Beagle Breed Information

Beagle Breed Information

The happy-go-lucky Beagle is not only a very competent hunting dog, but can also be an extremely loving companion. Their flopped ears and big brown eyes make them adorable as puppies as well as adults. The small size and friendly nature make Beagles a perfect addition to a family with children and other animals.

Beagles can be found in two size groups; the under 13-inch category, and the under 15-inch category. History has even mentioned beagles that stand 9 inches or less and were given names like “pocket beagle” or “glove beagle”. However, today most beagles will stand closer to 14 inches at the shoulder.

Their coats can be found in a variety of colours, though tricolour is the most common. Lemon, red and white, black and tan, blue and tan, or all white can also be found though not all will be acceptable for showing.

When it comes to Beagles and their fanciers, most people will comment on the soft features of their faces. Beagles are hounds that love to keep their nose to the ground searching for interesting new smells. But their floppy ears and big dark-coloured eyes give them a merry look.

Beagles are intelligent, curious, energetic and very loving small hounds that absolutely adore their human family and will get along well with other dogs and cats. They’re great around children and while they won’t make a very effective guard dog, they can still act as an early warning system to visitors approaching your home.





Space Needed

Large Garden

Life Span

Large Garden

Exercise Required

1 - 2 hours per day


1 - 2 hours per day


The exact history of the Beagle is hard to tie down as the breed underwent many changes in its looks and size preferences. Some beagle-like dogs were found in ancient Greek artwork as early as 400 B.C. and it was believed that the Romans maintained groups of rabbit-hunting hounds similar in description to Beagles of the time.

Beagles as we know them today did not fully develop until the 19th century. While they have gone through many changes and questionable times in their breed history, they still remain a very adept and compact-sized hound that also doubles as a perfect little companion.

Historical Timeline

  • 1066: Talbot hounds, now extinct but said to be the original ancestor of Beagles, were brought to England.
  • 1400’s: Miniature “Glove Beagles” and vocal “Singing Beagles” were popular during the reigns of Edward II and Henry VII.
  • 1500’s: Elizabeth I kept miniature “Pocket Beagles” for companions.
  • 1700’s: Fox hunting became a popular sport in England and the interest in Beagles fell as the larger Foxhound rose to popularity.
  • 1800’s: Rev. Phillip Honeywood of England purchased a group of Beagles and started working on selective breeding for the breed.
  • 1850: American breeders imported groups of Beagles from England to selectively breed for rabbit and fox hunting.
  • 1880: The “Patch” Beagle colouration was developed.
  • 1885: Beagles were recognized and first registered by the AKC.
  • 1916: Over 500 acres was purchased in Virginia to be used for beagle field trials.
  • Today: Beagles remain one of the most popular hounds around. Their small size and endearing features make them a loving companion to have.

While today’s beagles look nothing like their original ancestor, the Talbot Hound, their history is rich and full of rises and falls in popularity. While it took many years for them to recover from their displacement as a prime fox hunting breed in the 1700’s, today Beagles are exceptionally popular companion dogs, as well as highly effective scent hounds for law enforcement work and field trials.

Temperament & Personality

Beagles have a personality that can keep you on your toes. They are little comedians and can make you laugh, but can often be naughty and somewhat stubborn if not given set boundaries as puppies. Beagles will spend plenty of time exploring their environment and trying to find new things to get into. If left unsupervised, it’s always recommended that you place your Beagle in a crate or you might come home to a mess on your hands.

Beagles are small dogs with compact and sturdy bodies. As such, they make great lap dogs for adults and energetic playmates for children. They love being a part of the family and the centre of attention and will give you hours of enjoyment during a play session.

In addition, even though Beagles are small, they are not “yappy” dogs. They will, however, bay as all good hounds do. This may not be to the delight of your neighbours, or your own family, so before adding a Beagle to your family, make sure everyone is on board with their vocalizations.

Aggression Levels

Beagles are extremely friendly and outgoing little dogs. While they will bark or bay at a delivery man coming up your driveway, they would much rather make friends with them than guard your home. If you are looking for a dog that protects your property, a Beagle is not the best choice.

Some Beagles do have food aggression issues. They love to eat and are the type of dog that can eat themselves sick if given the chance. Obviously, you want to ensure your Beagle’s food and treats are kept out of their reach at all times, but during feeding times it may be good to teach your children to leave the Beagle alone while he is eating.

Preventing Boredom

Beagles are extremely intelligent small dogs that love figuring out new problems. Toys that make them work for a treat can be very appealing to this breed. Additionally, providing “snuffle mats” or other toys that require the Beagle to use its nose is a much-appreciated boredom buster.

If you are leaving your Beagle unattended for long periods of time while at work or school, it’s important that your Beagle is either contained in his own safe and secure crate or provided with a variety of activities that he can enjoy on his own. Leaving plenty of toys and snack items hidden around your home can help occupy your Beagle’s alone time and prevent boredom.

