Is a Beagle right for me?
The beagle is a friendly, short hair, low maintenance dog with a standard measurement of 13 or 15 inch, measured at the top of the shoulder. (There is no such thing as a "pocket beagle" or a "minature beagle." The AKC standard recognizes any beagle that is 13" or shorter as a 13-inch beagle.)
Beagles are classified as a scent "Hound" dog. They are popular as a lovable family pet, but also treasured as a hunting companion. They are a sturdy and resilient dog that can endure hours in the field or just playing in the yard with your children. Because they have a medium-high activity level, they will require lots of exercise, including playing in a fenced yard, playing in the house, walks on a leash and visits to fenced dog parks.
Beagles come in many "hound" colors. When most people think of beagles, they picture a tri-color beagle with white, tan and black markings. Indeed, tri-color beagles are both popular and very common. However, beagles can also have chocolate, red or lemon colored markings.
Beagles are known to bond to the entire household, as opposed to one member and therefore have endeared themselves as a family member. They are intelligent, with a hint of stubborness, giving them character, but not deeming them "untrainable." In fact, they are quite trainable and love to please their owners. They are also very food-motivatedand respond very well to treats as rewards!
Extremely outgoing, their personality and temperament is very even-keeled. Historically, an aggressive beagle would not be tolerated and was culled out of the hunting packs. As the years have passed, the beagle has evolved into a steady dog with a reliable disposition. Obviously, any dog that is mistreated, has a propensity for unpredictable behavior, and the beagle is no different.
Also, because beagles were bred to hunt in a pack, they are very social animals, requiring lots of interaction with other animals and/or with people. Beagles who are left alone for excessive periods of time can become very bored and lonely. To prevent problems such as chewing, digging and/or howling, be sure that your beagle is getting lots of attention and exercise when you are home!
While beagles make an outstanding family pet, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Beagles have a tendancy to bark a lot, and even "howl." They are known, in fact, for their unique voice. While beagle lovers tend to find this an endearing quality of their canine companions, neighbors aren't always so understanding.
Additionally, as a hound dog, they follow their noses -- going where the scent leads them. This makes it necessary to keep your beagle on a leash at all times because if they "catch" a scent, they are most likely going to disobey you and take off running away in search of the interesting smell. Unfortunately, many beloved beagles have been lost this way.
While beagles love to be outside, we do not recommend keeping them as "outside pets," because they will have the tendency to dig and howl when they are bored or lonely. Instead, we recommend keeping beagles inside where they will get lots of love and attention and taking them out for walks or to play in a fenced yard. If you do not have a fenced yard, your beagle will need to be walked on a leash a few times a day.
Selecting a beagle as a family pet is an excellent choice. There is much more in depth printed material on these kind and gentle canines AND, there is so much more to learn about. Health care, crate training, obedience training, hunting trials, grooming, proper diet, and competition are subjects that just scratch the surface.