Get to know the Beagles
All you need to know about the breed
With their hangdog expression, droopy ears and expressive eyes, it’s no wonder that Beagles are one of the best-loved dog breeds around. Gentle and easy-going, they also have a lovely temperament – and, with a bit of training, Beagles are great with children and other animals too.
Although the origins of the Beagle are not precisely known, they are thought to have been with us for many hundreds of years. Believed to descend originally from the hunting hounds of the Romans, they became popular in Britain during the 1800s. In 1890, The Beagle Club was established and the standard followed soon after.
Today, the Beagle is one of the top 10 most popular dogs in the world, according to the American Kennel Club. Also a regular fixture on our screens, they’ve had a starring role in everything from the claymation series Wallace and Gromit and hit TV show The Wonder Years to children’s movie Shiloh. Notably, there was also Snoopy, the most famous Beagle of all, who appeared in the comic strip Peanuts.
With their russet, black and white coat, the Beagle is similar in appearance to the Foxhound – though the latter is much larger. Also, within the Beagle breed itself, there are two different varieties. The American Kennel Club makes the distinction between those under 13 inches at the shoulder and those between 13 and 15 inches – though in the UK they can be slightly larger.
With a fairly robust constitution, the Maltese is a healthy breed of dog with a good lifespan. Indeed, many Malteses live well into their teens – and, occasionally, even beyond.
Active and energetic, Beagles will require at least an hour of exercise every day, but ideally more. Bred to hunt in packs, they also do better with company and are not good at being left alone.
One other word of warning before choosing a Beagle: they like the sound of their own voice and can be known to bark and bay quite frequently. They also tend to be a little more challenging to train than some breeds, but nothing that can’t be overcome with a few treats and a bit of patience.
Overall, these faithful animals make a marvellous companion. In fact, with a bit of effort invested, you’ll soon be rewarded with a new best friend.
2 facts about Beagles
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Beagle
It’s important to choose an approved breeder
While the Beagle usually tends to have a pretty good lifespan, with an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, they can be prone to some genetic health conditions along the way – like all breeds of dog. As always, the key is to buy from a responsible and reputable breeder, as they will be screening for most inherited conditions, which will help to reduce the risks. Also, knowing if your Beagle is a carrier, or could potentially develop a health issue later on, can help you and your vet plan accordingly for their lifelong care.
Watch out for eye problems
The Beagle dog breed can also be prone to a few optical issues such as glaucoma, the degenerative disorder known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and a condition called ‘cherry eye’ in which a gland starts to protrude in the corner. As so often with these things, early detection can make all the difference. With that in mind, it is important to check your Beagle’s eyes regularly and to consult your vet if there are any unusual symptoms or signs of discomfort. In addition, a comprehensive ophthalmic examination is recommended for your Beagle twice a year.
This a breed that can also be susceptible to epilepsy
Triggered by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, this neurological condition can result in mild or sometimes severe seizures. Other symptoms may show themselves as staggering, falling over or temporary disorientation. One of the more common conditions seen in Beagles, the episodes can start to occur from around six months old. While seizures can be worrying to witness, they look a lot worse than they really are. In fact, the long-term prognosis for dogs suffering from epilepsy is usually quite positive. As always, it’s best to discuss things with your vet who will be able to recommend a suitable course of medication for your Beagle.
Caring for your Beagle
Grooming, training and exercise tips