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Beagle: Breed Characteristics, Care & Nutrition

Beagle Dog Breed

  • Breed: Beagle (English Beagle), small dog breeds
  • Origin: England
  • Weight: 10 to 20 kg
  • Height at the withers: 33 to 38 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 15 years
  • Fur: short, smooth, dense
  • Color: black, brown, and white
  • Temperament: active, curious, happy, courageous, willful, intelligent

Beagle: history

The Beagle is one of the most well-known breeds in the world. Its history goes back centuries. In the Ardennes (western part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains), monks have been breeding the St. Hubertus dog since the 7th century. To increase strength and speed, this was crossed with greyhounds. From this mating, the Northern Hounds, later called Talbot, came into being.

When the Normans conquered Britain in 1066, they brought the Northern Hounds with them to England. These in turn were crossed with the Southern Hounds, already established in England. In order to combine the positive characteristics of both breeds, the English Beagle was created around 1400.

The beagle hound was primarily used to hunt rabbits but was also used to hunt jackals and wild boars.

While few beagles are used today to hunt singly or in packs, most members of the breed make lovable pets.

He belongs to FCI group 6 (scent hounds, scent hounds, and related breeds), section 1.3 (small scent hounds. With working test.).

Beagle: breed characteristics

Essence and temperament

The Beagle is a very sociable dog. After a short phase of restraint, he reacts with curiosity and friendliness to small and large conspecifics as well as to people.

He has a very keen sense of smell, which allows him to pick up even the finest traces.

The breed is also characterized by determination and perseverance. Once the Beagle has set his mind on something, he will use all means to achieve his goal. His hunting instinct can get the upper hand and commands from humans are ignored.

The Beagle’s hearing is of the very highest quality and as pack dogs, the animals have great adaptability – a quality that has a positive effect when living with the dog.

For the Beagle, there must be clear structures within his pack in which he has his place. Otherwise, there is a risk that he will try to become the leader of the pack himself.

The Beagle is a scent hound and therefore needs a lot of exercises. Long distances are very welcome to him. He also needs enough activity and enjoys it when there is always something going on.

His nature is very intelligent, which does not necessarily go hand in hand with obedience. As a hunting dog, it is shaped in such a way that it acts independently in the open field. It requires a consistent and at the same time loving upbringing in order to tame the stubbornness halfway.

Beagles are very alert dogs, who will bark loudly at unfamiliar sounds, alerting the pack of danger. However, they are not watchdogs as they are far too friendly for that. A burglar could easily bribe these dogs with a treat.

Should the hunting instinct of the four-legged friend get the upper hand, so that there are large and small incidents, he is well protected with both the dog health insurance and the dog liability insurance of the DFV. The DFV animal health protection provides up to 100% reimbursement of costs in the event of illness and surgeries.


Beagles are divided into two groups of different sizes. A small beagle is about 30 cm high and weighs about 10 kg. The second group is 30-40 cm high and weighs about 15-20 kg.

The breed is muscular, sturdy, and has a slightly domed skull. The muzzle is square, the nose is broad, and their ears are long and lobed. The Beagle has a deep chest, a straight back, and a moderately long tail that is carried high. The short, smooth, dense coat is mostly black, brown, and white. In Germany, however, bicolored Beagles are also widespread. They lack the black color, while the brown appears redder and can be lemon-colored. Beagles have a soft expression in their deep dark brown eyes. The paws feel firm, appear round and closed.

Education of the Beagle puppies

Beagles are very intelligent dogs with headstrong, stubborn temperaments. They need consistent training so that they respect humans as pack leaders, follow their commands, and do not give in to the hunting instinct.

The most important thing about training the Beagle is retrieval training to ensure the dog can later be let off the leash with ease.

Since Beagles generally do not like to be left alone, it is important to perfectly socialize and educate the puppy from the start.

The small dogs are very sensitive and need a gentle tone. With loving and gentle severity one achieves the most. Dog owners can easily take advantage of their greed for treats. Representatives of this breed will do almost anything for a tasty treat.

