FUNNY, AFFECTIONATE, HAPPY
History & Origin
The history of this breed of hound has its roots in ancient times, with the first mention of its ancestor going as far back as the 5th century.
The term ‘Beagle’ was first coined during medieval times. These dogs were tiny and were often referred to as pocket dogs or pocket Beagles because their owners could actually carry them around in their pockets when out hunting. This small variation of the Beagle is now extinct, the last mention of them being made around 1900.
The 1700’s saw the Beagle as we know it today come into its own. Three breeds of hounds were interbred. These were the Southern Hound, The North Country Beagle, and the Foxhound. The product, which is the forerunner of today’s Beagle, was primarily bred for hunting smaller prey, such as rabbits, for example.
The 1840’s saw the development of four Beagle varieties, namely the terrier Beagle which had a rough coat, the dwarf Beagle, medium Beagle, and the fox Beagle. Disaster was imminent, however, by the latter half of the 1800’s when the breed once more almost became extinct. It was due to the efforts of Beagle lovers that this breed was saved when, in 1890, the Beagle Club was founded, followed by The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles the following year.
The first Beagles saw American shores in around 1870 and subsequently recognized by the AKC in 1884.
Although first bred as a hunting dog, the Beagle is sought after as a family pet, making a wonderful addition to any family. The breed has a worldwide following and is to be found in just about every country.
From its humble origins as a rabbit hunter, the breed has, today, come into its own.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
Your Beagle puppy has a feisty temperament and needs constant firm obedience training. Although it has a loving nature, is pretty to look at, is friendly with other people and great with other pets, these dogs were initially bred to be hunting dogs, and as such, have an inbred love of exploring and wondering around.
Many people think that, because of its relatively small size, they can be kept in apartments. This, unfortunately, would be a huge mistake. A happy Beagle is one that goes for long walks and has enough space to run around and play in. They also need human companionship, especially if they are the only dog, and if left alone, will soon get into all types of mischief, ranging from digging up the garden to throwing over and sniffing in the trash can.
Also, keep in mind that, as hunting dogs, they have an excellent sense of smell and will often go wherever their nose might lead them. It is therefore always a good idea to keep it leashed when outside the property – he may not come when you call it if it is off following the newest interesting smell its nose has found.
It is exactly because of their excellent sense of smell, that this breed is used as sniffer dogs at airports, for example, where they are used to identify contraband that might enter the country.
This is a puppy that likes to chew, and having a lot of chewy toys to occupy it is always a good idea. After all, you do not want it chewing up your lounge carpet or favorite lounge chair.
This is a breed that has a tendency to become obese; therefore, an adequate diet and sufficient exercise are two major priorities.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Beagles, especially as puppies, need to be fed correctly so that they grow properly and have a good bone and ligament structure. Their needs change as they grow up, and their diet needs to be adjusted accordingly. As these dogs have a tendency to become overweight if their nutritional needs are not met, their diet is extremely important. Obesity, in a Beagle, can lead to complications such as diabetes, heart conditions, and other illnesses related to being overweight.
By the time you bring your Beagle puppy home, i.e. when around eight weeks old, they should be on a solid diet. It is recommended that you initially stick with the diet that it has been on at the breeders, as immediate changes can cause your puppy to get ill.
When deciding to change its diet, never do so all at once. Rather, start mixing the new food with the old, and increasing it steadily until your pup is used to its new diet.
Most Beagle puppies do well on three scheduled meals per day, which should be down to about two meals per day by the time your puppy is an adult, which is approximately a year. Never leave food for your beagle to eat as and when it pleases, even as an adult. The reason is that they are extremely greedy and will eat until there is nothing left in the dish! This can result in serious health risks in your puppy.
If you decide to feed your new puppy commercial dog food, opt for one that is suitable and which will probably cost more than the cheaper, more popular brands. This is because the fillers in the cheaper brands are not healthy, and contain no nutritional value whatsoever.
Your puppy needs meat, and more often than not, these brands do not, having cheap protein substitutes instead. They also tend to cause your dog to have gas and a Beagle hound that has a gas problem can be quite a smelly creature to have around.
The best diet for you Beagle, or any other dog for that matter, is a home-made one that includes protein (in the form of chicken, red meat or fish), vegetables (carrots and squash are great), and fruit if your dog will eat it. Please never allow your puppy to eat raw onion, raw garlic or chocolate – they are not good for dogs and can make it ill.
These dogs, because they are so active, can easily become dehydrated, so a constant supply of fresh water is necessary at all times.
COAT AND GROOMING
This is, in general, a small, compact breed, while the AKC recognizes two standards for Beagles. The first does not exceed 13 inches in height while the other does not exceed 15 inches. Their weight ranges between 18 pounds and 30 pounds.
