Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Beagles: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Beagle temperament, personality, behavior, traits, and characteristics.

beagle topics

Beagle dog breed

Beagle Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Beagle Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

Beagles are conveniently-sized, handsome and easy-to-groom, friendly with people, peaceful with other pets, and with their appealing soulful expression, it's perfectly natural that many people consider them as potentially wonderful pets.

However, Beagles were developed as hunting dogs and they have many hunting dog behaviors "hardwired" into their genes.

Beagles need much more exercise than most people give them, which is why you see so many fat Beagles with health problems. Though they're often kept in city apartments or condos, they should not be. Beagles require long frequent walks and a fenced yard where they can stretch their legs off-leash – FENCED because Beagles are explorers and chasers who will follow their nose wherever that fascinating sight or smell takes them, and since Beagles are endowed with selective deafness, they seldom come back when you call them.

In addition, you can't leave them outside unmonitored, for Beagles are prone to wanderlust and can be adept climbers and diggers. Also, Beagles left outside become bored and then they bay and howl and dig holes.

One more thing.....most Beagles are chowhounds, so keep your trash cans out of reach and never set your plate of food down where he can get to it.

The Beagle's vast stubbornness and distractability call for consistent and persistent obedience training based on respect. Food rewards can be a great motivator for Beagles, but if you base all of your training on food, your Beagle will only obey when you have a cookie in your hand – obviously not a good situation.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is conveniently-sized, sturdy, and athletic
  • Is completely natural in appearance
  • Has a short easy-care coat
  • Loves exercise, play, and outdoor activities
  • Is good-natured and peaceful with everyone

A Beagle may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • An extremely careful search to find good-tempered lines
  • Providing a goodly amount of exercise, not just a couple of walks around the block
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • An independent "what's in it for me?" attitude – can be obstinate
  • Keeping him on-leash or securely fenced
  • Controlling baying and howling
  • Slowness to housebreak
  • Moderate to heavy shedding
  • A distinctive doggy odor
  • Concerns about a lot of potential health problems in the breed

A Beagle may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of Beagles

If I was considering a Beagle, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Unstable temperaments. Obedience instructors and behavioral consultants see plenty of Beagles who are aggressive, fearful, or neurotic. If you're considering a Beagle puppy, you need to look carefully at the temperament of BOTH parents, and if you're considering a Beagle adult dog, you need to temperament-test him before bringing him home.
  2. Providing enough exercise. Beagles don't need to run for miles, but they do need more exercise than the typical amble around the block that many owners give them. Beagles who don't get enough exercise not only become bored, destructive, and noisy, but also obese, which puts stress on their joints and causes more health problems. Beagles MUST have regular opportunities to stretch their legs and vent their energy, if you want them to remain healthy and fit.

    Beagles are scenthounds, which means they will follow their nose wherever it leads them. You cannot trust these dogs off-leash. They will take off – oblivious to your frantic shouts – after anything that runs.

  3. Fence security. Many Beagles are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. They can climb chain link. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks, as some Beagles can open flimsy latches.
  4. Housebreaking. Beagles can be slow about this. Read more on housebreaking your Beagle.
  5. Noise. Beagles should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. Their mournful baying and howling will have your neighbors calling the cops to report the nuisance, or quietly letting your Beagle out of his yard so he'll wander away and stop disturbing them.
  6. Shedding and doggy odor. For such a shorthaired dog, Beagles shed much more than you might think – on the high side of average. In addition, like all scenthounds, Beagles have a distinct doggy odor.
  7. Finding a healthy one and keeping him healthy. Many Beagles live a good long life, but unfortunately they are very prone to health problems, including itchy skin conditions, ear infections, a long list of eye disease, joint problems, hypothyroidism, diabetes, epilepsy, and heart disease. To avoid health problems, buy your Beagle from the right breeder. And once you have your puppy home, you need to keep him healthy, starting with feeding the best foods.
  8. Stubbornness. Beagles are not easy to train because they are independent thinkers who don't particularly care about pleasing you. You must show your Beagle, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    In other words, you must teach your Beagle to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No."

    My book Teach Your Dog 100 English Words, gives you a unique vocabulary to use with your dog AND teaches my Respect Training Program. Your dog will look at you when you speak and do what you say. Not just when he's hungry for a treat or feels like it. But all the time. Because he respects you.