The Beagle is a scent hound and a great family pet. They are known for being affectionate and having loud voices.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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The distinctive baying bark led to its name in the Middle Ages from the French ("bee gueule" which literally means “wide throated”).
About this Breed
Although scent hounds have been bred for thousands of years, the modern Beagle was developed in Great Britain in the 1830s. One of the forebearers of modern Beagles is the pocket Beagles popularized in Elizabethan England as a small scent hound that could be carried in a saddlebag. Like other scent hounds, Beagles have an incredible sense of smell with far more olfactory receptors and even more than most other dog breeds. They are valued not just as hunting companions, but also by police and customs.
Beagles have been popular in the United States ever since being recognized by the AKC in 1885, and have won two Best in Shows at Westminster in the past two decades (2008 and 2015). They are a relatively healthy breed, although they suffer from hereditary eye disorders and their long, low ears (which help them track scents by directing odors towards their nose) are prone to infection.
Beagles are friendly, curious, and merry, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). They are often family dogs and were ranked as the most popular hound dog for years in America, the AKC reported.
“Not only is the Beagle an excellent hunting dog and loyal companion, it is also happy-go-lucky, funny, and—thanks to its pleading expression—cute,” the AKC said. “They were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy company and are generally easygoing.”
Two Beagle varieties are shown, the 13 inch and the 15 inch. Both are sturdy and solid, according to the AKC. Beagles come in many hound colors with their tricolor coats, red and white being the most common. They have brown or hazel eyes, long ears, and a broadhead.
Playtime is crucial for most dogs, but especially Beagles.
Beagles need at least an hour of exercise daily and it should be supervised. A Beagle can become destructive if left alone for long periods of time.
“Beagles are escape artists, so an exercise area must have a fence at least 5 feet tall that extends underground to prevent tunneling,” the AKC reported. “Walks must always be taken on a leash, because as a scenthound with a very strong hunting instinct, a Beagle will not be able to resist the urge to run off in pursuit of a compelling scent.”
Beagles have a smooth double coat that gets heavier during the winter. Still, this breed sheds all year. Brushing them weekly using a rubber grooming mitt or tool will help control the shedding.
The long ears of a Beagle need to be kept clean as well. If your Beagle loves water, these long ears increase their chance of developing an ear infection. Talk to your veterinarian about regular ear maintenance and the signs to look out for in case an ear infection does occur. You should also trim your Beagle’s nails regularly and think about dental care.
An Embark Dog DNA Test looks at the following health conditions in Beagles:
Beagle breeder information
Should I breed my dog with health variants?
Many breeders receive their dog’s Embark results and discover that their dog is a carrier or at-risk for a genetic health disease. This begs the question, “Should dogs with one or two copies of a deleterious variant be used in a breeding program?” In this video, Embark’s Chief Science Officer explains what to consider when answering that question.
Inbreeding is a measure of how closely related your dog’s parents were. The higher the number, the more closely related the parents. Embark scientists, along with our research partners at Cornell University, have shown that a dog’s level of inbreeding is scientifically known to impact dog health and longevity. Learn more.
Factoring in genetics to breeding decisions
Embark’s Matchmaker tool enables breeders to evaluate dogs for prospective breedings by comparing their genetic profiles. You can access Matchmaker for Beagles by using the Embark for Breeders kit.
Active research for Beagles
Osteoarthritis and Obesity: These are highly complex conditions impacted by medical history, environment, and nutrition. In collaboration with the scientists at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, we are working to understand the role of genetics in risk for these traits.