Ain’t Nothin but a Hound Dog
With big ears and big brown “puppy dog” eyes, along with a happy-go-lucky personality, it is no wonder that beagles are a fan favorite amongst dog lovers. Not to mention, with films like Shiloh and Captain Underdog and of course America’s favorite Beagle, Snoopy, putting the hounds in the spotlight, they have easily become one of the most popular puppy breeds in the United States and Canada.
However, something most puppy and dog buyers do not consider when adopting their beagles, is how taking care of them might be different than taking care of other dog types. A Labrador retriever, for example, does not require the same grooming or eating habits as a beagle.
If you recently adopted a beagle, or are considering doing so, this is your starter's guide for taking care of healthy, happy beagles.
Beagles come in two varieties 13 and 15 inches. 13 inch Beagles are typically between 12 and up to 13 inches, though on some occasions you can find one smaller. The 15 inch variety is between 13 and 15 inches.
Beagles' weight range is usually between 20-30 pounds. Those dogs who fall under 13 inches tall may weigh under 20 pounds.
Beagles, conforming to the standard, have fairly large and blocky heads, featuring a square-cut muzzle, long droopy ears, and big, round, pleading eyes that are usually brown or hazel. Their coats can come in a wide variety of colors, with black, tan, red, white, blue, and even lemon possibly making an appearance (these are color names provided by the) American Kennel Club: Beagles.
When it comes to coat maintenance, beagles will be less intensive than some other breeds, and you can expect a moderate amount of seasonal shedding.
The National Beagle Club provides a very detailed document; Visualization of the Beagle Standard.
Beagles were originally bred to be hunting dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sweet. Beagles are kind, loving, and very social, with a preference to be in packs and around groups of their two or four legged friends. This makes them excellent companions and a welcome addition to a family.
They are also intelligent and great with children. Beagles love to be outdoors, so it is best to have a large yard that they can run around in or you should take them for long daily walks. Their energy level is fairly high, even for such a small breed, so you should be prepared to keep them engaged throughout the day, whether personally or with a canine companion.
You should avoid leaving beagles alone for extended periods of time. As pack dogs who love companionship, they can become frustrated and destructive if left alone, even if it’s outside in a spacious yard.
Beagles can be stubborn but can respond well to positive reinforcement, like how they would respond to a pack leader, especially when food is involved. They are easily sociable, and most can be integrated into a loving family quite quickly. So, for those families worried about how well a beagle would take to adoption, you should rest assured that they can fit into your home with comfort.
Beagles have gotten a bad reputation for their howl and barking when excited. Structured socialization including early neurological stimulation, desensitization and experiential learning by their breeder and new owners as puppies go a long way to address this, making them on par with other dog breeds.
Caring for the Best Beagles
Now that you have gotten to know the Beagle a bit, let’s talk about how you can better care for them in your home.
First, let’s talk about shedding and managing their coats. Beagles’ coats will get heavier during winter, which means that during spring you can expect a bit more shedding than usual. Otherwise, beagles will experience a moderate amount of shedding year-round.
Beagles have a thick double coat, and you’ll want to care for it by brushing them weekly with a medium-bristle brush, a hound glove, or other grooming tools.
If you can prevent your beagle from frolicking in big messes, then you won’t have to bathe them very often, once every week or few is all that is required.
Lastly, every dog breed (including beagles) should have their nails trimmed regularly. So, in case you don’t have experience with dogs, remember to keep track of their nail trims.
Beagles are overall very healthy dogs. For all dog breeds (again, beagles included) you should check their ears weekly, and teeth should be cared for regularly.
Beagles do have some health conditions that they are more prone to, and you should make sure to look out for them. These are:
- Eye conditions (cataracts, glaucoma, Stationary Night Blindness)
- Epilepsy/ Seizures
- Blood clotting problems
While they may be more prone to these issues, you shouldn’t consider it a guarantee. Keeping track of your beagle’s health and noting any changes in their behavior or routine can help you catch any issues and get proper treatment swiftly.
Beagles are great dogs, and as with any other dog, it is important to know what to do in case any issues arise.
