published August 2018
Who doesn't love a Beagle's doe-like eyes and happy, easy-going nature? Their cute, floppy ears? As a member of the hound family, they live to use their nose and love to eat! They are excellent as scent detection dogs at airports and can search out weapons, drugs, and illegal food items with ease. Originally bred in England to hunt, the Beagle has long been popular as a family companion.
Beagles have been around so long that no one is quite certain of their origins. Similar size and type dogs were found in Ancient Greece in the 5th century B.C. to hunt rabbit and hare. Early Beagles during Medieval times were small and stood only 8 to 9 inches tall. They were called "Pocket Beagles" because they were small enough to fit into a hunter's pocket. As larger dogs were needed for hunting larger prey, these smaller Beagles became extinct in 1901.
The more modern breed which is larger in size originated in Great Britain in the 1830s as a cross between two breeds: the Southern Hound, and the North Country Beagle. A man named Reverend Phillip Honeywood of Great Britain started a breeding program and King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I fell in love with the breed. Wanting to improve on the breed, Thomas Johnson produced dogs that were statelier in appearance and better hunters.
Since then the breed has been successfully domesticated and has become popular as a family pet and show dog.
Beagles are loving, gentle dogs with a fierce independent streak. As a pet parent, you will have to be patient and persistent since this breed is so strong willed.
When training your Beagle, always have him on a lead or he will follow his nose versus your commands and head off in search of an enticing scent.
Before you go over the moon for this breed, know that they love companionship and do not like to be alone. Therefore, separation anxiety can be an issue.
Points of Interest:
As Bark Busters trainers, we have seen Beagles plough through drywall when left alone for too long. To cut down on the destruction, Beagles need a lot of exercise, education and an outlet for their energy.
Beagles are often known as the “Goldilocks” of dogs – not too big, not too small, not too aggressive and not too shy. Because of their acute sense of smell, they are often called a “nose with feet”.
Know also that they are so vocal, they might not make the best apartment dwellers… you can hear them howl loudly. For a dog its size, the Beagle has a BIG voice. A Beagle’s voice is not only typically louder than other breeds its size, it has a passionate tone that other breeds do not have.
Fun Facts About Beagles
What are the advantages of a Beagle?
Beagles are often described as: "they never met a person they didn't like". They get along well with kids and other breeds because they are carefree and cooperative. In fact, the Beagle has a fun and curious nature, much like many children. They can thrive both in the city and country, although they do best with plenty of room to roam. If you are looking for a couch potato – this is not the breed to choose as they require a lot of exercise.
The two biggest dog training problems with the Beagle involves coming when called and walking by their pet parent’s side on a lead. Why? Because Beagles have their nose to the ground and prefer to follow that versus you! They will wander around whether supervised or not.
Some people will say that Beagles are not intelligent, but this is far from the truth. Consider the fact that they often get away with NOT following your commands. Beagles are free thinkers, and unlike Labradors who live to please their pet parents, Beagles follow the beat of their own drummer. This does not mean they can't be trained. In fact, the Bark Busters style of training which is based on the way dogs naturally communicate is perfect for this dog. Although training can be a challenge, with persistence and patience you can succeed. He will have to develop respect for your leadership and perceive you as the leader of the pack.
It is believed the name "Beagle" comes from the Middle French words "bee gueule," which literally translated means "wide throat", or more commonly for the Beagle "loud mouth".
The breed is multi-talented and is often used by Government authorities to search for illegal food, plants and drugs because of their phenomenal sense of scent.
Beagles are also great hunting dogs. Beagles are fiercely loyal, highly energetic and hunt with all their heart. Remember, they were originally bred to hunt hare and rabbit. They are particularly good at being left loose in the field and hunting their prey without instruction. It is this independent streak that contributes to their stubbornness. This is in contrast to dogs like Labradors who hunt on command.
However, the Beagle doesn't have to hunt to be happy – he can be just as happy on the lap.
Beagles…what can you say that hasn't been said a thousand times before? A small hound with a big personality. Adorable puppies with the funniest howl. Cute as a button with a nose powerful enough to track a thief or to smell mom cooking dinner from 45 metres away. Long floppy ears that look like Superman’s cape when they are in full sprint. Great hunters but they can double as a lap dog at the end of a full day of running.
Beagles are regularly in the top 10 most popular breeds. Even though Snoopy is probably the most well-known beagle ever, they are priceless to their families. Their incredible abilities really come in handy. You may see them at airports as detections dogs. They can be trained to find bed bugs and termites. You may even see them as therapy dogs.
