So You Want a Beagle?
A happy, well mannered little companion...
When you think of Beagles, you probably picture a pack of these little guys baying at the top of their lungs as they race after a fox or rabbit. While it is true that these dogs are popular hunting dogs and have been used to hunt for several centuries, they also make wonderful family pets.
The Beagle has a keen sense of smell and a strong hunting instinct. This member of the American Kennel Club's hound group actually comes in two sizes, under thirteen inches and thirteen to fifteen inches. Except for the difference in size, both Beagle varieties are identical. The beagle has dark eyes, droopy ears, and a long tail. Its coat is short and most commonly comes in a combination of tan, black and white colors. You can also find orange, black, or tan dogs with white markings.
The Beagle can adapt to apartment life, but may prove to be annoying to neighbors if he constantly warns you of strange noises. These dogs are tireless hunters and need a way to burn off some of that energy, so you will need to take your Beagle for long walks or go for a romp in the park. Think twice before letting him off the leash, however, since a Beagle who is hot on the trail of a rabbit will forget all of his obedience training while he tracks down his prey.
The Beagle loves children and other dogs, but will probably take every available opportunity to harass the family cat. These dogs are very playful and affectionate, but they do tend to sulk if they don't get their own way. In fact, these dogs are so sensitive that something as simple as someone laughing at one of them when he has gotten into some mishap can cause the Beagle to brood for days. You may need to warn your children to avoid upsetting your dog's delicate sensibilities.
Although Beagles occasionally get too caught up in the chase to obey commands, they still should learn at least basic obedience. It will require patience and hard work to teach your dog, and you may want to consider getting some professional help by enrolling your little guy in puppy obedience classes.
Beagles love to eat and they aren't picky. If you put your dog on a diet, he will happily eat garbage. In fact, even if he isn't on a diet, he may still hit the trashcans for an after dinner snack.
Your Beagle should be groomed once a week to alleviate shedding. Beagles usually get enough exercise to wear down their toenails on their own, but you may want to check your dog's nails to see if they need to be trimmed at least once a month.
Beagles are generally a healthy breed. However, some of these dogs can develop heart disease or epilepsy. Of course, with their propensity to overeat, Beagles can also develop weight related diseases.
If you want a dog who is a happy, well mannered little companion, then a Beagle may be the right dog for you.