The Beagle: The Persistent Hunters

Origins and History

The Beagle is one of the most popular dog breeds in America. Hound breeds are considered the closest ancestors of the modern Beagle. Amidst its popularity, the origin of this lovable dog breed could not be clearly established. Beagles were present during the second half of the 15th century, during the time of Elizabeth I, hence, they were initially called “Elizabeth Beagle”. However, there were claims that the breed came from the hounds imported to England from France during the 11th century by William the Conqueror.

In addition to the mystery of its origins, it is still unclear on where its name was derived from. It could be derived from the Gaelic word beag, which translates to “little”, or the from the French word be’geule, which refers to the sound made by hounds when in hunting.

Beagles are hunting dogs, but unlike their larger counterparts, they can hunt hares and rabbits on foot without the assistance from horses. This ability made them well-known among rabbit hunters as the sport became popular in America after the Civil War. The modern Beagle is known for its great sense of smell, hunting voice, and superb hunting and tracking abilities.

Character and Abilities

Beagles are known for their high energy and active disposition, making it the perfect pet for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. This loyal breed will surely be your tireless game companion.

Lovable, merry, and friendly are just some of the characteristics associated with the Beagle. There is no doubt that the Beagle is one of the most preferred breeds as the best family dogs. It is in the Beagle’s nature to enjoy the company of humans and/or other canines. They are happy-go-lucky, easygoing, and friendly. Their curious and merry disposition sets the Beagle apart from other small dogs. Beagles are also gentle with children and a good dog companion for the elderly.

Beagles would not be able to resist the urge of a good pursuit – to a fault. There are instances wherein a Beagle will show “selective deafness”. This is a condition where the Beagle will fully concentrate on a chase whilst purposely tuning out other stimuli, including the commands of its owner. This is why it is recommended that Beagles are taken out on a leash to prevent them from wandering about.

Trainability and Intelligence

The Beagle is a smart, intelligent, and highly persistent breed. However, Beagles are also stubborn, which could make training very hard. Obedience training is recommended to be introduced and incorporated early, especially as a puppy. Early socialization and puppy training classes can help train your Beagle.

During training, bear in mind that punishment and harsh techniques will not help the Beagle in training. Beagles respond well to positive reinforcements combined with a lot of patience. For example, giving your Beagle treats for a job well done will enforce good behavior.

Exercise

Beagles are highly active, energetic, and loves the outdoors. Because beagles are hunting dogs at heart, they require a lot of exercise – with at least an hour of daily activity. The Beagle is the perfect companion for those who are as active and outgoing as they are.

This breed is used to working in packs. As such, Beagles will be more than happy to have you to accompany them during their exercise and playtime.

Living Conditions and Adaptability

Due to its low maintenance grooming needs and compact size, the Beagle may live in an apartment. However, its active disposition and preference for the outdoors should be kept in mind. Always remember that Beagles are at their happiest when they get plenty of exercise. The Beagle, born to hunt and packed full of energy, will highly benefit from a vast area where they can run around and explore.

In case a backyard is not accessible, make sure that they take regular walks daily. Beagles must get enough exercise. If a Beagle stays inactive for a long period of time, he may become bored or obese.

Health

The average life expectancy of the Beagle is 10 to 15 years – above than the average lifespan of most dogs similar with their size. There are no known health problems associated and/or hereditary for the Beagle. However, hypothyroidism is common. The Beagle is also prone to ear infections. Weekly check-up of your Beagle’s ears will be helpful. If the Beagle stays inactive, he will also be prone to become overweight.

Aside from the aforementioned, the most commonly found diseases for this breed include: Beagle Pain Syndrome, Chinese Beagle Syndrome, pulmonic stenosis, pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism, hepatitis, anemia, lymphosarcoma, invertebral disk disease, narcolepsy, hypochondroplasia, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and luxating patella. Health tests, as recommended by the National Breed Club, include hip evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and MLS DNA test.

As with all dogs, the Beagle respond well with dog food and food plan approved by the veterinarian. The Beagle should be kept well-hydrated by providing clean and fresh drinking water. Any health concerns should be checked with your veterinarian.

Physical characteristics

The Beagle is a small dog that looks like a miniature foxhound. The head is proportionate to its weight – not too massive. It’s ears are set low, long and droops at the sides of the head. The Beagle’s charm lies in its big, round eyes, usually brown or hazel in color. Legs are straight and muscular. Modern Beagles have a smooth double coat which comes in various colors including lemon, red and white, and tricolor.

The modern Beagle has two varieties based on their size: those measuring below 13 inches at the shoulder (weighing less than 20 pounds), and between 13 to 15 inches (weighing 20 to 30 pounds).

Grooming

A Beagle will require minimal grooming needs. Beagles only have seasonal shedding, usually during the spring. Although, Beagles will also shed their coat moderately the whole year. Regular brushing, up to two to three times a week using a medium bristle brush or a grooming mitt, will help remove loose hair and maintain your dog’s coat.

As with all dog breeds, the Beagle’s nails and teeth should be taken care of as part of their grooming regimen. The claws should be trimmed regularly. Long claws can cause pain and discomfort while walking, running, and playing. Brushing the Beagle’s teeth regularly will also prevent any teeth and gum related diseases.

Hypoallergenic

Unfortunately, Beagles are not considered as one of the hypoallergenic dog breeds. People who are allergic to dogs should be cautious when interacting with this dog breed.

If you already own a Beagle, and someone in the household is allergic to dogs, you must be responsible to prevent allergies from getting triggered. Proper grooming maintenance goes a long way. Getting rid of loose hair during shedding season and keeping your dog’s play area clean will help lessen the instances of allergic reactions.

Trainability


Shedding


Energy Level


Watchdog


Good with kids


Popularity