However, just like any breed, they present unique challenges. They are known for being stubborn and can give you a "run for your money" when trying to train them. Beagles tend to walk with their nose to the ground looking for the next bug or chicken bone. So, it is challenging, but doable, to teach them to walk at your side. They can be prone to becoming anxious when left alone so, as puppies, they definitely need to be confined or crated or you may come home to find holes in your walls. Their "chase first, ask questions later" has caused more than a few Beagles to run through screen doors or to run into glass doors that they forgot were there.
They are short and stocky so, like most of us, you have to watch their weight as they get older. This can become a serious problem as it can lead to other health issues especially if they get lazy.
Having said all that, they are funny dogs that you can have a great time with and can be a great addition to a family.
At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Beagle:
Your Beagle's health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to an upset stomach or eating something they shouldn't, a 2-year-old Beagle is more likely to rupture a disc in their back, and a senior Beagle may contract pneumonia or develop a cancerous mass as they age. Beagles also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—they're prone to allergies, and due to the length of their bodies, they are susceptible to back issues and lameness as they get older.
If you are ever concerned about your dog's health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.
Genetic Health Concerns
Like many popular breeds, the Beagle has a number of hereditary health issues, like eye problems and allergies. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.
Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.
Many rescue organisations also check for common ailments before making them available for adoption.
As a pet owner, you should expect to pay for basic veterinary care like vaccines, spay/neuter, and annual checkups. Many pet owners don't consider the unexpected illnesses and injuries that can occur throughout a pet's life, and they don't prepare for them. Medical insurance can help a pet owner prepare.
I can't tell you how many Beagles named "Snoopy" I've worked with but it’s been a lot! Even I had a "Snoopy" when I was a child. Beagles, typically, are great family dogs who are tolerant of kids, although as with any dog living in a home with children, clear rules and boundaries for both need to be established and maintained.
Beagles are scent hounds which means that even more than some other breeds they are ruled by their noses. They will naturally follow a scent until they either find the source or they find a more interesting scent. Due to their prodigious ability to follow a scent they make excellent hunters and trackers. Tracking is an activity they were born to excel doing. Following their noses, however, can make them challenging to walk. Recall, or coming when called, can also be a challenge for Beagles. These are probably the two areas of behaviours that Bark Busters Trainers deal with consistently with Beagles.
If there’s a game a Beagle will really enjoy it's "find the treat". It’s a simple game to teach. You get a treat and let Snoopy smell it. Put it close by in plain sight and say "Find the treat". Since it’s close by and in sight he'll find it very quickly. Make a BIG DEAL of him "finding it". WHAT A GOOD BOY! GOOD FIND! The more excited you are about it the better. You repeat it and each time make it just a little more challenging. Keep making a big deal when he finds it and it won’t be long before he'll understand "Find". After "Snoopy" knows the game you will be able to hide a treat almost anywhere and he'll find it. It can be very entertaining watching a Beagle search for the hidden treat. You can also use other items, toys, or something of yours. You can even play hide and seek with family members. Kids love playing that game as will Snoopy.
With patience, consistency and speaking dog you will be able to walk Snoopy with his head up instead of nose to the ground, and he will come when you call him. Our trainers are experts at helping you with these and any other behaviour issues your Snoopy might have. When you learn to “Speak Dog” and teach your Snoopy how to fit into your life using methods he already understands the results are Happy Dogs and Happy Families.
One of the most common questions Bark Busters trainers are asked is: “How do I stop my dog from barking?”. They are hoping we have a magic solution. The truth is twofold:
1) You have to learn to communicate with your dog in a language he understands; and
2) You have to develop his trust and respect as the pack leader.
Remember that dogs learn how to communicate with each other when they are first born and their Mums are dealing with the litter. Their Mum doesn’t use food or pain to get them to do what she wants them to do. Instead, she uses guttural sounds, and body language. Bark Busters will teach you to communicate with your dog – the way dogs naturally communicate.
Second, your Beagle will vie with you for control until you establish yourself as the pack leader.
It's hard-wired in your Beagle, that it needs to know he can trust you to keep him safe, or he will spend the whole time trying to protect you. You need to develop a relationship based on trust and respect.
Every move you make your dog is judging your tone of voice, your facial expressions, your posture, and how you are interacting with him to see whether you are worthy of his trust and respect. He may decide that he loves you but he doesn't respect you and, therefore, won’t obey or listen to you.
Bark Busters training can help you to understand your dog and how to not only have your dog love you, but to show him that you are also are a capable leader worthy of his respect.
Having said that, we will apply these principles to help you overcome the following behaviour problems common to Beagles:
Contact your local Bark Busters trainer for more information on dealing with and understanding your Beagle.
The best type of safe socialisation for your Beagle is to socialise with dog owners whose dog is well behaved. You do not want your new dog to be intimidated by a bigger dog that can seem like a bully. Nor do you want your new dog to pick up any bad habits. Since Beagles normally get along with other dogs, adding a Beagle to your pack shouldn't be a problem. However, you will want to read these tips about multi-dog households.
