Beagles are medium-sized hounds, which stand between 13 and 16 inches high at the shoulder. They were originally bred for hunting hares in packs and today beagles are normally sociable, mischievous, healthy and delightful members of an active family. Beagles enjoy company whether it is human, canine or feline and dislike being left on their own.
A household where the whole family is out from morning to evening is quite unsuitable for a beagle. They may be on the small side but they can do a prodigious amount of damage in a short space of time to furniture, floors and curtains.
A beagle needs a home with a garden, which needs to be fenced with ‘Colditz’ in mind! Beagles can dig as well as jump, so five to six-foot-high fencing is recommended. They can squeeze through small spaces such as trellis work or wrought iron gates, so you’ll need to make sure you have the right sort of fencing as well as make sure it is high and deep enough.
Remember that your hound will need to be exercised for at least an hour each day and part of that time should, if possible, be free running in a safe area away from traffic or livestock. Never forget that the beagle was bred to hunt, it is instinctive and will show up in its behaviour on walks.
The Kennel Club says, “the man with the lead in his hand and no dog in sight owns a beagle”, so be warned. Beagles are tough and love being with a family, but children must be taught to respect all dogs and not treat them like toys. Your hound should be provided with a special place of its own such as the folding metal crates, where children are not allowed to go or disturb the dog.
The beagle is full of fun, enthusiastic and always ready for any sort of activity. They are easy to feed, too easy sometimes, as he will put on weight easily if allowed. They have an appetite for all sorts of disgusting things and will welcome the opportunity to raid next door’s bins! Beagles are easy to keep clean which is just as well, given their delight in rolling in bad smells. Health surveys have shown the beagle to be a very healthy breed. There are a small number of hereditary conditions that can affect them adversely, but reputable breeders can now screen for most of them and can plan their breeding programmes to reduce their incidence.
More information on these can be seen at this comprehensive blog post about the beagle breed and at www.beaglehealth.info