Beagle Temperament: Gentle and loving souls with an extraordinary sense of smell
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If you're debating whether or not to enrich your life with a Beagle, you've sniffed out the right place. This post will help you decide if this hound breed is the right fit for your lifestyle.
They are one of the friendliest dog breeds and view humans as friends. Beagles have a lovely and outgoing temperament but are sensitive dogs as well. However, they come with some challenges that a potential future owner should know.
We'll break down everything from their temperament to exercise needs, delve into their breed history, and address important questions. By the end of this post, you'll have a comprehensive idea of whether the Beagle is the right choice for you. So, without further ado, let's get started!
Table of contents
History of the Beagle: Where does the Beagle originate from?
With its distinctive appearance and friendly disposition, the Beagle has captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide.
But beneath their charming exterior lies a history that dates back centuries, a tale of purposeful breeding and remarkable evolution.
Beagles were initially bred for their exceptional scenting abilities, making them ideal hunting companions. Their compact size, keen sense of smell, and boundless energy made them well-suited for tracking small game, especially hares and rabbits. Over the centuries, their hunting prowess led to various sizes and types of Beagles, each adapted for specific types of game and terrain.
Beagles have 220 million scent receptors in their nose, making them extraordinary scent trackers. In comparison, the average Dachshund would have around 125 million. Beagle's short legs keep them close to the ground, and their necks are built perfectly to pick up scent trails. This way, they can continue sniffing without stopping—their long floppy ears attract scent particles directing them towards their nose.
The foundation of the Beagle we know today was laid in the 1820s by various hunting dogs, including but not limited to the Talbot Hound and the North Country Beagle. Hunting with a pack of Beagles was called "beagling" in the 1820s. We can all imagine the importance of Beagles in hunting at that time. Once they picked up a smell, they howled to communicate with the pack and their hooman.
However, it wasn't until the 19th century that the Beagle breed, as we know it today, began to take shape. Breeders focused on refining their characteristics, aiming to preserve their keen noses, endurance, and friendly temperament.
The standardisation of the Beagle breed gained momentum with the establishment of breed clubs and the publication of breed standards. This led to the development of two distinct Beagle varieties: the 13-inch Beagle and the 15-inch Beagle. These classifications were based on the height of the dogs at the withers.
Queen Elizabeth kept a pack of Beagles so small that they could fit into a saddle or a pocket. The height at the shoulder wouldn't exceed 13 inches. They were called Pocket Beagles.
Beagles are used as sniffer dogs at airports or border controls to sniff out explosives or drugs. Their advantage is that they're cute and don't intimidate people at airports whilst still performing the job to the highest standards.
Today, Beagles are cherished members of countless households around the world. Their affectionate nature, coupled with their unwavering loyalty, makes them exceptional family pets and companions. While their hunting instincts may still occasionally surface during spirited play, they have embraced a new role as cherished indoor dogs.
The UK Kennel Club recognises 19 standard breed colours. The most common out there are probably the Beagles with the tri-coloured markings. During hunting sessions, a white tip on top of their tail helped keep them visible in higher grass or bushes.
In 2021, the Beagle ranked the 17th most popular dog breed in the UK and 2,491 Beagles were registered with the UK Kennel Club. The numbers have fallen since, and only 1,581 Beagles registered in 2022.
Source: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/5985/quarterly-breed-stats-hounds.pdf updated August 2023
What is the Beagle temperament?
Beagles possess a friendly nature that leads them to view the world and all humans as friends and family.
Consequently, they may not excel as guard or protection dogs due to their affable disposition.
However, this quality makes them a wonderful addition to families with children, as they exhibit boundless patience and gentleness in their interactions. Beagles thoroughly enjoy cuddles and the attention they receive.
Even as adults, Beagles maintain a considerable amount of energy. If your lifestyle involves ample walks and hiking, the Beagle could be considered your ideal canine companion, aligning perfectly with your high-energy routine. Whether you're a dedicated jogger or an enthusiastic cyclist, your Beagle is likely to relish these activities and share your enthusiasm.
Get a handsfree lead and off you two go! Outdoor experiences are where they thrive the most.
Beagles are usually peaceful and agreeable with other animals or dogs. They will be up for anything that you are up to. Their small size makes them suitable for apartment living if they get enough exercise outdoors. The coat is short and easily maintained, but they seem to shed more than other short-haired dog breeds.
They are gentle, and cute and will make you laugh. Sometimes your laugh might turn into tears. Because of their high attention need, Beagles can be destructive if left alone for several hours.
They have a pack dog heritage—another reason they love being part of a family. If you leave your home for several hours a day with no one to look after them, this breed is not for you. They will howl and bark for attention. Because of that pack heritage, they tend to be a vocal dog breed.
With their innate abilities as scent hounds, they take great pleasure in following their noses. This brings us swiftly to the second hurdle: training a Beagle can be a demanding endeavour. Numerous owners attest that it took a substantial year-long effort to adequately shape their furry companion's behaviour.
Establishing obedience training is imperative to prevent your Beagle from venturing into the woods, irresistibly drawn by alluring scents.
