Beagle running in the snow with a river and trees in the background

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The beagle is a charming and friendly breed that has earned its place as a beloved companion and family pet. With its distinctive appearance characterized by a compact, muscular body, expressive eyes, and long, droopy ears, the beagle exudes an endearing and approachable demeanor. 

This breed was initially developed for hunting small game, but over time, beagles have transitioned from their hunting roots to become cherished household pets. Is a beagle the right pet for you? Keep reading to learn more about the breed. 

History & Origin of Beagles

The beagle dog's roots are embedded in the hunting traditions of England. The exact origin of the beagle is somewhat unclear, but it's believed that the breed has been around for several centuries. The name of the breed has Celtic roots. The term is believed to be derived from the word "beg" or "beag" meaning small. 1

In Roman times, small hounds similar to beagles were used to hunt small game.2 However, the breed as we know it today began to take shape in medieval England, where hunters required a smaller and more agile hound for tracking rabbits and other small prey. Beagles were bred to possess a keen sense of smell, remarkable stamina, and a relentless determination in pursuit of their prey.1 

Over the years, beagles transitioned from being preliminary hunting dogs to beloved family pets. Their friendly disposition, adaptability, and sociable nature have contributed to their widespread appeal. Today, beagles are cherished companions and excel in various roles like detection work. 

Physical Attributes of Beagles

Physical Attributes of Beagles

  • Height: 13-15 inches
  • Weight: 20-30 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years3

Beagles are known for their charming physical attributes, which give them their unique appearance and functionalities. For instance, beagles are a small to medium-sized breed. They have a sturdy and compact build. Beagles are muscular dogs with a well-proportioned body, giving them an athletic and agile appearance.3 These dogs are also known for their long lifespan of up to 15 years. 

One of the most iconic features of beagles is their long, droopy ears. These ears are set low on the head and hang close to the cheeks.4 

Beagles are also known for their large and round eyes. The typical eye color is brown or hazel.4 

Beagles have a short, dense, and weather-resistant coat. The coat can come in a variety of colors, including tricolor (black, white, and tan), bicolor (white and tan), lemon, red and white, and more. Their coat is easy to care for and requires regular grooming to keep it healthy.4 

Beagle Personality

Behavioral Characteristics of Beagles

Beagle dogs have a range of common behavioral characteristics that make them popular family pets. It's important to note, however, that individual dogs vary, and factors like upbringing, training, and genetics play a role in shaping their behavior. For instance, a puppy adopted from a beagle rescue will have had a different upbringing than one you raise as a puppy, so their personalities might be different. 

In general, beagles are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They tend to enjoy interacting with people and other dogs, making them well-suited for families and social environments.3 

Beagles are also generally energetic dogs that enjoy playtime and outdoor activities. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are important to keep them happy and prevent boredom.4 Beagle puppies will especially need tons of exercise and play to channel their energy. 

Beagles tend to have a strong sense of alertness and may express themselves vocally. Their distinctive howl is part of their hunting heritage. This vocalization is a useful trait for alerting their owners to potential dangers.4 

Another aspect of their hunting behavior is their natural instinct to dig. Providing them with a designated digging area or redirecting this behavior through training can reduce or manage this tendency. 

Beagles are generally adaptable to various living situations, including apartments or houses with yards, as long as their needs are met.

Beagle Health Risks

While beagles are generally hardy dogs, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health risks and genetic conditions that can contribute to the costs of pet ownership. Responsible beagle ownership involves understanding these potential issues. 

  • Epilepsy: Beagles may be susceptible to epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Proper management often involves medication under the guidance of a veterinarian. 
  • Hypothyroidism: Beagles can experience an underactive thyroid, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor thyroid function. 
  • Certain cancers: Beagles can be predisposed to certain cancers. Early detection through routine veterinary examinations is crucial for timely intervention. 
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD): This condition affects the spinal discs and can lead to pain, weakness, and, in severe cases, paralysis. Beagle owners should be cautious about activities that could strain the back. 
  • Eye conditions: Beagles may be prone to various eye issues, including cherry eye, a condition where the gland in the third eyelid becomes red, inflamed, and protrudes. 
  • Ear infections: Beagles' long, droopy ears make them susceptible to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning is crucial for these dogs.

