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Breed Notes

Origins of the Beagle are unknown, although small hounds called Beagles have been known of since at least the 1300s. These dogs were used for hunting small game such as the hare and quail. The breed as it is known today was bred during the mid-nineteenth century at the kennel of Parson Honeywood in England. Although there was a type of dog in the United States that was also called the Beagle, breeders in the American South began importing the English version in the late nineteenth century. The United States National Beagle Club, founded on the English type was formed in 1888. These dogs began to be used in field trials and were soon divided into two classes, based on height: thirteen to fifteen inches and under thirteen inches. The height limit in England is sixteen inches.
The major qualities of the Beagle are that he has admirable courage and stamina. He is gentle, trustworthy, and cheerful.
The Beagle has the appearance of a miniature Foxhound. He has a square body. His head is moderately long and slightly domed with ears that set low and hang down the side of the cheek. The ears are to be long enough that, when stretched forward, they will reach the end of the nose. The Beagle is a strong, muscular dog with a deep chest, straight legs, and round feet. His tail should be set high and carried with a slight curve. The coat of the Beagle is of medium length, hard and close. The preferred colors of the coat are white on the chest and legs, black on the sides and back and neck and tan elsewhere. However, any hound color is acceptable.

Name withheld by request of Atlanta, GA writes:

Truly woman's best friend.
Our family pet was a Beagle as I was growing up, and I absolutely adored that dog. He wasn't too bright, but what he lacked in brains he made up for in affection. When my husband and I decided to get a dog, I persuaded him into adopting a Beagle puppy. Our little guy is only five months old, but he already knows the basic obedience commands and is potty-trained and crate-trained. Our pup greets us with a "full-body wag" rather than a tail wag, and we've taught him how to give us hugs on command. He's the best sight to come home to.

Name withheld by request of Washington writes:

These are the best family dogs.
Beagles are incredibly intelligent, loving, playful dogs. They make great family pets. We have a 13" female Beagle and she just loves to play with our two little boys AND our two Siamese kitties. She likes to run around the house and then jump into my lap for a cuddle. She's very quiet. I don't know why anyone would say Beagles are barkers, I've found her to be a very quiet dog. She also hasn't been too difficult to housetrain, you just have to make sure you let your puppy out for a potty after each nap and within 30 minutes of a meal. It works. Definitely not a watchdog. Just LOVES attention from everyone, won't bark at strangers ... more interested in licking them. A great family pet. of Seattle, WA writes:

Beagles are the best housepets.
I had a Beagle growing up and remember this happy, cheery animal always wanting attention. My recent Beagle acquisition has changed my attitude and life. I moved into an apartment in the city. She functions beautifully in the house when left with several toys to play with during the day. We take daily walks with her off the leash and she stays close except to say hello to other dogs and people. I would definitely recommend this dog to a person in an apartment who likes to take walks in the area they live/work. A Beagle will be your biggest admirer for the rest of your life.

Name withheld by request of Ohio writes:

Great little guys who live to sniff.
Beagles are dear, kind, loving little creatures. I grew up in a Beagle kennel, and several were my closest friends. They are gentle with children, but tough enough to stand child's play. If you get a Beagle, he should really be trained for tracking. It just is not fair not to allow him to use his nose. As house companions, it can be hard to stop a Beagle from baying. You need to be a good dog trainer to do it. of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland writes:

Such a pleasure!
My husband and I wanted a dog for quite some time, and we wanted to be certain we chose the right one for us. After much research, we finally decided on a Beagle. Our sweetheart is now two years old and the most wonderful companion. We did have quite a lot of trouble with him for the first year ... after all, he was a puppy! And when we moved from Ontario to Newfoundland, he suffered severe anxiety problems. Since then we have nursed him back to himself and he has become the most loving, adorable pleasure to have around. Not a day goes by that we don't say to each other, "Isn't he wonderful?" and "What a sweetheart." We love our little Beagle boy, and he is so very smart. When we decided to get a Beagle, we were warned that Beagles could be stubborn. Yet, he's been through obedience training and done very well. He listens to us when we speak, he does what we ask of him (except come back if he's distracted outside ... this will never change!), he learns tricks faster than our Border Collie, and he tells us what he wants. Amazing! I recommend this breed to anyone who has time to spend with it. Beagles do require a lot of attention and deep love. In return they will give you the same. of California writes:

Be careful &shyp; they will wander.
We had two Beagles until they went out one snowy night and followed their noses into the forest to never be seen again. These obsessed sniffers have an unstopable will to follow their nose. If you're not careful they could wander off and not come back. They are very vocal dogs and can fit in with a family. They are so cute, who can resist? Ours got along okay with cats and very well with other dogs. They are food-motivated and very hard to housebreak. Food can be a very effective means of training them, they love food, so watch their weight. They don't really chew that much, but do like to get into the garbage ... again, it's all in their nose! of Michigan writes:

