Category: Dog

Where to buy your Beagle

Getting a Beagle isn’t as easy as choosing the cutest and most conveniently located pup. There are several places to get a Beagle and, unfortunately not all suppliers are ethical. Here is a simple guide for people who are starting out.

The best place to buy a Beagle

The most reliable place to find a Beagle puppy is at the home of an ethical, responsible breeder. Of course, not all breeders are knowledgeable, and some can produce litters with health problems as a result. It’s important that you find a breeder who isn’t just in it for the money, but who is passionate about the Beagle breed and wants to produce only healthy, happy puppies. Good breeders tend to screen their dogs for hereditary health problems before they breed from them. They raise their puppies in a family environment that is clean, spacious and has a calm atmosphere. They also tend to take a keen interest in who will be allowed to take one of their puppies home, rather than selling them off quickly to make a profit. Places to search for such breeders include:

  • Your local Beagle breed club
  • Recommendations from friends who have healthy, well-behaved Beagles
  • Vet recommendations
  • An internet search for breeders with good reviews and official websites
  • The Kennel Club’s website, where there will be a list of registered breeders

Don’t be afraid to visit a couple of different breeders before you make your final decision. It pays to shop around and get the right puppy, so that you don’t have to deal with avoidable vet’s bills later on.

Another place to find Beagles

If you have decided you want an adult dog, or a rescued youngster, a good place to go to is your local animal shelter. There is a good chance you’ll find at least one Beagle waiting for a loving, secure home. The advantages of these rescued Beagles are many, including:

  • Knowing that you’ve saved a dog’s life
  • Much lower fees (if any) than a breeder would charge
  • A Beagle that’s vaccinated, wormed and microchipped
  • A Beagle that has passed temperament tests to make sure he’s suited to rehoming

Whilst some rescue dogs will have been surrendered from loving homes (for example, if they belonged to someone elderly who has died), others may have been mistreated or abandoned by careless owners. If you’re going to adopt a rescued Beagle be prepared to deal with any emotional issues they may have as a result of possible abuse. You may have to spend some time winning their trust, and then training them to understand some basic commands. On the other hand, you may be very lucky and get a Beagle who fits into your home straight away. In many cases rehoming a dog is a leap of faith, but can be a very rewarding thing to do.

Bad places to buy a Beagle

Here are some places you should avoid at all costs:

  • Pet shops
    Puppies sold at pet shops are more often than not from bad breeders, and some have been raised in “puppy farm” conditions which are cramped and unsanitary. If you care about dogs, please don’t support the practice of breeding for profit by buying from a pet shop.

  • Classified ads
    If someone is advertising their puppies, there is a good chance they were an unplanned litter and they will not have gone through the regular health checks that puppies from registered breeders have.

  • Websites
    Usually websites with pictures of pups for sale are just like puppy farms. You have no way of knowing how the pups have been raised, what kind of parents they have and what their home environment has been like. Usually they will be sold at inflated prices, and there is a good chance that they will fall ill soon after you take them home, and possibly even die.

Now that you know where to buy your puppy from, it’s time to find yourself a puppy that’s happy, confident and healthy. Good luck!

What do Beagles need to be happy?

The Beagle is extremely cute and endears himself to everyone who meets him. As independent and happy-go-lucky as these dogs are though, they still need a few important things in order to lead a happy, healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of the Beagle’s basic needs.

Beagles need warmth and security

The Beagle was once kept in out-houses and was a working, hunting dog. However, these days he is usually a family pet and has been bred as a companion dog for many decades now. As such, he won’t take very well to being left out in the cold. Anyone considering getting one of these lovable dogs will need to provide a warm, comfortable home for him indoors, where the rest of the family can be found.

Companionship is a must for Beagles

The Beagle is quite an independent creature and he has the innate ability to hunt game over long distances, often a field or two away from his master. However, at heart these dogs are pack animals. As anyone who has seen a fox hunt will know, the Beagle can often be found in large groups of hounds and thrives on a sociable atmosphere where both human and canine companions can be found. If you’re going to be out of the house all day, your Beagle will become depressed, anxious and possibly badly behaved. Whilst he isn’t the type to follow you around all day, he needs company most of the time. So, please don’t get a Beagle if you can’t give him the companionship he needs.

Beagles need to be active

These little hounds have bags of energy and were bred to have a lot of stamina, covering large distances on hunts across the countryside. A family Beagle needs the opportunity to burn off all that excess energy, sniff out interesting scents, and stretch his legs. In general, the more exercise you can give your Beagle, the happier he will be.

