Recommended for: Families (great with small children)
Maintenance level: Medium
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Temperament: Gentle, loyal
Health Risk: This breed has an around average probability of having health issues in its lifetime, hence it is one of the more affordable breeds to insure.
The Beagle is member of the hound group of domesticated dogs and its ancestry can be dated back 2,500 years. Similar in appearance to the Foxhound, the Beagle also has a very advanced sense of smell and were employed to track game like rabbits and deer. These days they are often employed by security and police forces to sniff out contraband and serve all over the world in this role.
The name Beagle has been around since circa 1475. The modern breed of Beagle as we know them today was developed in the UK in the 1830s. The Beagle is a mix of a number of breeds, including: the Southern Hound, the North Country Beagle and the Talbot Hound.
Although, like many breeds of dog, the Beagle was first developed for hunting purposes, they’re known for their gentle and even-tempered ways. With a reputation for being joyful and playful, the Beagle is a popular choice for young children. They are very excitable, however, and their advanced sense of smell can cause them all sorts of distractions whilst down the street or in the park so careful supervision is recommended.
When in a home environment Beagles can become easily bored so stimulation through play time and regular exercise is a must. They can suffer from loneliness or separation anxiety also, so it’s important to give them plenty of human attention.
While the Beagle isn’t demanding when it comes to exercise it’s a good idea to walk them as often as possible. Once or twice a day is great with the odd longer walk or run a good idea. The breed is prone to weight problems if not given enough exercise.
Beagles are generally sized between 33 and 41 cm and weigh between 8 and 14 kgs. A happy and healthy Beagle will usually live to between 12 and 15 years of age.
The modern Beagle comes from England. It’s thought that the first Beagles were bred by Reverend Phillip Honeywood in Essex in the 1830s. The dogs were bred primarily for the purposes of hunting. They proved to be popular in this role as the Beagle had a great nose for sniffing out rabbits, hares and deer in the English countryside.
Before foxhunting gained its popularity some time in the 19th Century, hunting was more about the chase rather than the kill. The small Beagle was seen as a great hunting companion for older hunters who couldn’t necessarily keep up with larger dogs or poorer hunters who couldn’t afford the most athletic horses.
Hunting hare with Beagles became known as beagling and was popular in the United States as well as Britain and the sport was only made illegal in England as late as the year 2004.
The Beagle has become a loved companion of many older pet lovers and young families because of their gentle nature and reputation for loyal companionship. Strangely, Beagles have always been much more popular in the United States and Canada than in their home, England, and for the past 30 years have been in the top 10 most popular breeds in America.
Beagles are famously gentle animals, at times almost docile and lethargic in their nature. Known as the even-tempered dog, it’s their reliability that has made them such a popular choice for families with small children.
Although shy with new faces, Beagles aren’t aggressive with strangers and once time is spent with them, they are usually won over very quickly. Being a hound, the beagle is prone to howling when left alone and suffering separation anxiety. They are loyal, almost to a fault and need a generous amount of human contact to remain happy.
Beagles are clever dogs but can be distracted easily. Their superior nose can often lead them astray when not supervised and their single-mindedness can often cause them to difficult to train. They are eager to please their owners, however, and food-reward style training often proves to be the best route.
They will generally get along well with other dogs in the home but, as always, early socialising is a good idea to avoid aggressive confrontation down the track.
COMMON BEAGLE DISEASES AND CONDITIONS – SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT & PICTURES
Although it affects only 3% of dogs, Beagles are prone to epilepsy. Although a severe condition, like humans, epilepsy can usually be controlled through the careful use of proscribed medication.
If you notice your dog is having recurrent seizures, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible for observation.
Common in all breeds, but also found amongst Beagles, Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, usually because of inflammation.
Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include abnormal weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, ear infections, and lethargic behaviour.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
This is a condition that occurs when the disc between the vertebras becomes damaged, causing swelling and leaking.
Common symptoms include: inactivity or lethargic behaviour, shivering, limping, or the inability to bend down to eat. If you notice these behaviours, get in touch with your vet.
Pannus is the abnormal growth of tissue over the cornea and can affect the Beagle. Cherry eye is a common term for prolapse of the third eyelid gland. The result is a third inverted eyelid. The condition is reasonably common and can be treated by your veterinarian.
- Immune Mediated Polygenic Arthritis
This is rare in Beagles but it can occur nonetheless. This condition is when the immune system attacks the joints and can cause stiffness and pain. The treatment is usually quite simple, however; a good dose of steroids and some rest.
Keep an eye out for the symptoms: limping, lack of joint movement, more lethargic behaviour. This condition affects old and young Beagles alike.
INTERESTING BEAGLE FACTS
Snoopy from Peanuts is perhaps the world’s most famous Beagle.
Humans have some 5 million scent receptors. Beagles have a rather impressive 220 million. It’s no wonder they’re employed as sniffer dogs the world over.
The ship that Charles Darwin travelled on whilst compiling most of the specimens used for his book The Origin of Species was called HMS Beagle, named after the breed.
Queen Elizabeth I and King James I both adored Beagles. Since then the breed has become synonymous with the idea of the ‘royal dog’, although Queen Elizabeth II is more of a Corgi lover.
Former US President Lyndon Johnson owned a number of Beagles and was famously criticised for picking one up by the ears whilst greeting it on the Whitehouse lawn.
You can tell a purebred Beagle by the white tip on its tail.
Some 8,018 dogs were used for animal testing in the UK in 2004. Of this number, 7,779 were Beagles. They are favoured for their small build and passive temperament.
Barry Manilow’s Beagle, ‘Bagel’ was featured on a number of his album covers. On his 1975 album ‘Tryin’ to Get a Feeling’, he was pictured wearing a ‘I LOVE BEAGLES’ t-shirt.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Beagle Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Beagle will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Beagle if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)