Dogs learn a lot from other dogs so before you introduce your dog to another dog you want to make sure he/she is a positive influence.
It might be best to avoid dog parks for a while as this can be pretty overwhelming, particularly for a puppy. It's best to start by introducing your dog to one or two new dogs. Be sure to have your Beagle on a lead so no scuffles ensue.
The Wrong Kind Of Socialisation
Many new puppy parents cannot wait to take their new puppy out in public or straight to the dog park This is where some of the seeds of mis-behaviour issues are sown. Unfortunately, Bark Busters trainers see many dogs who developed a fear early on in life as a result of another dog.
We have seen perfectly adorable puppies turn into dog aggressive adolescents, due to a bad introduction to a bossy puppy or older dog.
Take Bella who was a new Beagle puppy who developed a fear of men that she learned from the next door neighbour's dog. This took some re-programming on the part of the Bark Busters trainer so that Bella could develop a healthy relationship with other dogs, she encountered.
One bad experience can leave a young, inexperienced dogs with emotional scars, that are not easy to reverse.
Do you want your children hanging out with delinquents? This applies to your dog as well! You want to expose your Beagle to new sights and sounds so she doesn’t develop any irrational fears later on, but do so slowly, particularly if your dog shows any hesitation in the beginning.
Select those dogs as playmates for your Beagle puppy, that are 'low energy, tolerant dogs'.
Taking Your Beagle to Dog Parks by Danny and Sylvia Wilson - Founders of Bark Busters
Dog Parks are one of the most misunderstood activities of the modern day dog world. Some doggie parents love nothing more than to take their dog to a dog park. They have been told they need to socialise their dog and so off they go.
They love the fact that their dog has fun, they get to meet other dog lovers and watch the dog’s romp and play.
That is the upside, the downside is, there are those dog lovers whose dogs don’t fit into this world at all. They are those dogs or puppies that were bullied, frightened on their first visit or whose personality does not fit the mould.
These folks agonise over the fact that their dog or puppy does not look forward to its trip there, it hides under the seat of the car or it has to be carried or enticed into the park.
Many ask us why their dog acts like this and how they can fix it?
Bark Busters do have ways to assist these pet parents, but we do also explain why their dog might not like the dog park because of its personality.
It reminds us of a friend of ours who visited us regularly with her little dog 'Harry'.
When they would arrive, ‘Harry’ would walk up to each of us, sniff our legs and walk away.
She questioned us one day on why we never petted ‘Harry’ when he came up to us.
We explained that this was not what ‘Harry’ was doing, he was sniffing us, not requesting a pat. If he had been requesting to be petted, he would have then after sniffing us, he would have gestured to us to pet him. He did not do that, instead he walked away.
We told her that 'Harry' was not a social dog and preferred not to be touched by anyone other than her and he avoided any interaction with our dogs also. He was a 'one person' dog that did not feel comfortable around others.
It was like a light had been turned on, our friend smiled and told us that this explained a lot to her. She further explained that every time she took 'Harry' to the dog park, that he could not wait to get back to the car when it was time to leave, that he would stand away from the other dogs, never join in the play and snap at other dogs when they came near him.
He was telling her in every way he could that he did not fit into that dog park crowd, just like some humans hate parties!
If you want a puppy, there are many great places to turn to find one with a terrific personality. Be sure to check out your local rescues and shelters, because they have some amazing dogs and puppies that desperately need a forever home.
There are many Beagle-Specific Rescues, animal welfare shelters, Humane Society, SPCA and RSPCA's who have many great dogs looking for homes. Understand there is no such thing as a bad dog. Dogs are abandoned because many dog owners don't have the time or right training to get their dog to behave. Bark Busters can help with this. These organisations test their dogs for temperament and soundness.
Select the Puppy that Suits your Personality and Lifestyle
Here are some guidelines for selecting a puppy.
By adopting, you will be helping a dog in need, one that wants nothing more than to be in a loving home. You will be helping the pet overpopulation issue and save a deserving dog from being euthanised.
The idea that dogs who are sent to shelter have too much baggage is a myth. Shelter dogs have no more issues than dogs adopted from a reputable breeder. Your dog's behaviour will depend on YOU establishing yourself as the "leader of the pack". Animal Welfare and Rescues do amazing work in trying to save dogs and match breeds to the right owners, so consider that option when looking for a new puppy.
Many of our Bark Busters’ trainers volunteer their services at local shelters and rescues to assist in rehabilitating dogs. Bark Busters have saved hundreds of dogs through our volunteer rescue program.
If you do decide to go to a breeder, then try to view both parents to determine the puppy’s personality, parentage and request to view health records.
If you have children, bring them with you and see how the dog reacts to the child.
