Don’t get me wrong, Beagles are my heart breed. When I say I love them, I really truly do - quirks and all. I need to emphasize that very clearly because I’m about to dive into everything about them that I find mildly annoying to things that make me crazy. I’m not going to sugar coat things and it’s going to sound like I may not enjoy them...however, the good far outweighs the bad. But if every review ever written only highlighted the good parts, there would be way more Amazon returns!
So, let’s dive in the Bad, the worst and the most awful parts of owning a Beagle. While every Beagle is different and there are many exceptions to these rules, they are still more on average what to expect. So, if you had that Beagle who didn’t care for food or perhaps one could be trusted off leash, please be aware that you may not have had a ’typical’ specimen of the Breed.
Let’s do this!
They do not work for free
You know those lovely well trained Golden Retrievers who will do whatever you ask for a smile and a pet on the head? Beagles are independent thinkers and if it wasn’t their idea or if there isn’t a reward in it for them, you’re likely to get a flip of the middle paw.
My Beagles can smell right down to the last tiniest bit of kibble I have in my pocket. The second it’s gone, it’s like they’ve gone spontaneously deaf and are over working with you for free.
Relationship building is a MUST with this breed. If you want a Beagle to work with you, the ground work that has to be laid is extensive.
They are gross, little Poo-Eating Beasts
Yep, you heard it. Many will eat their poo if left alone with it. It’s gross, nasty and fills me with rage. I have tried every possible solution and the only thing that consistently works is doing daily yard clean-ups. We don’t do face kisses here
They love being Stinky
Something died in my yard? I would bet my life savings that my Beagles would roll in it. They LIVE for this. Deer poo? Roll. Dead toad? Roll.
They believing stealing is their day job
Mine know to not touch the food I have out and when I’m there watching, they wouldn’t dare. But if I left the room with my lunch on the living room coffee table I wouldn’t be able to count to 3 until it’s gone.
You could argue that it’s poor training but Fox’s titles would say otherwise. To them, it’s worth stealing. They have fake guilt but mostly are quite happy they stole - if not proud of themselves.
In preparation for this post, here is a list of things Fox stole off the counter this week that I busted him for:
- package of cupcakes - Package of Coffee filters - Pound of butter - Mittens - Bag of Peppers - Stick of celery - 3 apples (he made 3 trips) - Wooden spoon - My fav toque & ripped the pompom off
They bark. A lot
Now, this is dependent on how they are raised and if they are fieldline vs showline beagles. Hunting lines or fieldline Beagles are about 100 times more barky then their showline counter parts. But basically, if you don’t curb the barking they will be sure to exercise their pipes. I have a no barking in the house rule, but I allow it when they play together.
Still, a beagle that is bored and confined in a condo apartment that hasn’t been taught not to bark is an absolute eviction notice waiting to happen. You cannot let them bark as puppies when you think it’s cute and then try to fix it when they’re two.
2 Parts Beagle, 1 Part Mountain Goat
The back of my couches have morphed into a beagle racetrack. While I try to discourage it, they truly LOVE climbing up on things. There is a reason why snoopy is always on the top of his dog house.... that is 100% a beagle thing.
Destruction is their middle name
From shredding paper, to ripping up boxes to tearing apart their nice pet beds we get, it’s not uncommon for Beagles to just be extra naughty with basic things and destroy them for sport. Paired with crate training, enrichment activities and appropriate exercise this can be curbed but I would be silly to trust my crew with something that can be easily shredded. They live for destroying things! But hey, if you want a living paper shredder, they are up for the task!
They were magicians in another life
I could keep my Newf contained in a room with a string of fishing line across the entrance. However with my beagles, my gates have to be 4 feet tall and not easily climbed.
They are MASTER escape artists. My female Clover can figure out how to escape a yard in minutes flat. I could barricade her in a room and if there is even a small chance to get out, she will problem solve until she can. It’s a game for them and owners should never under estimate a problem solving hound. Theyre wicked smart when something is in it for them.
Fenced yards need to be like Fort Knox and if they can see under the fence, they will dig until they’re free. They’re awful little beasts!
They DO shed
Do not consider a beagle if you’re hoping for something that doesn’t shed. While not as bad as Labrador or GSD, they still contribute to the dust bunnies I have to sweep daily. They blown their coats 2 times a year and you’ll be wearing their fur unless you keep up on deshedding during these periods.
And lastly, but most importantly....
They cannot be trusted off leash
This breed has thousands of years of selective breeding put into it where often only the best dogs in the field were chosen to be bred. Remember, the best field dogs were ones that picked up rabbit or fox tracks and worked as pack or independently AWAY from the hunter to track down game.
Beagles are pretty much a nose on four legs and it is unreasonable to go into this breed with the expectation of allowing it to run free on hikes or when you’re camping or at your cottage on the lake. It’s just not responsible and dangerous for this breed.
And those who are looking for a hunting companion...Beagles are not sporting breeds. You. Follow. Them.
Many people will think this breed will be great as a bird dog and that’s not how this breed was selectively bred. A retriever in that case would be a much better match!
Have I see beagles been trust to be reliable off leash? Of course! I have also seen terriers been able to live happily with rodents but that doesn’t mean I would suggest a Jack Russell to a home who’s children have a loving pet hamster.
I love my hounds. They’re truly a joy to live with but I won’t lie and say they aren’t a challenge. They are, but that is why I got in to this breed to begin with.
If I was going to rate them based on an easy to live with dog with hardly any challenges, they would get a 2/5 stars
But for a home that is prepared for the antics a beagle comes with, is willing to put the ground work in and are prepared to live with a dog that will make you laugh and teach you to look at life in such a merry, optimistic way?
Well, Beagles are 5/5 Stars for me then! Thanks for reading