Traditionally bred as rabbit hunters and gundogs, beagles are known for their floppy ears, loud voices, and impeccable sense of smell. They are incredibly friendly and love both children and other animals alike. If you are considering bringing a beagle into your family, it is important to understand their unique personalities, potential health concerns, and grooming and exercise needs.
Beagles descend from hounds used by hunters on foot in England, Wales, and France. The breed was originally bred by wealthy English gentlemen in the 16th century as rabbit and small prey hunting hounds. They were also used as gun dogs, flushing game for these hunters.
By the late 19th century, beagles became more refined and widely recognized in North America, eventually becoming one of the most popular breeds. Though still used in packs for hunting today, beagles are more commonly seen as companion and family dogs. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. In 2021, beagles were ranked number 7 in the most popular dog breeds in the United States.
Size and appearance
Beagles are considered medium-sized dogs. They have a sturdy build and long, floppy ears.
These dogs have short, smooth double coats that are dense and water-resistant. The classic beagle coat is tricolored—black, tan, and white.
- Male beagles typically stand about 15 inches tall and can weigh anywhere between 18 and 30 pounds.
- Females are slightly shorter in height, about 13 inches tall and between 18 and 30 pounds in weight.
Considered low maintenance, the beagle has minimal grooming needs. Their double coat sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily each spring. Weekly brushing may be helpful during periods of heavy shedding. This will minimize mess and keep your dog looking and feeling their best.
Beagles only need occasional baths to stay clean, as their short coat does not tend to pick up much dirt. Their floppy ears can be prone to ear infections, so be sure to clean them regularly. As with all dogs, their nails should also be trimmed every few weeks.