Beagles need to be trained

Like all breeds, the Beagle won’t arrive in your home a fully trained, obedient dog (unless, of course, you’ve bought an adult Beagle from a loving home). Beagles need to be taught basic commands, obedience and, of course, they need toilet training. With a firm, confident master to teach him right from wrong, the Beagle will be calmer and happier in general. Without training, some Beagles can grow too independent and can sometimes be stubborn.

Top 3 mistakes Beagle owners make

Owning a Beagle may seem like a piece of cake, but it’s easy to make mistakes if you haven’t done your research. Here are the top 5 mistakes to be aware of when it comes to owning a Beagle.

  • Choosing the wrong puppy or breeder
    Either of these mistakes can lead to a whole lot of hassle, financial strain and heartache if your chosen pup turns out to have health or behavioural issues. Too many people make the mistake of going to amateur breeders and even puppy farms and pets shops, where breeding practices aren’t as ethical as they should be. Choose a knowledgeable and responsible breeder and you are much more likely to take home a healthy, happy puppy. And, once you’ve found a reputable breeder, be careful to choose the healthiest, most energetic pup from the litter rather than the smallest cutest one that’s cowering in the corner.

  • Thinking that Beagles are “low maintenance”
    Whilst Beagles have a coat that is relatively low maintenance, and a small, compact size that makes them easier to have around the house, it doesn’t mean that they are low maintenance as pets. In fact, all dogs are “high maintenance” when compared to other pets. They need companionship, devotion, consistency and plenty of exercise in order to stay calm and happy. They need training in the first few months, regular vet check-ups, the right nutrients in their diet, not to mention toys, games and chews to keep them occupied. That’s just for starters! Having a Beagle takes just as much care and attention as any other breed, so be prepared to dedicate as much time and attention to them as any other member of your family. Finally, because of his hunting heritage, he is going to need lots of exercise and opportunities to indulge in his passion for sniffing out scent trails. Thus, he needs an owner who is willing to put in the effort in order to have a happy dog.

  • Failing to be consistent
    Believe it or not, the cute little Beagle is a free-spirited creature with a mind of his own. He isn’t one to follow you obediently around the house. He’ll be too busy sniffing out scents and finding his own fun! This means that some Beagles can develop stubborn streaks, which are born out of the desire to do things their own way rather than your way. The only way to deal with this is to be firm, fair and consistent. If your Beagle isn’t allowed treats from the table, there should be absolutely no exceptions. If he isn’t usually allowed up on the couch, then letting him up on special occasions is only going to confuse him, and give him the idea that he can have his own way.

Pros and cons of the Beagle breed

If you’re thinking of getting one of these cute, clever, little dogs, please remember that no breed is perfect. To get a proper understanding of whether this breed is for you here are some useful pros and cons to be aware of.

Pros of owning this breed

  • Beagles don’t need too much grooming

    You won’t need to spend money on trips to the grooming salon with a Beagle. The short coat needs only the occasional brushing down to remove loose hair and will stay neat and tidy looking regardless. As for bathing, you’ll only ever need to wash your Beagle if he begins to smell, or if he rolls in dirt.

  • Beagles are small

    Smaller than other Hound dogs, the Beagle is quite a nice size for a family pet – not too big so as to be unmanageable yet, not too small to accidentally step on his tail. Being small, he won’t consume a fortune’s worth of food, and he’ll be quite easy to carry to the car or the bathroom if needed. In addition, the Beagle is a great sized companion for children – he’s gentle and not too strong to be overpowering, yet he isn’t fragile enough to be hurt by youngsters who don’t yet know how to treat a dog.

  • Beagles are sociable

    These little hounds love to be around people, and will be good meeting strangers as well as other dogs in the park, as long as they are properly socialised as puppies. They are quite relaxed which means they will also make good therapy pets.

Cons of owning this breed

  • Beagles are not great for people with allergies

    The Beagle has quite a coarse, short haired coat which means it isn’t the best breed to get if you have someone in your home with allergies. The flyaway hair and dander is bound to make anyone who has airborne allergies sneeze.

  • Beagles are hounds, which means they howl

    These little dogs can be quite vocal and are very good at letting you know if something is wrong. So, be prepared to deal with a certain amount of howling, baying and barking from your dog – this comes with the territory of the Hound breed type.

