Getting a dog as a new addition to the family is never an easy choice considering the numerous breeds you can pick from. There are, however, a few breeds that pop in mind when we speak of great family dogs; Beagles being one of them.
But in short, are Beagles good family dogs?
Beagles are excellent family dogs because they’re social and get along well with kids. However, before making the decision to adopt a Beagle, you must learn about this dog’s personality traits, physical traits, diet, health concerns, and so forth. This will help you determine whether or not a Beagle is the right fit for your family.
That being said, this article will help point out everything you need to know about Beagles, so be sure to stick around.
Brief Overview of Beagles
Beagles are a small breed that originated in England as hunting hounds, mainly for hunting hares and foxes. They’re famous for their strong sense of smell, short coats, and activeness.
You may have heard the terms ‘American Beagle’ and ‘British Beagle’ thrown around, but in reality, there’s only one breed of Beagle.
‘Pocket Beagles’ is also a term used to describe miniature beagles that are 13 inches or less. Note, however, that these Beagles are quite rare.
Now that you’ve learned about the origin of Beagles and some of their common attributes, let’s get a little more specific and discuss their physical characteristics.
Coat and Colors
Beagles have short coats with different color combinations, although you may be familiar with the white, brown, and black combinations.
Color combinations can include:
- White and tan
- White and orange
- Red and orange
- White and brown
Male Beagles weigh 22-24 lbs, while females usually weigh 19.8-22 lbs. Male Beagles are about 14-16 inches tall, whereas females are 13-15 inches tall.
The life expectancy of Beagles can range between 12-15 years. However, there have been recorded cases of Beagles living far beyond that range.
Beagles may have started off as a hunting breed, but their warm personalities are what made them family dogs eventually.
Beagles are known to be:
- Social and friendly
However, they’re known to have some undesired traits such as:
- Destructiveness (when not provided with toys or activities)
- Loving to dig
- Being loud (Beagles are known to bark more than other breeds)
Please note that just like raising a child, your dog’s personality can be shaped by how you train and raise it.
Beagles and Kids
Their friendly nature and activeness make Beagles a great match for children. Exposing your Beagle early on to children can help them adapt even better. However, they shouldn’t be left unsupervised with your kids in case the playing gets a little rough.
Beagles and Other Pets
Beagles are quite social and get along well with other pets. However, they must be supervised when left around smaller pets.
These dogs can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. This can cause them to start whining or destroying furniture.
If you intend to leave your dog alone at home, make sure to keep them within the confines of a fenced area, preferably with windows, a comfy bed, and an automatic feeder.
Make sure to leave some of its favorite toys so it can release any stress or excess energy it may have instead of taking it out on your furniture.
Every dog breed is unique in its own way, but this uniqueness can sometimes cause certain breeds to contract specific illnesses. Beagles are no exception.
Beagles are relatively low-maintenance dogs but can be affected by a few common health conditions in the absence of proper exercise, diet, and medical attention.
Some of these health conditions include:
- Cancer; most commonly bladder cancer
- Cherry eye
- Intervertebral disk disease
- Epilepsy seizures
- Separation anxiety
If you were to adopt a Beagle pooch, we’d recommend regular checkups at the vet to ensure your dog isn’t suffering from any illness.
It’s not uncommon for Beagles to contract allergies. They can have seasonal, food, or contact allergies. Exposure to any allergens will trigger a variety of symptoms, including:
- Patches in fur or thinning
- Stomach problems, mainly with food allergies.
- Ear inflammations
- Red-eyes or excessive eye discharge
How many times a day your dog should be fed will depend on its age as well as current weight.
Puppies (8 Weeks to 6 Months)
Puppies should be fed at least three meals a day. If they’ve been fed a certain brand by their breeder, shelter, or previous owner, it’s not recommended to switch them to a different brand right away. Instead, ease it into their meals gradually.
Please note that puppies will frequently seem very hungry and eager for their next meal, but be careful not to free-feed them too much outside of their designated meal times.