Tips for Bringing A New Puppy Home:
Your Beagle has four basic needs to help him thrive.
Beagles are social animals so having them as an “outdoor” dog might be a mistake. Instead, have a crate or special bed where they can go and feel safe. Any breed of dog can feel overwhelmed, so it is important then have their own “den” or bed away from the action. Having them sleep with you or in a doggie bed is up to you. If they are going to spend any amount of time outdoors make sure to have a fence or they will be off and roaming around in no time!
This breed is in the “working class” and, therefore, needs a good quality protein based food—real meat versus by products or meals— with added carbohydrates (such as brown rice) for energy. If you want your Beagle to live a long and healthy life, talk to your veterinarian about feeding your Beagle a raw diet. Because Beagles love food, they are prone to being overweight, so you have to carefully watch their calorie consumption and weight.
Although Beagles are very independent, they still need you to make them feel safe, like their Mum did when they were first born and part of the pack. They must respect you and know that you are the pack leader. Don’t look to a Beagle to “sound the alarm” as they are not great guard dogs – they will lick the burglar to death!
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Your Beagle needs daily exercise, interaction with you and some interesting activities to do or he WILL get into mischief. If you leave him alone for 8 hours, he will cause trouble. Dogs vent their boredom by being destructive … chewing, digging, barking and more. A hearty game of fetch daily and a long walk will go a long way toward keeping your Beagle healthy and physically and mentally stimulated.
Here are some great trick tips!
Because Beagles have such a powerful sense of smell, pet parents can appeal to this with some fun games. You have to find ways to keep them entertained. Hide the kibble. This game can be played indoors or out. Put your Beagle in another room so he can’t see you. Hide some kibble where your dog can’t easily spot the food. Like an Easter egg hunt, see how many small portions he finds. Beagles have often been used at airports to find contraband or other drugs in luggage. You can simulate this with cardboard boxes. Hide some strongly scented food in a cardboard box. Then mix this cardboard box up with other cardboard boxes. Praise the Beagle when he finds the right box.
The GameChanger® - The Best Interactive Toy
The GameChanger® by Bark Busters has developed a fun, interactive toy to challenge your dog and relieve him of boredom. Unsnap the top from the bottom (easy for humans but hard for dogs) and place some small treats inside. Your dog will spend hours of fun trying to figure out how to get the treats out. It’s also a safe way to satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chew.
Your Beagle being a breed that loves its food, will love this toy, it will give it hours of endless fun while it works out the puzzle of how to get a treat out.
Overweight dogs can be fed out of this toy too. It provides much needed exercise while the dog gets his meal in a timely manner.
See the GameChanger® in action! It is made from Flexa-Pure - a soft but sturdy, durable non-toxic PBA-free polyurethane material. If your dog totes it around your hardwood floors, it's even quiet!
"First toy she has not chewed apart immediately and it has kept her busy!" Robin
Beagles are prone to wandering off so it’s more important than ever to have an updated pet identification tag. That's where the WaggTagg™ comes in – a pet identification tag that makes it easy to find your dog should he/she get lost.
This pet identification tag is free to all Bark Busters clients and this brightly coloured tag cannot be missed by the finder. The finder simply needs to scan the tag, which sends a text message directly to the dog owner and several other people that have been specified by you. For instance, you could put a family member as your contact, your vet, or your neighbour in case you are away.
First the WaggTagg™ works via a unique QR code and is free to all Bark Busters clients. The tag is not subject to any renewal or ongoing fees.
No renewal fees or annual fees
Once your dog is registered in the WaggTagg™ database, you can easily update information if it changes at any time. No "chip" reader necessary!
Vets Love the WaggTagg™
As a backup system, Bark Busters recommends you get your dog microchipped. The problem with a microchip, according to many vets we spoke to is that all microchip scanners are not compatible. Therefore, your vet may have one type and another vet down the street a different kind. Also, many vet clinics have limited hours...what if your dog wanders away in the evening or on a weekend. We want you to be reunited with your dog as soon as possible!
If the dog had a WaggTagg™, the dog would have already been reunited, or in the hands of family or friend!
Speak to your local Bark Busters trainer about our free WaggTag™ that is included in all Bark Busters training.
We have stated that Beagles don’t like to walk by their pet parent’s side. This is typical for many breeds. That’s why Bark Busters developed the WaggWalker®, a revolutionary harness that keeps your dog from pulling you down the street.
This harness is unique in the world of walking aids for dog in the face that it uses sound to educate your dog where it should walk and not to pull.
The chain at the front of the harness makes a clicking sound when the dog steps out of place and reminds the dog where it should be walking.
So take the lead and get tails wagging with the WaggWalker®
Our Bark Busters trainers find this an invaluable product to help their clietns to teach their dogs how to walk correctly at their side. No more pulling or being dragged about!