Originally bred to hunt hare, rabbits and other small prey in packs, Beagles have a phenomenal sense of smell and superior tracking instincts, making them the perfect detection dog — particularly for prohibited imports and foodstuff in quarantine around the world. They’re also extremely loyal and make great pets for families due to their good temper and lack of health problems.
The breed of Beagle that we know and love were officially recognised in the UK in the 1830s. Deriving from several species, including the Talbot Hound, the Southern Hound and the North Country Beagle, the breed has been particularly popular in paintings and literature since the Elizabethan times.
Find out everything you need to know about this breed with our in-depth guide.
How much does Beagle insurance cost?
How much is a Beagle?
If you’re set on wanting to own a Beagle, they can cost anywhere from £500 to £1000 in the UK. For pedigree puppies from a Kennel Club registered breeder, you can expect to pay much more.
How much is a Beagle to insure?
In 2022, the average cost to insure a Beagle with ManyPets was £387.07 Our average dog insurance cost for all our breeds was £412.25, so Beagles on average cost just a little less to insure compared to other breeds.
Beagles can be among the most difficult dogs to train due to their inquisitive nature, leading to them getting easily distracted. They have a sharp sense of smell which means they can be easily distracted with so many different odours around them.
However, with a little bit of patience, you can train your Beagle like you would with any other dog.
Breed bad habits
Although Beagles are cheerful dogs that like affection, they’re also notorious for being stubborn. If left alone for too long their search instincts can get the better of them and they may be destructive and howl for attention. The “beagle bark” is one of the most notorious and distinct among all breeds.
As hound dogs, Beagles are an active and curious breed who will roam when given the chance. To keep them out of harm's way, it’s best to keep them on a leash when outside of the house or when taking them for a walk.
When you’re training a Beagle, it's best to start early. As they’re hunting dogs, they have extremely high energy levels and they're more likely to rely on their natural instincts rather than listen to a basic command from their owner.
Because they hunt by their sense of smell and not their sight, many trainers note that this trait can make training sessions a challenging experience. However, Beagles are friendly and do respond well to positive reinforcement — particularly with treats.
Beagle gender differences
Female Beagles have a longer attention span than males and are more eager for their owner's attention, making them the easier of the two genders to train.
Overall, female Beagles are known to be extremely playful and have outgoing personalities which sometimes can be overwhelming to handle. Because of their drive to play, they aren’t particularly well suited for being left alone for long periods of time.
Height: 33-40 cm
Weight: 10-20 kg
Length: 51-64 cm
Size: Small to medium
Male Beagles tend to be much more laidback and lazy compared to their female counterparts — this doesn’t mean that they don’t like attention, it simply means they just aren’t as playful.
Males are also highly likely to bark and howl if something catches their attention. This isn’t really an issue for homeowners, but those in flats (or with thin walls between them and their neighbours) may find this could be an issue.
Height: 35-40 cm
Weight: 12-20 kg
Length: 51-64 cm
Size: Small to medium
Beagle breed health
As a breed, the Beagle is a relatively healthy dog, however, there are certain genetic issues that can develop as they grow older.
The common lifespan for a Beagle is between 12-15 years — which is the average age for most dogs.
Common health problems
Like many purebred dogs, Beagles are prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health conditions that the breed can develop include:
Epilepsy — Beagles can be prone to epilepsy, which is a seizure disorder. The symptoms usually start between the age of 2-5 years old and can require anti-seizure medication to help get it under control. The seizures themselves can range from mild to severe, and often last between 30-60 seconds. For a mild seizure, the symptoms may include involuntary movements, however more severe seizures can include a loss of consciousness, thrashing, urinating and defecating.
Hypothyroidism — A common disease among older Beagles, hypothyroidism is a condition which affects the thyroid gland that controls a dog's metabolism. Beagles that experience hypothyroidism can begin to show changes in their skin and hair coat which can lead to hair loss and dry skin. Some dogs may also show signs including weight gain and sluggishness. The condition can be managed with daily medication (thyroid hormone supplementation).
Cherry eye — Unlike humans, dogs have three eyelids rather than two and cherry eye can become a problem when the third eyelid becomes swollen and red, which then results in the third eyelid getting stuck outward partially across the eye. It can sometimes be a painful condition but it can lead to some serious eye infections if left untreated. Cherry eye can occur in one or both eyes and can resolve itself on its own, however, in some cases, it may need surgery.
