- Breed type: Hound
- Size: 12 - 16 inches
- Weight: 18 - 31 pounds
- Lifespan: 10 - 15 years
Size40% of the way betweenLow and High
Intelligence60% of the way betweenLow and High
Trainability60% of the way betweenLow and High
Exercise needs60% of the way betweenLow and High
Good with kids60% of the way betweenLow and High
Levels of shedding60% of the way betweenLow and High
Good for new owners60% of the way betweenLow and High
Overall health of breed60% of the way betweenLow and High
Today’s Beagles descended from several ancestors, likely including the Talbot Hound, the Southern Hound, and the North Country Beagle. What we think of as the modern-day Beagle was first bred in Great Britain around the 1830s. The first US Beagle imports started trickling in a short time later, between the 1840s and 1860s. The breed we know and love today was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
Beagle ancestors have been popular in paintings and literature since Elizabethan times. Queen Elizabeth I herself is said to have owned several!
Beagles were originally bred to hunt hares, rabbits, and other small prey in packs. Like other members of the hound group, Beagles have a phenomenal sense of smell and superior tracking instincts. This makes them the perfect detection dog, particularly when it comes to sniffing out prohibited imports from around the world, including food and other plant or animal products. The US Department of Agriculture even employs its own “Beagle Brigade.”
But more importantly, Beagles make great pets. They’re extremely loyal, possess a loving temperament, and aren’t prone to very many health problems.
Read our in-depth guide to learn everything you need to know about Beagles.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Beagle?
Buying a Beagle puppy from a reputable breeder can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200 in the US, though pedigree puppies from an American Kennel Club-registered breeder can sometimes cost as much as $2,000. It’s also not uncommon to find Beagles who are available for adoption at animal rescues.
How Much Does Beagle Insurance Cost?
In 2022, the average cost to insure a Beagle with ManyPets was $48 per month. This was more than our average annual premium across all breeds and ages, which was $37 per month. However, Beagles are still less costly to insure than a number of other purebred dogs. (Many purebred dogs are at higher risk for health problems than the average mixed breed dog, which makes their insurance premiums a bit higher.)
Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US, and have been for a very long time. They’re currently the 7th-most popular dog breed registered with the American Kennel Club. It’s not too surprising: They’re a particularly versatile breed. Their hunting background perfectly suits them for country living, and their medium size makes them a good fit for apartment-dwelling in big cities (especially if they’re well trained).
Not surprisingly, Beagle-owning ManyPets customers often live in states with a rich mixture of urban and rural locales. Our top four states for Beagle parents are New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Beagles can be among the most challenging dogs to train: Their inquisitive nature can cause them to become distracted easily. With so many odors around them all the time, their sharp sense of smell can make it difficult for them to focus.
However, with a little bit of patience, you can train your Beagle as successfully as you would 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; they may become destructive and howl for attention.
As hound dogs, Beagles are an active and curious breed who will roam when given a chance. To keep them out of harm's way — and to make sure they don’t get lost — it’s best to keep them on a leash outside, unless they’re in a secure spot like an enclosed dog park.
When you’re training a Beagle, it's best to start early. Since they’re hunting dogs, they have extremely high energy levels and they're often 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 challenging. 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 owners’ attention, which makes them the easier of the two genders to train.
Overall, female Beagles are known to be extremely playful and have outgoing personalities, which can sometimes be overwhelming to handle. Because of their drive to play, they aren’t particularly well suited to be left alone for long periods.
Height: 12-15 inches
Weight: 22-44 pounds
Length: 20-25 inches
Male Beagles tend to be much more laid back and lazy compared to their female counterparts.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t like attention; it simply means they aren’t as playful. Males are also highly likely to bark and howl if something catches their attention. This isn’t always a problem for homeowners, but apartment-dwellers may find that it can irritate their neighbors.
Height: 13-15 inches
Weight: 26-44 kg
Length: 20-25 inches
Beagle Breed Health
Beagles are a relatively healthy breed compared to some other purebred dogs. But certain genetic issues can arise, especially as Beagles grow older. When you buy a Beagle puppy, be sure to seek out a responsible breeder who tests their dogs for potential genetic health conditions.
The common lifespan for a Beagle is between 12-15 years — 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 will usually start between the age of 2-5 years old. Anti-seizure medications are sometimes required to help get the condition under control. The seizures themselves can range from mild to severe, with each lasting between 30-60 seconds. The symptoms of a mild seizure may include involuntary movements; however, more severe episodes can consist of a loss of consciousness, thrashing, urinating, and defecating.
Hypothyroidism: A common disease among older Beagles, hypothyroidism is a condition affecting the thyroid gland, which 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. The condition can be easily controlled with daily medication.
Cherry Eye: Unlike humans, dogs have three eyelids rather than two. Cherry eye can become a problem when the tear gland in the third eyelid becomes swollen and red, which then results in part of the eye becoming covered. It isn’t painful, but it can lead to serious eye infections if left untreated. Cherry eye can occur in one or both eyes and can resolve itself independently; however, in some cases, it may need surgery.
Obesity: Despite their high energy levels, Beagles are at a high risk of developing obesity. Most Beagles have an insatiable appetite and a powerful sense of smell, so they’ll often sniff around for leftovers. It’s wise to keep those tasty temptations well out of your furry friend’s reach.
Ear Infections: Beagles are widely loved for their long and floppy ears, but those ears do require some extra care. Floppiness leads to reduced airflow in the ear canal, which can create a moist environment where bacteria and yeast can grow in abundance. This can result in some nasty ear infections. Beagles suffering from ear infections will excessively scratch at their ears, so owners must make sure their ears are regularly cleaned with a high-quality cleanser.