Tips for training the Beagle puppy:

  • Start training immediately after purchase or during the phase of getting to know the breeder.
  • Show him where he sleeps as soon as you take him home.
  • The Beagle puppy learns its name by calling it. Make sure he reacts and talks to him.
  • The young dog needs a specific reference person.
  • Give him the right signal when he misbehaves with a short “No!”, or “Off!”.
  • Only give the puppy a treat if it has performed well.
  • Slowly get your four-legged friend used to be alone.
  • Be consistent.

Activities with the Beagle

When the Beagle is not being used in its original function as a hunting dog, it should be offered the appropriate level of exercise through alternative activities. Long daily walks and mental exercise are crucial to his well-being. In order to fulfill his running instinct, the adult beagle can also ideally run next to the bicycle. He also likes to play with other dogs.

Sports for the Beagle

Like all scent hounds, the Beagle needs a lot of exercise and exercise. The active four-legged friends are also suitable for various sports.

These sports are suitable for the Beagle:

Dummy training

Dummy training was originally used in England to prepare for game hunting. This way the dog could quickly find the dead or injured animal and bring it back to the hunter. Today, dummy training is used to challenge family dogs like the beagle in a species-appropriate manner. The training consists of marking, searching, and instructing.

Marking: First, the dummy is deliberately thrown as far as possible into confusing terrain. The dog should remember the trajectory of the dummy and only bring it back after a signal from the human. This exercise requires the dog’s sense of smell because it must be able to estimate the approximate distance to the point of fall.

Search: If the beagle cannot clearly identify the dummy’s target, it must systematically search the surrounding target area. Here his nose is challenged.

Instruct: If neither the marking nor the search proved to be successful, the instructing follows. With hand signals, whistles and voices, the human has to steer the four-legged friend in the right direction.

Dummy training offers many advantages:

  • extra exercise for the dog
  • increases the independence of the dog
  • promotes concentration and endurance
  • strengthens the relationship between dog and owner
  • offers variety
  • increases obedience to distractions


This dog sport improves communication between humans and dogs and can be practiced particularly well outdoors.

In agility, the dog has to go through a course with obstacles, while the owner leads his four-legged friend through the course with body language and voice, as if on an invisible leash. The course consists of various obstacles, such as B. slalom poles, seesaws, tunnels, hurdles, or tires.

The various obstacles are completed in a different order. It depends above all on speed, dexterity, and good leadership in the dog. In agility, master and dog must be able to harmonize, complement and rely on each other.

The intensive cooperation with owners is great fun for the Beagle.

But beware: This sport is not suitable for overweight and sick dogs due to the high level of exertion. It puts a strain on the joints and can lead to joint diseases (e.g. arthrosis) in particularly heavy dogs.

Dog dancing

This dog sport provides variety in everyday life and promotes the partnership between humans and animals.

In “Dance with the Dog” the dog’s natural behavior is used to develop a varied choreography to the music. You can let your creativity run free. Everything is allowed, from simply running forwards and backward to turns, slalom runs, or jumps.

The dog owner guides the four-legged friend with voice commands and body signals.

Rules for the athletic team Beagle and Human:

So that the persevering dog can really let off steam, a few rules must be observed:

  • The motivation for each new exercise is food. Reach for low-calorie rewards whenever possible to avoid obesity.
  • After the walk and after eating, the beagle should first have a rest for a nap.
  • Don’t force anything. Activities with the Beagle are all about having fun.
  • Don’t waste time on activities your Beagle obviously doesn’t enjoy.
  • Always break down complex exercises into sub-steps. Increase the difficulty slowly and avoid being overwhelmed.
  • Never leave your four-legged friend with new toys unsupervised.
  • You decide when a game or sport starts and when it ends.

