Beagle Home: Are You Ready To Adopt A Beagle?
So you are considering bring a beagle home? They are a wonderful addition, or at least I think so.
Beagles are an incredible breed, that has an unyielding fervor for life, exploring their surroundings with their endlessly inquisitive noses. This is a dog that will be your proverbial private investigator. However, they’ll do it with a wide smile, tail wagging, and butt swinging.
But enough about the cute stuff, let’s get to the brass tacks:
The Home Team: Beagle Stats
They are well-muscled, small-to-almost-medium-sized dogs with a keen sense of smell and a wanderlust that can lead him into trouble. They come in two sizes — under 13 inches tall and 13-15 inches tall. Weight for the smaller dogs is 18-20 pounds; for the larger dogs is 20-30 pounds. The beagle’s life expectancy is about 12-15 years.
“I Dress For All Occasions”
The standard allows “any hound color,” which includes tri-color (black, brown, and white), red and white, lemon and white, and tan and white. Solid white or tan is possible but very rare. The color pattern can include mottling, ticking, or grizzling.
Beagles have short, water-resistant coats. Their short coat is remarkably easy to care for and requires minimal grooming and only occasional bathing with mild soap. Weekly brushing with a rubber grooming mitt or tool to encourage turnover of hair, and to minimize hair buildup in the house is all that is needed to keep your Beagle looking healthy and vibrant. Also, be sure to occasionally check their long ears carefully for signs of infection and keep the nails trimmed. Once past puppyhood, some beagles seem to easily become overweight, so watch the caloric intake.
*Sniff, Sniff* — “I Smell Something”
Their sense of smell is another one of their most defining characteristics. A Beagle has one of the most developed and impressive senses of smell you can find. This breed has something like 220 million scent receptors in their noses (a human has only about five million) making them exceedingly better than we are at tracking a smell. There was research done back in the 1950s to study their sense of smell and it was found that a Beagle could find a mouse in a one-acre field in less than a minute. To put this in perspective, it took a Fox Terrier around fifteen minutes to find the same mouse. Although, their smelling abilities don’t transfer to air-tracking, because they are more talented at following a ground-scent or a scent trail left behind.
The Force Is Strong In This One
These diminutive-sized powerhouses are ready, willing and able to play with you and your family in a controlled environment (think fenced-in backyard). A yard with a physical fence is preferred to one with an electronic fence as a beagle may not stop once he catches the scent of interesting prey. Be sure your dog has an identification collar or microchip as they can be escape artists, digging under fences and finding other ways to escape.
Just realize that once you throw the ball in a game of fetch, you may not be seeing it for the remainder of the day, as they tend to do things on their terms. This single-mindedness usually means they aren’t the easiest to train. A positive reinforcement method (i.e. clicker training) works wonders for beagles, as treats or other desired items are used as praise. But with proper training and time, they can be as well-behaved as any breed.
Consider A Crate Once Your Beagle Is Home
A beagle will feel at home if they are crate trained. This is a new concept to some folks, but I highly recommend you do crate train any dog you may be considering. Beagles are generally quite adaptable and can be crate trained as easily as any breed.
That being said; you need to keep certain things in mind: These pups will find anything and everything. That means, if you leave a trash receptacle within reach and unlocked, leave food unattended on your counter, etc.; expect to be in for a surprise. I swear, if they could Crayon a wall, they’d be a toddler.
“If I’m Bored At Home: As A Beagle, I’ll Make It Well Known”
Speaking of such: Just like a gregarious, outgoing and playful kid; beagles can be very, VERY vocal at times. Which is something to take into account if you share walls with others, i.e. apartment or townhouse dwellers. It is important you are this dog’s pack leader and that you provide the proper amount of mental and physical exercise, including daily pack walks, to avoid separation anxiety. With enough exercise, they will be calm. You can also purchase animal scents and play tracking games with your beagle to help satisfy its instinct to track.
Great family members they are, great guard dogs they are not — that is unless you hope they’re going to lick the intruder to death.
“You Know What? Flag This”
A little interesting fact: The tip of a Beagle’s tail must be white in color. This is a defining characteristic of the breed and a dog is not considered to be a true Beagle without this trait. The white tip is called “the flag” and the breed was bred to ensure that they had a white tip on their tail. This is because the flag allowed the dog to be easily seen at a distance while hunting so their owner always knew where they were while they were following a scent. Their tail doesn’t curve up and over their back, but when they are on a scent they keep it in the air by instinct.
A beagle is a very welcome addition to any home if the extra attention that is required is given. They will provide you with years of unyielding happiness, laughter, and love.
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