  • Beagles can be stubborn

    If a Beagle senses that he has a passive or timid owner, he may well try to get away with being headstrong and stubborn. This is a breed that likes its independence! Free spirited, the Beagle likes nothing better than to go off in search of interesting scents. So, be sure to have him fully trained before you let him off the lead, and make sure he knows who is boss.

How to stop your Beagle howling

Beagles are hounds, and hounds have an innate instinct to howl or bay, especially when they are successful on hunts. If you’re getting a Beagle, you’ll need to prepare yourself for this quirk in the breed, which can sometimes become a regular habit. Here are some tips for dealing with your howling hound.

Why is your Beagle howling?

There are lots of reasons a Beagle will howl. In the Beagle there is an tendency to howl when hunting, which alerts both pack members and humans that they have found game. However, in the family home the Beagle will also find other reasons to howl. Maybe he is lonely, or he can hear other dogs nearby. Perhaps he has found something interesting, or he simply just wants your attention! More mental stimulation is often the answer to lonely or bored dogs who howl. Whatever the reason, observe your beagle closely and find out the main triggers of this behaviour. Once you’ve pinpointed the cause you can start to remedy it.

Lonely howlers

If your Beagle seems to howl only when you leave the house, or you get complaints from neighbours saying there is howling when you aren’t home, then your Beagle is simply crying out for company. Dogs are pack animals by nature and need companionship for as much of the day as possible. Leaving any dog alone for eight hours a day while you go to work is a really cruel thing to do, and it is one of the major causes of behavioural problems in dogs like Beagles. The solution here is simple. Find some company for your dog during the day time, or find him a loving home where he will not be so lonely. You could think about getting another dog as a companion, which can help to cure loneliness in some dogs. Or perhaps you have a retired relative who would be only too happy to provide company to your Beagle every day.

Find some activities to occupy your Beagle

A busy Beagle is a happy Beagle! And in general, when your Beagle is calm and content, he won’t feel the need to howl so much. So, the first thing to do is increase the amount of exercise you’re giving him, and vary your walks so that they are full of interesting sights, sounds and smells. Try the river, the beach, or a ramble in the countryside. Next, get your Beagle’s mind working and set him some challenges. Teach him fetch, or hide scented toys and treats for him to seek out in the garden. Enrol your dog in agility classes or even sign him up to be a therapy dog. Even dogs need active social lives! Finally, take a look at some online pet shops and you will find a huge range of dog toys out there from tunnels to puzzles. Your Beagle will thank you.

Respond carefully to howling

When your Beagle howls, be careful not to send him the message that howling is something which wins him attention. There are two approaches which might be useful to try. Either teach your Beagle an alternative distracting behaviour to do instead of howling (such as sitting or lying down), or completely ignore the howling and turn your back on him. Dogs can be very quick to learn what wins them attention and what doesn’t!

History of the Beagle breed

The Beagle has a long history of being a hunting dog, and has been used in farms and homes both as a companion dog and as a working dog. Here are some facts about this breed’s history.

There are mixed opinions on the origin of the very first Beagles

Some historians believe that there were hound-like dogs that were kept by the ancient Greeks a few hundred years before the birth of Christ. However, there is also a school of thought which says that these hounds were first heard of around 200AD. So, although we know that the Beagle is descended from other hound type dogs, we can only speculate as to the exact origins of the breed.

There are a also a few theories on the origin of the name “Beagle”

One of these theories is that the word comes from an old French word “be’guele” which means “open mouth”, perhaps a name that was given to the Beagle because of the breed’s penchant for howling. Another theory is that the name comes from similar words in various languages which all translate as “small” including:

  • The French word begle
  • The Old English word begele
  • The Celtic word beag

Beagles were first popular in England in the 1300s

One thing we do know, is that the Beagles we see today first emerged in England where they were used to hunt hares. It wasn’t until a hundred or more years later in the 1400s that the term “Beagle” began to be used in reference to these dogs. Later on during the reign of Elizabeth I, the nobility kept “pocket Beagles” that hunted rabbits and other small game. These hounds were several inches smaller than the Beagles we know and love today. However, once fox hunting came into vogue these hounds fell out of favour because they were too small to hunt such large creatures. Bigger dogs were used instead, but the Beagle’s obsolete status didn’t last for long. In the 1800s, Reverend Philip Honeywood and other breeders began to produce hunting packs of Beagles and people also began to take an interest in dog shows and producing dogs to show in the ring. Towards the end of the century, Beagles were being bred in America too, where people were also catching on to the idea of dog shows. In 1890, the first Beagle Club was formed.