A sweet hound.
Beagles are great with children, don't require much grooming, bathing, etc., and are usually very friendly. They are scent hounds, so they get distracted easily by scents and will run off following a scent trail. Beagles should be kept indoors or in a securely fenced area. They should be trained in at least basic obedience from an early age and they are extremely motivated by food which can be used as a training aid. Because of their "food lust" they WILL overeat, so watch the amount they receive carefully. They are wonderful dogs for hunting small game, especially rabbits. Beagles are very sweet dogs with big, soft brown eyes that can melt your heart.
My Beagle has received her CD (Companion Dog title) from the AKC and will soon be ready to compete in more advanced obedience trials and agility trials. Other Beagles have also done well in these sports, so it CAN be done, but more patience and work is required to obedience train Beagles than with more traditional obedience breeds. In summary, a Beagle is not the best dog for everyone, but can be an excellent companion for the right family.

Name withheld by request of Tampa, FL writes:

Happy little hounds; strong in body and heart!
I have two little Beagles who are absolutely the greatest housepets. They are very easy to take care of, requiring little grooming. They have minimal shedding and do not have a "doggy odor." My dogs are not big barkers, in fact, my female is practically mute. The male only barks for a reason, but believe me the volume of his bark can take the paint off the walls! It is really quite funny. He "tells" on the other dog if she is doing something she isn't supposed to (digging holes) or has taken one of his toys. Neither dog ever has barked when someone comes to the door, so this breed is not watchdog material. They think all visitors come to see them!
These are very loving dogs. No one can pass my female without stopping to give her a hug (it's the eyes). My male is a kid-magnet and the happiest little guy in town. Both dogs let my five-year old daughter hug and kiss on them. They sleep with my husband and me in the bed at night (OK, I really love these dogs).
These are also very clever dogs. My female learned to let the male out of his crate when he was little. She then learned how to let herself out of her own crate! The funny thing is that the only time she ever opened her own crate was when food was involved. Beagles will figure out how to get to something they want. Sometimes I see their eyes practically sparkle with mischief. Food is their greatest motivator.
I find it better to have two Beagles as they can use up most of their excess energy on each other.
As I sit down tonight after all the chores are done in the evening and pet my two little hounds as they lay by my side on the couch, I will remember the guy who wrote that hounds are not meant to be housepets and then ... my dogs and I will have a howling good laugh! They are really the best! of Centerville, OH writes:

Great family pet and lovable lap dog.
To all those who think the Beagle won't make a good housepet, let me tell you - think again! Our Beagle, who is currently two years old, is a GREAT pet. He loves to play with our eight-year-old, tries to get our cat to play with him, likes to be held and petted and then curl up either in your lap or next to you on the couch. Beagles, while stubborn, CAN be trained. It will take some work and some maintenance, but it can be done. Our's is trained so well that 75 percent of the time you don't need to use a voice command, simply a hand gesture.
Things to be aware of: Beagles are prone to epilepsy, allergies and weight problems, among other things. If you love your dog then be kind to it, and keep it at a healthy weight. Beagles love food so much that this can be hard to do, but is a must.
Another important note: Because Beagles are such a popular breed you must research very carefully, and be wary of breeders with extremely low prices, puppies "always" available, no background info on sire/dam, etc. Since all it takes to register an animal with the AKC is the sire's and dam's name, "puppy papers" don't mean you've found a quality animal! Responsible breeders may be hard to find, but it's worth the wait and effort - don't bring home an animal who might end up sick in a couple of years and break your heart by passing over the Rainbow Bridge much too soon. Pets are a lifetime friend, so spend the time to find the right one! of Fayette City, PA writes on 2/20/01:

Great house pet and hunter wrapped into one dog.
Whoever said good hunting dogs couldn't be house pets are definitely wrong. Our 1 1/2 year old Beagle, who is a house pet, was running rabbits at 7 months old. He comes from a great bloodline. When opening the door, we tell him to go to the jeep , to go hunting, and he runs and sits next to the jeep door. He hunts no more than 20 feet from my husband, and never has to chase after him.
As far as a house pet, he is fantastic. We cage trained him, which only took 2 weeks. After a couple months, we let him have the run of the house, while we are at work. Which is about a 6 - 8 hour day. He did go through the "chew everything I see" stage, but eventually he grew out of it. He is wonderful, and I wouldn't trade him in for anything. He knows when you are upset or happy. He always puts a smile on your face. And no matter how mad you think you get at him, one look at his eyes, and you forget why you were mad. of Raynham, MA writes on 11/5/00:

