The popular Beagle is a small, pack oriented hunting hound. Although its natural instinct is to hunt, it is highly adaptable and adjusts happily to a suburban backyard, as long as it has regular exercise to keep it fit while providing it with a change of scene, scent, and company - either human or another companion pet. Many families that own Beagles actually own two Beagles, since they are pack animals and are happiest with a second Beagle as playmate companion for those times when the family is at work or school. Beagles also do well with most other breeds and even other types of animals.
Friendly, playful and eager to please, the Beagle can be willful. Possessed of great stamina, determination and a definite mind of its own, this picturesque and personality-plus little hound has a tendency to roam if not obedience trained. Beagles require a well fenced yard, a nice size dog run, and/or obedience training if you live in a residence with neither a backyard or dog run.
The Beagle is lively, active, and extremely intelligent, making a devoted friend and companion. Hardy and resilient, it can be happily kept as either a house-pet or a kennel dog. Beagles have a short, dense, weatherproof coat which comes in many attractive colorings (the AKC officially recognizes 11 different colors for Beagles), and requires very little grooming. Beagles tend to keep themselves extremely clean and have very few health problems that seem to plague many of the larger dog breeds.
Good-natured and steady in temperament, the Beagle has an engaging demeanor which endears it to children and adults alike. A handy size for almost all households, with a handsome appearance and musical voice, the Beagle has something to offer just about everyone.
Beagles are wonderful family pets that are also very popular for dog shows, field trials, bench shows, and many different types of hunting. They are also doing great in obedience, fly ball, agility, and tracking competitions in most registries worldwide. Many law enforcement agencies as well as search and rescue clubs are now using Beagles in search and rescue operations to find people that are lost in the wilderness or to locate people at large disaster sites. The USDA is using Beagles at most international airports in the USA as scent hounds to find illegally imported foods and illicit drugs and is known as the “Beagle Brigade”. Beagles are also becoming popular with several pest control companies because of their ability to smell termites that are hidden deep inside walls, floors, and foundations in both homes and businesses.
Beagles compete in two different height categories in most dog competitions. Smaller Beagles compete in the 13” class which is for Beagles that measure 13” or less measured at the top of the back just behind the shoulder blades. Larger Beagles compete in the 15” class which is for Beagles that measure more than 13” up to 15” in the USA and CANADA and up to 16” in Great Britain. Most Beagle kennels will breed and compete with either one height category or the other for the sake of consistency in breeding for a particular height.
Courtesy of Mojave Desert Beagles
The following health screenings are often performed by responsible Beagle breeders:
Cardiac Evaluation - OFA
CERF Screening (Canine Eye Research Foundation)
Elbow Displasia (OFA, by X-Ray)
Hip Dysplasia (OFA or PennHIP)
Thyroid Function Test (blood test)