The Beagles we see today are only about a hundred years old

The breed has been refined over the past century to get to the stage where it is today. In the process, breeders have come up with a strict set of breed standards which purebred Beagles must conform to in order to be shown in the ring.

Beagle FAQs

If you have burning questions about the Beagle, look no further. Here are some frequently asked questions about these lovely looking hounds.

How much exercise do Beagles need?

Beagles need quite a lot of exercise as they were originally bred as hunting dogs. They can cover large distances if they are allowed to roam in the countryside and have a high level of stamina for their size. As a general rule, they will need at least an hour of exercise a day to keep trim and healthy.

Are Beagles good with children?

Yes, Beagles tend to have gentle personalities and are great with children. They are a good size for children, being medium sized, neither fragile nor physically overpowering.

How long do Beagles live for?

A Beagle can live for anywhere between 12 and 15 years, depending on how well he is cared for and whether he has healthy genes.

What health problems do Beagles suffer from?

Beagles can sometimes inherit health issues if they have been the victims of bad breeding practices. It’s so important to choose a breeder who is aware of these issues and has screened against them. These conditions include: cherry eye, epilepsy, allergies, hypothyroidism, and weight gain.

How easy is it to groom Beagles?

Beagles have short fur that sheds a medium amount when compared to other breeds. The good news is that the short hair is easy to look after and doesn’t tend to become matted or unmanageable. You’ll need to brush your Beagle every week or so to remove loose fur and debris. Bathing should only ever be done when necessary, for example if your Beagle rolls in mud or something worse and begins to smell bad.

What behavioural problems do Beagles suffer from?

Beagles are lovable and tend to have outgoing, sociable personalities. However, they can sometimes be stubborn and are free spirited by nature. So, you’ll need to be a firm and confident pack leader in order to have the best behaved Beagle. You will also need to be very careful letting your Beagle off the lead – he may just go off on a scent hunt of his own, without looking back! In addition, Beagles are notorious howlers, and will howl to get your attention in certain situations. Aside from these issues, you shouldn’t have too many problems with a Beagle that has come from a reputable breeder.

Activities and jobs for Beagles

If you’re the lucky owner of a Beagle, you’ll know that these are no ordinary dogs. The Beagle’s amazing nose and his wonderful temperament mean that he’s ideally suited to a number of activities out in the real world. Here are some of them.

Airport customs

The Beagle’s excellent sense of smell gives it a great advantage above other breeds. You will often see Beagles being used by airport customs officials as sniffer dogs. They can be trained to detect items such as fruit and agricultural products being illegally brought through borders from other countries, as well as narcotics and money. They can smell these items from a fair distance, wrapped and hidden inside luggage. They are perfect for this work because of their smaller size, which means they aren’t intimidating to people who would usually be afraid of dogs. This is one of the reasons they are preferred for this work over larger breeds like the German Shepherd.

Termite detectors

Pest control services have started to use Beagles to sniff out termite infestations in homes. Beagles are ideal for this when compared to other breeds – for one thing, they are extremely enthusiastic and driven, sniffing out their targets for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s also said that they respond very well to food reward systems, and have a high drive for food. This means they can be taught to filter out other interesting smells and only hone in on those that are important.

Medical helpers

Beagles have been used in hospitals. In 2012 one hospital in Amsterdam started using a Beagle called Cliff, who they trained to detect a superbug called Clostridium difficile. After just two months of training Cliff was able to detect the infection from 25 out of 30 infected patients, just by sniffing the air around their beds. When he reaches an infected patient, Cliff simply sits down beside their bed and waits for his reward.

Mould detectors

Beagles are also being used to sniff out mould problems in buildings, using the same skills they would use when detecting agricultural products. The US Environmental Protection Agency is one organisation that is using them.

5 ways to socialise your Beagle puppy

If you’ve recently brought home a Beagle pup, you will need to start the socialisation process as soon as possible. Socialising a pup means exposing them to different experiences, objects, people and animals so that he gets used to them from a young age and grows into a calm, confident adult dog. If you’ve chosen the right puppy, your Beagle should be naturally inquisitive, relatively calm and open to new experiences, so don’t be afraid to start this vital process straight away! Here are some socialisation lessons to check off your list.

  • Introduce your Beagle to new objects
    Household objects such as vacuum cleaners, mops, and brooms need to be shown to your pup in order to make him realise they are harmless, non-threatening objects. So, introduce him to these items early on, maybe giving him some treats at the same time so that he learns to associate them with positive, rather than alarming experiences.

