Breed Group: Hound Height: two size varieties — up to 13 inches at the shoulder and 13 inches to 15 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 20 to 35 pounds
Life Span: 13 to 16 years
Beagles are scenthounds, meaning they live to use their nose. They’re a comfortable size to tote around in your car, simple to groom, and their exercise needs are easily met with a long, meandering walk that gives them plenty of time to sniff.
Did You Know the Beagle Was Born to Hunt?
Beagles are used as scent detection dogs at U.S. airports, where their friendliness allows them to search for weapons, drugs and illegal food items without making passengers nervous the way a larger “police dog” might.
With a compact size, easy-care coat and happy nature, the Beagle has long had a place as one of the most popular breeds for families. Beagles are also used as scent detection dogs at U.S. airports, where their friendliness allows them to search for weapons, drugs, and illegal food items without making passengers nervous the way a larger “police dog” might. The breed was developed in England to hunt rabbits, and Beagles are still happiest when following their noses. For that reason, they belong to a category of dogs known as scenthounds.
Don’t let the small size or undeniable charm of the Beagle fool you: these dogs are still born to hunt. They’ve been described as “a nose with four legs,” and they love following a scent trail. The minute they smell something interesting they’re likely to follow their noses rather than their owners’ requests.
There are some things you should be aware of before you bring a Beagle home. The most important thing to know is that Beagles are ruled by their nose. A Beagle will follow an interesting scent wherever it leads him, across busy streets and miles from home, so a fenced yard is essential to keep him safe.
A related bit of information is that Beagles love to eat. Love it! And they are creative about finding and accessing food. Experienced owners put food, trash cans and anything else that might appear or smell edible to a Beagle well out of reach. On the plus side, that love of food comes in handy for training Beagles. They’ll do just about anything for a treat.
Beagles come in two sizes: 13-inch and 15-inch. The smaller variety includes Beagles who are no taller than 13 inches at the shoulder and weigh 22 to 30 pounds, while the larger variety includes Beagles who are taller than 13 inches but not more than 15 inches and weigh up to 35 pounds.
All Beagles sport a short, clean coat that’s usually some combination of black, white and tan. Their small to medium size is a plus for families – they’re the perfect shape for a child to hug – but the Beagle has no idea that he’s anything but a full-sized hound, and he has the loud bay of a full-sized hound to prove it!
Beagles are pack animals, becoming very attached to their human “pack,” and are well-suited to a variety of active families. They are a great choice for families with children. Singles and couples who love the outdoors also match up well with this breed, and his size and even temperament make the Beagle a great companion for active seniors who love to walk but don’t mind going at a slow pace to allow the Beagle to sniff to his heart’s content.
With adequate exercise and opportunities to work their sniffers, these versatile companions can handle anything from a small city apartment to a vast ranch. They’re not suited for life in the backyard or a doghouse, but need to live indoors as a member of the family.
If you give him opportunities to use his nose, whether that means letting him spend a lot of time sniffing on walks, taking him hunting, or training him for nose work or tracking, a Beagle will be a wonderful companion. The best thing about a Beagle is that he will always make you laugh — even when he’s being naughty.
Other Quick Facts About the Beagel
Beagles come in two sizes; both sizes of Beagles can be born in a single litter. If you want to be sure you get one of a certain size, wait to purchase a puppy until he is about nine months old.
Beagles bred for hunting are more likely to be noisy and active than Beagles bred for the show ring.
You might not think so when you are trying to train him, but the Beagle is very smart in the sense that he is a good problem-solver. He might not respond instantly to your commands, but he will quickly figure out how to overcome any obstacles that are preventing him from getting something he wants.
Beagles need daily exercise and mental stimulation in the form of sniffing. Without it they can become bored and destructive. Provide them with the attention, training and activity they need or suffer the consequences.
Shyness and aggression are not common Beagle characteristics. Do not choose a puppy who shows signs of these behaviors.