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Beagle Breed Information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

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Last Updated: May 23, 2024 | 11 min read | 22 Comments

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Senior White Black and Tan Dog Lounging Outside

The Beagle is one of the most popular hound breeds in the U.S. and is an excellent companion. These gentle and courageous hound dogs like to follow their noses and see where it leads them. While several dog breeds look like Beagles, they are in a class of their own with their sweet spirit and adorable look. I explore the Beagle’s pros and cons to help you determine if this is the right breed for you.

Beagle
    • weight iconWeight18-30 Pounds
    • height iconHeight13-15 Inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan10-15 Years
    • color iconColorsWhite with Black and Tan, Lemon, Red, Tan, Brown, or Orange, Chocolate Tricolor
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

Breed History

White Black and Tan Hound Dog Sniffing the Ground
Beagles were originally bred to hunt, using their incredible sense of smell.

Beagles originated in the U.K., where they were used by sporting landowners to hunt hare and deer. History shows that a type of scenthound, which was very similar to the modern Beagle, was around as far back as the 1400s. They are sometimes mistaken for other breeds, like the Foxhound, which makes them easy to compare.

The name “Beagle” is thought to have come from the French word bee gueule, meaning “loud mouth.” If you take on one of these pups, you’ll soon find out that these dogs are well-named! When he catches a pleasing scent, he will bay and howl loud and long.

Beagles were brought to the U.S. early in the 20th century, where they quickly found favor with families. Did you know that the cartoon character Snoopy is the most famous of the breed?  They are also becoming more popular as mixed breeds, and people are mixing them with other purebred pups like the corgi or the Australian Shepherd. They’ve become popular for mixing with labs as well.

Today, most Beagles are kept as family pets, but they also work as scent-detection dogs in many airports, searching for drugs, illegal food items, and weapons. They are often compared to other breeds, like the Basset Hound.

Temperament

White Black and Tan Hound Dog Outdoors at Sunset
Beagles love attention and make excellent companion dogs.

Beagles have a reputation for getting along well with other pets and children. They are animated pets that thrive on affection. They much prefer to be around others. When left alone, Beagles will let out a howl and possibly become destructive. Their excessive barking and stubborn nature can make them difficult to train or housebreak.

Because Beagles were bred to hunt, they are naturally curious and lively. They are friendly little pups and do not make good guard dogs. They may bark, but chances are they will just befriend anyone who walks into the house with a happy tail wag.

Beagles are friendly, gentle, loyal, and loving. They are not aggressive, have an even temper, and are known for having an independent nature. Beagles can fit right into a family with ease. Because they are pack dogs, the Beagle breed can manage a large and active family that loves the outdoors.

Size & Appearance

White Black and Tan Hound Dog in the Snow
Beagles come in two sizes but never stand taller than 15 inches.

There are two sizes of Beagles: 15-inch and 13-inch in height to the shoulder. Those under 13 inches weigh under 20 pounds, while those 13 to 15 inches tall can weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.

Beagles are thick, muscular dogs with deep chests and straight backs. They have fairly long tails that carry high and are almost always white, which helps them be seen during hunting sessions. Their heads are slightly domed with square-shaped muzzles and broad noses.

Beagle ears are adorably floppy and set low on their heads. Their ears are described as a pendant shape and are set on the side of the head, almost level with the eyes. Beagle’s eyes are usually brown or hazel.

These pups look similar to Foxhounds, solid and big for their smaller stature, with the typical wear-and-tear of a hound on the chase. Beagles are smaller than Foxhounds, but they share floppy ears, strong jaws, medium-length fur, and the typical tricolor coat.

Coat & Colors

White Black and Tan Puppy Lying on a Blanket
Black, Tan, and White are the most common color combinations found in Beagles.

Beagles have a short, dense coat that’s fairly easy to maintain. It is smooth, hard, and medium-length. It typically comes in the standard hound colors of white, tan, and black. However, they can also come in a range of attractive colors, including:

  1. Tri-color (black, tan, and white)
  2. Lemon and white
  3. Brown and white
  4. Orange and white
  5. Chocolate tri-color
  6. Red and white
  7. Tan and white

It is common for Beagles to have a “Beagle smell.” Although owners tend to get used to it, people who are not around Beagles often may find it strong and pungent. Though bathing may help, it won’t cure it. This smell is caused by oils released from the skin.

Are Beagles Hypoallergenic?

Beagles aren’t considered hypoallergenic because of the amount of their shedding. If you need a pup that could help keep your allergies at bay, check out our article on hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Exercise Requirements & Living Conditions

White Black and Tan Dog Running Outside
About 60 – 75 minutes of daily exercise should suffice for this active breed.