  • Allow your Beagle to meet people
    Once he’s settled into his new home, it’s time to introduce your pup to some canine and human strangers, and teach him how to make friends. You can start by inviting friends and their dogs over (though not all at once – a house full of dogs is probably going to overwhelm a young pup!). Make sure the dogs are well behaved and sociable. They must of course be vaccinated and wormed before coming into contact with your puppy. Introduce them slowly and with your full supervision. At any signs of distress, take the puppy away immediately – any negative experience at this stage in life can have a lasting effect, and can lead to behavioural problems later on.

  • Bring your Beagle out and about
    Once he’s ready to be out in the big wide world (after he’s been fully vaccinated) it’s time to start taking your pup on errands, trips to the supermarket, the shopping centre and the dog park. Anywhere where he will meet people from all walks of life is ideal. Of course, lots of people are going to want to approach a new puppy to say hello, which is exactly what you want! Lots of friendly interactions with new people is key to creating a calm, outgoing and sociable disposition in your dog. Treats should be given after every new interaction. Beagles aren’t a timid breed, so your pup should catch on to this new mindset quickly enough.

  • Take a road trip
    Around this time you should also be taking your Beagle on small car trips, just to get him used to the sensation of car travel. Start with shorter journeys and once he gets used to it you can bring him on longer trips. Teach him that he must stay where he is and he is not allowed to try and sit on your lap at any stage. Don’t let him put his head out of the window – only open the window a small way, enough to fit just his nose out if possible. He’ll be enthralled by all the new smells he encounters on the journey! For safety reasons, your beagle should be restrained whilst in the car, either with a proper car harness or in a cage.

  • Make some noise for your Beagle
    Don’t forget one vital part of socialisation: expose your Beagle to noisy atmospheres so that he doesn’t grow into a fearful dog that barks at every loud noise he comes across. So, start with hoovering and using the hair dryer, then try taking him to places like a noisy playground where kids are shouting, and perhaps most importantly, get him used to busy roads and noisy traffic. You can avoid a lot of stress and embarrassment if you raise a pup that’s calm in the most chaotic of situations.

5 ways to exercise your Beagle

Beagle just love to keep active! Exercise holds many benefits for Beagles including less body fat, a healthy heart, better mobility and a calm state of mind. In general, the more exercise you give your Beagle the better! Here are some good ways to make sure your Beagle gets the exercise he deserves.

Beagles love a brisk walk

Rather than taking your Beagle to the nearest park, letting him do his business and leaving again, how about going for a longer walk, where you both get to increase your heart rate and build stamina? Just make sure to observe your Beagle closely and if he shows signs of muscle strain or fatigue (which shouldn’t happen in a healthy dog) it’s time to take a break. In summer, bring some water with you. Also, be careful not to walk on tarmac on hot days or you could end up burning the pads of your little buddy’s feet.

Bring your Beagle for a jog

Despite being on the small side, your Beagle should be well able to pick up the pace! This breed was once an excellent runner over long distances, and was expected to run for miles to keep up with horses when on hunting trips. Be sure to run on a soft surface like grass, earth or sand, and avoid running on hard ground like concrete, which can damage your dog’s knees.

Swim with your Beagle

Beagles are one of the breeds which can swim quite well, if given the chance. Find somewhere with calm water, shallow shorelines and no strong currents – these are the ideal conditions for a doggy dip. Keep a close eye on your Beagle as he swims, just in case he goes in too deep or gets into trouble. Lastly, bear in mind that puppies with no experience of swimming may need a little training first and to do this, you should be prepared to accompany your pup in the water. If you want to take your dog out fishing or sailing, there are special canine life jackets available online.

Train your Beagle in the art of agility

If you have a particularly energetic Beagle, you may want to try some agility training. Search for classes in your local area. You can also purchase some agility equipment for your garden – tunnels, jumps, and poles can be bought from websites like Amazon.

Find some clubs in your area

There are a few interesting things you can do with your Beagle besides the activities above. For example, Flyball is a sport for dogs and their owners and is done on a competitive basis. Flyball is like a race, where dogs compete against each other to run and retrieve a ball from a special launcher. You have to see it in action to truly appreciate the fun this brings! Other activities for Beagles include field dog trials, where dogs are tested on their ability to retrieve game, and tracking events where dogs can track scents. The latter really will be heaven for the Beagle, since this breed has an excellent sense of smell and an urge to sniff out scents for miles.

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