What more could you ask for?
I breed, raise, train and field trial Beagles. After having had over a dozen different dog breeds as pets over the years, I feel the Beagle is the best all around family pet. They have a big dog's spirit in a small compact body. They are such "easy keepers" that you can have several of them and still not have the work invovlved in caring for one big dog. They are excellent companions - will act as lapdogs, yet will bark fiercely in protection of you and the family should a stranger approach. They are fun, spontaneous and easy going - they are great travelers and explorers. Beagles bond with you. They look at you with such love and affection you can actually feel their emotion. With kids they are excellent - they are eager playmates, and withstand a lot of affection and attention without ever tiring of it. I have not had a single one bite; they are gentle and passive dogs, and males are a gentle nd pssive a females. I have never had to worry about the neighborhood kids coming to play with my dogs or pups. You just don;thave the fears about aggression you can have with some of the larger fiercer breeds. They also are great in that they require very little in the way of grooming - some of mine stay clean all by themselves, and actually wash up as a cat would! They shed so little, that they are great house pets - there is no need to vacuum up their hairs every day as with some breeds, and in fact, both my cats shed way more hair than any of my beagles. Although I suffer from asthma and allergies, these dogs are so short haired and shed so little that they don't bother me; I have had other dogs that have actually made me sick with asthma. Although begales are little dogs, they are not wimps - they are courageous dogs who will chase a fox or coyote in the morning, act as a watchdog all afternoon, play with the kids after dinner, and then curl up in bed with you at the end of the day. Lastly, I love beagles because they are such HAPPY dogs - they are so good natured that some of their enthusiam is bound to wear off on whomever they meet! Beagles give more in love and affection than they expect to receive in return or require in terms of care - it is sure nice to come home to such a loyal loving hound at the end of the day! of Ohio writes on 4/29/00:

Great dogs with some training, but not for everyone.
Beagles are a hunting breed. You can't expect them to cling to you like a companion breed or a herding breed. They are good companions but very high energy dogs. If you want a quiet companion you should get another reed. They are intelligent, sometime too much for their own good. With proper training a Beagle may be a good dog for you. of the US writes on 3/10/00:

A very good hunter and household pet.
The Beagle, a hound, is a very good breed to have with children. They are not HUGE, in fact, not that big at all, and they don't eat a whole lot. They do good in dog shows too. However, they need room to run or be walked daily. They are very smart, but NEVER abuse it, or for that matter, any dog. Beagles should be fed 1-2 cups of dog food a day, and fresh water daily too. The Beagle IS NOT for people who cannot play or walk it daily. Housetraining is nessary early in puppyhood if kept in the house. Beagles are short-haired and need to be brushed once a week. These dogs are very active, and need to be walked for 30 minutes at least. There are two kinds of Beagle, 13 inch and 15 inch. There once was beleved to be a "Teacup Beagle" in the 1500's. No such dog lives now. Beagles may be gunshy at first if made a hunting-dog. Otherwise this dog is highly recommended, but do your homework and study the breed and know the Beagle before you buy. of Los Angeles, CA writes on 1/17/00:

Beagles are the best - beautiful, loving and incredibly smart.
Based on 13 years experience with a Beagle, it is hard to explain what a loving, intelligent dog a Beagle can be. True, Beagles are bred to hunt - without any training, my first Beagle (who came from field champions) KNEW to chase his prey in a circle, so it would come back around to the hunter. We were not hunters, but understanding his intuitive methodology allowed us to wait patiently for him to return to us - rather than crashing through the woods after him. If raised as family companions - i.e., indoor dogs - Beagles are totally affectionate and loving. They are also very good with children. Though our last beagle was almost never around children, she was totally gentle with little ones - even when they were tormenting her. As for intelligence? Once I realized that my Beagle was TOO smart - and almost as obstinate as I am - I did much better. I fully believe that she understood not only tone of voice and behavioral context, but also words. Other favorable attributes: "low maintenance" - no fancy roomers needed; minimal shedding; small, but solidly built - a real dog. I cannot imagine choosing any breed other than a Beagle - and I cannot conceive of any other breed outranking a Beagle! of U.S. writes on 11/1/99:

Can be wonderful, intelligent family members.
Those people who think Beagles cannot be wonderful family pets are very much mistaken. Not only can Beagles make great family pets, but they can then go directly out to the woods and hunt with you (if you have trained them to do so). Your average beagle is FAR from stupid. Beagles are simply stubborn. Taking a Beagle through obediance is a must for the new Beagle owner. If you'd like to hunt with you Beagle (and still have the dog at the end of the day) you must train them for hunting. The best field trial and gun dog champions in the world didn't come by it without some training. And learn to ignore those "sad hound" eyes, that's part of their's also the way they get around doing what you have instructed them to do. In short, if you want a loving, affectionate dog and have the patience and time to train a dog, then a beagle may be the best dog you could ever want. of Rijsbergen, The Netherlands writes on 10/24/99:

