Beagles have consistently been a popular choice of family pet and companion dog for decades. They have also been a firm favourite in the show ring both with judges and crowds alike. Although, they have retained their hunting instinct, the Beagle is renowned for being relaxed and happy in a home environment too. Nothing phases these little dogs and there's nothing a Beagles enjoys more than being involved in everything that goes on in a household and they quickly become valued members of a family.
Beagles boast kind natures, they love life and are a real pleasure to have around because they are always so eager and willing to please. They are medium sized dogs that adore being around people and generally get on well with other animals and pets too. However, they hate being left to their own devices and crave human company which is something to bear in mind if you are hoping to share a home with a Beagle.
Dogs very similar to the Beagle have been around for centuries with records of them in paintings and literature dating as far back as the reign of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. However, these dogs were wirehaired and so small they could be carried by huntsman in their pockets. Over the years, larger dogs were bred although smaller versions still existed which came to be known as "Pocket Beagles" and these little dogs still exist today.
It was in the 1830s that Reverend Phillip Honeywood developed a pack of Beagles which are the dogs that formed the foundation stock of the breed we see today although at the time, there were two other packs that existed. However, it was the pack that Honeywood developed that was reputed to be the best of all three packs and a man called Thomas Johnson refined the breed producing attractive dogs that were skilled hunters. There were in fact two types of Beagle back then, one being a smooth coated dog and the other being rough coated which although successful in their day, these dogs do not exist today.
There were 18 packs of Beagles by 1887 which ensured the breed survived and then The Beagle Club was established in 1890 in the UK with a first breed standard being drawn up at the same time. The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was formed the following year which ensured the breed prospered and by 1902, there were 44 packs throughout the UK.
Today, the Beagle is among one of the most popular choices of family pets with people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world, all thanks to their lovely looks and kind, affectionate, loyal natures.
Height at the withers: Males 33 - 41 cm, 33 - 41 Females cm
Average Weight: Males 10 - 11 kg, Females 9 - 10 kg
Beagles are compact little dogs that always look alert and ready to get involved in anything that is asked of them whether they are in the field or in a home environment. Beagles have quite a large head in relation to size of their body with females having slightly finer heads than their male counterparts. They have shortish muzzles with a broad nose which ideally should be black although a lighter colour is allowed in dogs with lighter coloured coats. Beagles have nice, wide nostrils which adds to their overall kindly looks and appeal.
Their eyes can be either hazel or a darker colour and they are set well apart on a dog's head which gives these dogs a lovely kind expression they are so well known for. A Beagle's ears are long and fall down to their noses when a dog lowers their head. Ears are nicely rounded and soft to the touch. Their mouths are strong looking with a perfect bite.
Beagles have longish necks which allows them to easily follow a scent with their noses firmly planted on the ground. They hold their necks slightly arched which gives these dogs a noble look about them when they are on the move or standing still. Their forequarters are strong with shoulders that are well laid back and their front legs are straight, well-muscled and nicely boned.
Beagles as previously mentioned are compact little hounds which means they have sturdy bodies with a nice level topline and well sprung ribs that run far down their body. However, it's in their hindquarters that Beagles boast a lot of power with strong thighs and powerful looking back legs. Their feet are well knuckled and firm with strong pads and short nails. Beagles have moderately long tails set high and which dogs carry gaily in the air adding to their happy and fun-loving looks.
When it comes to their coat, Beagles have a short, tight and extremely waterproof coat which can be a variety of colours which includes the following:
All colours with the exception of all white dogs, can be mottled which is perfectly acceptable as a breed standard.
Beagles are known to be very sociable and often mischievous characters by nature which are just two of the reasons they make such wonderful pets to have around. Once settled into a home, they become valued members of a family enjoying nothing more than being involved in everything that goes on in a household.
If you are thinking about sharing your home with a Beagle and you have a garden, one of the first things you would need to do is make sure it is ultra-secure because these dogs may be smallish in stature, but they are superb escape artists and they will quickly find any weak spots in fencing and garden gates. They are also extremely skilled "diggers" and would soon plough their way under a fence if they find they can.
Beagles boast lovely temperaments and enjoy being around people and other animals too. They hate being left to their own devices and would be seriously unhappy if left alone for even shorter periods of time. With this said, they are tough little dogs and although they do tolerate children, kids must be taught how to behave around them. Beagles are not the best choice of pets for people with very young families because finding enough time to spend with a dog and toddlers can prove challenging and Beagles need a lot in the way of attention.
