Beagles are sturdy, athletic, and highly energetic. Some individuals are excessively shy. If given company and exercise, the Beagle can be quiet in the house. The Beagle is not a good breed to leave home alone all day; they are pack (both human and animal) dogs and can suffer severe separation anxiety if left alone. Beagles are not territorial, but they bark at almost everything. Known to escape yards by digging under fences. Beagles are curious and have a tendency to follow their noses. If they pick up a scent they may wander off and not even hear you calling them back, or care to listen, as they will be too busy trying to find the critter at the other end. Take care when letting them off leash, especially in unfenced areas. Beagles are fine howlers.
England, 1000–1300s. The Beagle, said to have been bred down from the larger Foxhound to hunt with men on foot, preferably after the hare. During the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, there were wirehaired Beagles, some of which were small enough to be carried in the pocket of a hunting jacket. The Beagle’s size has increased over the years but smaller versions of the breed, called ‘pocket Beagles’, are sometimes born.
Independent, merry, gentle, wilful, energetic, stubborn.
Two sizes (for show purposes): 33 cm and 38 cm; 7.5 to 16 kg; this division has been in place since 1890. Beagles are the smallest of the scent hounds. Any true hound colour allowed, such as black-and-tan, red-and-white, or lemon-and-white; white tip on tail preferred.
Short and hard. Minimal care; bathe only when necessary. Beagle ears need special attention. Year-round average shedding.
Eye problems (glaucoma, PRA, cataracts, ectropion), heart disease (pulmonic stenosis), allergies, ear infections, disc problems, cancer, gastritis, epilepsy, deafness, anaemia, obesity.
Average to high, depending partly on whether or not they come from show stock. Field trial and show Beagles are much more laid back than hunting stock. Beagles who don’t get their required exercise may become hyperactive in the house.
Not really suitable for apartment living, but possible if given generous amounts of exercise. Beagles are very active indoors, a small yard is desired.
Beagles are sociable to everyone. One of the best dogs with children, especially if exposed when young. Excellent with other pets; but because of its hunting instincts, Beagles should not be trusted with non-canine pets, unless socialised with cats and other household animals when young.
Average. They can be difficult to train; however, they are strongly food-motivated, so positive reinforcement using treats can work well. Beagles do best with obedience training. They take a long time to housetrain, so start early.
Hunting (rabbits, pheasant), tracking, flyball, agility, field trials.