I’ve gotta be honest, this week’s breed profile is going to be a challenge for me. Not because I don’t have a lot to say about beagles–in fact it’s the opposite. My dog Snoop is a Beagle, and I could talk about him all day. But that also makes it a bit trickier to remain objective when writing about characteristics of the breed. As much as I’d love to, you probably didn’t click on this link to get an in-depth personality profile of Snoop (although email me if you would like one).
Saying that, my mini creative dilemma does serve as a reminder of something we often talk about when looking generally at breeds: individual dogs have individual personalities that may be different to the “standard”. As always, use the below as a guide, not a bible.
Beagle-like dogs have a long history, but the dog we recognise today dates from the 1860s. Originally they were bred to follow their noses and be used as scent hounds while hunting. They were especially adept at sniffing out game like rabbits and hares. Those skills have served them well: today they’re often used in airports to detect illegal materials. They’re sometimes called“noses with feet attached”.
It’s not just their nose that makes them suitable for the job. Their small size also helps as it means they’re easier to handle and less confronting to passengers.
Colour: Generally tri-colour (black, tan, white) with some being just tan and white. All have a white tip at the end of their tail so hunters could easily follow them through long grass.
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
What You’ll Love about Beagles
- Sociable: They’re great with other dogs, cats, and children (once they are accepted into the pack). Rabbits or chooks are a different story as they generate too much prey drive.
- Big personality: Happy, friendly, social, mischievous, caring, gentle, affectionate, and stubborn–there is a lot to love about beagles.
- Easy to groom: They don’t require much more than a brush and the occasional bath. Although as they shed you might want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner.
- Well rounded: They love to run around and exercise, but also appreciate some couch potato time.
What You Might Find “Challenging”
- Noisy: Beagles are one of the most vocal breeds. They can bark, bay, and howl. Although they are small, the volume they make is impressive.
- Clingy: Once they’re part of the pack, they don’t want to be alone. A bored and lonely beagle can be loud, destructive, a digger, and an escape artist.
- Curious: Sure this can be charming, but once that nose finds an interesting smell the the ears turn off. And every scent is interesting to a Beagle!
- Food obsessed: Their love of food, and expertise at using their big eyes to beg, means they can easily get overweight.
Stubborn: Although they’re very smart, they’re also tough to train.
Common health issues
Hip dysplasia and Patellar luxation: Like a lot of medium to large breeds, they can have problems with their hips as they get older.
Ear infections: Their floppy ears can cause problems, so make sure to keep them clean and check them often.