Oh, the beagle. Once a loyal working hound, this humble breed is now known mostly as a cute and cuddly companion. That’s not to say these mid-sized mutts can’t hold their own as trackers and hunters, though. Spend enough time in the country, and you’ll hear the telltale baying of a beagle coming over the hills.
Whether you love them for their adorable faces, charming melodies, or keen ability to locate your next meal, one thing’s for sure: you’re not alone. Beagles are among the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.—and with good reason.
Also Known As…
English Beagle, Regal Beagle, Jelly Hound, the crooning canine, “Did our dog just write the next hit pop tune?”
What Is The History Of The Beagle?
Just the word “beagle” smacks of history and intrigue. It’s the name of an island in Antarctica, the ship that carried Charles Darwin around the world, and so much more. But before there were Beagle boats and islands, there was the dog.
Prior to their days spent rolling around the dog park, beagles passed their time in the English countryside, hunting in packs. They were known as the perfect “foot hound”—in other words, a tracking scent hound that was easy enough to keep up with on foot, similar to the dachshund. This pint-sized pooch with a super-charged sniffer quickly gained a reputation as a rabbit hunter extraordinaire. These little hunters came “across the pond” from Great Britain to the U.S. in the 1800s, and the rest is history.
Related Article: Dachshund Breed Information Guide: Photos, Traits, & Care
It’s hard to pin down the breed’s origin—or even early detection of its name—because small hounds like beagles have been around for at least a thousand years. Back in the day, breeders likely crossed greyhounds with other hounds, eventually coming up with the compact but gregarious mutt we know as the beagle.
No matter where the name came from, the modern beagle is a superstar in more ways than one. Dog beds (and people beds) worldwide are full of these lovable pups. But so is pop culture: Snoopy from the Peanuts gang is a beagle, as is Gromit from Wallace and Gromit.
How Big Do Beagles Get?
The American Kennel Club draws the distinction by measuring how tall they are at the shoulders. The beagle breed is usually split into two categories—beagles and “pocket” beagles. However, pocket beagles are not an official breed. The name refers to beagles under 13 inches at the shoulder.
Height: 13–16 inches
Weight: 18–35 pounds
Height: 10–13 inches
Weight: 15–20 pounds
How Long Do Beagles (Generally) Live?
Regardless of the size of your beloved beagle, you should expect to have at least 10 years with them. Even longer is common; 12 to 15 years is the typical lifespan. In rare cases, beagles have been known to see their 20th birthday!
What Is A Beagle’s Temperament & Personality Like?
Breeders, aficionados, and owners alike will often tell you that beagles are “cheerful.” And it’s not just because of their tendency to sing a rousing melody.
Beagles are sweet, well-natured dogs once they come out of their shells. Spend a little time coaxing them out, and they’ll love you like no other.
They’re also curious by nature, so they’ll open up to strangers without too much prodding. Just don’t expect them to guard the house—they’re probably off chasing bunnies in the backyard.
Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
Most beagles are absolute angels with your little angels. As long as your kids don’t start yanking ears and tugging tails—because, let’s face it, that would upset even the most even-tempered dog—your beagle will be a kind and patient brother or sister.
Beagles can get along with their animal siblings just as well as their human ones. As pack hounds, that sense of belonging with other creatures has been bred into beagles since the dawn of time. This makes them an ideal family dog alongside other dog breeds like the golden retriever. Whether you have another dog or a cat, you won’t need to worry too much about a dramatic chase scene while you’re at work. (Your pet rabbit might need to stay under lock and key, though.)
Are Beagles High Energy?
Are they ever! These high-energy hounds are more likely to bounce off the wall than lie still for half an hour. Hundreds of years of traipsing through the woods have given the beagle a whole lot of stamina. They still enjoy their downtime, but you’ll usually need to tire them out first. Plus, if they don’t exercise enough, they can start to pack on unhealthy pounds.
Beagles are also vocally active. From barks to yodels, this dog breed is noisy. With that said, they’ll quickly learn when it’s acceptable to be loud and when it’s quiet time.
Are Beagles Hard To Train?
Training a beagle takes a bit of work, but it’s definitely possible. After all, beagles have been taking orders from humans for centuries. At this point, it’s practically in their DNA.
From time to time, beagles can be a little stubborn, especially if they catch a scent that sets their tail a-wagging. In the beginning, their desire to follow their nose can be frustrating. With that in mind, working through some early obedience training with your pup can make all the difference.
Do Beagles Have Health Problems?
