Beagles are happy, gentle, energetic dogs that fit in well with any family. They love to feel like “part of the group,” needing an ample amount of attention and playtime. They also love children, and vice versa, proving to be vigorous but gentle playmates.
- 26 - 33 pounds
- 13 - 16 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Suburban families
- Apartment dwellers
- Outdoorsy and sporty types
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- Solid frame, tricolored coat
- Energetic and playful
- Assertive and independent
- Great trackers
- Headstrong and (sometimes) stubborn
What They Are Like to Live With
Beagles are bursting with energy and stamina. Though they tend to have issues with other dogs, having another Beagle in the house—if you can stand all the happy wagging tails—can be a great source of fun and activity.
Protective of their environments without being aggressive with strangers, Beagles will bark until the cows come home if a suspicious person approaches the house, making them an excellent guard dog.
If you like dogs that talk, you’ll love Beagles. Instead of intelligible language, however, their sounds consist of “baying,” which is a kind of loud, gurgling howl. You’ll just have to get used to it.
Things You Should Know
Beagles need regular exercise to maintain a healthy state of mind, and they shouldn’t be left alone for too long. They have also been known to steal food, whether from the garbage, the table or wherever they can find it.
Some Beagles can be stubborn and tough to train. They love being complimented and getting treats, but need a somewhat firm/friendly hand to learn the ways of the household.
Their incredible sense of smell is always working. This means that they may pick up a scent and follow it relentlessly. If you live in a house, make sure you have a fenced-in yard. During walks, always keep your Beagle on a leash.
A healthy Beagle can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include epilepsy, eye problems and dwarfism. Be sure to clean your Beagle’s ears regularly to avoid ear infections.
Though hunting hounds have thrived in England since the Roman occupation, Beagles probably appeared in the 18th century as a mixture of several hounds. Hunters found them handy as relentless chasers of foxes and rabbits. The breed standard was made in the 1860s, coming from a particularly good strain of Beagles, and in 1888 the National Beagle Club was formed to hold agility and obedience contests. Beagles to this day are celebrated hunters, sporting dogs and pets.
The Look of a Beagle
Beagles look like small Foxhounds—solid, sturdy and muscular. A typical Beagle has a small, rounded skull with a square muzzle and wide nostrils. Their dark brown eyes have a “begging” look, and their pendant (hanging) ears are wide and long. Their tails are usually raised, but don’t curl over the back. Beagles are widely known for their tricolor coat (black, white and tan), but they can come in any hound color including red and white, yellow and white or orange and white.
Talk About Beagles
An outdoor dog who'll race you for the couch, too
I just love having Beagles, especially their big brown eyes. They give new meaning to the term puppy dog eyes, and their tails never stop wagging! They love people and are especially friendly with children.
They love attention and can have lots of energy at times; long walks or a run in the dog park is just perfect for them. Just remember to keep them on a leash or in a fenced-in yard, because if they pick up a scent, they are sure to follow it to the end and not remember how they got there.
If you love a dog that talks a lot, you'll love having a Beagle. Once they have their eyes on something, the chin goes up and the baying begins! It almost sounds like the bark of a dog with the voice of a sea lion! They are also known to howl for what seems like an eternity, like a wolf howling at the moon!
Since the beagle is a scenthound, their noses are always in first gear, always on the prowl for food. Many a beagle has been known to steal food right off a plate, from your hand, or even from the garbage. They always act like they are starving! If you are a pet owner who likes to spoil your dog with people food, be careful. Beagles can easily gain weight if overfed.
Some beagles can get constant ear infections due to their floppy ears not getting enough air, so regular ear cleaning is a must. Their coats are short and don't usually require a lot of brushing, and they can be bathed easily at home.
If you want a dog that loves long walks but also loves hanging out with his people, loves to be outdoors but can't wait to race you for that prime spot on the couch or bed, this is a great choice.
~Barbara P., owner of a Beagle
Finding creative ways to dig in the trash
We have a great beagle named Buddy who is very loving. He always wants our attention. He is so very smart, but extremely stubborn. He knows how to sit, come, walk, and lay down, although he only will understand these commands when he wants to, or if there is no food around.
