Breed of the Month–Beagle

1August 2014


Color:  Any hound color.  No liver or solid colors.
Height:  13-16 inches (2 varieties)
Weight:  22-35 lbs
Life Span:  12-14 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Hypothyroidism, heart problems, epilepsy, glaucoma, Chinese Beagle syndrome, and Beagle Pain Syndrome.

Coat:  Medium length, weatherproof, close, hard, dense coat.
Country of Origin:  Great Britain

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

A British breed, the Beagle dates as far back as the Celts.  Beagles were used in Wales and the British Isles for hunting hares.  As fox hunting popularity rose and rabbit hunting fell, the breed became less popular.  It was saved by small farmers in southern England that still used the breed to help supplement their diets with rabbit.  The breed was brought to the United States around the 1880s and quickly gained popularity.

With his small size, charming personality, and keen nose, the Beagle has ranked in the Top 5 most popular dogs to own for several years in the United States.  The Beagle was even the inspiration for the character Snoopy, by cartoonist Charles Schulz.

Although friendly and a cute size, the Beagle is still a hunting dog.  He was bred to use his voice, as all Hound dog breeds do.  Beagles do not generally like being left alone either.  These are things one should consider if thinking of adding a dog of this breed to your home.

The Beagle is a hunter by nature and loves to use his nose.  Plenty of regular daily exercise is required to keep this breed happy.  A walk around several blocks or a hike in the woods, it does not matter to the Beagle, as long as he gets to explore.

The short hair and small size of the Beagle make him easy to keep clean.  Regular baths will keep him smelling his best (as many hunting breeds like to find stinky dead things).  The eyes and ears must be kept clean and free of debris.

Using positive reinforcement training combined with treat-based rewards is important for training a Beagle.  The Beagle can be quite stubborn at times, but is highly food motivated.  Keep your Beagle engaged in training by using high-value rewards.  Once your Beagle learns a new skill, he will quickly be ready to move onto a more difficult task.