Make sure you get your Beagle from a good Breeder. They will perform the health tracking and testing as recommended by the AKC and National Beagle Club of America. This is a must to ensure you are getting the healthiest Beagle possible. A good breeder will also be very knowledgable if issues do arise.
When it comes to feeding your beagle, you can choose to provide high-quality store-bought food, or you can prepare your own at home. A food we highly recommend is Life’s Abundance. Life’s Abundance is a very high quality food, gets outstanding independent reviews, and has never had a recall.
When it comes to homemade dog food, you should seek a veterinarian’s approval, as they can ensure that you are providing your dog with the proper nutrients and preparing the food accordingly.
Puppies, adults, and senior dogs may have different dietary needs. Again, you may consult with a veterinarian if you want to make sure you are accommodating them, or if you have any concerns
Being food motivated, consider your beagle's activity level when feeding them. Some dogs can very easily become overweight, if you notice this in your beagle, then make sure to adjust food portions. Not all human food is good for dogs either, so only give your Beagle high quality treats in small portions and then as positive reinforcement.
In addition to proper food, make sure your beagle has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
Having a Ball with Your Beagle
As mentioned above, beagles are very active dogs and need stimulating exercise every day. An hour or so is the daily recommended amount for beagles. As beagles are naturally pack dogs, you’ll want to accompany them for activities or have them play with another dog if possible.
Long walks are great for beagles, but you’ll want to make sure to keep them leashed as they are scent hounds and will intensely pursue an interesting scent. This can make for fun games at home but be careful when outside.
Playing fetch and going on hikes are also great activities that will keep your beagles' minds and bodies active.
If you have a backyard that you want them to run around in, you should take some precautions to ensure they don’t get loose. A fence at least 5 feet tall is recommended, and it should extend underground as beagles are enthusiastic diggers.
Raising Mannerly Beagles
Due to their sometimes-stubborn personality, training beagles will require a lot of time and patience when they are puppies. However, the time spent will be incredibly rewarding, and you’ll have a dog who quickly become an essential piece of your family/
Treats are great training aids, however, you should provide them in moderation, to avoid causing obesity in your beagle. Positive reinforcement is incredibly important for beagles, and they will not respond well to more harsh techniques. Supporting their good behavior with positive affirmation (“Good boy!”, ``Good job!”), will go a long way.
Preparing your home for Beagles
If you haven’t had dogs before, then you might not be aware of all the things you should consider for making them (and you!) comfortable in your home. Here are some tips for beagle-proofing your home.
Thoroughly clean your home
This may be a fairly straightforward tip, but it is incredibly important for a number of reasons. One of the most important is to get rid of crumbs and possibly hidden food fragments that may trigger your beagle and send them on a food-finding mission. With a beagle’s incredible sense of smell, they might work very hard to try to retrieve a piece of food you didn’t even know was there.
Move couches, dressers, and other pieces of furniture that might have something lingering behind or beneath them.
Remove toxic items
Plants that are poisonous to dogs and things like home cleaning products should be moved from anywhere that your beagle might be able to access them.
Keep food well-contained and secure your trash can
Do your best to keep food out of reach of your beagles and place it in airtight containers in secure locations. Also, consider buying an airtight trash can that won’t be easily knocked over. This will prevent them from gaining access to any food morsels that may be left in the trash.
Purchase gates to keep them contained
A mature and well-trained beagle may eventually be trusted to roam throughout the house more, but while in training, you’ll most likely want to provide baby gates to keep them contained where you can keep track of them.
Secure your yard!
This is one of the most important tips, and we touched on it briefly earlier. Beagles are often considered escape artists, and you’ll want to make sure you account for that in your house. While this also means closing doors and keeping low windows down when beagles are around, this is incredibly important when considering your yard.
You’ll want high fences that extend underground, to prevent your beagles from going up or under, in pursuit of scents or whatever else they find interest in.
Adopt your own Beagle from KanD Beagles
Are you looking to adopt a healthy, outstandingly pedigreed, and better mannered beagle? Check out the KanD Beagles website.
Our Beagles are raised lovingly on our farm in North Texas, with good health, outstanding pedigrees, and a caring family.