Although Beagles have a double coat, it is not very effective against colder weather. To this end, they are often seen wearing a doggy coat during the colder months.
Generally speaking, though, their coat is short and compact, and they are prone to shedding. Regular brushing is thus recommended if you do not want your whole house filled with your puppy’s hair. A soft, bristle brush, is recommended for this. The outer coat serves as protection against rain, keeping the softer, inner coat dry during wet conditions.
As this breed tends to quickly acquire a ‘doggy smell’, they need to be bathed more than other dogs. Let your nose lead you! Typically a good quality shampoo is advised, preferably with tea tree oil to combat any possible skin allergies.
Their coat is a tricolor. This means a black saddle, with a white breast and legs, and a white-tipped tail. The rest is of the body is tan, and it is quite recognizable by its brown, droopy ears.
Another color sometimes seen is a red/white combination.
Whatever your Beagle’s color combination, however, they all have a characteristic white tip to their tales. This is said to have been deliberate with regards to their breeding, as it enabled hunters to identify their dogs when it was in the grass or amongst bushes.
Although your Beagle puppy may be cute and cuddly, they are not an easy breed to raise, and need special, consistent, firm training, as well as have adequate exercise and play time, to become a lovable part of the family.
Because of its exercise requirements, a large enough back yard is ideal. It should be sturdily fenced, however, as your new puppy is quite capable of digging a hole under it, because of its love of wandering around and seeking out new adventures. In the advent that it does escape, it is usually best for this breed to be microchipped so that it can be returned to its owner when found.
If you are not ready for the input with regards to your dog, then a Beagle is probably not the pet for you.
These are high energy dogs that have a lot of energy that needs to be used up! If not, they tend to get up to all kinds of mischief and can also become extremely destructive.
If you have a yard, let it run free a few times a day, and take some time to play with it. A good exercise is playing ‘chase’ or letting it retrieve a thrown ball. They need to run a lot. Remember, they were bred as hunting dogs and, therefore, used to a lot of cross-country running when chasing smaller game animals.
Another way to ensure your adult dog gets enough exercise is by allowing it to go with you while jogging. Not only does this allow your pet to get the exercise it needs, but it also allows it to indulge in its love of wandering around.
Because of their inherent stubborn nature, your puppy’s training needs to start as soon as possible. By doing so, you ensure that acceptable patterns of behavior are learned right from the outset.
Training should be repetitive and consistent, and although giving it treats to encourage it is fine, at first, it should not be the norm, as they adore eating. Your puppy should be rewarded with hugs and affection.
Housetraining is another factor that needs to be looked at right from the outset. Feeding your new puppy at set times during the day is wonderful for this, as a puppy typically needs to defecate approximately 15 minutes after a meal. By taking it outside to its designated spot, it will soon learn where it needs to go when it needs the ‘toilet’.
Taking your puppy to puppy classes and for adult training when it gets older is an ideal option for this pet.
Your Beagle puppy will sleep a lot, and although it may sleep less as it grows older, it is not uncommon for the breed to sleep up to 16 hours a day. These are high energy dogs that expend a lot of energy during their activities. In order to recoup and restore, their sleeping habits are such that it gives the dog the necessary time in which to do so.
Generally speaking, Beagles are a healthy breed and your puppy will seldom have health problems. As with all breeds, however, they are susceptible to certain health issues.
Some dogs in this breed have hip dysplasia. Although it is a condition that can usually be remedied surgically, it is advisable that you buy your puppy from a reputable breeder and have all relevant information with regards to its parents’ history.
Some dogs in this breed also get epilepsy and allergies, both of which can be medically treated.
There are also reported instances of hyperthyroidism (usually easily identified after noticing an increased appetite and thirst, weight loss, vomiting and excessive urination).
Lastly, they are known to develop cherry eyes. Cherry eyes are when the gland in their third eyelid gets enlarged and usually develops in puppies under a year old. When this happens, it is advisable to seek medical treatment from your veterinarian. It can usually be treated by means of medication, but sometimes a small surgical procedure is necessary.
If you want a selfless little dog that is lovable, affable, affectionate, great with children and a wonderful team player, the Beagle is for you. It is excitable and loves attention, will keep on playing as long as it gets attention, is highly intelligent and quick to learn, and extremely easy to look after, as they do not need any special attention – except that it needs constant attention!
They are small but need enough space to run around in. A backyard is ideal, but even then, it needs stimulation, which you as its owner should give.
A great little guard dog that bonds with its human pack mates, a well-brought-up and trained Beagle makes the ideal pet.
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