Beagles that get bored can revert to some very unappealing behaviours such as obsessive barking or howling, digging, chewing, getting into the trash can, or ripping apart pillows and soft furniture. It’s extremely important that you thoroughly Beagle-proof your home, as a beagle can and will learn how to get into the pantry, may jump onto counters, and can get into food items that may be dangerous.

Being Around Children

Beagles are exceptionally well adapted to being in homes around children. They are energetic and rowdy small dogs that can hold their own with a bit of roughhousing and play-wrestling with older children. They can also be very calm and loving with smaller children and babies if they are properly socialized right from the start.

The biggest issue with Beagles is they can be “mouthy.” For example, if your child is holding a toy that the Beagle wants, the Beagle won’t hesitate to grab the toy for himself. This can lead to accidentally pinched fingers or small bruises from the Beagle’s teeth. While this is not an act of aggression, it’s simply a Beagle’s way of saying “I want this and I’m taking it.” This is a trait that can be trained out of a Beagle, so be sure to address this if you notice it in your small hound.

Being Around Other Pets

Beagles are very much a pack oriented dogs. Since they are a hound breed, it’s not uncommon for Beagles to be kept in hunting groups or packs. This is a trait that has been ingrained into their nature and, as such, a Beagle of any age will be especially happy to have companionship with other animals; be it another dog or a cat. 

Beagles were originally bred for hunting fox, rabbits and other small mammals – so they may not be the best dogs around pet rabbits, guinea pigs, or rats. While proper socialization with the small pet can be done, you should never leave your Beagle unsupervised with the small pet as their breeding and hound heritage may decide to show up.

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Beagle Breed Info


As with any breed, proper training is important right from the start. If you purchased your puppy from a reputable breeder, early socialization should have taken place right from the start. This creates a firm foundation for additional training as the hound ages.

If you are adopting an older Beagle, socialization and training can still be done, though different approaches may be required to help this more mature dog understand what is being asked of them.

Housetraining is said to be one of the more difficult tasks with Beagles, so prepare to be consistent and patient. Additionally, many Beagle owners say that crate training is a necessity for dogs of any age as it will not only serve as their safe place to get away from the family and de-stress when needed but can also keep your Beagle safely contained when you are not home to supervise what they are getting into.

Puppy Training & Socialization

Every breed will benefit from early socialization, but Beagles may be a breed that can benefit from it more than others. While they are generally a very friendly dog towards people and other dogs, they are intelligent and stubborn which is a daunting mix at times.

Young beagles are adorable, and they know their adorable looks can get them out of a lot of trouble too. It’s hard to scold a Beagle puppy for doing something wrong when he is looking at you with those big brown eyes and has those velvety soft floppy ears.

Early socialization is also important if your Beagle will be around other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, or other small pet mammals. Since this hound has been specifically bred to hunt foxes and rabbits, they may become a little too curious with pet small mammals in the house if not properly socialized early on.


If you are an active individual that loves getting out and jogging or hiking in nature, a Beagle can make a great companion for you. These dogs are highly active and very energetic. Their short little legs can carry their compact bodies for miles, and they love spending time with their family so it’s a win-win as far as a Beagle is concerned!

However, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time being active, a Beagle can still adjust to a more sedentary lifestyle. They would still love a brisk walk around the block or a good bit of time to romp around in a fenced-in yard but will be just as content to relax with you on the couch. As long as they are with their favourite people, they can adjust to almost any lifestyle.

Working Their Noses

The most important thing to keep in mind with a Beagle is that they are a scenthound. This means they will use their nose constantly to find snacks, new scents, new people, etc. Nothing makes a Beagle happier than finding a new scent to chase around the yard or house.

If you want to keep your Beagle busy and satisfied, give them a job to do with their nose. Many Beagles excel in law enforcement and airport security jobs because the sheer power of their nose and the more than 200 million scent receptors can help locate illegal drugs and other contraband being smuggled into or out of the country.

Even if you aren’t in a position to give your little hound an official type job, there are a range of field trials you can do with your Beagle that lets them use their nose, speedy little legs, and intelligence in competition against other Beagles. It’s not only an extremely exciting time for the dogs but can be fun and enjoyable for their human family as well.

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Food & Nutrition

As with any breed of dog, finding a diet that is balanced is important throughout the life of your four-legged friend. Beagles can do well on around 1 cup of high-quality dry kibble per day, fed at two or three different meal times. 

Keep an eye on any open bags of dog food, however, as most Beagles are food thieves. If they find a bag of kibble opened and within reach, they will get into it and eat themselves sick. The same goes for treats, human food, and human snacks. Keep your pantries closed tightly, and consider adding child locks as well if the latch is not fully secure.

