Beagle General Breed Profile

beagleWith their compact size and friendly personalities, beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. They make great family pets due to their latent pack mentality; they enjoy spending time with people and often other animals, and are excited to be part of a family.

Beagles are a type of hound dog originally bred for hunting. Because of this fact, they can have a few behavioral challenges such as a stubborn streak and focused tenacity when they get fixated on something. They can also be incredibly smart when it comes to overcoming obstacles. This can be an asset, but it can also be a challenge when they are trying to get into something they shouldn’t. Thankfully they respond well to treats and are very trainable.

The most unique fact about beagles is that they have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Their noses are made up of 220 million scent receptors, as opposed to the approximately 5 million that humans have. Because of this, they are often driven by their sense of smell, which can occasionally get them into trouble. Once they fixate on a scent, they can wander off to follow it. It is recommended that they be kept leashed at all times when on walks, and kept in fences with back yards. When their brains latch onto a scent, the desire to follow it can overpower obedience training or commands from the owners.

Here are a few more traits and facts unique to this breed:

Beagle Traits


There are 2 main sizes beagles come in:

  • 13 inch
  • 15 inch

The American Kennel Club recognizes these 2 sizes for the official breed. Depending on their size, these dogs can weigh between 18 and 30 pounds. Both sizes can come from the same litter, and it is impossible to tell them apart as puppies. If you want a specific size, you may want to get a dog who is at least a year old. At this point they should be done growing.


Dogs of this breed generally come in a mixture of black, white, and tan. The most common combination of this results in a black “saddle” on their back surrounded by tan, with white on the legs and face. The tail is always tipped in white, a feature left over from the days they were bread for hunting. The white tip would make it easier for hunters to spot their dogs as they sniffed out game.


Due to their hound-dog ancestry, these dogs can have a stubborn streak, often accompanied by clever problem-solving skills. Despite this, this breed makes great family pets are are knowing for being friendly and energetic. They love to play and need to be exercised and interacted with regularly, or they could develop destructive behavior. They are very food-motivated dogs and will over-eat if allowed, and may get into unguarded food or trash if accessible. Their love of food, however, means they respond well to positive reinforcement and treats become a powerful training and motivational tool.


Like all pure breeds, these dogs can be prone to a variety of illnesses, including:

  • Obesity
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cherry Eye
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease

If you are buying from a breeder, make sure they are certified and have a reputation for selling healthy dogs, and that the dogs they breed have health certifications from a vet stating they are free of any inherent health issues. This will decrease the risk of receiving a puppy that may develop a breed-specific health issue later on in life.

Fun Facts

  • Distinctive Vocalizations
    Beagles have a distinctive range of sounds that they make. This range encompasses the traditional bark, a half-howl, and the typical baying/howling sound which they are known for. Despite this, they are not yappy dogs, and generally don’t bark excessively.
  • Drug-Sniffers
    Due to their highly-sensitive noses, these dogs make great drug sniffers in airports. Additionally, their cute appearance and smaller size means they are less intimidating than traditional police dogs.
  • Other Occupations
    These dogs can also be used as therapy pets, and can be used to sniff out termites. They are still used for hunting today, which means you need to make sure the dog you get is bread and trained as a pet instead of a hunter (or the other way around)to be sure you’re getting the right dog for your needs.