Greatest dogs you will ever know.
If you are looking for a dog who make you laugh, make you cry, make you angry, made glad, in shorter words have all the emotions you ever want to feel, you have to take a Beagle! Beagles are the most wonderfull lovely persons on earth. I know by experions, I live together with 11 of them. I almost feel one of the pack and that feels good! of Arkansas writes on 10/10/99:

This is a happy, gentle, loving dog with a great personality.
The Beagle is a breed that can live with anyone - young or old, rich or poor. This is a dog that does not think "mean thoughts," but wants to love a family with devotion and enthusiasm. I you are a hunter, sedentary couch potato, dog show person, or performance event person - it doesnt matter. If that is what you want that is what your Beagle will want. of Boston, MA writes on 10/6/99:

Not for everyone, but can be an excellent pet.
On Christmas Eve 1995, I was with my husband's family on vacation in the somewhat rural hills of North Carolina when we heard our then 4 month old beagle, Zach, making unexplainable, terrifying, noises in his cage. When we rushed to him, he was experiencing what we later found out to be a grand mal seizure - an epileptic fit. When we returned to Boston after a marathon 24-hour drive back north, our vet tried to determine the cause of the seizure. She wanted to rule out epilepsy because he was so young, but after several more grand mal seizures, our 5 month old beagle was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Zach took phenobarbitol tablets for most of his three years, which reduced his seizures from several a day to once a week. In the beginning, the drug did not affect his behavior or abilities. He was the lively, adorable, loving beagle we had known to love, but, after a year and a half, he noticeably became more disoriented and incontinent. By the time he was three years old, he had no idea who we were, where he was, or what he should do.
Despite Zach's unfortunate medical history, he was - in his prime - a quintessential beagle: always curious, extremely friendly, and fun. We had bought Zach knowing what beagles were like, and we were prepared for his propensities. However, Zach's epilepsy fundamentally changed who and what he was. Of course, throughout Zach's life, we never faulted him, faulted his breeder and lamented his short end of the stick.
The moral of the story is that we should not have been so eager to bring home the first beagle we met and should have been more wary and inquisitive about his background. A caveat to any potential dog owner: be responsible. Research the breed. And, interview breeders and be prepared to walk away. We probably should have.

Name withheld by request of Florida writes on 10/5/99:

I have seen stones with more intelligence than a beagle.
Beagles are nice dogs, but they are called hounds because that is what they do, they hunt. That means they will run for days on a scent, forget where they live, and disregard everything except finding the scent. They do not make good house pets, Why? That is simple....because they are hounds and hounds were meant to hunt, not sit in your lap and watch TV. If you want a lap dog, look elsewhere. If you want to hunt and tramp through woods, get a Beagle.

Name withheld by request of Ontario, Canada writes on 10/1/99:

Generally a GREAT dog, love kids!
Beagles are known as those little hounds that always have thier nose to the ground! They are GREAT with children but like any other breed needs obedience training. Beagles are lead by thier noses! and they LOVE food! Beagles are stero typed as Un-Trainable, well they are not, you need a GOOD trainer & you have to go to ALL the classes not just 4 out of 10 because you think you've learnt everything trust me there is A LOT more! Beagles, love kids & make a good family pet, Trust me I was born into a Beagle family & I've had them all my life. of Royal Oak, MI writes on 9/17/01:

Wonderful hunter and great companion.
Beagles are one of the greatest breeds around! They are wonderful with children. Can hunt all day in the field and come home to sleep at the feet of their master and play with the children. BUT Beagles are NOT for everyone! Beagles can get carried away by their nose, extensive obedience training is a must! I have heard many comment beagles bark a lot! My comment - only if you allow them too! Beagles need to be taught from day 1 who is the one in control (and this MUST NOT BE THE BEAGLE) if you don't not want excessive barking then don't allow it from the beginning! As with ANY dog consistancy is the biggest key for training and housebreaking! Crating is strongly recommended. Beagles come in 2 varieties up to 13" and 13" - 15"...the differance between the two varieties is NOTHING but size! Most 15" beagles should way no more the 30lbs at the very max (and this is a large male)Beagles love to eat! You need to be very cautious in the amount you allow your beagle to eat...A beagle typically doesn't know when to say when, they will eat themselves to death literally! Beagles require a general amount of exercise, if a beagle is the only dog in the house it may become a couch potato in which walks/runs are definately in order, if the beagle lives in a multiple dog household it may do fine just playing with the others dogs, but its condition needs to be watched and excercised as apropreate. Beagles make wonderful companions, they do wonderful in the show ring and in the field. Overall they are the greatest breed out there.

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