Cruciate Ligament Tears: The cruciate ligaments are two bands of fibrous tissue that are located within each knee joint. 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 with medication, but many require surgery. These surgeries can be quite expensive, costing as much as $1,000 - $5,000.
“Beagles are a lovely breed, however, you have to look out for certain genetic conditions that can creep up on them,” says veterinarian Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS. “Beagles are susceptible to various eye problems, allergic skin disease, and obesity.”
“When caring for your Beagle,” she adds, “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!”
Beagle Colors and Variants
Colors and Breed Variants
The Beagle is the smallest of the British pack hounds, and there are currently two variations: the miniature Beagle known as the “Pocket Beagle” and simply the “Beagle.” The small Beagle has fallen out of favor in the UK, but it’s still fairly popular in the US.
The breed standard colors 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 very enthusiastic and need plenty of exercise daily to keep them healthy and happy.
Beagles are highly active dogs and need at least 60-90 minutes of daily exercise. This should include a combination of walking and running, with some training and free time. Since they’re scent hounds, they’ll particularly enjoy playing games that involve using their keen sense of smell.
When you’re out with your furry friend, it’s best to keep them on a leash unless they’re somewhere secure where you can trust them to return.
While Beagles have a reputation as a hardy, outdoorsy type, it’s important to know that they’re not considered winter-safe breeds. When you take your Beagle outside in cold weather, you must wrap them up or dress them in warm clothing, even if you’re just taking them on a short walk around the block.
Depending on their age, lifestyle, and health conditions, your Beagle's diet will vary. To keep them healthy, it’s best to consult your vet to ensure your pup is eating the right amount and getting all the nutrients they need.
You should feed a healthy Beagle with quality dog food split into two meals a day.
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. Otherwise you can create an unbalanced diet.
Also, remember to feed your dog at the same times every day to get them into a solid routine.
Beagle puppies need about 18-20 hours of sleep daily for proper mental and physical development. Adult Beagles sleep for about 10-12 hours per day — but if your dog is quite active, you might find that they’ll sleep 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. Ronngren. “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 initially bred for hunting, they have a sweet temperament that makes them excellent house pets.
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 groups, Beagles will most likely treat kids as one of their own — getting along particularly well with older children who have a lot of energy and can play back with them.
That being said, if you’re bringing an untrained Beagle home to the family, they must be young enough to learn how to socialize correctly with children from an early age.
How Affectionate Are Beagles?
Beagles are highly 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.
At times, Beagles can be more clingy than other dogs. Since they’re also notorious burrowers, they’ll sometimes make a comfy nest within your lap so they don’t have to be away from you.
Beagles can be standoffish with strangers at times, howling or barking when an unfamiliar human approaches them 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 they need 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; it’s their way of warning that something is theirs and others need to back off.
How Friendly are Beagles With Other Dogs?
With their friendly and gentle nature, Beagles are great with other dogs. If you notice your Beagle is being aggressive toward another dog, it’s typically because there’s an underlying reason — often to mark their territory or to show pain or fear.
Since they've been bred to thrive in packs, Beagles love to play and will bring out the best in their canine friends.
Will Beagles Tolerate Other Pets?
Beagles love to be around other dogs, and can get along with cats too. While they have an instinct to chase and hunt, Beagles can thrive in a multi-pet household with the right planning and training.
How Much Attention Do Beagles Need?
Beagles can be extremely needy dogs who require lots of attention, so it’s best not to leave them alone for long periods. Due to their energetic nature, they need lots of exercise and — if left alone — can develop separation anxiety, bark excessively, and exhibit destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture.
Beagle Coat and Grooming
The Beagle is a relatively clean dog that has a moderate amount of shedding. It’s essential to brush their coat regularly to remove any shedded hairs from the base.
The Beagle has a smooth, dense double coat that can get much heavier in the winter. Their curious nature and athletic tendencies mean they can get quite dirty quickly, so cleaning their double coat requires special dog shampoo to ensure they’re clean.
Beagles are moderate shedders and typically shed every day of the year. But during shedding season, they’ll become heavy shedders and drop their entire coat in weeks.
How Often Do I Need to Groom a Beagle?
It’s a common misconception that only long-furred dogs require grooming. Even short-haired dogs like Beagles must be regularly groomed to maintain their coats and keep infections at bay.
Although Beagles are less furry than other dogs, you’ll notice that they still shed a lot. Most Beagles are brushed every two days, but 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. In fact, they have one of the highest dander levels of any small dog breed 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 tends to bark when they’re aware of any movement from an unknown source in their territory. Their bark can be louder than other dogs, so this is something to consider if you live in an apartment building and have neighbors nearby.
Beagles love the sound of their bark and need very little excuse to use it. They have three different types of howls and barks, which are:
Standard Bark: This is when they let you know that someone is at the door, that they need to go out, or that they're excited about a treat or a toy.
Hunting Howl: Your Beagle’s second vocalization is its hunting howl, which is more like a deep yodel. Here they’ll throw their head back and open their throat, which can almost sound mournful and can go on for quite a while. When Beagles are purely bred for hunting, this sound is usually 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. Your beagle will usually reserve a bay for when they’re 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, it’s still sometimes hard to clean up after them.
Do Beagles Love to Cuddle?
Beagles love a good cuddle, and love to be around people in general. The closer they can nuzzle up to you, the better!
Is It Hard to Potty Train a Beagle?
Beagles are hard to potty-train: Once they’ve had an accident in the house, their acute sense of smell will keep leading back to that spot. You might overcome this issue when your Beagle is still a puppy by using a scent spray to encourage them to potty outside.