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Canine Breed Spotlight: Beagle

Let’s look at the Beagle!

Dog breed group: Hound Dog

Average life span: 12-16 years

History

Dogs that are similar in size and purpose to the modern day Beagle can be traced back to Ancient Greece. The development of the modern breed began in the 19th century in England. There were two lines of Beagles being bred, eventually being absorbed into one bloodline. The name Beagle has an uncertain origin. There are may theories of where the name may have came from. The French words begueule (meaning open throat) or beugler (meaning to bellow), the Old English word beag (meaning small) and the German word begele (meaning to scold) could all be origins of this breed name.

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Temperament

Beagles are happy, gentle and friendly. They don’t tend to be either aggressive or timid, but somewhere in the middle. They are an intelligent breed, but because they were bred to hunt they can be easily distracted by the smells. Early socialization and obedience training (with food rewards!) are the best ways to train your beagle to be well rounded and get them used to many different types of situations.

Is this breed right for you?

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  • They require a lot of exercise, a walk around the block won’t be enough. For this reason they do not do well in apartments, condos or other small living areas.
  • Their coat is easy to care for, however they do shed a lot.
  • They don’t do well left alone for long periods of time. Crate training is important or else they may become destructive when left alone.
  • They can be loud. They will howl and bay when faced with something unfamiliar or upsetting to them.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that are more commonly seen in the Beagle.

Epilepsy is common in Beagles, but it is not a health concern specific to the breed. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain causing seizures. This health issue can be controlled with medication and veterinary monitoring.

Cherry Eye can be common in Beagles. This is when the gland in the third eyelid (located in the inside corner of the dog’s eye) comes out of place and bulges. Cherry eye is corrected by a surgery under general anesthetic.

Intervertebral Disc Disease is also common in Beagles. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They might have difficulty walking or appear in pain, or in severe cases they can become be completely paralyzed. The best way to prevent this is to keep your Beagle lean. They are “chow hounds” and love to eat. Over feeding can cause them to become overweight, which can increase their risk of rupturing a disc.

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