The beagle currently ranks as the fifth most popular canine in America. Considering this small hound's sweet face, imploring brown eyes, and ever-wagging tail, it is no surprise that the dog is a top choice for individuals and families alike. Although the beagle is known for its rabbit and quail-hunting abilities, it can thrive just as easily in a suburban or urban environment as it can in a rural one. A beagle may never be sent out on the trail and will still prove to be a loving, happy pet. All it needs from an owner is plenty of companionship--and a reasonable amount of exercise.
A beagle typically weighs between eighteen and thirty pounds, although ideally it should weigh less than twenty-five pounds. The dog's height ranges between thirteen and sixteen inches. Its ears are long, floppy, and soft. The beagle has a short, smooth coat. Most beagles are "tri-colored," meaning that their coats are a combination of white, black, and tan. However, beagles can also come in other colors, including black and tan, red and white, and lemon and white. The beagle almost always has a white-tipped tail. Although it is a fairly compact dog, the beagle generally exudes a sturdy, robust appearance.
The beagle is well-known for being a friendly and affectionate animal. It loves to be with people and its docile demeanor makes it an ideal pet for anyone with children. Since beagles are bred to be pack hounds, they also enjoy being in the company of other dogs. However, the beagle's hunting heritage can make it an enemy to other types of pets. A beagle puppy should be exposed to these animals (including cats) early on if the owner expects his pets to co-exist in harmony.
Although they are energetic, loving, and loyal toward their owners, beagles can be stubborn in the training process. If one is going to purchase a beagle puppy, he should prepare to be patient. The beagle's strong nose can make the dog difficult to walk if it is not trained properly, as the dog will tend to pull on the leash if it catches a scent. It is also important to keep a beagle fenced or on a leash, as it might very well sniff out a trail and run away if given an opportunity to escape the home.
Some beagles are prone to frequent barking, while others are generally very quiet. However, nearly any beagle will take note of a feral cat, squirrel, or possum in its vicinity. When it sees or senses the presence of such an animal, the beagle is almost guaranteed to charge and release a distinctive, baying yelp.
Beagles should be taken on relatively long walks of at least thirty minutes per day. It is important to watch a beagle's food intake, as the beagle will certainly overeat if given the opportunity. Beagles should not be bathed more than twice a year, as this will dry out their skin.
The beagle is a generally hearty breed, but, like any other dog, it is susceptible to certain medical problems. These include obesity, ear infections, heart disease, lymphoma, arthritis, and epilepsy. If given the proper care, however, a beagle will most likely live twelve to fifteen years. Some beagles have even been known to make it to the age of eighteen.
The beagle is a wonderful, rewarding companion. Although it can show some stubbornness, this can be overcome with diligence on the part of the owner. No dog is perfect, but the charming little beagle comes quite close.