Beagles are best for active pet parents and thrive in family homes.
What makes the Beagle a Beagle? Let's find out how they stack up.
The Beagle’s temperament is generally joyful, determined and adventurous. They’re spunky dogs who typically get along well with others, and their curious personality means they love to play and explore.
Couch potatoes they are not! In fact, they need a lot of exercise and thrive when given a job to do. They were originally bred to track and hunt game, and you’ll often see them with their nose to the ground. At times they can be too driven by scents. Don’t be surprised if they smell something interesting and take off!
Known for their intelligence, a bored Beagle may get themselves into trouble. Don’t worry—Beagles are happy to tell you when they need more stimulation with their attention-getting vocalizations. A cross between a bark and a howl, the unmistakable Beagle “baying” is sharper than a bark but not as drawn out as a howl. Beagles love to join in when they hear other dogs howling or when they want to express themselves with their “Beagle noises.”
Agility training, scent work or tracking classes might be good activities to explore with these smart, strong-willed dogs. (Psst, the National Beagle Club is a good resource for events and other activities for this breed.)
While a Beagle puppy can be mouthy and chew things they shouldn’t (just like any other puppy!), the Beagle breed isn’t expected to have aggressive tendencies as an adult. These social, family dogs get along well with children and are great for active families. And since they were originally bred for hunting in packs, they also do well with other dogs, although they may need more time to adjust to cat households.
How to Care for a Beagle
Beagles are always up for a good time. While that might sometimes translate into your pup being a little mischievous at times, raising a Beagle can be a fun and rewarding experience. That being said, it’s always helpful to know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time, so the following Beagle information is our primer on the basics of caring for this sweet and gentle breed.
Several health problems are commonly seen in Beagles. While you won’t necessarily come across these in your dog, it’s good to know what to keep an eye out for—from eye issues to join concerns—so your Beagle can live their life as happy and healthy as possible.
- Cherry Eye: Cherry eye is when the dog’s third eyelid slips out of place and swells. It’s usually due to weakened connective tissue and looks like a pink or red bulge in the front corner of their eye. It can be irritating for the dog and requires surgery to fix. It’s not preventable and can happen to dogs at any age, but it often occurs in dogs younger than 2 years old.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): IVDD is a back problem seen in Beagles that happens when one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the dog’s spinal cord. It can be very painful, and your dog may be suddenly paralyzed or not able to use their back legs. Weight control is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening. (An overweight Beagle is also more prone to diseases such as hypothyroidism and diabetes.)
- Dental Disease: Beagles tend to see more dental disease than other dogs their size. It’s recommended to start dental care when they are puppies, as periodontal disease can lead to teeth loss and even more serious issues like heart, liver and kidney disease.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is when the hip joint becomes partially or completely dislocated because the ball and socket of the joint don’t fit together properly. As you can imagine, this can become painful over time and become a big issue, especially for an active dog. Treatments range from the nonsurgical, like weight reduction and physical therapy, to surgical, depending on the severity.
- Luxating Patella: The patella is the medical term for the kneecap, so a luxating patella is when the kneecap doesn’t stay in the groove it’s supposed to be in. It’s basically a dislocated kneecap. This is more common in smaller breeds and doesn’t necessarily cause pain as with hip dysplasia. Dogs can live with this problem for years, but it can lead to other injuries, like torn cruciate ligaments, arthritis and more.
- Epilepsy: One of the more common neurological disorders seen in dogs, epilepsy is a seizure disorder. It’s not always possible to determine the cause of the seizures, but it may be treated with medication.
While the breed’s exact origins aren’t exactly clear, reports of small hounds hunting hares in Britain date back as far as 55 B.C. As time went on, larger hounds were bred for tracking down deer, and smaller hounds were bred for rabbit hunting. Modern Beagles are most likely descendants of smaller hunting hounds from the 1500s. Around that time, Beagles became popular as “foot hounds,” meaning that—unlike with larger hound breeds—one could hunt with a pack of Beagles on foot instead of on horseback.
Beagles arrived in the United States after the Civil War, and “Blunder” was the first Beagle recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The breed has always been popular among rabbit hunters and is one of the most popular dog breeds among families today, ranking as the seventh-most-popular dog by the AKC.
Looking to make a Beagle part of your family? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the AKC’s website. Working with a reputable breeder usually means you’re getting a puppy who’s been screened for health issues and temperament. Depending on the breeder, a Beagle price can range from $350 to $1,500, with an average of about $500 to $850. Propsective pet parents can also adopt from Beagle rescue groups or keep an eye out for the breed at their local animal shelter.
Are Beagles hypoallergenic?
No, Beagles are not hypoallergenic. Like many working dogs, the breed has a double coat, which means they have a soft undercoat and coarse outercoat. This helps keep them warm but also means they shed seasonally in the spring and winter.
Do Beagles bark a lot?
Beagles are known for barking and howling to express themselves. Keeping your Beagle busy and ensuring they get enough exercise is the best way to reduce their vocalizations. You can also train them to learn “quiet” as a command, but controlling their environment will help (not leaving them alone in the yard for long periods, etc.).
Are Beagles good with cats?
Beagles may require some training to learn they aren’t supposed to chase cats. If a puppy grew up around the cat, it probably would be fine. But bringing in an older Beagle where they’ve never had a cat might take a little bit of work.
What are the most popular Beagle names?
The most popular beagle names are Charlie, Bella, Lucy, Daisy and Bailey, with Cooper, Sadie, Buddy, Max and Penny rounding out the top 10. For even more ideas, check out our list of the best dog names for your new pup.
What are the most common beagle mixes?
The most common breed mixes are:
- Beagle-Harrier mix (Beagle Harrier)
- Beagle-Labrador mix (Beagador)
- Beagle-Chihuahua mix (Cheagle)
- Beagle-Husky mix (Beaski)
- Beagle-Pug mix (Puggle)
- Beagle-German Shepherd mix (Beagle Shepherd)
- Beagle-English Springer Spaniel mix (Spreagle)
- Beagle-Miniature Pinscher mix (Meagle)
- Beagle-Dachshund mix (Doxle)
- Beagle-Poodle mix (Beaglepoo)
- Beagle-Boxer mix (Boggle)
- Beagle-Border Collie mix (Border Beagle),
- Beagle-Pekingese mix (Peagle)
Beagles make great pets for active families who have the time and energy to invest in this breed. Beagles are smart, curious, and fun to have around. But they can be destructive and loud when left to their own devices. It takes some effort to train them properly, but you will be rewarded with a loyal family member for life.