With any beagle it is important to use a very firm tone if you really need them to listen. Buddy is very much his own person. Most beagles are.
Beagles are also very sneaky. You can train them not to get in the trash and they will know it's a no-no, so they figure out creative ways to dig in it very, very quietly. When you catch them, they bow their heads and come to you with a wagging tail and wait for you to tell them "bad dog." Beagles are very smart, and they know when they are being naughty.
Living with a beagle is special, but you have to have plenty of time. They are in love with love, and will always want to be near you or with you, no matter what you are doing. I do dishes and Buddy lies at my feet; I do laundry, he comes with me; I shower, he lies there and waits for me to come out.
Buddy isn't very good with other dogs. He will deal with them if they are around, but he prefers human connections. I always take him to the dog park, but he hangs out by himself mostly. The separation anxiety can be terrible. Even though Buddy isn't crazy about other dogs, he won't bark so much if he is left alone with another dog.
Beagles will protect you, and bark when they hear a noise or see someone they are unfamilar with. They will also bark at their owner if they get frustrated. If they get irritated with you, look them in the eye and firmly tell them "No." Always let them know that you are in charge.
All and all, if you want a forever loving, loyal, great friend that will make you laugh, and give you lots of love, a beagle is for you. Just remember that it is VERY IMPORTANT that they get a lot of attention, much more than the average dog. And be consistent with the training, otherwise this stubborn breed will not learn!
~Olivia C., owner of a Beagle
Train these dogs from a young age.
I rescued Trixie from a mean home. I have worked with her for years and I love how fast she fell in love with me and learned the ropes of the house and how she will curl right up with me for some loving!
As for living with her - it can be noisy when a new person comes into the house and when her "daddy" (my husband comes) home, she will "talk" with him but not me. We are a military family and she does want to DIG all the time and that has made it hard on us.
If you are thinking about getting a little pup with big ears and a little body, I would say get a puppy and start training from day one - make sure they know you are the master. My little Trixie sometimes thinks she owns the home and it can be hard to convince her otherwise. Make sure you socialize your dog with other dogs. If not, it will be hard with other dogs around. I got Trixie when she was already two years old and she is almost fiveyears old now and I am still trying to get her to be more friendly with other dogs.
~Lisa D., owner of a Beagle and a Red Heeler
Who needs TV with these dogs to entertain you?
I rescued Bob from a dog home and he has given me a great deal of joy and much laughter, but he can be very frustrating. As all owners of beagles know. they are stubborn -- they can hear you but just choose to do their own thing. They are extremely persistent (they choose not to understand the word no!), particularly when food is around. They never, ever forget a scent -- no wonder they are great at airports.
When in doubt, unless in an enclosed area, ALWAYS WALK YOUR BEAGLE ON A LEASH! Think of it as resistance training. Example: Beagle sees fox. Fox runs under a fence and across the road. Beagle chases fox until it catches it or loses its scent trail, which may be miles away! I know hunters who take their beagles on 100-mile hunts in GPS collars so they won't lose them! Beagles don't pay attention when they switch on to a scent unless, sometimes, you can literally yell at them to stop. A beagle needs a firm hand. More importantly, they have no road sense when in this state.
They are great escape artists and are easily excitable. Type in "beagle escape" on YouTube and see for yourself! They are eating machines and will eat anything, just like sharks. Always have a lid on your bin and don't hold anything too long in your hand otherwise the beagle will see that as an opportunity to strike!
They are extremely affectionate and will follow you from room to room. They love water and are great swimmers. They will want to sit with you on the couch and sleep with you, but you will have to make rules to curb this behavior. Alas, they are pack dogs and will chase you down the road if they are able to just to be with you. Two beagles are better than one, particularly if you work away from home.
And one last thing ... beagles never switch off their noses! So if you hit the ceiling in the middle of the night because your beagle lets out a spine-chilling howl because they smelt something they want to chase, then what can I say? Welcome to the wonderful world that is the beagle!
~Peter M, owner of Bob the Beagle