Breed profile: Beagle

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Originally bred for hunting, beagles have become a household favourite due to their lively but gentle nature and adorable face and eyes. Find out if a beagle could be the right breed for you.

In brief:

  • Adores human company and affection
  • Requires regular and consistent training
  • Can be anxious and destructive if bored and alone

Breed origins 

Beagles were originally bred for hunting and tracking by the ancient Greeks. However, the modern beagle breed was developed in the UK and is the result of various breeds, including the North Country beagle and the Talbot hound. Beagle-type dogs have existed in Europe for more than 2,000 years. They make wonderful household pets as well as excellent sniffer dogs.

Beagle coats, colours and size 

Beagles sport various tricolour combinations of tan, black and white. Their coats are short and relatively easy to care for, and they can grow to a height of 38 cm and a weight of 14 kg. Beagles require regular brushing and removal of any matted coat they might have. Regular brushing also reduces shedding.

Beagle personality, characteristics and temperament 

The term ‘puppy dog eyes’ could have been coined to describe the loveable beagle, a dog that can melt a heart with one pleading look. While their eyes are one of their most endearing features, the beagle’s floppy ears, muscular build and short, slightly curved tails with white tips make them even more endearing.

Beagles are generally even-tempered and they have a gentle disposition, making them great family pets. However, they can be challenging to train and have a tendency to follow their noses wherever they might take them. For these reasons, it’s recommended to enrol them in an obedience training course sooner rather than later.

Beagles love children and will match their boundless energy and join in any outdoor pursuits with gusto. However, this is a dog prone to severe separation anxiety. It does not cope well with long periods of isolation or alone time.

Beagles like to bark and howl.

Health and care of beagles 

Beagles can live from 12 to 15 years, although they do need company to feel safe and stay stress-free. They need lots of exercise to avoid boredom and prevent obesity.

While they are typically hardy, healthy dogs, beagles do sometimes run into health issues such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), patellar luxation (kneecap dislocation), epilepsy and central progressive retinal atrophy (an eye condition that can cause blindness).


The beagle can out sniff most dog breeds with their keen sense of smell. Their long ears may help trap odours as they put their noses to the ground. They also make great watchdogs because of their readiness to bark.

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