Beagles are also prone to a variety of genetic diseases, such as: 

  • Lafora's disease: A rare, progressive epilepsy disorder. 
  • Musladin-Lueke syndrome (MLS): A genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue and can lead to joint and skin issues. 
  • Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome (IGS): IGS is a hereditary condition affecting vitamin B12 absorption, leading to anemia. 
  • FVII deficiency: Beagles may be prone to Factor VII deficiency, a blood clotting disorder.5

Caring For a Beagle

Caring for a beagle means ensuring their physical health, mental well-being, and overall happiness. Regular exercise is especially important for this energetic breed, as beagles thrive on physical activity. Daily walks, playtime, and opportunities for mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys, help keep them physically fit and mentally engaged. 

Beagles are known to have a great sense of smell, so incorporating activities that tap into their natural instincts, like scent games or tracking exercises, can be both entertaining and fulfilling for them. 

Diet and nutrition are also crucial in the well-being of all dogs. A balanced diet of high-quality dog food that meets their specific nutritional needs, coupled with portion control to prevent overeating, is essential to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related issues. Regular veterinary check-ups are imperative for monitoring their overall health, addressing any potential health concerns, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations and preventive care. 

Since beagles tend to be social, they thrive on companionship and can be prone to boredom if left alone for extended periods. Providing them with a consistent routine, a comfortable and secure space, and interactive toys can help alleviate stress when pet parents are away. Incorporating them into family activities can also foster a strong bond and a sense of belonging. 

Grooming requirements for beagles are relatively straightforward, thanks to their short coat. 

Regular brushing helps keep their coat clean and minimizes shedding. Attention to their ears is crucial to prevent ear infections since their droopy ears can trap moisture. Dental care is also essential; routine teeth brushing promotes good oral health.4 


What are the challenges of having a beagle? 

Owning a beagle comes with its unique set of challenges you should be aware of. One notable challenge is their strong sense of smell and innate hunting instincts. Beagles have a tendency to follow scents, which can lead to them wandering off if not in a secure environment. This makes off-leash activities a potential challenge, requiring vigilant supervision and secure boundaries. 

Additionally, their vocal nature, including their distinctive howl, can pose a challenge in close-quarter living situations. Beagles may express themselves vocally, potentially causing noise-related concerns. 

Their boundless energy and playful nature can also be demanding for pet parents who underestimate the need for regular exercise and mental stimulation. Without proper outlets for their energy, beagles may resort to undesirable behaviors such as digging or chewing. 

Are beagles good dogs?

Beagles are often considered good dogs, but it's important to recognize that individual temperament and behavior can vary widely, even within the same breed. Beagles are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They're often affectionate, good with children, and can make excellent family pets. Their playful demeanor and boundless energy can bring joy and entertainment to households. 

However, like any breed, beagles have unique characteristics, and potential owners should be aware of specific traits like their strong sense of smell, propensity to follow scents, and vocalization. Beagles may require consistent training and mental stimulation to channel their energy appropriately. 

The key to a positive experience with a beagle puppy is understanding their needs, providing proper training and socialization, and ensuring a suitable environment. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and affectionate care contribute to a well-behaved and happy beagle. 

Ultimately, whether a beagle is a good fit for a particular individual or family depends on lifestyle, preferences, and the willingness to invest time and effort in meeting the dog's needs. For instance, while beagles can be one of the best dogs for first-time owners for some, others might find their high energy levels and tracking instincts challenging. 

Can beagles be left alone?

Beagles, like many dogs, thrive on companionship and social interaction. Leaving them alone for long periods can cause separation anxiety. This can lead to undesirable behaviors like excessive barking and howling, destructive behavior, or attempts to escape. 

If you believe your dog has separation anxiety, it's crucial to gradually acclimate your dog to alone time, starting with short durations and gradually extending them. 

Senior Asian woman sitting on a blue couch petting her beagle

Final Notes

Beagles are charming and friendly companions. Caring for one of these dogs means meeting their need for regular exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. While beagles can be prone to certain challenges, they can make wonderful additions to families with proper training, socialization, and a loving environment. 

Let Dutch's online pet care be a valuable resource for caring for your beagle. We provide a convenient way to access veterinary care from the comfort of your home and get prescriptions from our online pet pharmacy. Address health concerns, monitor conditions, and ensure your dog's overall well-being with Dutch. 



  1. "History." The National Beagle Club of America, Inc. - History,

  2. "Beagle History: From Ancient Small Pack-Hounds to Snoopy." American Kennel Club, 28 Feb. 2022, 

  3. "Beagle." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 28 Dec. 2023,

  4. "Beagle Dog Breed Information." American Kennel Club,

  5. "Beagle." PDSA,

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

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