Before you purchase your first beagle, there will be lots of questions that you may want answered. These FAQs may provide you with some answers to your questions. It is always advisable to talk in depth to breeders to make sure you have all your questions answered.
Can beagles be trained?
Most people ask this question and this is a very important one to ask for any breed of dog. Having a well behaved dog can make a huge difference to your home and lifestyle. Having a poorly behaved dog can make owning the dog a nightmare. Many of the dogs that end up at the pound or RSPCA are because they are poorly behaved.
To answer the question - yes - every beagle and every dog can be trained. Like all breeds, beagles also need to be trained. They need to know rules and what they should and should not do.
You must, however, realise that many breeds, including beagles, are strong willed and must have a reason to do things for you. One big advantage with beagles is their good food drive. Any dog that has motivation to do something can be trained. With regular training through a reputable puppy training course, your beagle will become well behaved and be a much more enjoyable pet for your home.
Can I leave my beagle alone during the day?
One of the biggest needs of a beagle is companionship. The beagle was bred to live in a pack and as a result must have company. The company can be in the shape of regular human companionship, another beagle or another breed of dog. If your lifestyle means you are away for long perdios of time, a beagle may not be a suitable breed unless you can assure they have company during the day.
A beagle without company will be more likely to try to look for company elsewhere, which means they may try to get out of your yard, they may call for company - barking or singing, or they may try to make their time more enjoyable by digging up your prized garden. A lonely beagle is an unhappy beagle.
Are beagles good with kids?
Beagles are one of the most suitable breeds for a family. Their size means they are not too big for small children. Their gentle appearance means they are less likely to frighten or intimidate kids. They are an active dog so will want to play with the kids. They are very tolerant of kids and are unlikely to be aggresive towards children.
Do beagles shed a lot of hair?
A beagle is a light shedding breed. You can expect that they will drop hair. A good brush every second day will ensure they shedding is contained to the brush rather than on your carpet.
In summer they will drop their winter coat.
Do beagles need a lot of attention?
Beagles are very much a companion dog. It was bred into the breed to be happy being part of a pack. As a result, they need company on a regular basis. If you work long hours and the beagle is alone for long periods of time, they will be unhappy.
Are beagles an inside or outside dog?
Beagles are a very adaptable breed. Being a companion dog, they want to be with you. If they are allowed inside, they will enjoy your company even more. They love to sleep beside you while your wathcing TV and are often a dog found on the end of their owner's bed. Like all breeds, they need to be toilet trained from an early age if they are to become an inside dog. This is not difficult but needs discipline from the owner as much as from the dog.
If the rules are, however, that they are to be an outside dog, they can be trained for this. As long as the rules are consistent, they are okay either inside or outside.
Do beagles dig?
When left alone without any amusement, beagles will find their own means of passing the time. Often this is digging. If you have a prize garden, the beagle needs to know the rules of where they are allowed to go and will need company to keep their mind elsewhere.
Because beagles have an excellent sense of smell, they will often smell out worms or lawn grubs that are in the soil. They may try to dig for the lawn grubs.
If they are left alone and have a need to get out of your yard, they will become very resourceful, including trying to dig under a fence.
What is better to have - a male or a female beagle?
This is purely a personal preference for the owner and is very much an individual personaility trait as to which to buy. In very general terms, the females are a little more outgoing and strongheaded, where the males are a little more laid back. That's because the females are usually the leaders of the pack. This is very general though and the personalilty of the beagle - like humans - is an individual trait. A beagle's personality is greatly influenced by the environment. A well loved beagle that has lots of attention will be a fabulous pet - regardless of its gender.
Do beagles climb fences?
Beagle can be very agile. If they are left alone and to their own devices, beagles can climb chain wire fences and other fences where they can get a good foothold. It is surprising how well some beagles can climb.
The best option is to get a good secure fence that is at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) high that is made of solid material or of timber palings where they can't get a foot hold.
What type of fence do I need for a beagle? How high?
A responsible dog owner will ensure that any dog is placed inside a secure fence. Beagles are no exception. A beagle loves to hunt and sniff and when they get tired of the smells in their own yard, they will have great interest in what's on the other side of the fence. As a result, you will need a good secure fence. The fence should be at least 1.5 metres high (5 ft) with a secure base. A concrete edging to prevent digging is ideal but logs or wire placed on the ground will also prevent digging.
Some beagles are very agile and can climb chainwire fences. It would be recommended to have a solid or timber paling fence. Regular dog wire is not really suitable for beagles, as they are small and agile enough to be able to work their way through the dog wire.