Beagles will follow their nose into all kinds of trouble, and they love nothing more than raiding your pantry like it’s a treasure trove of treats. Keep an eye on your little hound’s weight as well, and talk with your veterinarian if he seems underweight or overweight even when on a high quality balanced kibble diet.

If your Beagle seems prone to scarfing down his food and then suffering from bloat or gas afterwards, consider using slow feeder bowls or other methods that make him slow down and work for his food a little bit. You can use a variety of slow feeding trays or bowls, snuffle or rooting mats, or brain teaser toys to not only provide mental enrichment but also force your little vacuum cleaner on legs to slow down while eating.

Optional Supplements

Many Beagles can benefit from the addition of vitamins and supplements to their diet. Supplements can be helpful if your dog suffers from skin conditions, joint issues, or other minor ailments. Some of the most commonly offered supplements for Beagles include:

  • Hip & Joint Support: While not as prone to hip and joint issues as larger dogs, the active nature of a Beagle can lead to aches and pains in their joints as they age. Feeding a supplement that is specifically made to target hip and joint health can be beneficial.
  • Vitamin E: Having a deficiency in vitamin E can lead to vision problems as well as muscle degeneration. Since Beagles are extremely active and busy little dogs, having the proper amount of vitamin E in their diet isn’t a bad thing.

While the above supplements can be helpful if offered on a regular basis, it’s always good to contact your veterinarian and create a supplement plan that works best for your individual dog. Some supplements can help your beagle live a long, happy, pain-free life, while other supplements may be entirely unnecessary.

Health & Care

Generally, Beagles are very healthy dogs. They are small, sturdy, active, and well-muscled small hounds that spend a great deal of time being active and exploring their home and yard. Reputable breeders will perform a variety of annual health checks on their breeding dogs to ensure there are no genetic issues that can be passed down.

While not every Beagle will suffer from any of these problems, they are something to keep an eye out for when owning this small hound. Some bloodlines may be more prone to certain ailments than others, so be sure to talk with your Beagle’s breeder if you would like to know more about the health precautions they take. 

Disk Disease

In the spine of your Beagle is an abundance of disks that work as shock absorbers when the hound moves and jumps. This normal movement of the spine can be hampered with Intervertebral Disk Disease.

Beagles that suffer from IDD can show signs of back or neck pain, movement limitations, partial or total leg paralysis, or bladder and bowel control. The cause of these issues is due to the disks slipping and pinching or compressing certain nerves and ligaments that produce smooth and pain-free movement.

If the spinal compression is severe and the pain is intense, surgery is usually the only potential option for your Beagle. Unfortunately, however, surgery is not always successful and permanent paralysis can be the result. 

Patellar Luxation

More commonly called “slipped stifles,” patellar luxation is somewhat common in smaller and highly active dogs. It happens when the bones in the leg are not properly lined up between the thigh bone, calf, and knee cap.

Dogs with patellar luxation can show signs of limping or skipping when they move. They may be sensitive to touch on that leg or can show signs of extreme pain when moving or bending the leg. If left untreated or unnoticed, it can develop into advanced arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.

Minor examples of patellar luxation may be helped with joint supplements or physical therapy, while more advanced luxation may need surgery to fix. In many cases, dogs can recover from patellar luxation but their activity levels may need to be taken down a notch or two for the remainder of their life.

Retinal Atrophy

Also known as PRA, Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degeneration of the photoreceptors in the eye leading to blindness. PRA can thankfully be detected years in advance of any vision loss, so it’s important to talk with your vet if you suspect any vision issues to be present in your dog’s bloodline.

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Being a short-haired and smooth-coated breed, Beagles are extremely easy to groom. They will shed moderately all year round, but weekly brushing with a standard bristle brush can help prevent your furniture from being coated in dog hair.


Bathing is not something a Beagle will need on a regular basis. However, being a curious little hound, your Beagle may get into something stinky more often than you care to admit! In this case, bathing as needed is perfectly fine with a gentle dog-safe shampoo.

Tooth Care

As with all dogs, Beagles can be prone to tartar buildup on their teeth. Get your dog used to having their teeth brushed on a regular basis. Daily brushing is an excellent way to prevent gum disease and dental issues, but if you don’t won’t tolerate it that often consider aiming for a weekly brushing instead.

Ear Care

Being a flopped ear breed, Beagles can benefit from regular dry wiping of the inner ear to remove moisture and prevent any fungal infections from taking hold. When bathing, try not to get any water into the ears, and be sure to thoroughly dry them afterwards.

Toenail Clipping

Regular toenail clipping is important and can be done once a month. If you hear the toenails clipping on the floor or pavement when your dog walks, it’s time for a trim. If you are unfamiliar with clipping toenails on your Beagle, ask your groomer or veterinarian to show you how.