usually just weigh 22 pounds and under.
Beagle Weight (male & female)
Beagles that are 13 inches and under should weigh less than 20 pounds, while taller Beagles at 13 to 15 inches should weigh around 20 to 30 pounds.
Beagle Lifespan (male & female)
As a medium-sized dog, a Beagle’s normal lifespan is between 10 to 15 years old. This is the normal lifespan for many hound dogs too.
Dogs have different personalities. Knowing these differences can help owners take better care of their pets. Here are some highlights of a Beagle’s personality that any aspiring owner should know:
Beagles are stubborn hound dogs that are easily bored and distracted. They use their nose for pretty much everything they do. Training, exercises, and even treats should be interesting enough for a Beagle’s nose to be effective. They can easily lose interest in training and run off to track or follow something much more important to them: more interesting scents.
Beagles need a LOT of exercise and stimulation. They have high energy levels as puppies and this could lead to destructive behavior if not taken care of. Since they’re also easily bored, owners need to figure out different, non-repetitive ways to use a puppy’s energy or they quickly lose interest. Their exercise requirements don’t diminish as they grow older. In fact, they tend to gain weight as they age, so they’ll need more exercise. After all, they’re hunting dogs and running over long distances is one of their strong suits.
Beagles are very difficult to train. While Beagles are highly affectionate dogs, they can tune out their owners’ calls and commands when they’re tracking a scent. Once they’re in this scent-tracking mode, it could be difficult for a Beagle to even answer to their own names. Their sole focus would be tracking the scent and it wouldn’t matter how far the distance as long as they can find their prey. The Beagle dog breed is an intelligent and determined dog breed, but their single-mindedness makes them very tough to train. This is also why some people make the mistake of thinking that they’re not smart dogs. They just happen to have a very different skill set than most dogs that people consider intelligent.
Beagles are easily some of the best scent hounds. Among hound dogs, Beagles are some of the smallest breeds. They’re also some of the best scent hounds too. Dogs with powerful sense of smell keep track of their environment by how it smells more than how it looks. It can recognize and react to the smallest changes in scents – changes that people may not even be aware of.
Beagles are some of the friendliest dog breeds. They love humans and kids especially, and consider their family a part of their pack. They have the tendency to howl and bark, but this is mostly their answer to what they see and hear from the outside. Owners who live in apartments only need to lessen the chance of their pet seeing animals they can chase and hearing another dog’s howls and barks to keep the Beagle quiet. They are so friendly towards humans that they are good at being watchdogs. They will seldom bark at humans though, so Beagles aren’t great at being guard dogs.
Beagles are highly social animals. Because of their friendliness, Beagles can get very upset when they are left alone for long periods of time. Beagles are playful and affectionate, and they love being around people and other animals. The great thing about Beagles is that they don’t need other Beagles to form packs – they can very easily form a bond or a pack with kids, other dog breeds, and even cats.
Beagles LOVE to eat. Beagles don’t eat until they’re full – they eat until they see something to eat. And it doesn’t apply to just food alone. They will eat whatever they can find – in the trash bins and even in litters – and will even resort to stealing food. This is also the reason why obesity is a common problem in Beagles.
Since Beagles love to eat, owners need to find a way to use all the extra energy and calories so the dogs don’t gain too much weight. Beagles are very active dogs, and they need physical and mental stimulation to keep them sane and in shape.
Beagles, especially adolescent ones, will need at least an hour of exercise each and every day. This isn’t a dog breed for someone who only walks their dog once a week. Walking and running are popular exercises, but beagling is a better way to stimulate both a Beagle’s mind and body. However, a Beagle will cover long distances when hunting, and must be trained first to return to their owners before they should be allowed to hunt.
Early training is a must for Beagles because they can grow to be quite stubborn. Some owners even start training Beagles as young as 2 months old, though stimulation overload is possible and must be avoided. Consistency must also be observed when training Beagles. Training Beagles requires lots of patience as it isn’t uncommon for a Beagle pup to just stop listening when they lock in on a new or interesting scent.
The history of Beagles is a long and fascinating one, though the exact origin of the breed is still unknown. Many believe that they’re a cross of the 11th century Talbot hound and the greyhound, and that they’re somehow related to the Southern Hound and the harrier.
The term “Beagles” used to refer to 18th century hound dogs of a much smaller size, known as pocket Beagles. They were carried around by hunters in their saddlebags, while bigger hunting dogs ran with the horses and hunters. After arriving at the hunting area, the Beagles were unleashed to track prey for the hunters. While effective in tracking small game, the pocket Beagles’ popularity was short-lived as people favored larger dog breeds for hunting bigger preys.
