Written by Ella White
Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA. Charming, loyal, and fun, they make excellent pets for families. But before bringing a new Beagle home, you need to know that they’ll be a good match for your family. From their personality and temperament to their breed characteristics, the care they need, and the life expectancy of a Beagle: here’s how you can help your Beagle live a happy, healthy, and hopefully long life.
Beagles were originally bred and hunting hounds in Britain and France, where they worked hunting rabbits as far back as the 1400s. Known for their friendly and energetic personalities, they easily fitted in as family pets when their working days were done, and now they’re one of the most popular breeds around.
Because they’re used to working and thriving in groups, Beagles settle into families easily and are known for their loyalty. Though they need plenty of time outside exercising and exploring, they also love attention and can be very affectionate with their ‘pack’.
As hunting dogs, Beagles have an incredible sense of smell and strong hunting instincts which can’t be trained out of them, but can be sated with plenty of stimulation and activity. They have a determined, one-track mind that can lead to selective deafness when they pick up a scent – for this reason, many Beagle owners decide they’re not letting their pup off their leash. Even the best trained recall can go out the window when something taps into their instinctive prey drive!
But overall, if you’re an active family looking for a loving dog that can keep up with your busy lifestyle, then the devoted and affectionate Beagle could be the right choice for you.
The average life expectancy for a Beagle is 12 to 15 years. As a healthy, active, and fairly small breed, the Beagle’s lifespan is longer than many larger dogs. But it does mean owners are required to keep up with their exercise and nutritional needs to ensure they are happy and healthy, and live as long as possible.
Beagles are also prone to a small number of hereditary issues. Like all breeds, Beagles that are well-trained and socialized are likely to be safer and less prone to accidents and illnesses caused by anxiety or misbehavior. Neutering or spaying your Beagle can also help by preventing some reproductive diseases.
While all dog breeds are prone to specific health issues that can affect their quality of life, Beagles are one of the few breeds with no major hereditary issues that are likely to impact their life expectancy. These are some of the most common health issues in Beagles.
Dogs with long, floppy ears like Beagles can be prone to infections as things get stuck under the folds of their ear, or in the fur. If left untreated, these foreign bodies can travel into the ear canal and cause more serious issues and even deafness.
An easy way to prevent ear infections is to always check their ears for anything that might have got stuck in the fur or skin – particularly after walks and time outside – and remove it as soon as possible. Always keeping your Beagle’s ears clean will greatly reduce their risk of infection.
Beagles are susceptible to some eye conditions, so it’s important to look out for signs of red, dry, irritated eyes, or excess discharge around their eyes. Some of the most common eye conditions in Beagles include cataracts, glaucoma, ‘small eyes’, and cherry eye, which is a prolapse of the third eyelid gland. These conditions can be painful and even lead to loss of eyesight.
A condition where the joint sockets grow abnormally, hip dysplasia is common in many dog breeds. It’s painful, as it causes the joints to rub where they are unable to fit into the socket, and may require surgery. Dogs with hip dysplasia are advised not to breed as it is a hereditary condition that will be passed down to their puppies. Similarly, luxating patellas – where the kneecaps slip out of the socket – can affect some Beagles, too.
A painful condition that affects the spine and neck, intervertebral disc disease is a known issue in some Beagles. It’s incredibly painful and can prevent Beagles from moving altogether, but can be treated with surgery.
Though not a hereditary disease, trauma is one of the leading causes of death in Beagles and particularly Beagle puppies. Trauma can be caused by all sorts of accidents and injuries, such as being dropped, hit by a car, or falling in any way. Being a conscientious dog owner means working to prevent these incidents through thorough training and socialization and taking great care of your dog.
Because Beagles are generally a healthy breed that love to be active, most of the steps that can be taken to improve a dog’s lifespan should be a given for Beagle owners.
As a highly active and curious breed, Beagles need plenty of daily exercise. As well as their walks, they thrive in homes with enclosed gardens where they can roam freely without the need for a leash. Beagles love to play and are great pets for runners as they benefit greatly from regular cardio exercise on top of their daily walks.
Physical stimulation isn’t the only factor in keeping a Beagle healthy. Though they will gain weight and get antsy without enough walks, they can become aggressive and destructive if their brains aren’t kept busy.
Physical and mental stimulation go hand in hand, in that if a Beagle is regularly exercised physically then you’re halfway to keeping them healthy mentally. But at home, it’s important to make sure they get lots of attention and have toys and games to keep them occupied.
Dogs that are understimulated can grow anxious, are more likely to bark and bite, and can display destructive behaviors that are dangerous to themselves, their owners, and your home.
To ensure a long and healthy life, dogs need a healthy, nutrient-packed diet – regardless of their breed. And since Beagles are so active, it’s extra important to make sure they’re getting all the proteins, vitamins, and minerals they need to fuel their energetic lifestyles.
Picking a high quality dog food like Front of the Pack is an easy way to make sure they’re getting all their nutrients, without any of the nasties included in kibble. Air dried to lock in the goodness of the pure, natural ingredients, it’s convenient to store and scoop to serve, but you can rest assured that everything in there is beneficial to your Beagle.