Another thing to bear in mind is that Beagles are exceptional at the job they were originally bred to do which was to track down a scent. As such, letting a dog off their lead in a park could result in having to track them down once they've gone off after a scent. With this said, it's essential for Beagles to be taught the "recall" command from a young age and to reinforce the command throughout a dog's life.
Beagles are known to be intelligent, however, it's essential for their training and education to start as early as possible or these dogs can become wilful and unruly. On the upside, Beagles are always eager and willing to please and as long as they are given the right sort of guidance and direction from an early age, they grow up to be well-rounded, obedient dogs.
Beagles need to be handled firmly, but always fairly and their training needs to be consistent throughout their lives. Any unwanted behaviours have to be nipped in the bud, gently yet firmly and this includes their tendency to bark.
As long as a Beagle is well socialised from a young age and introduced to as many new situations and children as possible, they are generally good around them. However, children need to be taught how to behave around a dog and any interaction needs to be well supervised by an adult at all times to make sure things stay calm.
When it comes to other pets and animals which includes cats, as long as a Beagle has been introduced to them from a young age, they are generally very good around them. Beagles generally get on well with other animals they have grown up with too.
The average life expectancy of a Beagle is between 12 to 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
However, as with a lot of other pure breeds, the Beagle is known to suffer from a few hereditary and acquired health issues which are worth knowing about if you want to share your home with one of these fun-loving and lively dogs. Health issues the breed is prone to suffer from includes the following:
Because Beagles have long ears, they are also prone to suffer from infections simply because air cannot circulate around their inner ears and as such moisture can build up creating the perfect environment for a yeast infection to take hold. The other thing to bear in mind is that Beagles have a tendency to put on too much weight if they are not given enough exercise or fed an incorrect diet. Carrying too much weight can seriously impact a dog's overall health which can reduce their life span quite considerably.
Another condition that Beagles seem to suffer from is called "reverse sneezing" which sounds as if a dog is chocking. Not much is known as to why some dogs do this, but the good news is that it is not dangerous or harmful to dogs when they do. In short, it sounds worse than it actually is.
As with any other breed, Beagles need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, Beagles need to be fed a good quality, well balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Beagles are easy maintenance in the grooming department all thanks to their short, neat coats. When they do get dirty or muddy, it's easy to give them a quick wipe over with warm water and a sponge. A daily brush is all that a Beagle needs to keep their coats and skin in good condition and to keep any shed hair under the control. As with other breeds, the Beagle shed more in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when a dog might need more frequent brushing than at other times of the year.
If you decide to get a Beagle puppy, it's important to start grooming them as early as possible so they get used to all the tools needed to keep their coats in good condition. It's also essential to teach puppies that having their nails touched is not scary and that a grooming session is a nice experience so they look forward to the one-to-one attention they are given.
As previously mentioned, it's important to keep a close eye on a Beagle's ears to make sure they are dry and no infection is flaring up which can be notoriously difficult to clear up.
Beagles need a lot in the way of exercise and they also need to be given a lot of mental stimulation to the truly happy, well balanced dogs. This means a good hour a day and ideally this needs to be twice a day. They also benefit from being allowed to roam around a secure garden as much as possible, but the fencing needs to be "Beagle proof" because they are known to be skilled escape artists when the mood takes them.
Beagle puppies only need to be given a little exercise to begin with because their joints and bones are still developing. As such a little playtime in a garden is ideal until they have had all their vaccinations. Then it's important for them to be introduced to as many other animals, pets and situations as possible so they grow up to be confident adult dogs.
If you get a Beagle puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of food to a puppy to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their food again.
A mature Beagle needs to be fed a good quality, well-balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives. It's also important to keep a close eye on their weight, because as previously mentioned, Beagles are prone to put on weight which means limiting the amount of rewards they are given even during their training.
If you are looking to buy a Beagle, you would need to pay anything from £250 to over £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3-year-old Beagle in northern England would be £19.01 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £40.81 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate pet insurance, they factor in a few things and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and breed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Beagle which includes their initial vaccinations, their boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which could quickly add up to well over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Beagle would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Beagle puppy.
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