Successful training relies on your willingness to embrace their unique characteristics and adapt the training approach to harmonise with their needs and temperament.
With their abundance of energy and scent-driven instincts, Beagles are prone to prompt distractions, which can present difficulty during training. It's sensitive to organise training sessions that are short yet effective, two to three times a day. Consistency is vital due to their independent nature, which can lead to stubbornness compared to other, more eager-to-please breeds.
Acknowledging that attaining a perfect recall with a Beagle might pose difficulty is crucial. Rooted in their history as scent dogs and fueled by a strong prey drive, the allure of an exciting scent could make your Beagle run for the hills and go deaf. Consequently, granting Beagles off-leash freedom is not recommended; their reputation as adept escape artists is well-known among Beagle owners. Opting for supervised play within securely fenced-off spaces ensures their safety.
Much like their canine companions, Beagles respond well to training methods led by positive reinforcement. The utilisation of treats, praise, and rewards for good behaviour is the motivation for their learning journey. Nevertheless, given the Beagle's fondness for food, a measured approach to treat distribution is vital to avoid obesity.
Starting training early, maintaining a consistent routine, and being patient while using positive reinforcement all come together for a fulfilling journey in effectively training your Beagle and building a solid connection with your loyal furry friend. Harsh training will make them scared or make them ignore you altogether. Instead, they should adore you and not fear you.
Beagles are one of the most used dog breeds for laboratory testing. You don’t want your Beagle running around outside all by themselves, potentially being in danger of being stolen and sold. We will talk about this topic at the end of this blog post.
The best way to train your dog and get the best out of this fabulous breed is consistent training, dedication, a healthy diet, a knowledgeable breeder, early socialising, exercise and clear health history. Make the training fun and see it as a bonding experience with your canine companion.
Let's look at some common Beagle questions.
Are Beagles hypoallergenic?
No, Beagles aren't hypoallergenic dogs. They shed more dander than other dogs their size. It can cause problems for people with allergies. Hypoallergenic dogs don't exist, but some breeds shed less in comparison and might be suitable for people with mild allergies.
If you have a mild allergy but are set on a dog, please take the following precautions regularly. Hoover regularly, clean the dog bed at least once a week, create doggy-free zones, and reduce soft furnishings like carpets that can trap dead skin cells. Also, don't let the dog sleep in your bed.
Brushing your Beagle twice a week outside would be best not to shed excessive dander in your home.
Are Beagles good for first-time owners?
Due to their small and compact size, first-time dog owners often consider Beagles the ideal companion dog. They certainly are, but they also come with a handful of challenges. Generally, any dog can be suitable for first-time owners, depending on your willingness to invest time and money in training your furry companion.
Beagles aren't easily trainable, and as a future owner, you should invest a lot of time in understanding positive reinforcement training methods to make your relationship work.
Other dog breeds might be more suitable if you don't invest in the commitment.
When will Beagles calm down?
Beagles usually hit their stride in maturity around 18 months, entering a phase where they start thinking and acting more like grown-ups.
But let's chat about their energy levels. These hound champs come with a lot of liveliness worth appreciating. With a tank full of energy and stamina, Beagles always seek extra excitement. So, don't be taken aback if your Beagle carries that puppy-like excitement well into their golden years.
Their sensitivity is another thing to think about. These sharp-as-a-tack pups quickly pick up on your vibes; they'll mirror that energy right back if you're stressed. But here's the scoop—each Beagle is a one-of-a-kind character, which means it's a bit of a mixed bag. While some might naturally mellow as they age, there's no one-size-fits-all path for every Beagle.
So, when will your Beagle finally take it easy? That's a journey that's all their own.
Unique Girl Dog Names for a Beagle
Unique boy dog names for a Beagle
Gift ideas for Beagle lovers
Exploring the perfect gift for Beagle enthusiasts can be an exciting endeavour. Whether it's a charming canine-themed keepsake or a practical accessory tailored to their furry friend, the options are as diverse and delightful as the Beagle breed itself.
Discover a trio of premier gifts available on Amazon, and another trio of exceptional finds awaiting you on Etsy.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #1: Beagle Planter Pot
Introducing the Beagle Pot Planter – a charming blend of canine and botanical appeal for Beagle aficionados and plant lovers. This planter captures the beloved Beagle breed's essence, a delightful addition to any indoor or outdoor space.
More than decor, this lifelike Beagle Pot Planter sparks conversations and fond memories with its cheerful expression and lifelike markings.
Ideal for both Beagle enthusiasts and gardeners, it's a unique way to combine your love for Beagles and greenery. Order now to celebrate Beagle playfulness while nurturing your plants.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #2: Beagle Mum Mug
Delight the Beagle lover in your life with the perfect gift – the Beagle Mum Mug. Designed to celebrate their special bond with their furry friend, this mug is more than just a vessel; it's a daily reminder of their cherished Beagle companion.
Crafted with care, this mug showcases the lovable traits of the Beagle breed, making each sip a heartwarming experience.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #3: Beagle Cosmetic Bag
Elevate the Beagle owner's spirits with an exceptional gift – the Beagle Mum Cosmetic Bag. This isn't just any bag; it's a daily dose of Beagle appreciation and a stylish statement of their bond with their furry companion.