Obesity — Despite Beagles being a high-energy breed, they’re actually at a high risk of developing obesity. Most Beagles have an insatiable appetite and that, combined with their strong sense of smell, means they have a tendency to sniff out food or leftovers. You should make sure that any temptations are kept well out of reach of your furry friend.
Ear infections — Despite Beagles being loved for their long and floppy ears, they actually do require some extra care. Due to reduced airflow in the ear canal because of their floppy ears, it can create a moist environment for bacteria and yeast to grow in abundance, resulting in some nasty ear infections. Beagles who are suffering from an ear infection will excessively scratch at their ears, so it’s important that owners make sure their ears are regularly cleaned with a good-quality cleanser. Ear infections in Beagles are often secondary to a primary underlying allergy.
Cruciate ligament tears — The cruciate ligaments are two bands of fibrous tissue that are located within each knee joint. Since this joint is relatively unstable as there are no interlocking bones in the joint, it can be quite easy to cause a tear.The most common way for a dog to damage one of their cruciate ligaments is by jumping or turning awkwardly. You'll know if your dog is hurt as they'll usually start limping. Some cases can be managed medically, but many require surgery to regain strength in the knee joint.
“Beagles are a lovely breed, however, you have to look out for certain genetic conditions that can creep up on them,” says Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS. “Beagles are susceptible to various eye problems, allergic skin disease, and obesity.”
“When caring for your Beagle, it’s vital that you take regular trips to the vet to ensure that your furry friend is in the best of health. Since Beagles have such an excellent sense of smell, I often encourage new owners to consider scent work classes to provide mental enrichment as well as exercise for their pups!” says Dr Ronngren.
Beagle colours and variants
Colours and breed variants
The Beagle is the smallest of the British pack hounds and there are currently two different variations; the miniature Beagle known as the ‘Pocket Beagle’ and simply the ‘Beagle’. The miniature Beagle has fallen out of favour in the UK, however, it’s quite popular in the United States.
The breed standard colours for Beagles include:
Badger Pied Mottle
Black & White
Black & White Mottle
Blue, White & Tan
Blue, White & Tan Mottle
Hare Pied Mottle
Lemon & White
Lemon & White Mottle
Lemon Pied Mottle
Red & White
Red & White Mottle
Tan & White
Tan & White Mottle
Caring for a Beagle
Beagles are high-energy dogs that love being a part of anything their owner does. No matter where you live, they’re sprightly dogs and need plenty of daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy.
Beagles are extremely active dogs and will need about 30-60 minutes of exercise each day. This should really be a combination of walking and running, mixed in with some training and free time. Since they’re scent hounds, they’ll particularly enjoy playing games that involve using their nose, getting a chance to use their keen sense of smell.
When you’re out with your furry friend, it’s best to keep them on a lead unless they’re somewhere secure where you can trust them to return.
Depending on their age, lifestyle and any health conditions they have, your Beagle's diet will vary. To keep them healthy, it’s best to consult your vet to make sure that they’re getting all the nutrients they need and they’ll also inform you of how much your pet should be eating.
If you’re training a Beagle puppy and using treats, remember to take this into account — treats shouldn't make up more than 10% of their calories or you can create an unbalanced diet.
Remember to feed your dog at the same time every day to properly get them into a routine.
Beagle puppies need about 18-20 hours of sleep per day for proper mental and physical development. Adult Beagles will sleep for around about 10-12 hours per day, but if your pooch is quite active, you’ll find that they may sleep for longer or take a few naps throughout the day.
“If you’re looking for a friendly and affectionate dog breed to add to your family, then a Beagle is an excellent partner,” says Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS.
“Providing them with the right combination of food, sleep, enrichment, and physical activity will ensure that your friend is the happiest they can be.”
Although Beagles were originally bred for hunting, they actually have quite a sweet temperament that makes one great house pet.
How good are Beagles with kids?
Beagles are loving and happy companions that make for a wonderful family dog. Their cheerful and affectionate nature, mixed with their sociable personalities means Beagles are great at developing close bonds with all members of their ‘pack’. Since they hunt in packs, Beagles will most likely treat kids as one of their own — getting on particularly well with older children who have a lot of energy and can play back with them.
That being said, it’s important that if you’re bringing a Beagle into the family, they need to be young enough so they can learn to socialise properly with children from an early age.