Along with standard canine health concerns like parasites and dental disease, beagles are more likely to suffer from certain problems. Genetic predispositions for this breed include:
- Eye conditions: Cataracts, glaucoma, and distichiasis (an ingrown hair on the eyelid) are more common in beagles.
- Back pain: That’s right, dogs get it, too. Like French bulldogs, beagles are susceptible to slipped or ruptured discs in their spinal cord.
- Neurological problems: Conditions like “wobbler syndrome” from hip dysplasia and other cerebral issues can affect beagles. In particular, this breed is more prone to seizures than other dogs.
Don’t let this list scare you, though. You just need to watch for alarming symptoms and abnormal behavior from your pup. Overall, beagles are relatively healthy, and regular checkups can keep them howling for years to come.
Do Beagles Need To Be Groomed?
If you think of grooming as a haircut, then no. Beagles are natural shedders (don’t worry, it’s not hair loss). Their double coats are designed for winter warmth, which makes spring a time of serious shedding. By regularly brushing your best buddy, you can keep household dirt and dander under control—not to mention spend some quality time together.
As far as all the other aspects of mutt maintenance, beagles need grooming, too. Take particular care with their floppy ears; ear wax can build up under there and lead to infections. A weekly peek inside the ear canal is a solid starting point.
As with all dogs, beagles also need the occasional mani-pedi to keep their nails from click-clacking all over the hardwood and causing them discomfort. Plan to schedule a clipping every five to six weeks.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Beagle?
Without knowing the cost of living in your area or your (and your pup’s) lifestyle, it’s hard to estimate the exact cost of beagle ownership. With all expenses factored in, you can expect to spend in the ballpark of $1100+ per year (not including the initial cost of buying or adopting your dog).
A beagle puppy can really pack it away. These growing goobers often eat two or more cups of dog food every day.
As they get older and their appetites slow down, your hound dog won’t need much more than a cup of food per day, though it varies for every dog. To satisfy your beagle’s hunger with quality dog food, you’ll probably spend $25–65 each month.
If you’re looking to save time and money on your beagle’s dietary needs (without sacrificing quality), why not try a personalized doggy meal plan from BARK Eats? These foods are made specifically for your beagle in collaboration with animal nutrition experts and sent right to your door. Get started with BARK Eats and save 50% on your first month!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
Should your beagle develop any long-lasting health problems over the years, your yearly vet bills can add up. Pet health insurance ensures that your furry friend can get the care they need without breaking the bank. As long as your beagle is happy and healthy (which they tend to be), you won’t typically spend more than $150 per year at the vet for routine care only.
Fees vary, but you should expect to budget for routine care like:
- Vet fees (~$60 per visit)
- Heart disease tests (~$45)
- Vaccines ($20–$30 per dose)
Flea and tick medication is a must for any mutt, so prepare to spend around $200/year on these preventative aids.
While not a medication, ramps are another worthwhile investment. Beagles are on the shorter side, and a lifetime of jumping down from the bed can lead to accelerated back and joint damage. Unless you’re handy with a hammer and nails, plan to spend around $100–$200 for a Rover-friendly ramp.
Factoring in a grooming session every two months or so, you can add $200–$300 to your total yearly beagle budget. That figure assumes an average cost of $30–$50 per groomer visit. For that price, you should expect:
- A bath
- A nail trim
- Ear and eye cleaning
- Teeth brushing
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
To kick play time up a notch, consider buying your beagle a few stuffed toys. A sizable collection of chew toys and tug-of-war ropes shouldn’t cost you more than ~$80.
Prefer to have all your toys and treats picked for you? Give BarkBox a try; for just $23 a month, you’ll get 2 bags of treats, 2 toys, and a delicious chew sent to you! For the more feisty beagles, there’s the Super Chewer option. Receive 2 rugged toys, 2 bags of quality treats, and 2 tasty chews for $29/month. DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FOR FREE!
Other one-time purchases include:
- A comfy dog bed ($35–$100)
- A stylish collar ($15)
- A sturdy leash ($15)
- A small dog carrier ($70–$130)
American Kennel Club. American Kennel Club Announces Most Popular Dogs in the U.S. https://www.akc.org/press-releases/american-kennel-club-announces-most-popular-dogs-in-the-us-1/
The National Beagle Club of America, Inc. History. https://www.nationalbeagleclub.org/History
Long Beach Animal Hospital. Beagle Diseases. https://lbah.com/breed-disease/beagle-diseases/
Animal Health Center. Beagle. https://animalhealthcenternh.com/client-resources/breed-info/beagle/
BMC Veterinary Research. Grey matter volume in healthy and epileptic beagles using voxel-based morphometry – a pilot study. https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-018-1373-8