Adults (Over 6 Months)
Ideally, adult Beagles should be fed twice a day, set as breakfast and dinner. This leaves room for the snacks and treats you will give your Beagle throughout the day.
Home-Cooked vs Canned
Home-cooked meals are an easy way to monitor the ingredients that go into your dog’s diet, although they’re time-consuming compared to canned or manufactured dog food.
If you opt for home-cooked meals, make sure to give your dog vitamins that may be lacking in comparison with commercial foods that already come packed with their needed doses.
Canned or manufactured food can be a time-saving and nutritious option for your Beagle if you know what to avoid to ensure a healthy meal.
Some ingredients to avoid are:
- Food dyes
- Wheat gluten
- Rendered fat
- Propylene Glycol
- Chemical preservatives like Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT
Things to look for in good canned food options:
- Natural preservatives such as vitamin C or E
- Human-grade ingredients
- A balanced amount of vitamins and minerals
- Healthy levels of fats
- Real meat, which can range from chicken to beef, lamb, and fish
Now that we know what your dog can and can’t eat, there are a few items that should never be fed to your dog and should be kept out of reach, including:
- Raw salmon
- Fruit seeds and cores
Note that treats shouldn’t exceed more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake, as they could throw off their feeding schedule.
Lastly, if you’re not home often and don’t want your dog to miss meals, investing in an automatic feeder is worth considering.
Being hunting hounds, Beagles need plenty of exercise to keep them in tip-top shape. Not providing them with sufficient exercise can cause obesity, which, in turn, can lead to joint pain and other articular or musculoskeletal problems.
Taking your dog for a regular walk around the block, playtime in the backyard, or even on the treadmill, if you’re in an apartment, should be enough to keep it active and fit.
Beagles can become moody and temperamental if they’re not exercised and may resort to loud barking or destructive behavior. Pretty sure your neighbors won’t appreciate that, so be sure to provide your dog with the exercise it needs.
Beagles love the outdoors and enjoy stretching their legs in yards and open spaces. That being said, condos and apartments can be quite restricting for a Beagle, especially if you don’t take it out on a regular basis.
Backyards and yards should be properly fenced and gated, as Beagles are curious by nature and will opt to follow any scent they find interesting. Make sure to use well-embedded fences, as Beagles are adept at digging their way out of places.
We don’t recommend keeping your dog outside for too long, as they may get bored and start digging and howling.
A Beagle’s fondness of digging may have them nose-diving into trash cans if they’re not stored away properly. A heavy-lidded trash can or a stow-away bin would do the trick.
Puppy or Adult?
We recommend Beagles that are in their early adulthood for families with newborn children, as puppies require time and patience to train, and that isn’t very convenient with newborns around.
Puppy Beagles are super cute and hard to resist, but you should only adopt one if you’re ready to give it a lot of time and attention in order to train and housebreak it properly.
While Beagles don’t require special treatment, there are a few things to take into consideration if you’re thinking about adopting one.
- Despite having short coats, Beagles are known to shed a lot, so be prepared for regular grooming.
- Beagles are escape artists, and so it’s strongly recommended that you don’t let them off the leash or leave them in an unfenced area.
- Don’t leave your Beagle unsupervised if you live in an apartment. Also, don’t leave them in the yard for too long, as their loud howling and barking could upset the neighbors.
- Due to their inherent stubbornness, they can be a little difficult to housebreak and train.
- Beagles shouldn’t be left unattended with small animals like hedgehogs, rabbits, hamsters, and so forth, as they may try to hunt them and present them to you as a gift, so to speak.
In summary, Beagles are incredible family dogs. They’re social, active, and great with kids. In addition, they’re low-maintenance pooches compared to Border Collies or Hungarian Pulis, for instance. So, no need to worry about putting too much time and effort into keeping them happy.
What’s more, Beagles get along well with other animals, which makes them perfect for people with more than one pet living in their household. We absolutely adore Beagles, and so will you if you decide to adopt one.