Beagles are beloved for their playful, friendly personalities, but make no mistake that hound dog instincts reside as well. These pups will sniff, chase, explore, and howl, but if you’re an active owner who can keep up and put time into training, the beagle makes a wonderful companion.
What is it?
Patellar luxation involves the dislocation of the kneecap, usually due to hereditary malformation.
% Dogs affected:
2.2% of all beagles
Abnormal gait including limping, swaying, hopping, or skipping, avoidance of affected limb, shaking or stretching affected limb, lameness, reduced activity
Treat promptly to reduce the risk of escalation
90% = $4500
80% = $4000
70% = $3500
What is it?
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint which causes pain, limping, lameness, and sometimes other conditions.
% Dogs affected:
19.1% of all beagles
Reduced activity, lethargy, weakness, limping, hopping, swaying, poor coordination, loss of muscle mass, or enlarged shoulders
Physical therapy, weight management, reduced exercise, supplements, medications, surgery
Prompt treatment is vital. Older dogs are less suitable for surgery.
As pack hunters, beagles tend to be quite friendly towards others.
Beagles need lots of exercise, although they prefer to explore, sniff around, or play ball in the backyard rather than do more intense exercise like running long distances.
Plenty of play is the best way to help keep your beagle’s exercise needs met. As smaller dogs with a gentle side, beagles are easy to play with and can be playmates with children and other pets too.
These hound dogs are bred to sniff, and sniff they will! Expect your beagle to have quite a curious nose and a sense of wanderlust to match. It’s easiest to always keep them on a leash.
Beagles have a strong will, which can border on stubbornness. They are known for being a bit hard to reign in, often not coming when called, wandering off, or getting bored and distracted during training.
A short, smooth coat gives the beagle an easy grooming routine but relatively little protection against extreme weather, hot or cold.
Beagles can struggle with apartment living, as they need plenty of outdoor space to exercise (and explore) frequently throughout the day. While your beagle is outside, keeping them leashed or securely fenced is best since they tend to wander and don’t easily return when called.
Brushing weekly is best practice, or sometimes more during shedding season. Nail trimming, dental cleaning, and ear cleaning should be regular practice.
Beagles are smart creatures, but training them is no easy task. Owners will need patience and plenty of positive reinforcement to turn their beagle into a responsive, well-behaved pet.
Beagles are one of those dog breeds that almost need no introduction.
Sitting at the #7 spot in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) popularity rankings from 2021, this breed is beloved by families everywhere.
From their floppy ears and big brown eyes, the beagle’s cute appearance (which is something like a smaller version of the foxhound) compliments one of the most family-friendly temperaments of any breed in the hound group.
However, popularity is no replacement for proper research and preparation. Caring for a dog is a responsibility that requires an understanding of your dog’s breed for you to meet their needs and ensure everyone in your fur family thrives.
That’s why we write our breed guides here at Spot Pet Insurance. We want to help you prepare for your pet parent journey with the essential info.
Today, our attention turns to this famous breed, the beagle.
When they hear the beagle’s name, the first thing most people think of is their adorable, floppy ears, impressive sense of smell, and trademark baying howl. Like the Basset hound and the bloodhound, they hunt by scent.
People might also think of Snoopy, the beloved beagle featured in the Peanuts cartoon.
Smaller than a golden retriever or a greyhound but larger than a pug, beagles are solidly medium-sized dogs.
Beagles are a popular breed with a friendly temperament, but there are challenges to be aware of as well. Certain aspects of caring for this breed can make life difficult if you aren’t up to the task or in the right kind of situation.
Read on to learn whether the beagle could be the right breed for you!
There is much disagreement as to where exactly this breed first originated. Some say these dogs could be traced as early as the Romans over 2000 years ago. The first reliable records show up in the 1600s in England, where beagles were used for rabbit hunting.
It is not so much the time when beagles originated that should concern us, but their purpose. Beagles are scent hounds, developed to track animals during hunting.
As a breed, beagles have some of the most remarkable scent capabilities of any dog. You can expect their tracking instincts to remain strong today.
Beagles also tend to howl, which can be traced to their hunting purpose. They would bay and howl to communicate their location to hunters, especially useful due to their size.
Beagles came to the U.S. in the mid-19th century and have risen in popularity tremendously.
The standard beagle is usually about a foot tall, but that’s not the only version of this dog. Pocket beagles only stand around nine inches tall, for example.
There are two schools of thought on where the name of this breed originated. First, it may have come from the Old English “beag,” which means small. However, it also may be from the French word “beugler,” which means to bellow.
Beagles have a respectable lifespan of 10-15 years and are generally healthy. As always, however, some conditions can be a risk for these dogs, whether genetically or due to their tendencies.
Hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition in many breeds, affecting around 19.1% of beagles. As a hereditary disease, it could be passed down into your beagle, so you should ask a reputable breeder (or shelter) for proof of health screenings from both parents.
A genetic disease specific to beagles is Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS). Unfortunately, there is no cure for MLS, which is why genetic testing once again is vital to the health of the beagle breed.