Beagle: care

Despite its short coat, the Beagle sheds quite a lot. Masters and mistresses should get a good vacuum cleaner or vacuum robot. Otherwise, the fur is easy to care for and gets along very well with occasional brushing and, if necessary, a shower with dog shampoo. The claws should be trimmed from time to time. Ear care requires more attention as lop ears tend to become inflamed.

Beagle: diet

The Beagle is known for its high gluttony. For this reason, you should already pay attention to an appropriate amount of energy in the food when you are a puppy. Feeding habits can be trained to counteract obesity as early as possible. Even with good training, food should never be left unattended within a Beagle’s reach.

When choosing the right food, you should pay attention to a needs-based and balanced proportion of energy, minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. A puppy is usually fed three to four times a day. From the change of teeth, the feeding should be changed to twice.

The amount of food depends on the weight of the puppy and the expected adult weight. The weight of the parent animal of the same sex can serve as a guideline for this. In addition, the amount of food depends on the activity level of the dog. The treats should always be deducted from the daily feed ration.

Beagle: Typical diseases and breed-related problems

Obesity: Almost a quarter of all dogs suffer from obesity. In most cases, this is due to excessive energy supply. The Beagle is even more frequently affected by obesity since its metabolic energy requirements are up to 15% lower than other dog breeds. For this reason, Beagles should only be fed food with a low energy density in order to be properly satisfied after feeding and at the same time be able to maintain their ideal weight. An exact ration calculation is recommended in order to determine the dog’s exact nutrient requirements, optimal feed composition, and feed quantity.

Disc Disease/Herniated Disc: The Beagle suffers from breed-related weakened cartilage, so his disc tissue tends to tear with even the slightest exertion. The “liquid” content swells, presses on the spinal cord, and can result in pain and nerve failures up to serious paralysis.

Being overweight can also promote intervertebral disc disease. Certain ingredients in the feed can support the cartilage tissue as a precautionary measure and prevent long-term effects. Glucosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfate from green-lipped mussel extract serve as the natural building blocks of cartilage tissue.

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): Underactive thyroid is noticeable through hair loss on the tail, flanks, and ears as well as sluggishness, obesity, infertility, and dry, scaly skin. Symptoms of the nervous system can also be symptoms of the disease.

Beagles suffer from hypothyroidism quite frequently. In most cases, this is due to a loss of thyroid tissue, which leads to reduced hormone production. Affected animals are treated by hormone substitution. Needs-adapted nutrition can have a supportive effect. In order to maintain the remaining tissue, the dog’s body needs various nutrients, in particular, iodine for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine). These should be included in the beagle’s diet.

Is the Beagle right for me?

Since the Beagle is a hunting dog, city dwellers should provide ample substitutes for the wild. The dog needs long walks in the countryside. A garden is ideal. However, this should be escape-proof, because Beagles can develop great skill in escaping. However, representatives of this breed are very adaptable, with enough exercise and activity they also feel comfortable in an apartment.

The Beagle gets along very well with other dogs and with children. It needs close social contact with humans in order not to wither away mentally.

Anyone who expects unconditional obedience in all situations should choose a different breed of dog. Beagles were bred to find a game track or trail on their own, without visual contact and without a guide. By barking loudly and continuously, they show the hunter where they are and from which direction they are driving the game towards them. So the Beagle can’t get off the leash everywhere and has a certain stubbornness.

However, the character dog can be trained quite well. He is willing to learn and motivated. Attending a dog school is definitely recommended.

If you are away from home for seven hours or even longer, you should not opt ​​for a Beagle for the benefit of the dog. He should not be alone for more than three to five hours at most.

Is the Beagle a family dog?

Beagles are pack dogs and feel particularly at home as part of a family. They are considered to be extremely child-friendly. The beagle puts up with almost everything from the children of “his pack” and does not become malicious. If it gets too much for him, he just withdraws. However, it should be noted that the Beagle is still a dog. For all the love and kindness, a toddler should never be left unsupervised with a dog. Furthermore, a child can never be given the responsibility for an animal.

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