The next featured breed in our Getting to Know Your Dog Breed is the Beagle. The Beagle is part of the Hound group of the AKC and ranks #5 in the AKC most popular breed list.
Life expectancy: Beagles have a good life expectancy and can live up to 12-15 years.
Size: Beagles come in two sizes 13-15 inches and over 15 inches.
Color: Beagles are multicolor with shades of brown, tan, white and even black markings. Many Beagles have a white-tipped tail, thought to be helpful for spotting them in thick brush.
Origins: Beagles look like a smaller version of the Foxhound, and were bred to hunt rabbits. They are skilled hunters and their keen sense of smell makes them excellent trackers. Dogs of a similar size and coloring to the Beagle have been around for thousands of years and can be traced to Ancient Greece. The modern era Beagle was first recognized in Britain in the early 1800’s and the National Beagle Club was formed in the US in 1890. Some of their predecessors were called ‘glove hounds’ or ‘pocket hounds’ describing their size.
Personality: Beagles are known for their fun-loving and pleasing personality. They make excellent family pets and love nothing more than a good romp with the kids. It’s important to provide enough exercise for your Beagle or they will become bored and possibly destructive or loud – they are known for their howling. Beagles can also show some stubbornness, so proper obedience training will be imperative. Their short hair makes grooming simple.
Health Issues: Beagles are generally healthy dogs, but there are a few issues common to Beagles that you should be aware of. These include: cherry eye (a disorder of the nictitating membrane, also called the third eyelid), glaucoma, ear infections (those big floppy ears catch lots of dirt), hypothyroidism, epilepsy and intervertebral disk disease.
Fitness/energy level: Even though they are small in stature, they have a fair amount of energy and would make good hiking or running companions as long as it doesn’t overstretch their shorter legs. It’s important to keep your Beagle in a fenced yard or on leash as their strong sense of smell (they are hunters after all) and natural wanderlust will lead them on adventures you may not want them taking. They are also climbers and diggers, so they should be monitored carefully.
Native foods for the Beagle: Foods the Beagle and their ancestors may have been fed in Ancient Greece include boar, black bear, anchovies, and oranges or pomegranates.
Good foods to feed your Beagle:
- Nutram - T23 Grain Free Turkey, Chicken & Duck
- Acana – Wild Atlantic
- Nature’s Variety – Venison Recipe
Fun facts about the Beagle:
Beagles are very vocal dogs. They can make three different distinct sounds: a standard bark, a yodel-like sound called a bay (used when hunting), and a howl.
There is team of Beagles called the Beagle Brigade who, along with their human handlers, inspect luggage at U.S. airports searching for agricultural products as part of the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The most famous Beagle of course, is Snoopy.