Guide to Beagles
Life expectancy: 10-15 years
Height: 33- 41 cm
Weight: 9- 11 kg
Beagles were originally bred to be scent hounds. They were used to hunt small animals, particularly hares. It is because of their background that they are so rambunctious. They are very friendly and loving family dogs. The history of Beagles is unclear. What is do know is that Beagles were registered when The American Kennel Club was first created in 1884. Beagles rose to popularity way before this. They were a favourite in England during the reign of Edward II as well as Henry VII. This particular breed was called Glove Beagles because they were so small they could fit into a gloved hand.
What to consider when owning a Beagle
Beagles can become very anxious when left alone. They tend to show this by barking or other destructive behaviours like chewing. Most dogs don’t like to be left alone for more than four hours, but Beagles may struggle with shorter periods than this. It will help to train your Beagle to see their crate or a quiet room as their safe place, provide boredom-busting toys and gradually build up the time they spend alone.
Ease of training
Beagles are not very easy to train, in fact they are quite stubborn. They are known for being rowdy and disobedient. This is not to say they are unable to be trained, they will just require a lot of effort and consistency in their training. If you are a new pet owner or a new Beagle owner, puppy training classes will be useful to cement their training early on.
Where possible, we should adopt rather than shop. If buying is the intention then Beagle puppies can cost anywhere between £500 to £1, 500 depending on their lineage. This is just the purchase price but pets come with many more added charges. Some of these include:
- Flea treatments
- Leash and collar
- Treats and food bowls
Although Beagles are small, they require a lot of exercise. Like most dogs, they will do well with an hour of exercise a day. Because they are small, they are able to live in apartments, provided their owners are able to take them for multiple walks a day. If Beagles are left without exercise, they can easily become destructive because of all their pent-up energy.
Beagles require weekly grooming to loosen dead hair and remove dirt while allowing their new hair to grow. They are short haired dogs so their grooming needs are less than those with longer hair. They do shed tend to shed but weekly grooming will help to reduce their shedding.
Beagle health concerns
Like all pedigree dogs they do have a few breed specific conditions you should be aware of.
1. Congenital heart disorders
Beagles can be born with rare genetic heart defects that may not be apparent at birth. These conditions include: PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) or ‘hole in the heart’. This can be picked up by a vet may hearing a heart murmur during routine check-ups. Surgery will be needed to prevent heart failure.
PSS (Porto-Systemic Shunt)- This is when part of the circulatory system doesn’t develop normally. It affects the liver, digestion and normal growth which means puppies can fail to thrive. This condition can be picked up as a puppy or when they are older around 1-2 years old. An affected puppy or dog may not want to eat, could vomit, have fits or collapse. Surgery can correct the problem successfully.
2. Blood clotting
Beagles can inherit clotting factor VII deficiency. This means they have a tendency to bleed and bruise more than other dogs. The condition can be screened for, but if it occurs, it must be managed carefully as there is no treatment.
In common with all dog breeds, cancer can sadly affect some Beagles. Some cancers are more common than others in this breed. One common cancer is lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. There are many types of lymphoma and it can occur anywhere in the body. A Beagle with any of the following signs should be checked by a vet: swollen lymph glands under the chin or behind the knees, increased thirst, unexpected weight loss with decreased appetite and lethargy. Lymphoma is usually treated with chemotherapy drugs (at a lower level than those used in humans, so the side effects are lessened).
4. Digestive problems
Breeding Beagles can be screened for a genetic syndrome called Cobalamin Malabsorption. This affects the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 which is vital for the proper digestion of food. Beagles that lose weight or fail to thrive may need regular treatment from the vet to supplement any deficiency and keep their digestive tract in good health.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is under-active and doesn’t make enough of the hormone that breaks food down into energy. These dogs can gain weight, be lethargic and have hair loss, especially on the tail. Their skin can be thickened, dry and flaky. Dogs with hypothyroidism are prone to infections. They may feel cold and struggle to keep up on walks. Luckily, this condition can be treated with daily medication. Dogs with hypothyroidism can live long happy lives.
6. Ear Infections
In common with other breeds that have long, downward facing ears, Beagles can be prone to ear infections. Otitis Externa is the most common type. This is seen with a yeasty smelling yellow-brown discharge and itchy inflamed ear canals. Your vet practice can advise on safe ear cleaning techniques and treatment for any infections that arise.
7. Cherry Eye
Cherry eye is common in Beagles. The thin piece of skin (known as the third eyelid) that slides across the eye from the inner corner becomes inflamed, red and painful, resembling a small cherry. The condition can be corrected by surgery, but this may not be a permanent solution. It’s best not to breed from dogs with this condition.
The Beagle breed is known to be at risk from neurological issues. Some of these include Epilepsy and Meningitis. Epilepsy causes seizures and meningitis. The first sign of meningitis is shown by neck pain and a reluctance or inability to move the head freely. Both conditions will lead to poor quality of life if untreated, but they can often be managed successfully.
9. Puppy development
Beagles can inherit two other genetic conditions unique to the breed that affect a puppy’s development and quality of life. Both can be screened for in breeding adults. In both cases, puppies are affected differently and in the less severe cases, they can lead a relatively normal life.
These conditions are:
NCCD (Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration): a very young puppy will be clumsier than its litter mates and may struggle to balance, walk or even have problems feeding and breathing.
MLS (Musladin-Leuke Syndrome): affects the structure and development of connective tissue throughout the body, including ligaments, tendons, bones, skin, heart and muscle. Affected puppies may have altered facial characteristics and shorter outer toes. They may develop seizures as a result of the condition.
10. Spinal problems
In common with other long-backed dog breeds, Beagles can develop problems with their spine including IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). This is where the cushioning between the vertebrae bulges or bursts out into the spinal cord space. This is commonly known as a slipped disc and can cause pain and paralysis. Depending on the severity and location of the problem, treatment ranges from rest with pain relief to spinal surgery. Maintaining a good level of fitness and a healthy weight can help to prevent IVDD.
If you have any concerns about your Beagle’s health do not hesitate to get in touch with our Careline. They will be able to answer any questions that you may have.
Pet insurance for Beagles
Beagles have unique health problems that your pet may be exposed to or not. These conditions may show up when your beagle is a puppy or later on in their lives. You never know what might happen as they get older. Find out how we can cover your pet from accidents as well as illnesses they may suffer from.
It’s normally best to insure your Beagle from a young age, before any conditions arise. Insuring your Beagle from a young age will tend to be cheaper but this being said you can also get insurance for older dogs too. We may even be able to cater for your Beagle should they need cover for pre-existing conditions.
See how we can help you by getting a quote today.