Offering the Beagle Mum Cosmetic Bag is a thoughtful way to acknowledge their deep affection for their furry friend. Every time they reach for their cosmetics, they'll be reminded of the joy and comfort their Beagle brings.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #4: Beagle Gold necklace -BYDEMIRULUER
What a splendid Christmas gift idea for someone who adores Beagles! An authentic gold Beagle necklace that can be customised in terms of length and material – a truly thoughtful and personalised present.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #5: Personalised Beagle Plaque -TynesideOriginals
Celebrate the bond with a personalised Beagle art piece – a truly special gift for devoted Beagle lovers. This customisable artwork captures the unique spirit of their beloved breed, making it a heartfelt and memorable present. Give the gift of Beagle-inspired art to adorn their space with charm and affection.
Gift idea for Beagle enthusiasts #6: Beagle Thermal Flask -GooseandMoosePrints
What a fantastic Christmas gift idea for those who love Beagles and care about the environment! An insulated Beagle water bottle keeps beverages at the perfect temperature and helps reduce plastic waste.
Beagle temperament in a nutshell
Friendly and Sociable: Beagles have a natural affinity for people and view them as friends and family.
Curious and Playful: Their inquisitive nature and playful demeanor make them delightful companions.
Independent Thinkers: Beagles possess a streak of independence, which can sometimes translate to stubbornness.
Sensitive and Emotionally Attuned: They're attuned to your emotions and can reflect your energy, whether it's excitement or stress.
Energetic and Enthusiastic: Beagles have a surplus of energy and stamina, making them keen participants in active lifestyles.
Potential health issues in the Beagle breed
Beagles, like many purebred dogs, can have certain genetic tendencies that are worth keeping an eye on through regular check-ups.
Starting on the right foot by getting a Beagle puppy from a reputable breeder can help reduce potential risks. But remember, this blog post isn't a replacement for a good chat with your vet. While there are specific diseases to be mindful of, it's crucial to research and talk to a vet before taking the plunge and getting a puppy.
Long and floppy ears can generally be susceptible to chronic ear infections due to less air circulation. Therefore, check ears regularly to treat ear infections quickly and effectively to avoid more severe conditions like deafness.
The Musladin-Lueke Syndrome is a disease that affects connective tissues and can cause joint stiffness. It's a required test in the US when breeding Beagles, as they seem more susceptible than other breeds.
1 in 48 Beagles is also a carrier of open-angle glaucoma, a disease affecting eye pressure. The increased pressure can lead to nerve damage and cause vision loss.
Hip dysplasia and luxating patellas are other conditions that your Beagle should be checked on.
Beagles may also suffer from seizure disorders and various cancers.
If you're interested in learning more about health concerns specific to Beagle dogs, I recommend checking out this article on Beagle health issues. Additionally, obtaining comprehensive insurance is crucial to avoid bearing the financial burden of potential medical expenses.
Most diseases are inherited in a recessive manner. It means that the puppy must inherit the gene from both parents to become dominant. The puppy becomes a carrier if the mutation is only present in one parent. Hence, choosing a reputable breeder who has done genetic testing on his Beagles is vital.
Being well-informed about these conditions increases the likelihood of extending your dog's life if issues surface. Like caring for a child, understanding necessary vaccinations, potential risks, and even hazards beyond your home is essential.
This blog post, for example, outlines all toxic spring plants to your dog that can be harmful.
Many dog owners are unaware of the danger in some pet toys and accessories that can worsen health issues when they innocently buy cheap products from the Far East. Avoid synthetic rubber playthings like chew bones or tug-of-war ropes from polyester; polyester collars could cause skin irritation and are not breathable like natural materials. Swap out those harmful materials with eco-friendly pet products from hemp here at Hooman’s Friend. Breathable, eco-friendly and sustainable!
Beagle fun facts
Beagle noses have also been used for lung cancer detection. Three Beagles could sniff out correctly malignant lung cancer in blood samples 96.7% of the time. In addition, they were taught to sit down if they sniffed the tumour and walk to the following piece if no cancer was present. These results are astonishing and show again how far we can get by using the natural traits of our canine companions positively.
The Beagles were trained with clicker training in this study, and no harmful methods were used. This is an excellent introduction to a cause close to our hearts.
Beagle Hounded Campaign
After reading all the above, one thing becomes evident. Beagles are small, gentle, not very territorial, and friendly. Unfortunately, their loving temperament makes them one of the preferred breeds for cruel animal testing in laboratories. Sadly, our society still relies on animal testing with injections when science is so far advanced. In 2020, 4340 experiments were carried out on dogs in the UK, and 4270 (98%) were Beagles. We believe that no animals should ever be used for testing. You can sign up for the newsletter of the Hounded Campaign to receive updates on progress made by this ambitious project to ban all testing on dogs in the UK.
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Beagle Summary Info box
11kg - 13kg
Tendency to drool
Tendency to bark
Tendency to dig