How affectionate are Beagles?
Beagles are extremely affectionate dogs that love the company of their humans. They’ll most likely express their affection by jumping, nuzzling and licking you when you’re in a more ‘relaxed’ position — such as lying in bed or sitting on the couch. They are often at times, more clingy than other dogs. Since they’re also notorious burrowers, they’ll make a comfy nest within your lap so they don’t have to be away from you.
From time to time, Beagles can be standoffish with strangers and can howl and bark when a stranger approaches either themselves or their owner.
How territorial are Beagles?
Beagles are not aggressive dogs but they can become confrontational if they feel like their dominance is threatened and there is a need for them to protect their territory. One of the main ways a Beagle will try and assert its dominance is by growling — whether this is near a specific person, animal or spot — and it’s their way of warning that something is theirs and they need to back off.
How friendly are Beagles with other dogs?
Known to be of a friendly and gentle nature, Beagles are typically good with other dogs. If you notice your Beagle is being aggressive toward another dog, it’s typically because there’s an underlying reason: this could be to mark their territory or to show fear.
Beagles love to play and bring out the best in their canine friends since they’ve been bred to thrive in packs.
How much will Beagles tolerate other pets?
Beagles generally love to be around other dogs and are great at integrating with them and cats. While they do have an instinct to chase and hunt, with a little bit of planning, Beagles can live well in a multi-pet household.
How much attention do Beagles need?
Beagles can be extremely needy dogs that require a lot of attention, so it’s best not to leave them alone for long periods of time. Due to their energetic nature, they require plenty of exercise. If left alone, they can bark excessively and show destructive behaviours such as chewing furniture.
Beagle coat and grooming
The Beagle is a relatively clean dog that has a moderate amount of shedding. It’s important to brush their coat on a regular basis to remove any shedded hairs from the base.
The Beagle has a smooth, dense double coat that can get a lot heavier in the winter. Their curious nature and athletic tendencies mean they can get quite dirty quite quickly, so cleaning their double coat will require using a quality safe dog shampoo to ensure they’re clean.
Beagles are moderate shedders and typically tend to shed every day of the year. But, when it comes to shedding season, they’ll drop their entire coat in a matter of weeks and become heavy shedders.
How often do I need to groom a Beagle?
It’s a common misconception that only dogs that have long fur require grooming. However, even short-haired dogs like Beagles need to be regularly groomed to maintain their coat and keep infections at bay.
Although they’re less furry than other dogs, you’ll notice that they still shed a lot. Most Beagles are brushed a few times per week, but you’ll find you’ll need to brush them more frequently during the winter or when they’re exploring.
Are Beagles hypoallergenic?
No, Beagles are not hypoallergenic dogs. They actually have one of the highest levels of dander of any small dog breeds due to their thick coat. Because of this, Beagles can be a problematic breed for people who suffer from allergies or sensitivities.
Beagle bark sound
You’ll find that your Beagle will tend to bark when they’re aware of any movement from an unknown source on its territory. Their bark can be louder compared to other dogs, so this is definitely something to consider if you live in a block of flats and have neighbours close by.
Beagles love the sound of their bark and need very little excuse to use it. They actually have three different types of howls and barks which are:
Standard bark — This is where they’ll let you know that someone is at the door, he needs to go out or he’s excited about a treat or a toy.
Hunting howl — Your Beagle’s second vocalisation is its hunting howl and this is more like a deep yodel. Here they’ll throw their head back and open their throat, which can almost sound mournful and go on for quite a while. When Beagles are purely bred for hunting, this sound is reserved for the hunt.
Baying — The final sound that a Beagle will make is baying, which is a cross between a howl and a bark. It’s a sharper and harsher sound than a bark and isn’t held as long as a howl is, however, he’ll usually reserve a bay for when he’s sad.
Frequently asked questions about Beagles
Are Beagles high maintenance?
Beagles are typically low-maintenance dogs due to their short coat. However, because they love to explore, this can make them harder to clean at times!
Do Beagles love to cuddle?
Beagles love a good cuddle — and love to be around people in general. If they can be nuzzled up close to you, the better!
Is it hard to toilet-train a Beagle?
Beagles can be harder to toilet train, mainly because once they’ve had an incident in the house, their acute sense of smell will keep leading back to that spot. However, you might overcome this by using scent sprays in your garden when your Beagle is still a puppy.