Do beagles bark?
All breeds (with the exception of the Basenji) bark. That is their way of communicating. There are two usual messages for barking:
The first is a warning bark. They bark to say "Keep away!" or "Beware, this is my territory!" Where this is the case, you can train the beagle to understand when they have been acknowledged, they should be quiet.
The second main reason for barking is for attention. This is often the bark that gets the neighbours angry, as this type of barking usually goes on when you are not at home. The beagle is saying "Please come home!" or "I need some attention!" Beagles are a pack dog and need company but also need to be trained to be comfortable with being on their own. This bark can also occur where the beagle does not know its place in the household. It sees itself as "top dog" and when you leave the house, it gets anxious because it sees its role to look after you. In this instance the dog develops separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can cause lots of problems and needs to be addressed at an early age.
A third reason that beagles often bark is during play. It is their way of saying "yippee" or "I'm having fun". Where this is the case it is usually short term and only during play time.
Just keep in mind that many of these traits are not just for beagles but occur in all dogs. Good training techniques will ensure barking is kept to a minimum.
Do beagles need a big yard?
A beagle is a small but active dog. It certainly needs exercise on a regular basis. If you are able to provide this, then a beagle does not need a big back yard. They are not really a breed for a unit or townhouse, though there are examples of where this has been successful. The bigger the yard, of course, the less deliberate exercise the beagle will needs. There's also nothing better than seeing a beagle having fun, snooping around a big back yard and enjoying the family.
Do beagles need a lot of exercise?
A beagle is an active dog and does need exercise. Your lifestyle should include time to provide your beagle with a good walk every day or so. This not only keeps them fit but also gives the beagle an outlet for their instincts to sniff. A beagle is happiest when it has its nose down, its tail in the air and is able to smell the roses and the grass and the trees and everything else.
Is it okay to get two male beagles?
Yes. There are a lot of families that have two male beagles, two female beagles or one of each. It is more the environment that will determine how well they get along. Remember, a beagle is a pack dog and has been bred to get along. It is important to socialise your beagle regularly. If there are two in the household - even better. A beagle is not like some other breeds where it is very difficult to house two males together, due to competition. A beagle will get along with most other dogs and two males together are fine.
Is it better to get your beagle desexed?
Absolutely yes! There are always lots of issues around having entire dogs, whether they be beagles or any other breeds. Competition and the need to stray or escape will be greater in entire dogs,male or female. Females will have seasons on a regular basis which can be messy and can attract other dogs to your area. Entire male dogs will want to exert their authority more.
There is no clear evidence of entire dogs being healthier or having developmental problems. If you have a male or a female beagle (or any dog for that matter), it is much more convenient to have them desexed. Vets usually desex around the age of 6 months but talk to your Vet to find out the best age for your beagle.
How much feeding do beagles need?
feeding a beagle can be one of the most challenging tasks about owning a beagle. Their instinct is to eat as much as they can when they can. As a result, they can often become overweight. Never rely on your beagle telling you how much is enough because it's never enough. I have seen a beagle eat its way through half a 5kg bag of dog food and then turn up half an hour later looking for dinner.
A beagle should eat only about 3/4 of a cup of good quality dry food and about 100 grams of meat a day. This can be done in two meals if it is too long between meals for your beagle. Treats during the day are fine and encouraged during training sessions but supplement this out at meal time.
Your breeder will be able to provide your with details on food and quantities for your beagle.
How long does a beagle live for?
A beagle usually lives to an age of about 15 years. They have been know to live as long as 18 or 20 years, so you will have your beagle for a long time. Keeping your beagle in good condition (not overweight) and providing regular exercise will mean they will be a loving part of your family for many years.
One of the amazing things about beagles is that they stay playful for years. The old beagle is as playful as the puppy. They are often called the eternal puppy
Is it better to have two beagles than one?
The beagle is one of the breeds where it is easier to look after two. They are a pack dog and need company. Many beagles end up on rescue because their demand is too great. When the family gets another beagle, often the problems are greatly reduced. You need to keep in mind that a beagle is a pack animal and requires an pack environment. Having two beagles creates this environment.
Do beagles have any common problems like bad hips?
The beagle breed is a very sound breed. Its size and proportions minimise the structural problems that can occur and that are prevalent in some other breeds.
As with any breed - or any mammal for that matter - you will get a small proportion with conditions such as epilepsy, dwarfism, back ailments or other mammalian conditions. Good diet, regular exercise and care will ensure your beagle will lead a healthy life.
Do beagles only come in the black, tan and white colour?
