The Beagle: A Gentle Family Pet

It is hard to think of a breed of dog that is better known and recognized than the Beagle. This hound type dog has a much different personality than many of the hounds and its smaller size makes it a great match for an indoor companion pet. The Beagle is a true companion pet and one that is friendly, gentle and a create match for families with children of any age. Did you know that both Snoopy and Garfield’s pal, Odie, are Beagles?

The Beagle is a great match in a family with other dogs and cats but it is important to socialize the breed with cats from a young age. Since they are a hunting breed, they do have a high prey drive and are not a good match for homes with small rodent pets, birds, or other types of animals. The Beagle can be a very determined hunter and have a great ability to track prey by scent. Beagles have 40 times more scent receptors in their nose than a human!  They will wander and, when on a scent trail, may dash out into traffic, often with tragic results. To prevent this from being an issue, keep the dog on a leash whenever outside of a fenced area.

There are actually two different sizes of Beagles that are acceptable for show. The first class is 13-15 inches and those under 13 inches at the shoulder. Weight will vary based on height and but generally these dogs will be under 25 pounds. It is important to carefully watch the breed’s weight as they can be prone to rapid weight gain if not exercised regularly. Spinal injuries on these long backed dogs can be more problematic when they are heavier than the recommended weight.

The Beagle has a typical hound head with longer, pendant ears. They have very trusting, friendly dark eyes and a moderately long muzzle. The body is muscular and lower to the ground, with the legs well set and strong. The tail is carried high from the hips but not up and curled over the back. The coat is short, dense and hard to the touch. Typical colors include black and tan, orange or lemon (yellow) and white, red and white or tricolor. There are also options for a blue or red tick coloration that is very common in hound breeds. Their coat was intentionally bred into them to repel both stickers and water when they hunt!

One of the most unique aspects of the Beagle is their unique baying voice. They tend not to bark but their baying vocalization is very loud for such a small sized dog. The Beagle is moderately active and loves to be outdoors, but also makes a great companion for around the house. The breed is known to be a bit independent and Beagle lovers find this aspect of their personality just one of the many endearing traits of the dog.

Brent Bilhartz

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