About Beagles

I have heard Beagles are hard to train. Is this true?
Beagles do not do well in the “obedience” category, but they aren’t entirely difficult to train. They can most definitely be crate-trained and house-trained. They can be trained to “Come”, “Sit”, “Lay Down”, etc. Beagles are not “stupid” by any means – just very stubborn.
However, you should not get a Beagle if you are wanting a dog to run alongside you when you jog, or to run anywhere off-leash. Beagles are scent hounds and will follow a scent until they find the animal, food, or whatever they are “tracking”. Beagles are very clever, but they are inherently stubborn and can be mischievous when it comes to acquiring food (beagles are notorious “chowhounds”). But they respond well to diligent and consistent training, particularly if a positive approach with food rewards is used. This is true for puppies as well as adult dogs.
Can I let my Beagle run free off of his/her leash?
No. when beagles are outside, they must always be either on a leash or in a securely fenced area. If they are loose, they will run away. And 95% of the time, they WILL NOT come when called (unless you have a big slice of cheese pizza with you). While they are busy tracking whatever scent gets their interest, they will not pay any attention to cars.
I want to get a dog for my children. Are Beagles easy to take care of?
Beagles are VERY easy to take care of – very low-maintenance. However, are you prepared to provide the majority of its care? Don’t make the mistake of getting a dog “for the kids” and assuming they will take care of it. You will have the ultimate responsibility. And if your children are toddlers, are you prepared to supervise all interaction between them? This is an absolute necessity in order to prevent accidental nipping or worse.
Many Beagles are turned over to shelters or rescue organizations because “the kids wouldn’t take care of him”, or “I got tired of being the only person to take care of the dog”. It isn’t the dog’s fault that “nobody wants to take care of him”. Adopting or owning a dog is a HUGE responsibility and should be taken very seriously.
Do Beagles shed?
Yes, Beagles shed – not as much as some longer-haired dogs, but they do shed. Purchasing a high-quality food can reduce shedding.
I've noticed that some dogs are really smelly. Do Beagles smell?
Beagles smell only if they’re really dirty, or if they have rolled in something. If you feed them a high-quality dog food, and bathe them only when they need it, they should not smell. There is nothing inherently “smelly” about a Beagle unless it has indulged in one of its favorite hobbies and rolled in something yucky. That usually requires an immediate bath, after which you will be entertained by the well-known “post-bath beagle frenzy” during which they run around the house as fast as they possibly can, pausing only to roll around on the floor in an attempt to dry themselves off.
Are Beagles good with kids?
Beagles generally love children. They are ready, willing, and able to play with you and/or your children in a controlled area (like a fenced-in back yard). They make great family dogs. However, some older or “not-so-active” beagles may not do well with small children that may poke them or pull their tails.
I've heard Beagles howl a lot. Is this true?
Beagles can be VERY vocal. They may bay loudly when they catch a scent while on a walk or in the back yard. They often bay when playing with other dogs! They also can bay when you’re not home. This trait causes the most problems for people who share walls with others, i.e., townhouse and apartment dwellers. Most beagles are quite gregarious, outgoing, and playful.
A lot of times it really depends on the Beagle, though. For instance, my female is VERY vocal. She howls when she hears other dogs bark, howls at dogs when we go for walks, and barks when playing with my male. However, my male is not very vocal. He will usually only let out a low, muffled bark if someone knocks on the door, or if he hears a strange noise outside. He normally only “howls” when my female begins to howl quite a bit.
Do Beagles make good guard dogs?
No. A Beagle will usually let out a “warning” bark when someone knocks on the door, or if they hear a strange noise. But if an intruder actually entered your house, he or she would probably be licked to death, or greeted with a Beagle carrying a toy and wanting to play. If you are looking for a guard dog, do not get a Beagle.
I have heard that Beagles like to dig. Is this true?
Yes, most Beagles will dig if left unattended. In fact most dogs, regardless of the breed, will dig if left unattended. If you keep your Beagle occupied while outdoors, and use a firm “No” when you catch him/her digging, that should help. Most people who have problems with dogs digging are leaving them outside all day long with no supervision. Confining your dog to a crate while you are away makes for a happy Beagle and happy “parents”.