There is actually about 17 different colour formations that a beagle can have. The most common colour and pattern is what is called the "blanket tricolour". This is where the beagle has a full black area on their back, known as the saddle, which blends into tan around their rear, shoulders and legs, with white feet, belly and chest.
Other common beagle colours found in Australia include tan and white (no black, sometimes known as a blonde); lemon and white - a light colour brown on a predominantly white body; Broken tricolour - patches of black and tan on a predominantly white body; mottles and pieds.
Every beagle, regardless of it colour, must have one mandatory colouring. Every beagle must have a white tip on their tail. The purpose of the white tip is so when they are hunting in tall grass, they will have their tail in the air and their white tip will be seen. This white tip is known as the "flag".
Colouring is very much an individual preference and makes not difference to the beagle's temperament or behaviour.
Where is the best place to get my beagle from? Are they okay from a Pet Shop?
You will have your beagle for up to 15 years or more and are likely to pay a fair bit of money for it. You therefore want to ensure you get the most for your money, where you can ensure it is a burebred beagle that has sound and consistent ancenstry.
Beagle breeders who are registered with the Canine Control in your state have many requirements placed on them to ensure that the integrity of the breed and the wellbeing of the dogs is paramount. Your breeder should provide certificate of registration with the sale. This is basically an assurance to you that your are getting a purebred beagle. If your breeder does not provide this, you are not guaranteed of getting a purebred beagle. The certificate of registration cost only about $25 to the breeder, so it is not an expensive cost to the breeder. If a breeder does not regsistre their puppies, it should be a warning to you that it may not be a purebred beagle. When you pruchase your beagle, ask to see the parents or at least see the mother (the father may have been from another kennel). This will give you a good idea as to what your beagle should grow up like.
Speaking from experience, we often have people who have bought beagles from pet shops come to us and ask if our beagles are a different breed because their beagle is much bigger or looks very different. Often it is because their beagle is not pure bred. They may look very similar at 6 weeks of age but as they grow, they turn out not to be a purebred beagle. There are a number of breeds that look similar to a beagle when they are very young (harriers and foxhounds to name two). As they grow, however, they turn out to be very different in size and nature.
Some pet shops provide guarantees that the dog they are selling is a pure bred and will refund your money after 12 months. This is not worth the paper it is written on, as you have to prove it was the original dog and you have to be willing to give back a dog that you have grown to love - even though it is not a beagle.
Pet shops, because they are selling for a profit, often will have their beagles on sale for considerably more than you would pay through a breeder.
Beagles and other dogs found in pet shops are often taken from their mother at a much earlier age than from a breeder. Dogs have been sold in pet shops as early as 5 or 6 weeks which can cause significant behaviour problems as they develop.
In short, consider carefully what you want to get to be the new member of your family. It is worth the wait and ensure that you get what you expect.
What are beagle designer dogs, like the Puggle (cross between a beagle and a pug) like?
A designer dog is a cross breed or a "bitza". You are crossing two breeds with different traits and hoping to get an animal that has the qualities that you like in both breeds. You can never be guaranteed of knowing what you will get and almost always you will never get the traits that you want. Cross breeding can cause structural problems. A purebred animal from a good breeder that has a sound ancenstry behind their beagles is a much more reliable and consistent apporach.
Instead of getting a designer dog that has been bred "on the fly", why not get a purebred dog that has been designed over centuries?
My beagle makes this weird, almost coughing sound quite often. Is this normal or is there something wrong?
Beagles have a very sensitive and active sense of smell. They also become very excited when they are on a trail. As a result, when there is a strong scent, their nose and palate often go into a spasm which sounds like a cross between a cough and a snort. This can go on for up to a minute and can repeat often during a walk.
There is nothing wrong with your beagle if they do this. It is merely an involuntary reflex in their nose and throat similar to when we humans have a series of sneezes.
To stop the snorting, you can squeeze their nostrils together which causes them to breath through their mouth and usually stops the spasm temporarily. It may recommence though and is something that you just have to put up with. Remember, that when a beagle does the "beagle snort" it's usually because they are having too much fun!!
Do beagles get along with other breeds or with cats?
Once again, this really depends on the environment and individual situation. Mostly, beagles will get along very well with other breeds of dogs. We have many members of the club that have a beagle and some other breed, from Golden Retrievers, to Shnauzers, Shi Tzus and King Charles Spaniels.
There are lots of families that also have a beagle and a cat but this needs to be assessed carefully. It will usually be the cat or the other dog that may have trouble with the beagle, particularly around dinner time.