All About the Beagle. What You Need to Know and Love this Popular Breed
The brave beagle is one of the most iconic and popular dog breeds in the English speaking world. They are cute, smart, energetic and friendly, and we love them for all of these reasons. Many people become lifetime beagle owners after getting their first puppy or seeing irresistible caricatures of the breed in various pop culture features.
The Pop Culture Beagle
Charles Schulz successfully shared his deep love for beagles in the highly successful “Peanuts” cartoon series. In fact, beagles have appeared in many other animated and printed cartoons, including “Underdog,” “Wallace and Gromit,” “Garfield” and “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” It wasn’t only adorable cartoons that made the beagle a celebrity.
Former President Johnson’s beagles Him and Her dominated spotlight in the 1960s and were regularly photographed with the First Family. However, references to the beagle aren’t confined to the 19th and 20th centuries. Similar dogs were mentioned in Homer’s great epics although the breed didn’t officially exist until more than 1,000 years later. Today, beagles consistently rank among the top five dog breeds in the United States.
From Hunting Dog to Household Pet
The beagle is a classic hunting dog that looks similar to the American foxhound but has a significantly shorter stature. Beagles were bred in Great Britain sometime in the 1800s when hare hunting was a popular sport. Alongside the slightly larger harriers, beagles provided hours of excitement for hunters that rode through the countryside following agile hares. These dogs have a keen sense of smell and exceptional energy and endurance. Although few people use beagles to hunt rabbits and hares nowadays, this breed has found plenty of other opportunities in the modern world as pets, therapy animals and drug-sniffing dogs.
Key Beagle Facts
- The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
- Beagles can be almost any hound color, but the tricolor pattern is the most common.
- Beagles measure 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulders.
- Most beagles weigh about 20 pounds.
- Their average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
- A beagle named Butch was one of the oldest dogs in the world. He lived to be 28.
Beagles as Pets
Beagles are excellent pets. They are lighthearted, even-tempered, lovable and social. They have the unique ability to bond with the whole family, especially children. Owners praise the breed’s intelligence and determination. However, hardwired hunting instincts can make the breed difficult to train. They are easily distracted by interesting scents and are prone to wandering off if they aren’t kept in a fenced yard or run. Because beagles love to explore their surroundings, they get lost and wind up in shelters more often than other breeds. A microchip and clearly marked collar are essential for all beagles.
Because beagles have high energy levels, they require a significant amount of daily exercise. Meeting these exercise requirements is one of the most important things that a dog owner can do to support a beagle’s overall health and well-being. Physical and mental stimulation is essential to fight boredom, release excess energy and minimize weight gain. Beagles do bark when excited, agitated or lonely. They communicate with three different voices, including a bark or growl, a howl and a half-howl. Because they love companionship from humans and other dogs, some beagle puppies suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. Barking, howling, chewing, whining and disruptive or destructive behavior are the main signs that your dog is bored or doesn’t like being left alone.
Potential Health Issues
Beagles are healthy and robust dogs, but they can develop some health issues. Obesity is the most common problem, especially in dogs that are older or sedentary. Overweight dogs can develop heart problems, arthritis and joint pain. Beagles are also prone to ear infections, so their ears should be cleaned periodically. Always check your dog for fleas, ticks, mites and parasites after spending time outdoors. Beagles have fairly short hair, so they don’t require much grooming. They do shed seasonally and have a distinctive dog odor. A very small number of beagle puppies have rare genetic or hereditary health problems. Most reputable breeders will test their dogs for these genetic indicators.
Adding a Beagle to Your Family
A beagle might be the right dog for you if you agree with any of the following statements.
A beagle might not be the right dog for your family if any of the following are true.
- View or post pictures of much loved pet beagles at the Reddit Beagle Community
- Learn about and contribute to lab beagle rescue efforts at the Beagle Freedom Project
- Watch the adventures of a celebrity lemon beagle at Maymo’s Youtube page
- And of course buy some treats or ear cleaner from Brave Beagle at amazon dot com