There is probably no breed of dog that has the appeal of the beagle. People simply find their multi colored appearance and friendly manner irresistible. But beagles are not for everyone, and you must look at your own situation very carefully before deciding to take one home. Here are a few tips to help you decide if a beagle is for you.
First off, beagles have a ton of energy. They were originally bred to hunt rabbits; they certainly don’t mind being taken on long walks. Bred as pack animals, they get along well with other canines, tending to be playful with them once they become familiar. They crave companionship, a result of their “pack mentality.” If denied this, their energy can be focused on destructive behavior such as chewing furniture. Be sure that you are able to invest enough time in your beagle. They are poor “outside” dogs, again stemming from their need to be kept occupied. You haven’t seen a dog dig until you have seen a bored beagle tied up on a chain or left in the yard. It’s not as bad when they’re in a dog playpen or outdoor dog kennel and have plenty of toys. But that still isn’t ideal.
The one thing most commonly heard about beagles is that they love children. This is true, they adore them, however be aware that they play with their mouths, not biting but rather grabbing on, a trait that must be watched for when they are with youngsters.
Beagles can be a challenge to housebreak, with crate training being the best method. Their high intelligence can work against you while trying to teach them proper behavior; excellent as problem solvers, they can quickly lose interest with repetitive exercises. The same applies to behavior such as chewing. If you are looking to own an easily trained dog that you never have to worry about, do not make it a beagle. They simply are not that way.
Despite what you may perceive as a short coat, beagles do shed, more in the spring but also in the fall. They are not hard to keep clean; brushing with a good dog brush often can get rid of dead hair. Their hanging ears make frequent inspections of them important to avoid infections. Every two weeks should be sufficient to detect problems such as waxy buildup. Common medical disorders in beagles include various eye ailments such as glaucoma and cherry eye, as well as epilepsy.
Most beagles can and do bark if given good reasons, such as other dogs coming near or a stranger around the house. One that is left alone for long periods of time can become more vocal than you might like it to be. Be aware that they can howl; a trait they retain from their hunting ancestry.
Be sure to contact a reputable breeder when looking into getting a beagle. Understanding the needs and habits of these dogs is the key to being able to have a long time, loving friend.
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