It’s Beagle Day! These fun-loving, friendly hounds are popular family dogs thanks to their good temperaments and pretty faces.
And because April is also Active Dog Month, we thought it made even more sense to feature Beagles today. They famously need a lot of exercise and are prone to weight gain.
If you’re considering a Beagle or want to find out more about the breed before you take the plunge, read on for our Beagle profile.
We’ll cover everything you need to know before you add a beagle puppy or dog to your family.
Physical characteristics of a Beagle
Auckland Beagle Club says that Beagles come in two sizes, and measure either 13 or 15 inches at the wither (the highest point of the shoulder blades). . That’s 33-38cm for those of us who work in metric.
Beagles come in three colours: tri-colour, tan and white, and lemon. Tri-colour beagles are more common, and are black, tan, and white. Lemon Beagles are a very light yellow-brown and white, while tan and white beagles are, well, you know…
The tail always has a white tip. This is to make them easier to see out on the hunting fields they were bred for.
Beagles have droopy ears, dark eyes, and a short coat which requires little grooming.
They’re also generally quite healthy dogs, not being predisposed to too many health conditions. That’s one reason why their average lifespan is 12-15 years.
The Beagle personality
Beagles are known for their even, happy personalities. They’re generally loving dogs who are good with kids. They’re alert and intelligent, and enjoy playing and interacting with humans and other dogs.
Beagles were bred to be part of a hunting pack, so thrive on social environments. You don’t need an entire pack of dogs, but they’ll usually be very sociable if you have other dogs in the home. If not, they’ll turn to their human for plenty of interaction.
They need daily exercise, and will enjoy running around in your garden and playing games like fetch with you. They particularly enjoy exploring different smells and will usually spend a lot of time sniffing, digging, and adventuring in general.
Because they’re scent-driven, they can be easily distracted and will follow a scent happily. Often to the detriment of other commands or stimuli.
It’s recommended, therefore, to always walk Beagles on a lead or in an enclosed area if they”ll be off-lead. If they catch a whiff of an interesting scent, they’re likely to ignore your desperate pleas to come back.
They are also food-lovers! Most Beagles have a very healthy appetite and aren’t fussy eaters.
Pros and cons of a Beagle
Ok, so we know what a typical Beagle looks and acts like. What would make them a good fit for you? Lets look at some of the pros and cons of Beagle ownership.
What are the pros of having a Beagle? SO. MANY. And this writer isn’t biased at all 😉
But seriously, Beagles make lovely family dogs due to their gentle nature. They’re known to be one of the kindest dog breeds around, and are generally good with kids. As mentioned, they are social animals, so will do well in a busy home!
Beagles are quite a loving breed, so prepare for evening snuggles on the couch. As well as long walks during the day. Perfect for an active owner who wants a loyal companion.
Plus, they’re undeniably beautiful and love to play.
However, they’re not perfect. Except in the eyes of their owners, of course.
While Beagles have lovely temperaments in general, they do require a lot of exercise and stimulation. Without this, they can become destructive. Digging, chewing, and howling are some of the main problem behaviours that might arise if your Beagle is under-exercised and/or bored.
They crave company, so need a home where they will have regular interaction with humans and/or dogs. But ideally both. Otherwise you risk pet separation anxiety.
Because they’re scent hounds, they’ll naturally want to “follow their nose.” They’re explorers, basically! This means Beagles don’t always have the best recall when out walking, and require a securely fenced garden at home.
For the same reason, it’s crucial to keep food out of reach and packed away. Beagle owners are known to refer to their dogs as “counter surfers” for a reason. So, don’t be surprised to find them up on the counter stealing the roast chicken if given half the opportunity.
And finally, Beagles are prone to weight gain. You’ll need to monitor their weight not overfeed. Weight gain can also be managed by making sure they stay active enough. As April is Active Dog Month, it’s a good time to read up on the benefits of exercise and activity for your dogs anyway. But especially if you’re planning on getting a new Beagle.
Pet insurance for your Beagle
With all that sniffing, stealing of food and running around, Beagles are good candidates for pet insurance. Well, all dogs are, really! If you’d like to find out more about another firm favourite breed, here’s our Labrador personality and profile article.
But you want to know you can visit a vet if your Beagle grabs a plant that is toxic to dogs, chows down on some chicken bones, or swallows something suspicious on your walks.
View our dog insurance plans here.
Over to you
What do you love about the Beagle breed? Share your favourite beagle photo and a comment over on our Facebook page.