Beagles were bred to be working, hunting dogs. So, although these pups are small, they do need plenty of exercise to keep them happy and to prevent them from becoming overweight.

Ideally, you will have two long walks every day, and he should have access to a fenced yard where he can play off-leash. To help keep your Beagle busy, make sure there’s a nice selection of Beagle-friendly dog toys to keep your pup entertained.

Beagles are pack dogs that form a close bond with their human family, including children. For that reason, these pups are not suited to life in your backyard or in an outdoor kennel. Beagles need to live indoors with you as part of your family. They should have comfortable surroundings, including a Beagle-friendly dog bed to rest their joints and the right size crate to keep them safe.

Do Beagles Like Water?

You may be wondering, can Beagles swim? Beagles can swim but may not like it. If you are a water lover and want a pup that will be a good fit for your lifestyle, you need to get them in the water when they are young. Be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket as you navigate their comfort in the water and prevent drowning.

Training

Young White Black and Tan Dog Sitting on Wood Floor
Beagles are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

Unfortunately, this breed can be challenging to train, and that makes this breed unsuitable for a novice owner.

If you plan on taking your Beagle for a walk in any unfenced, off-leash areas, be prepared to spend a lot of hours training your puppy to come to call; Beagles have a reputation for developing selective deafness once they’re on the scent of something interesting!

Your puppy should be taken to obedience training and socialization classes, as soon as he is old enough. Even so, you must be prepared for your dog to throw in a few unscheduled absences when he gets the chance!  If you plan to train using a harness, start at an early age because these pups love to pull.

The Beagle is, by nature, an explorer and hunter. Once this pup latches onto a scent, he’ll follow it wherever it takes him. So, your yard must be securely fenced to prevent them from going AWOL. You should know that chain link won’t keep your Beagle in; he can climb over it. Also, you’ll need to sink wire into the ground along your fence lines to prevent him from digging his way out underneath the boundary.

Learn More About Pet-Safe Lawn Care

Making your lawn and pet healthy can be two big challenges that often are related to each other. Learn about the best grass seed for pets, pet-safe lawn fertilizers, and our personal experience with Sunday Lawn Care.

If you’re an avid gardener, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your Beagle when he’s playing outside in your backyard. They enjoy digging, and your beautiful lawn flowers or vegetable garden could fall victim to your pet’s scrabbling claws.

Health

Senior White Black and Tan Dog Lounging Outside
Beagles can live to see the age of 12, sometimes even more!

This breed is typically a robust, healthy breed that can live to age 12 or more. However, some health problems can affect Beagles, including:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Anterior cruciate ligament tears
  3. Heart conditions
  4. Diabetes (usually associated with obese dogs)
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Cataracts

We recommend looking into pet insurance for your Beagle to help offset medical costs. Learn more about what pet insurance covers and the best options in our guide. Use the quote form below to see what pet insurance would cost you.

When you buy a puppy, always ask the breeder to show you valid veterinary screening certificates for the pup’s parents and grandparents. A clear screening result going back two generations means that your puppy should not inherit any of the aforementioned congenital health problems.

Also, never by a puppy that’s being marketed as a rare “pocket Beagle.Dwarfism is a genetic abnormality that can cause the dog to have physical deformities, such as crooked legs and a shortened neck, which may predispose the dog to chronic arthritis.

Healthy Beagles can be prone to ear infections because of their long, floppy ears. When you groom your dog, always check your pet’s ears for signs of problems, such as a foul smell that could indicate infection. Also, be alert to your Beagle scratching his ears or shaking his head, both of which could indicate a problem that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Nutrition

White and Orange Dog Eating From Dog Bowl
Be sure to monitor your Beagle’s food intake, as they are prone to obesity.

Beagles are highly driven when it comes to food. You can use this behavioral quirk to your advantage by using treats as a training reward. However, you’ll also need to keep anything edible well out of reach, as your greedy chowhound will happily gobble up your dinner or empty your kitchen trash can without thinking twice!

Beagle dog foods should be dry kibble formulas unless there’s a special health problem or dietary restriction identified by your veterinarian. As we’ve mentioned, they are very food-driven, and that makes it easy to overfeed your apparently starving dog!

Be careful not to overfeed your pup, as excess weight could leave him vulnerable to joint problems and diabetes.

If you’re looking for the best dog food for Beagles or the best puppy food for Beagles, you should start by talking to your vet. Your vet can help ensure that your pup gets the right amount of lean proteins, vitamins, and minerals to help him grow and stay healthy. Once you know what you need, our experts can help you choose the best dog foods and dog food delivery options to simplify feeding and life.

