Dog of the Month: The Beagle

This is the first of a monthly series in which we will introduce you to one of the 340 dog breeds in existence as recognized by the World Canine Organization. Today’s star is the Beagle.

The Beagle is one of America’s top 40 most popular dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club; so if you get one of these guys, you know you’re in good company.

Beagle running in grass

Introducing the Beagle

A member of the Hound group, the Beagle is a small- to medium-sized hunting dog, weighing between 20 and 24 pounds and reaching heights of 13 to 16 inches. It is similar in appearance to the foxhound, but smaller with shorter legs and longer, softer ears. These loyal companions range in color from brown and white, orange and white, white and tan, tri-color, red and white, chocolate tri, and lemon and white.


American Beagles came to the United States in the 1860’s from a well-bred strain in England. Prior to 1870, the little hunting hounds of the U.S. South were called Beagles but were more of the type of Straight-legged Bassets or Dachshunds.

The National Beagle Club was formed in 1888.


Beagles are scent hounds used for hunting rabbits. But even more interesting is the Beagle’s remarkable ability to sniff out and detect bed bugs. Some pest control companies actually use Beatles for this very purpose; they’re referred to as Bed Bug Beagles.


Beagles are happy-go-lucky, even-tempered, gentle, excitable, friendly, intelligent and funny. They were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy the company of other dogs, as well as people. Beagles are quite determined and love to follow their noses, which can sometimes get them into problematic situations.

Care Level

Beagles are easy to care for, but they do need a little freedom to run around and unwind. Since they instinctively follow scents and are apt to run wherever their nose takes them, always keep your Beagle on a leash while in open, unconfined spaces.


While Beagles might be cute enough to keep you laughing at their escapades, they do have a naughty streak and can be a bit of a challenge to train—no matter how experienced a trainer you might be. They are an independent breed, but don’t be discouraged—they are trainable.


Lyndon B. Johnson, America’s 36th president, owned three Beagles; their names were “Him,” “Her,” and “Edgar.”


If you hate bathing dogs, then this is the dog for you. Beagles do not drool nor do they have that stinky dog odor. And you’ll sweep and vacuum less with the Beagle, as shedding is minimal with this breed.

Life Span

You can expect the Beagle to live an average of 12 to15 years. Just be sure to feed him a healthy diet, no junk dog food, and get him on a routine health plan at a nearby veterinarian.

Famous Beagles

Snoopy; Shiloh

Interaction with Other Animals

Surprisingly, most Beagles get along well with cats. Remember, however, that they do have that hunting instinct, so be sure to introduce the two slowly. With time, you’ll more than likely find the two eager to cuddle, play and coexist peacefully.

Caution should always be taken when introducing a Beagle to smaller pets such as chinchillas, hamsters, mice, etc. The Beagle’s hunting instinct is likely to take over, and well, you likely won’t be proud of the present he brings to you!


The Beagle gets a bad rep over his signature howl, but the breed usually only barks either when strangers approach or if they pick up an interesting scent. Of course, like with any breed, separation anxiety can cause excessive barking, but training can help significantly.

In or Out?

The Beagle is an indoor dog. When bred in the past for rabbit hunting, they lived in kennels with other dogs and obtained warmth from the group, or they slept by the fireplace in their master’s home. Your Beagle may love to hang out with you while you’re playing or exercising outdoors, but he should never be left outside overnight and he should sleep and live in the home with you.


Because Beagles are instinctively pack dogs, they fully enjoy being part of a large human family.

What Next?

If you think the Beagle might be the dog for you, first check with your local animal shelters or Beagle rescue groups. You might find a Beagle or Beagle mix waiting to be adopted, and you’ll be giving a dog a second chance at life.

If you don’t find the dog you’re looking for at your local shelter or breed rescue group, you may choose to purchase a puppy instead of adopting one. If so, please be certain you are buying from a responsible breeder that breeds and sells only healthy, well-socialized puppies. Sadly, most pet store puppies come from puppy mills where dogs are not bred for good health and temperament and where they are often raised in inhumane conditions.

Responsible breeders typically do not sell their puppies to pet stores. Most responsible breeders want to meet and screen prospective owners to ensure that their puppies are going to good homes.



American Kennel Club:

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