The Complete Guide to: Beagles
Cheeky and curious by nature, Beagles are a fun-loving dog that will fit into almost any family home. Known for their bravery and loyalty, there are plenty of things to love about them. Like any dog though, they need lots of TLC. Here’s more on the Beagle, and how to give them the home they deserve.
There’s some debate over the Beagle name, and where it originates from. Their history as a breed throws up similar ambiguity, with some references of dogs like the ones we know today stretching right back to ancient Greece. What we do know, however, is that the Beagle we recognise today was established in England in the 15th century. References of UK Beagle breeders are documented in detail from as early as the 19th century.
You’ll hear of both “pocket” Beagles and the average-sized version of the breed. Generally speaking, miniature Beagles aren’t quite as popular as they once were in the UK. The USA does still have two sizes of Beagle, those under 13 inches and those between 13 and 15 inches. The smaller size stems from their history as hunting hounds, used to seek out smaller prey like rabbits which typically evaded larger breeds.Today, Beagles are popular throughout the world thanks to their easy-going nature, adaptability and winning personalities. Because of its long history, there’s plenty of support for the Beagle, with groups keen to keep the breed going, rather than letting it fall into extinction like some earlier Beagle-type dogs.
Small, sturdy and athletic, Beagles are nimble and energetic. This comes across in both their physique and their intelligent little faces. Part of their appeal within some busier households is the fact that they require little grooming. Their short, shiny coats are both weatherproof and easy to maintain, and theycome in all hound recognised colours ie:Tricolour (black, tan and white); blue, white and tan; badger pied; hare pied; lemon pied; lemon and white; red and white; tan and white; black and white; all white. With the exception of all white, all the above mentioned colours can be found as mottle.
They are classed as small-to-medium dogs, standing at around 13 to 16 inches tall in adulthood. With medium-length heads, kind and inquisitive wide-set eyes, and rounded ears, they exude intelligence and kindliness. They’re supple movers and well balanced in terms of their physical stature too.
Perfect for first-time dog owners, and families with children of all ages, Beagles are sociable, friendly and love to get up to mischief. This will give you all hours of fun, and their playful nature will keep you entertained. However, because they are easily over-excited, it’s always wise to keep an eye on them with little children.
They are prone to wandering, particularly if they catch an interesting scent. That means you’ll need to be on your toes when you’re exploring, as well as ensuring your back garden and other outdoor areas are securely fenced in.
With an innate desire to please their owners, they’re adaptable and eager to learn new tricks and skills. Despite their excitable, exuberant personality, they only need around one to two hours’ exercise a day, and they’ll be keen to experience a range of walks and activities.
It’s easy to think that given their energetic character, Beagles need to be kept on-the-go from day one, but it’s best to give them short bursts of activity to avoid putting stress on their little limbs and joints. If they appear tired, stop your activity and give them a break.
Stimulation is another top tip for Beagle owners, and remembering that they are scent hounds is the key here. That means games that include seeking things out - as well as walks with lots of interesting scents for them to track - will help keep them happy.
- Scent games at home – any dog can become stressed if left for long periods. One way to help reduce this in Beagles is to use the technique of scent games even when you’re out. Leaving a few toys and treats for them to seek out will help engage their inquisitive minds.
- Socialisation – Beagles can bark, especially if they’re alone or stressed. Early socialisation with a variety of people and other dogs will help accustom them to different situations. You can do this both at home and through local puppy parties.
- Zoning areas – crate training is a universal way of comforting dogs when at home, especially if they are left alone, or if they need a quiet, safe place to retreat to. This is something you can integrate into your routine from an early age, but you can also gate off areas to zone them, with sleeping, feeding and water areas set up in suitable places throughout your home. This will give them comforting familiarity and predictability.
- Simple commands – commands such as “sit”, and “fetch” can be used on walks and at home from early on,which can help build a stronger bond with your Beagle,while also exerting the mental muscles these dogs are so keen to flex.
Beagles are known thieves when it comes to food, and they are prone to put on weight. Beagle puppies are also susceptible to tummy complaints, so any changes to diet need to be taken gradually, and with the advice of your vet. Because of all these factors, it’s important to get proper guidance before setting up food and exercise routines.