Okay, those of you who know me well know that I could not put off writing a "Meet the Breed" about my favorite breed, The Beagle.
I have raised, trained, owned, and been around these little guys for most of my life. Let me begin by stating that even though I really love them, they are not a breed of everyone. Let me tell you a little about these adorable little guys:
This breed has been around for a very long time. There is some controversy over the precise origin of the breed.
The Beagle is a part of the group that we call scent hounds. They use their sense of smell to track game. In this part of the world (Georgia and the Southeastern USA) they have long been used to hunt rabbits and small game.
The AKC has recognized the Beagle since 1885 ( a couple of decades after the war of northern aggression :) ). The official standard for the breed has two sizes. An adult height of 13 inches and an adult height of 15 inches.
The AKC lists a variety of coloring and markings.In my experience, it seems that, by far the most common is the tri-color black tan and white. That seems to be the marking and coloring of both of the guys in my current pack. Copper also has some ticking. He is also bigger than 15 inches so it is possible that he is a mix of something other than Beagle (but don't tell him that).
The physiology of the Beagle is interesting. They are capable of sounding in at least three different ways. They can bark like any other dog. They can howl like other dogs. They can also bay. To do this they sort of stretch out the throat by holding the head up. A really cool gift that God gave the Beagle is that each Beagle has a slightly different baying voice. This makes it easy to identify which dog is on the trail when they are in the field. Rabbit hunters really like this about Beagles.
These little guys are generally very affectionate. They are good with people and usually good with children. They are loyal.
Most of the Beagles that I have encountered are pretty good with other dogs as well. This can, however vary from dog to dog. Boomer, a Beagle that I had years ago was abused as a puppy. I adopted him when he was 9 months old and kept him until he died around 16 years old. He was never great around other dogs or around children. But, I suspect this was due, in large part, to his abusive puppyhood.
Many people refer to the Beagle as "determined" in most cases, I think "determined" is hardly a strong enough term. Most of these little guys are downright stubborn. They are sweet but can be very stubborn.
I realize that as a professional dog trainer, this may sound like self-promotion but, what I am about to tell you is the Gospel truth about these little guys. They require a great deal of mental and physical stimulation. And because they can be so "determined" or stubborn they require consistent training.
These guys are generally really happy when they are training. They can learn new behaviors and they actually learn pretty quickly with the proper motivation (treats).
The Beagle like most scent hounds is ruled by his nose. These guys love food! They are constantly searching for food or for something interesting to track and chase. This is really the Beagle's life. It is instinctual and at times really cool to watch.
Because they constantly search for food, you must beagle proof your home. If you don't you will regret it. See my previous blog post about Beagle-proofing.
As adults, when the Beagle is not searching for food or game he is resting or sleeping. These little darlings do not exercise on their own. The combination of this determined drive to find food and equally determined drive to not exercise is why you see so many overweight and frankly obese Beagles.
You must provide exercise for your Beagle! It is not enough to just let him out in the fenced back yard. He will sniff around out there for a while... maybe chase a rabbit or chipmunk.. then he will lie down and sleep. I have seen this many times :). You really have to take them out on the leash or do some sort of interactive exercise in the fenced yard. This is another reason that the Beagle is not for everyone.
Also, because the Beagle is so driven by his nose, once he gets on the trail of something, he sort of has tunnel vision. He is also very good at escaping a fence or containment device. I strongly recommend that you not, under any circumstances leave your beagle unattended in a fenced back yard. He will find his way out. Boomer once scaled a six foot chain link fence. He just climbed right over.
The Beagle can be one of the most affectionate breeds you will ever encounter. As I have written before, my guys know when I am sick and will not leave my side until I feel better. It is really a cool thing to see. These guys also have quite the personality. Some are outgoing and very friendly like Copper. Some are a little more reserved but affectionate like our little Cody.
If you can live with the cons that I have mentioned here, the Beagle will be one of the best little buddies you could ever hope for.
Remember, if you are seriously considering an addition to your pack. Please, please, please consider adoption. Also consider adopting an adult dog (these guys are generally wonderful and do not get homes as quickly as puppies). If you need the names of some good rescue organizations contact me or see my previous posts on the heroes of dog rescue.http://fayettedogtrainer.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-local-heroes-of-dog-rescue.html and http://fayettedogtrainer.blogspot.com/2013/06/another-local-dog-rescue-hero.html
Let me be clear. I have nothing against breeders. There are some great breeders out there. I will not be mad at you if you use one. I just ask you to consider adoption. There are so many really good guys that need a home and many of these sweet little guys are euthanized every day because no one will give them a home. And I provide discounted Dog Training Services to all adopted/rescued dogs, perhaps that will be an incentive to you as well :) .
If you have questions about the suitability of a Beagle or any other breed to your pack, please contact me anytime.
Till Next Time
William Moore Canine Training