In the 19th century, the Beagles much closer to the one we now know were exported to the US from England. The English Beagles were taller and stockier, and American breeders wanted Beagles that are a bit shorter and lighter for hare, rabbit, and small game hunting.
By 1884, the AKC recognized Beagles and by the 20th century, this dog breed has caught the attention and stole the hearts of American families. It has since been one of the most popular breeds in the US.
How to Care for Beagles
There are a few things to remember when taking care of Beagles:
- They need lots of physical and mental stimulation. Beagles need lots of body and brain exercises, and they love using their noses when they’re out and about. Allowing them to use their scent tracking and hunting skills is a kindness that some Beagle owners fail to provide. These exercises can help them avoid health and behavioral problems.
- They have the wanderlust. Given the chance, they would run around and chase after interesting scents and small prey. When they’re in this scent tracking or hunting mode, Beagles can tune their owners out until they’ve had the satisfaction of catching their prey. They may even dig under fences just to follow a scent. Beagles must never be left unsupervised in an unsecured area. When taken out for walks, Beagles must be put on a leash to prevent them from storming off unexpectedly.
- They need a proper, well-balanced diet. Limit their food intake to what only they need. They’re prone to weight gain and obesity, and feeding them table scraps too often won’t do them any good.
Nutrition and Feeding for Beagle
Training Beagles on the proper eating habits is essential and must be done while they’re still young. Poorly trained Beagles may resort to constantly stealing food and overeating, though an occasional slip-up may happen to a trained Beagle too.
High-quality dog food is a must for Beagles to help keep them within the healthy weight limit. They are very motivated by food during training, so make sure that treats are taken into consideration when planning for a Beagle’s diet too. Don’t leave a bowl of food out for the purpose of it being a Beagle’s food for the whole day. They will easily eat more than they could handle.
Coat Color and Grooming
It may not be obvious, but Beagles have water-resistant, thick, double coats for their fur. Their coats even thicken up as a response to colder seasons, so springtime means shedding time for most Beagles. Their shedding isn’t very noticeable though because they have such short hair.
Beagles don’t need to go to grooming salons that much. Unless they’re playing in soil or mud, Beagles wouldn’t need to bathe very often. Bath time can be more than just bath time, because it’s the best time for owners to check for possible health conditions too. Beagles have long, droopy ears that could prevent proper air circulation, and proper ear cleaning during baths must be done to avoid ear infections. Teeth cleaning must be done more often – at least twice or thrice a week.
When it comes to coat color, the first thing that would come to mind is a tri-color Beagle. They usually have white on the end of their tails, and they’re white on the belly and the leg parts as well. They have a distinctive black saddle, with browns covering their ears and eyes. However, Beagles come in many different colors. They can have tans, blues, reds, and even lemon tints to their coats too.
Children and Other Pets
Beagles are kid-friendly and pet-friendly dogs. Their gentle and warm temperament makes them perfect for families with small kids, other dogs, and even cats. They are easily comfortable because they’re used to being part of a pack. They very rarely bite out of aggression, but children must never be left alone with even the kindest of dogs.
Beagles have these sad puppy eyes that could make just about anybody fall in love. However, taking care of a Beagle isn’t a walk in the park, and some people just straight up abandon their Beagles once they realize how hard it is to properly train and take care of them. This is why many Beagles end up in rescue, waiting for the right owner who knows exactly what they’re getting into. If you’re thinking about adopting or fostering a Beagle, here are some groups that could help you out:
- Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue – This is a rescue group that helps abandoned and neglected Beagles find their forever homes. They have Beagle mixes and pure breed Beagles. They also provide medical care for sick and old Beagles.
- Beagle Freedom Project – Beagles have been used and abused by experimentation facilities, and some find their way into BFP. Note, however, that Beagles rescued from experimentation facilities may be fearful or neurotic, and needs extra love and care.
- SOS Beagles – This group doesn’t have a shelter for Beagles, but all their Beagles live in foster care. They do provide training, veterinary care, and evaluation for their Beagles though, and you can help them out by sponsoring Beagles, donating supplies, fostering Beagles, or even adopting one.
For more information on the Beagle dog breed, you can always check the following organizations:
More about this breed
Taking care of Beagles is hard work, so here are some other topics that you might want to know more about:
- How to housebreak a Beagle
- Alternative indoor Beagle exercises
- The right way to feed Beagle puppies
- Beagles on leashes
- Teaching dog tricks to Beagles