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Is a Beagle Right for You?

Clover Windkist

Beagles are conveniently-sized, handsome and easy-to-groom, friendly with people, peaceful with other pets. And with their appealing soulful expression, it's perfectly natural that many people consider them as potentially wonderful pets. However, as cute and full of personality as they are, simply are not for everyone. For the right owner and household, they can be absolute joys to have as a part of a family. Below I will cover the pros and cons of living with these mischievous and merry little hounds from my own perspective  - hopefully giving potential owners an idea of what they are signing up for. 

If there are any questions specially about the breed, feel free to Contact Me directly and ask away. I'm always happy to discuss Beagles!

Confident that the pack of cookies sitting on your counter is safe from a Beagle? Guess again. These hounds are master problem solvers and when food or freedom is involved, their brains do not stop.


They will surprise you time and time again, so making sure anything you don't want them to get into is securely tucked away is very important. I didn't have any trust issues until living with these tricksy hounds.

I could not figure out how Fox was stealing snacks from my cupboard until I caught him luring my Newf with his favourite toy close to the counter only to use him as a stepping stool to jump up on the counter for Snack Central.

Don't Let them fool you,
they are Brilliant.

Google "Hardest Breed of Dog to Train" and a Beagle will almost always be in the ​Top 10 list. Often deemed Untrainable, these stubborn hounds are not the easiest to train and will require some patient owners to work through their antics.

Thankfully to help us out with training, Beagles are incredibly food motivated dogs. Although unlikely to work for free, once an understanding of expected behaviour = treat - they catch on exceptionally fast.

Problem Solvers Extraordinaire.

One Exceptional Family Dog.

Beagles are known to bond to the entire household, as opposed to one member and therefore have endeared themselves as a family member. 

Typically they are great with other dogs when introduced correctly as they are a breed that was bred to live in a pack. From my experience, if introduced to cats young, they bond quite well.

However, they were bred to hunt rabbits. That instinct will always be there, so, it's important to recognise that if you have a home with many small animals there could be the risk of the Beagle chasing/hurting the small creature. 

Beagles are a great versatile companion - excellent with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. I strongly emphasise 'family member' because Beagles who are left alone for excessive periods of time can become very bored, lonely and destructive. If you are looking for a yard companion or an outside dog - please seek a different breed as it is not fair to this family based, interactive hound.

Well Bred Beagle
  • They are Healthy Breed with an average lifespan of 12-14+ Years

  • Easy to maintain coat with little grooming required and less shedding than other breeds

  • Sturdy, well boned dog that despite being on the small to medium size, is way more unlikely to get injured with larger dogs or children.

  • They love to play and interact with the family literally any time of the day.

  • Goofy, funny characters full of personality who's antics will keep you smiling.

  • Loyal to their family and unlikely to pick a stranger over "their people"

  • Reliable disposition with other dogs and cats

  • Great for those with active lifestyles as well as those who have moderately active lifestyles.

  • Inexpensive to feed (1 cup of food a day)

The Pros

The Cons

  • Cannot be trusted off-leash. Period.

  • If not given barking boundaries, they can be noisey depending how they are raised.

  • Chowhounds and will eat until they physically can't anymore. Proper portioned diet is extremely important.

  •  Prone to wanderlust and can be adept climbers and diggers, i.e. MASTER escape artists.

  • A bored and lonely beagle is a destructive one

  • Prone to Obesity if not carefully monitored

  • A what's in it for me?" attitude

  • Slow to housebreak

  • Some Shedding

  • Strong Prey drive towards rodents, rabbits etc

  • Selective Deafness aka choosing to ignore you when they are outside having the time of their life

Off-leash? Unlikely.

Beagle tracking scent

Next to the definition of "Beagle" it really should say "A nose with four legs" . Bred to track rabbit - their devotion to these scents (and others) can get even the most obedient Beagle into trouble.  These hounds have hundreds of years of selective breeding for scenting instinct as the core building blocks for this breed. At the end of the day, A Beagle is going to Beagle... And Beagles Scent.

Those who only want a breed of dog to hang out in the front yard or hike alongside them off leash need to be aware that this simply will not be the breed for you. Beagles, Bassets and Bloodhounds have the strongest nose out of all the breeds in the world. Asking any of these hounds to simply to ignore tempting smells is near impossible. It is up to us to keep our dogs safe and it's very dangerous for a Beagle to be running at large (as they are not often paying attention to their surroundings with their noses tight to the ground tracking).

That doesn't mean Beagles can't enjoy some freedom. Very securely fence yards are great and I let my hounds run around on 50 foot tracking leads. There are certainly safe ways around their busy noses and keeping them close to home.

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