A complete guide to the beagle

The beagle was made famous by Snoopy from Charles M. Schultz’s beloved “Peanuts” comic strip. This breed is valued for its happy disposition and hunting prowess, and it ranks as one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

Appearance

Height: The American Kennel Club indicates two height classes for beagle dogs: 13 to 15 inches, and under 13 inches. Dogs in the latter category will usually reach a minimum of 10 or 11 inches in height.

Weight: Healthy adult males weigh 22 to 25 pounds. Bitches are slightly lighter, at 20 to 23 pounds.

Coat: Beagle dogs feature a short, shiny coat in a full range of standard hound colors. Black-and-tan, red-and-white, orange-and-white, lemon-and-white and three-colored combinations of any of these hues are the most common.

Ears and Eyes: A beagle should have hazel or brown eyes, fairly large in size and circular in shape, with a pleading look. The breed has distinctive ears, which are soft and large with round tips that flop down over the dog’s cheeks.

Tail: This breed displays a narrow, whip-like tail that is carried upright. Beagle breeders note that these dogs never carry their tails curled over their backs.

Disposition

The beagle is a very friendly companion and has a gentle disposition, both with humans and with other dogs. As with the dachshund, it’s best to exercise caution when unleashing a beagle in public, as they tend to forget their obedience training and ignore commands when they’re on the loose. These dogs are natural hunters and love the thrill of the chase, so expect them to run after squirrels, birds and most anything else they encounter.

AKC Group: Hound

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Training: Beagle puppies display a strong hunting instinct from birth, and beagle breeders do not recommend these dogs be placed in households with pets of other species. They have a determined nature that requires patience, and proper beagle training requires a firm hand.

Ideal Environment: Given its short coat, the beagle is most comfortable in temperate climates. Beagles love the outdoors and need space to run. Owners who enjoy hunting are ideal, since these dogs make outstanding hunting companions.

Health and Care

Feeding: Inactive beagle dogs are prone to weight gain. Feed the dog a diet commensurate with its activity level.

Grooming: This breed is very easy to groom, requiring only an occasional brushing. Its short coat more or less looks after itself.

Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise is strongly recommended, though it’s important to provide a beagle with a lead when unleashing it. Otherwise, it may dash off in search of something to hunt and prove very difficult to rein in.

Health Problems: Beagles, like all dogs, should be carefully monitored for signs of relatively common health problems like ringworm and arthritis. Canine glaucoma, cataracts and hypothyroidism are the most common breed-specific health concerns that beagle dogs face. During beagle training, make an effort to get the dog accustomed to daily ear cleanings, since this breed is prone to ear infections.

Average Lifespan: A healthy beagle puppy has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Finding Beagle Puppies for Sale

Beagle breeders offer dewormed and inoculated beagle puppies for sale, generally for between $400 and $700. As an alternative, try a beagle rescue center or animal shelter, but avoid dealing with puppy mills. These unethical establishments treat their animals poorly and tend to ignore animal health and safety concerns.