The American Kennel Club describes the beagle as an excellent hunting dog and a loyal companion. They are currently ranked 6th out of 195 breeds as far as popularity.
The National Beagle Club of America says that Beagles are excellent family companions. Their low maintenance cost and their affectionate, yet independent, temperament make them an ideal pet for many families.
In recent years, the USDA has ‘hired’ beagles to work in airports. The dog’s job is to sniff out illegally smuggled in plants and animal products. They were chosen for this work due to their strong noses and friendly appearance!
Find out why so many dog owners have chosen the Beagle as their companion of choice. This pro-con list can help you decide if a beagle is the right dog for you.
5 pros of owning a beagle
While most dogs are considered pack animals, beagles are bred to live and work in packs. This contributes to making them very sociable dogs and thus great pets to have as part of a family.
Beagles are friendly dogs and enjoy making new friends. This goes for humans, canines and maybe even a cat. If you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t just keep to itself a beagle might be the right dog for you.
3. Low maintenance
Beagles tend to be healthy. They don’t have long coats that require complicated or expensive trips to the groomer. Remember that low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. You need to ensure that your dog’s ears are clean, nails are trimmed and that they’re regularly bathed. You should check their ears weekly to make sure they are clean and free from infection. You will also want to brush their teeth regularly. Most pups only need annual wellness visits once they’re finished with the puppy vaccinations. Consult your vet about your dog’s medical needs and make sure to keep all recommended appointments and vaccines.
Some Beagles are under 13 inches whereas others range from 13 -15 inches. For dogs under 13 inches most clock in at under 20 pounds. Dogs in the 13 - 15-inch range weigh about 20- 30 pounds.
Beagles can thrive in a variety of living conditions. This ranges from life in more rural areas to big cities. Beagles are adaptable. While they may prefer to have a big yard to play in, for many beagles the dog park can be an acceptable alternative.
Related read: 6 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
3 cons of owning a beagle
Beagles can be loud and bark more than some other breeds. If you live in a city or have neighbors close by this is something to consider. You also just might prefer a quieter breed of dog.
2. Love to dig
As beagles are used for fox hunting, they can be diggers. Your dog might think he’s trying to dig a fox out of a hole but what he’s really doing is tearing up your backyard.
Beagles can be on the stubborn side. This may make training a challenge. If your dog does what they want to do you might just have to go along with it (and keep them safe)! Beagles are scent hounds and will follow their noses. This means that if your dog is off lead they need to be in a fenced in area. Otherwise, to keep your pup from following his nose, make sure to keep his leash on for all walks.
Is a Beagle the right choice for a first-time dog owner?
It depends. Consider your lifestyle on the whole first - especially these three factors.
Do you have very young children or are you planning to have kids soon? You probaly have already figured out that Beagles are great with children. However, if you have very young children, a beagle puppy may not be the right choice for now. Raising any puppy properly is a lot of work. You need to make time to train and socialize your young dog. It can be overwhelming to meet the needs and demands of young children and a new puppy at the same time. For a lot of families with very young children, adopting a young adult beagle might be a better idea.
What do you do all day and what will your dog do all day? Do you work outside the home? Will your beagle spend eight to ten hours home alone between your job, a partner’s job (assuming you have a partner to help care for the pup) and your commutes? If so, a beagle will not be the best choice for your family. Beagles were bred to live and work in packs. They thrive when they can be an active part of their family's lives. Beagles that spend too much time alone are beagles that develop behavior issues such as anxiety, excessive barking, or destructive tendencies. An ideal home for a beagle is one in which they spend no more than four or five hours alone each day.
Would it bother you if your dog barked, chewed on your shoes or furniture, or dug holes in your yard (or worse, the couch)? While not all puppies will develop behavior issues but you will play a big role in the development of your puppy and prevention of these issues.
Do you have the time and patience to raise the puppy properly and be consistent with house training? Will you attend puppy kindergarten or obedience classes? What will happen if you do have issues? Can you consult a trainer or behavioral specialist to help you and your dog?
This is a lot of information to digest. While it is not meant to scare you out of getting a dog, it is meant to make you stop and think. Before you bring a beagle into your home you want to make sure the dog will thrive in your environment. If you have concerns, consider other dog breeds or other options like short term fostering. If you go that route, you’ll be extra prepared to be the best pet parent when the time is right.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.