Beagles are among America's favorite dogs. They're very vocal. In fact, the name “beagle” probably comes from an old French word for “gaped throat.” They bark, have distinctive howls, and bay when they've caught an interesting scent. And boy, can they catch a scent! Their brilliant noses have over 200 million scent receptors, and their low-hanging ears also help to trap smells.
Originally from England, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 20-30 pounds and lives an average of 10-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Bark Factor: I love to talk!
AKC RANKING 3
AREA OF ORIGIN England
DATE OF ORIGIN 1300s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION trailing rabbits
TODAY'S FUNCTION trailing rabbits, field trials, contraband detection, beagle field trials
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 13-15 Weight: 18-30
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 13-15 Weight: 18-30
OTHER NAME English beagle
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BEAGLE'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Beagles are just the best. They're funny, very affectionate, playful, and cheerful. A stranger's just a friend your Beagle hasn't met yet. This breed is wonderful with children, other dogs, and other pets.
WHAT IS BEAGLE BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Beagles are active and vigilant, though not especially protective. They need regular, rigorous exercise to keep their busy bodies and brilliant minds active and out of trouble.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BEAGLE?
Training your Beagle is essential. This breed is food-motivated, but be thoughtful about the rewards you're offering your pup — whatever treats you're using have to be more interesting than available smells. Start training early and be consistent.
Keep in mind that these are not off-leash dogs: they often can't be trained out of following their noses. Your Beagle needs a well-fenced yard. Nothing else will deter this dog once he's caught wind of an interesting new smell.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BEAGLES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Beagles have close, hard, short coats that shed a fair amount. Their short coats are relatively easy to maintain — you can probably get by with weekly brushings. But their tendency to roll in things that smell good to them (and probably not to you) can make frequent baths a necessity. You might also want to have the recipe for a solid de-skunking solution handy.
Be sure to check those long ears regularly; debris and wax can build up, contributing to ear infections.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BEAGLES HAVE?
Beagles are generally healthy — actually, they're among the healthiest breeds. Keep an eye on your Beagle's diet — they'll eat just about anything and tend toward obesity. Some develop hip dysplasia or hypothyroidism, but these are relatively rare.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BEAGLES GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Beagles among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as an Beagle! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BEAGLE'S BEST DAY?
Chasing a new smell over the hill and through the woods to a new house your Beagle wants to go! But that sounds a bit unsafe. A cool new treat-based game in the backyard and an evening by your side would still be the best!
SHOULD I ADOPT A BEAGLE?
This friendly, funny, adorable breed is a good match for many, but not all, potential owners. If you want a dog who keeps to himself, you don't get out much, or you live close to noise-conscious neighbors, the vocal, active, and gregarious Beagle is perhaps not for you. In most other situations, the Beagle is a great fit. They do equally well in warm and cold temperatures, get along with just about everybody, and want nothing more than to spend time playing with you and your family.
Have you decided that a Beagle is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.