Grooming

White Tan and Black Puppy Getting a Bath
Bathing your Beagle and brushing him regularly is recommended to keep him smiling and fresh.

Although the Beagle has a short, sleek coat, the breed does shed continually. Your Beagle needs brushing every couple of days with a slicker brush to get rid of dead and loose hair, which will keep your home, car, and clothes free of excess dog hair.

This breed doesn’t require regular bathing. Four times a year is acceptable unless they get into something stinky. You should trim their nails regularly to avoid cracking and overgrowth. Be sure to check and clean their ears since they are long and hanging, and they can retain moisture, which could lead to ear infections. Brushing their teeth is also important to avoid periodontal disease.

Make sure to use a solution that your vet recommends. Use a cotton ball to wipe out the ear. Don’t go deeper into your Beagle’s ear than the first knuckle of your finger, and never use cotton swabs inside the ear. Cotton swabs can push any muck further down into the ear, and you could cause permanent damage if you push the swab in too far.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

White Tan and Black Mama Dog Kissing Her Puppy
Beagles will vary in cost depending on their pedigree, color, location, and parents.

Always buy your Beagle puppy from a licensed, reputable breeder. A good breeder will use a healthy breeding stock that has been screened for genetic abnormalities by a registered vet.

So, how much is a Beagle puppy? The average cost of a Beagle is between $500 and $2,000. Prices can fluctuate depending on location, lineage, and breeder reputation. It’s essential to find a reputable breeder to ensure the health and safety of the puppies.

Rescues & Shelters

White Tan and Black Dog Sitting on a Sofa
There are many options for rescues where you can find a Beagle to bring home.

You may also want to consider adopting a Beagle from a rescue organization. While this option can reduce the cost of getting a Beagle, it may take a bit longer, and you may get an older dog instead of a puppy.

All over the U.S., there are lots of rescue centers and shelters that have hundreds of unwanted Beagles waiting for a forever home. Most of these dogs are adults, but you will find some puppies, too. Check with your veterinarian about local rescue groups as well as your local Animal Humane Society as a place to start and help animals in your own community.

Beagle rescue groups are usually very upfront about any temperamental quirks or health problems that each of their dogs has, so you know what you’re getting. Many of these groups allow fostering before you commit to ownership in a sort of “try before you buy” arrangement. That way, you can see whether the breed would make a suitable canine companion for you and your family.

Beagles Love Babies

Beagles are known for being good family pets. In this five-minute video from Louie The Beagle, you’ll see how remarkable these Beagles are with this baby during their first four months as a family.

Consider A Beagle Mix

If you’ve thought about adopting before, there are also plenty of Beagle mixes out there that can make great family companions. Beagles are often paired as a “designer dog” in order to create a favorable crossbreed with other purebreds. Below are some other mixes you might think about before you buy your next pup.

  1. Beagle Husky Mix
  2. Jack-A-Bee
  3. Doxle
  4. Beagle Shepherds
  5. Bogle
  6. Puggle
  7. Beagle Pitbull Mix
  8. Beagle Boston Terrier Mix
  9. Beagle Basset Hound Mix
  10. The Beabull
  11. Border Beagle mix
  12. Poogles

As Family Pets

So, is a Beagle the right canine companion for you? It depends on your lifestyle and how much energy you have to give to your pup. If you’re looking for a friendly, chilled-out dog that doesn’t require much grooming and enjoys an active lifestyle, a Beagle could be the perfect choice for you. As a hunting dog with a strong prey drive, a Beagle will not be a suitable housemate if you have small pets such as cats or rabbits.

If you have near neighbors or you live in a condo or apartment, you’ll need to be around during the day to control your Beagle’s baying and howling. Beagles love their food and will follow their noses when it comes to finding some free grub. That means you’ll need to make sure that your trash cans are inaccessible to your four-legged, foraging chowhound.

Does a Beagle sound like the kind of pup you can cope with? If so, pick out the perfect name and use our tips to find your perfect Beagle puppy.

Am I Ready For A Dog?

Whether you are a seasoned pet parent or a first-time dog owner, it’s important to take your time and be sure you are ready to bring a new pup home. There’s a lot to consider. We cover this more in our guides on how to be a responsible dog owner and how to tell if you are ready for a dog. We also discuss the secrets to picking the right breed for you.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Since childhood, Danielle has shared a special bond with dogs. She has over 30 years of experience with dogs of all sizes and dogs with special needs. Danielle spends countless hours researching the latest pet care, health, food, and training developments to help owners learn what’s behind the label. Danielle works with a professional and experienced team to bring our readers the best, most accurate, and most up-to-date information.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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