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So. You Think You Want A Beagle?

Beagle Pros & Cons
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If you are contemplating bringing a Beagle into your family you should be aware that this is a highly intelligent, bright, inquisitive breed with a problem solving intelligence. They are quick as a whip, miss nothing and understand everything. Beagles are not your stereotypical dumb, lazy hound that wants only to lay on your couch for hours on end with no mental or physical stimulation - nor are they hyper, untrainable or smelly. As pups/adolescents, they can be highly active and will need an outlet for this... most people want smart dogs but are not prepared to deal with the subsequent behavior problems that arise when the pup becomes bored. If you are a couch potato than please look for a different breed, because a bored Beagle = a destructive, problematic Beagle. While they are one of the best all around companions, this breed, by far, is not for every household.

It's true that Beagles are low to moderate shedders and have an easy care coat, but as do all short haired breeds, they still produce dander and thus, we cannot stress this enough: Beagles are not hypoallergenic dogs!

First and foremost, Beagles are hunting hounds. They are a working breed in a compact package, with centuries of inherent desire bred into them. It makes no difference whether or not the sire & dam of your pup are used for hunting, the instinct to hunt in the Beagle is so strong, this is one of the only breeds that does not require training - only experience - to teach them what they were bred for. Due to this heritage, they can be strong willed and less tractable than other breeds known for their brains. If you force a Beagle into anything, you will only be scoffed at.

Beagles must be leashed 1000% of the time they are not in a fenced in/enclosed area, no matter how well trained or regardless of whether you live in the city or a rural area. Beagles are scent oriented. They obey their nose. It is very common for hunting dogs to be struck by cars, lost, stolen or mauled by wild animals - these are the hazards of their job. Your family companion should not meet this end because he was not on a leash. On that note, invisible fences do not make for adequate containment, and we do not recommend the use of Flexi-Leashes, which are flimsy and dangerous at best and illegal at worst - if your city has a leash law, it will also specify the length of lead, usually 6ft or less, and Flexi-Leashes do not meet these requirements.

Many Beagles actually like training! The breed can be excellent trick dogs when the right rewards are used... the one rule to keep in mind (besides 'be consistent') is that Beagles do nothing without an incentive. Unfortunately, many owners who claim their dogs are untrainable have been using the wrong methods.

Never use physical punishment, choker/prong collars, or harsh methods to "train" a Beagle. They will shut down, refuse to listen to you at all, and become a problem dog. You can also easily collapse the trachea of a Beagle-sized dog using such inhumane, outdated devices. Beagles respond beautifully to clickers and other training methods that rely on positive incentives such as simple praise.

Beagles have a distinctive howl, which is often affectionately referred to as an "Arooooo" in the Beagle world. Single hounds usually are much quieter, but even so, their bark is loud. Please keep this in mind if you live in an apartment.

Beagles make terrible outdoor dogs. It's a common misconception that a pet Beagle can be left outside "because they're hunting dogs". Consider that hunting dogs are worked several hours daily, kept in packs, and have more physical stimulation in a week than some pets have in 6 months. They are also kept in proper kennels, not tied to a doghouse. Even so, hunting dogs have short, harsh lives. While Beagles love and need to be outside on a daily basis, it is never recommended your pet be left to live outside. Dog fighters are fond of stealing to steal this breed to use them as bait, spiteful neighbors or dog haters leave out poison for outdoor dogs all the time - especially ones that will make as much noise as a bored Beagle.

Beagles are not impossible to housebreak. Keep in mind, though, that all the rules fly out the window when dealing with any pup from a pet store... they're kept in wire "above ground" (rabbit-hutch type) cages and learn to go whenever the whim takes them. Most Beagles go about their house training at their own pace, and while they can be a challenge, just be consistent and patient - they are quick dogs and will catch on.

If you are house proud, have rowdy, rough or very young children, a Beagle may not be for you. If you are short on patience, have no sense of humor or prefer a dog who can be strictly trained for off leash heels, consider another breed. If you have no fence or have plans to walk off leash or contain a dog with an invisible fence, the Beagle is the last breed you want. They do not do well left alone for several hours daily, even with other dogs in the house, and do best with an owner who will be involved in their life.

A well bred beagle is the ideal family companion. They are active, merry, inquisitive (nosy), affectionate and do enjoy crashing on the couch after they've had their fill of activity. Beagles are versatile, athletic, all purpose dogs. And if a Beagle is the right dog for your family, you'll never regret your decision to welcome this breed into your hearts.