English BeagleFamily: Canidae Canis lupus familiarisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
The short stocky Beagle, originally bred to track rabbits, is active indoors but does not require a lot of space making it a good pet even in an apartment.
Beagles are gentle, sociable and happy dogs. They are good with people and other dogs, and they get along well with children. Beagles are quite intelligent and brave. When selecting a Beagle, look for eye and back problems. Bloodlines should also be checked for history of heart disease and epilepsy.
Background Beagle-like dogs have existed fof more than 2,000 years, but the modern Beagle was developed in the 1830s. English in origin, the Beagle is thought to be a product of crossbreeding of the Talbot Hound, North Country Beagle, Southern Hound, and Harrier.
A popular strain of Beagle is the Patch Hound, which is known for its skill at rabbit hunting. Popular hybrids include the Puggle, a cross between a Pug and a Beagle.
Description The Beagle has a short coat, and can be tri-color, black and tan, or red, orange, or lemon with white. The dog's muzzle is straight and boxy, and it has long, wide ears. Females are usually 13-15 inches tall and weigh 20-23 pounds, and males are 14-16 inches tall and weigh 22-25 pounds.
The AKC and CKC separate Beagles into two varieties: Under 13 inches and 13-15 inches.
Care and Feeding The Beagle needs a diet high in carbohydrates, with a high fat to protein ratio. Foods that contain potatoes, mutton, rabbit, poultry, wheat and corn satisfy these requirements. Food intake should be carefully controlled to avoid obesity. Beagles need regular brushing, and should be given baths only as needed. It is important to keep their nails trimmed and keep an eye on their ears, as their design makes them prone to infection.
Annual checkups are sufficient for Beagles. Vaccinations are scheduled as follows:
- 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
- 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
- 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
- Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster
Beagles are average shedders, so regular vacuuming is a must. They also have a typical hound scent, so it will be necessary to shampoo the carpet and clean the furniture regularly.
Housing Your Dog Beagles can live outdoors or inside. Although they are active indoors, they do not require a lot of space. They can do well in apartments, but they need somewhere to exercise outdoors.
Social Behaviors Beagles are very friendly dogs, and they get along well with adults, children and other dogs. They can do well with other pets, but it is preferable to introduce non-canine pets to them while they are young. The Beagle is happiest when he has company, so if you won't be home much consider a pair.
Activities Beagles are energetic dogs, and they need plenty of exercise to stay fit. They will need to be on a leash for their daily walk, because they tend to take off after the scent of small animals. Beagles enjoy playing in the yard, but it is important to keep it fenced in.
Breeding/Reproduction When considering a mate for your Beagle, check the potential sire or dam's bloodlines for a history of heart disease, epilepsy, and eye problems. Litters consist of an average of seven puppies.
Common Health Problems Beagles sometimes have epilepsy, but it is usually controllable with medication. Other problems include hypothyroidism and developmental disorders. Eye problems are also common in the breed.
There are a couple of conditions that can show up in this breed. 'Funny Puppy' is a condition unique to beagles that results in slow development, weak legs, and a crooked back. 'Chinese Beagle Syndrome' is another condition in which the dog has slanted eyes and under-developed outer toes.
References "Beagle", Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
"Beagles", Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
Cusick, William D., "What to Feed a Beagle", Referenced online, 2008
Welton, Michelle, "Beagles: What's Good About ‘Em? What's Bad About ‘Em?", Copyright 2000-2008
"Beagle Puppies for Sale", Copyright PuppyFind.com, LLC, Referenced online, 2008