Patellar luxation is also common. Since the parts of the knee joint usually protected by the kneecap are quite delicate, a luxating patella is painful and dangerous as it can increase the risk of further injuries, such as torn cruciate ligaments.
All cases of patellar luxation are graded in severity from Grade I to IV. Typically Grade I cases do not require surgery, while more severe cases often do.
Beagles are also prone to health issues like hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cherry eye, ear infections, and more.
Beagles are loving dogs, but not necessarily in the way every owner expects.
They certainly are not lap dogs, so owners should not expect that kind of “jump into your lap to cuddle constantly” affection. Outward signs of affection aren’t this breed’s strong suit, but they aren’t absent either.
Beagles are, however, pack animals, and they form strong bonds with their family. They hate to be alone and can be prone to separation anxiety. If quality time is your pet parent love language, these could be the dogs for you!
Beagles are intelligent due to their working history, but they also have a strong will. They would often tend to their tracking alone while their human caught up, which means they needed decision-making capabilities.
You may find your beagle to be clever and capable of escaping or causing mischief if they are left alone too long and become upset about it.
However, training them will not be an easy task. Only time, patience, and lots of positive reinforcement can bring a beagle from an independent animal to a well-behaved one.
Beagles are gentle and play well with children, making them wonderful family pets. As always, socialization is important to teach your beagle how to interact with others, including children.
You should also ensure any children interacting with your dog are taught how to do so safely, and such encounters should always be supervised.
Beagles are friendly dogs, but they can be somewhat standoffish with strangers. They often bark and howl when a stranger approaches. This can make them great watchdogs.
No amount of training will remove their vocal instincts, but proper socialization can help ease the task of new encounters.
Beagles are social pack animals and enjoy having another dog around. Cats will be much more of a challenge, and smaller pets like birds are not recommended due to the beagles’ prey drive instincts.
Being the best pet parent you can be for a beagle starts with understanding your responsibilities and the breed’s needs.
Our Spot Pet Insurance Blogbowl is a great place to start. It’s full of helpful resources and guides, like this one, to equip you with whatever knowledge you may need for your journey.
Let’s talk about a few more aspects of caring for a beagle that you should know about.
Adoption fee: $295-1125
First year: $2145
Following years: $1120
Beagles are undoubtedly smart dogs. With a history of working with hunters, you might think they would have a positive disposition towards training. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case.
This is due to the beagle’s natural independence and strong will. The breed is infamous for preferring its own interests – usually sniffing around where it pleases – to your commands, so don’t expect these dogs to sit or come or spin around at your beck and call, at least not right away.
Training this family dog is a process that is almost guaranteed to take longer than it would with other, more eager to please breeds. You will need to come equipped with patience, love, and diligence.
Beagles respond best to positive reinforcement via rewards (usually food).
Further, while training the beagle takes a fair amount of time, most individuals won’t have the temperament for long training sessions. Break things up into short, small segments lest your pup becomes bored and the session unproductive.
There are certain things in nature your dog shouldn’t be putting into their mouths. However, when it comes to human foods, items that your dog can and can’t eat may be a little less clear.
As with all breeds, there are certain foods humans may commonly consume that are generally toxic to dogs. You should never allow your beagle to have these foods. Here are some of the most common examples:
Beagles are active dogs with high energy levels, which means they need a lot of daily exercise to match. At least an hour a day is recommended, and more might be needed to keep destructive behaviors down.
Some breeds may be suited to roam and play outside on their own, but beagles are not such a breed. They are social animals, thanks to their pack instincts, and do best with playmates.
If you don’t personally have the time to play for an hour each day with your beagle, consider adding another dog to the family with a similar activity level.
Whether your beagle plays outside unsupervised or not, a secure boundary will be needed. As scent hounds with some of the best scent skills in the world, beagles can easily become drawn into an adventure that leads outside their designated area.
To compound the problem, they are clever when it comes to escaping (digging or jumping). In addition to a secure fence, microchipping is also a great way to protect your pet from becoming lost.
Unfortunately, sports such as rally or obedience can be difficult (but not impossible) for the breed due to their strong will. The easiest way to ensure they get plenty of exercise is to have plenty of playmates for them and provide lots of time outdoors.
Puppy: 0 – 1 year
Adult: 1 year – 9 years
Senior: 9 years – end of life
Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we do our best to provide helpful dog info. We care deeply about your dog’s health and want to be with you every step of the way. For other helpful info about pets, check out our Spot Pet Insurance webpage! Here we provide you with educational materials that can help you with the best foods, toys, safety, and care tips for your dog. We also offer personalized pet insurance plan options to help keep your dog protected in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses.
Beagle Dog Breed Information | American Kennel Club
Beagle Dog Breed Information and Characteristics | Daily Paws
Beagle Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD
Patellar Luxations | American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Breed Statistics | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Are Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds Better for Pet Allergies? | Verywell Health
Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2021 | American Kennel Club
Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS) in Beagles | Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Socializing Your Dog | Animal Humane Society
Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat | WebMD
Scenthound History | American Kennel Club
The National Beagle Club of America, Inc. | About the Breed
Beagle | Breed Standards | The Kennel Club