It should be no surprise that Beagles are so popular. Cute, spunky, friendly, and always ready to play. What’s not to like?
The Beagle temperament is about half-way between that of a Terrier and a Golden Retriever. They’re friendly, but not so eager to please as Goldens. They’re independent-minded, but not so stubborn as the average Terrier. They have lots of energy and like to play, like both those other breeds. But they’re more cooperative than Terriers tend to be, while being a little tougher to train than a Retriever.
Still, training is possible. Crate training works well for some. Beagles are ultra-smart. They pick up the things you show them very quickly, when it’s something they want to learn. Some training goals can be more troublesome. For example, because they were bred to hunt take care they don’t follow their instincts and wander unsupervised.
Howling is another good example. That stereotypical hound dog sound is hard to suppress. Baying, a mixture of howling and barking, is even harder. But with patience and the right environment you can reduce both to acceptable levels.
Beagles are pretty easy to care for. They tend to suffer fewer health problems than many other breeds, provided you get one that wasn’t the result of poor breeding practices. Beagle popularity can encourage some breeders to exercise less care, engaging in inbreeding for example.
A little bit of weekly grooming and a monthly bath are all that’s required. A good brush workout on the coat isn’t difficult with this short-haired breed. The result will be a healthy dog that looks it. Regular ear checks to keep any waxy buildup or yeast infection at bay are easy to perform. And, after they’ve received their appropriate schedule of vaccinations as puppies, only occasional boosters are required.
Naturally, their overall good health is heavily dependent on the right diet, as it is for any dog. They benefit from higher protein levels and fat is an important component, too. A quality commercial dog food can supply all those nutrients and more, though many owners prefer to prepare meals at home. That’s fine, so long as the dog receives the right balance of everything.
Good care and the right diet will help minimize the odds of skin problems, something that is all-too common among Beagles. It’s no more inherent in the breed than others, but food allergies are the most common issue. Good food and grooming will make those skin problems rare.
Eye problems are the next most common ailment. Cherry eye and others are seen a little more often in Beagles than many other breeds. Fortunately, it can be surgically treated in a very straightforward way these days.
For those interested in the Beagle type but want a smaller dog Pocket Beagles (sometimes called Teacups) are an alternative. Take care not to get a mixed breed (such as a Dachshund/Beagle mix) by mistake. Also, if you choose to adopt one of the rare Dwarf Beagles, don’t breed them and propagate the gene.
So, enjoy your Beagle. Charlie Brown did and Snoopy always rewarded him by making him smile every day, along with millions of others.