Written by Ella White
Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. But whether they’re well suited to your family depends not just on how much you love this breed, but on how their size, temperament, and care needs fit into your lifestyle and home.
So before you invest in a pup or adopt one from a shelter, be sure to get clued up on the history, characteristics, and lifespan of Beagles.
Beagles have existed for centuries, with the earliest known writing mentioning them dating back to the 1400s. Traditionally, this hound breed was used with rabbit hunters in Britain and France, where they worked and were bred in packs before becoming popular family pets.
Beagles are known to be friendly, energetic, and loyal. They’re gentle and neither aggressive nor timid, and since they’re used to thriving in groups, they’re easy to introduce to families that they can take on as their new pack.
Beagles love attention and affection, but they need a lot of time outside. They have a superior sense of smell, and love to use their working instincts to ‘hunt’ scents outdoors. Their history as hunting dogs also makes them determined and sometimes selectively deaf, which can make training tricky for new owners.
As well as getting on well with humans, Beagles usually love other dogs so can be easily socialized into a family that already has pets. However, they’re known to be quite boisterous and have a ‘musical’ howl they use to sing along to other loud noises. This could be a point of contention for owners living in proximity to others – especially when people or sirens pass by!
As hound dogs, they’re curious and like to be active, so they’re best suited to a household with a garden that they can roam freely. However, as they love to follow scents, they should always be fenced into gardens to prevent them wandering off. In fact, Beagles have one of the best senses of smell out of all the dog breeds alongside Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds.
As a short-haired breed, these hounds don’t need frequent grooming, and regular washing and brushing should be enough to prevent shedding at home. Because they’re small and require a lot of activity, it’s really important they’re fed a healthy, protein-rich diet to prevent them from becoming overweight.
The average life expectancy of a Beagle is 12 years.
As with all dog breeds, it’s best to fully train and socialize your Beagle as a young puppy where possible. Due to their hunting nature, they can be stubborn which can make training slightly tougher than with other, more malleable breeds.
For owners to mark their place as the leader of the Beagle’s ‘pack’, it’s important to establish a strong relationship through rigorous training. Patience is key when training a Beagle, but don’t give up! Without consistency, it will be even tougher. Just focus on keeping their attention during training and remember that a well trained dog is a happy, healthy, and well-behaved dog.
As well as obedience and house training, it’s important to fully socialize your Beagle as early as possible. The more environments, people, and animals a dog is exposed to in their early weeks, the more adaptable and confident they will be as they grow.
In general, Beagles have no trouble getting on with people and other dogs without anxiety or aggression. However, their friendly and loving nature means they can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone and without the attention of their humans for too long. This can lead to nervousness, howling, and even destructive behavior.
One of the most important elements of caring for Beagles is ensuring they get enough time outdoors. Alongside their regular daily exercise, they need to be able to play and follow scents outside to keep them mentally stimulated as well as physically healthy.
As they can be prone to obesity, this breed needs a healthy and balanced diet that is calorie controlled. They have a tendency to overeat, so be sure to only feed them the correct serving portion for their age and size at meal times.
Front of the Pack’s air-dried food is a healthy alternative to kibble that’s just as easy to store and serve. Dried to a jerky-like consistency, it’s packed with nutrients and minerals from fruit, veg, and pure meat protein – with no added fillers or nasties. It’s the easiest and healthiest way to feed your dog all the goodness that they need.
Beagles have a smooth and short coat, but as it’s double-dense it can get thick and heavy during winter. This means that come spring, you might notice shedding all over your furniture. To minimize the amount of fur that ends up on your carpet, aim to groom your Beagle once a week with a medium-bristle brush or grooming mitt.
Invest some time in really getting to know your Beagle. Like all dogs, they’ll have their own unique personality and will want to get to know you and your family. This bond will also help you to become better prepared if they develop illnesses. Owners that are in tune with their dog’s usual personality and temperament will more quickly notice any changes that could be a sign that they need medical attention.
So, if you’re looking for a small, friendly dog that’s easy to care for and loves to spend time outdoors, a Beagle could be the perfect pet for you.