New Jersey Beagles at Breezy Point
Questions and misconceptions about the Beagle breed:
Information provided by: Kris Kraueter; Brushy Run Beagles ..... Thank you Kris
How big will my Beagle get?
Beagles are a small to medium sized dog, typically ranging from 10" to 16" in height at the shoulder when mature. In the USA, our breed standard disqualifies beagles which exceed 15" in height from participation in conformation or field trial competitions; most other countries recognize 16" beagles as the desired maximum height. Divided into two varieties for competition purposes in the US, the under 13" variety typically weighs less than 20 lbs., and the 13" to 15" hounds range from 20 to 30 lbs. It helps to keep in mind that parents of either size can and do produce offspring of either size, often within the same litter. An experienced breeder may be able to give you a good estimate as to the future, adult size your beagle might reach . . . but no one can be expected to guarantee the eventual, exact height at maturity.
Do Beagles require a lot of grooming?
Not especially, although ears and feet will require special attention. Beagles have a smooth lying, hard, medium length coat with a finer undercoat. Females will "blow" their coat after each season, and males will "blow" once a year, generally when the weather grows warmer in the spring. A good brushing once or twice a week is usually sufficient to keep your beagle's coat clean and healthy. A bath in warm water when the coat starts to loosen up will hasten the shedding process, and keep your dogs clean too. Otherwise, bathing is rarely necessary, unless your hound has found something smelly to roll in. The beagle's pendulous ears are especially prone to developing infection or ear mites, and will require weekly checks and careful cleaning. Toenails also require regular attention, with frequency of trimming dependent on how well your beagle wears them down during his normal, daily activities.
Grooming the beagle for show ring competition, however, is a whole different story. Current trends include trimming, stripping and sometimes even clippering of the coat to neaten the appearance and create a stylish outline.
Are they noisy?
The normal, active Beagle will bark when strangers arrive, at the neighbor's cat or trespassing wildlife, and at strange goings on in the neighborhood. But beagles in general are not nuisance barkers, unless given good reason to do so. Beagles can, on rare occasion, become prone to howling if they are left alone for long periods of time and become bored. As a result of their hunting heritage, beagles may be quick to bark when they discover an intriguing scent, and will tongue (produce a baying sound) when in pursuit of their quarry.
Do Beagles have a hound odor?
The typical house beagle does not have any noticable body odor. The one exception might be an unspayed female during her estrus cycle, due to the vaginal discharge. In general, unless your beagle finds something odiferous to roll in, the family companion hound is a clean and pleasant smelling character. Dogs will often develop an offensive odor quite often if anal glands need expressing or if they are on a food too low in fat content.
Usually, when we hear remarks about a smelly beagle, it is one that has been housed outdoors, and continually runs through or rolls in urine and feces or other interesting scents. To a beagle, these odors can be somewhat appealing. But this is clearly different from any natural body odor of the hound.
Are Beagles good with children?
In most cases, yes! Beagles tend to love social interaction with people, and children especially. Well bred and socialized beagles are very gentle with youngsters, and they can be wonderful companions for older children as they typically enjoy attention, rough housing, and interactive activities such as playing ball. The beagle is a "big dog in a little package"; small and unthreatening, yet sturdy built and ready for action. The one area of caution, however, concerns food. Beagles take their food very seriously, and so children must be taught to understand that the hound should be treated with respect and never to tease or approach a beagle while eating.
Are they "one man" dogs?
Not particularly, since beagles are such social hounds. As a "pack animal" the beagle makes a wonderful family companion; he loves the entire family. They are easily adaptable to new situations and new people. Beagles that have been raised and socialized in the home are truly "people dogs"; they need companionship and are rarely happy without their human pack members around them. While highly adaptable, it is important to remember that every hound is different. Some Beagles will enter a new home & act like they've been there their entire lives. Others may take a few days to settle in.
Are Beagles nervous or shy?
Not typically. Beagles are friendly, social animals that enjoy companionship and have a zest for life. Beagles can sometimes be a little reserved towards strangers, but to people they know they should be loving, and outgoing. A shy, nervous Beagle is not typical of the breed, and may have been poorly socialized. Occasionally an older dog will be shy due to the treatment in a previous home and love, good care, and patience can usually bring around these animals. Again, individual personalities vary. While most beagles will be true social extroverts, an occassional hound may prefer the quiet and security of their own home setting.
I've heard that you should not buy a dog that is inbred. What does that mean?
This is not true. Dogs are bred in three ways: Inbred...which generally refers to the very closest breedings of mother/son, father/daughter, sister/brother... Linebred - which is a less severe form of Inbreeding, such as half sister/half brother, granddaughter/grandfather etc., or by Outcrossing...which is having no related animals within three generations. There is NO single right way or wrong way to breed dogs, and all three types of breedings can potentially produce acceptable quality puppies. When a breeder inbreeds, it simply means they are attempting to intensify traits within a family line for breeding/competition purposes - to make an animal "dominant" in the hard to get areas of quality. Inbreeding/linebreeding do not create shy or sickly animals any more than outcrossing, and an outcross dog does not have more vigor than a linebred animal. Inbreeding or linebreeding merely increase the chances that certain traits will be intensified, whether those traits are desirable or undesirable. Most breeders will selectively utilize all three breeding practices in their breeding programs at some time, and line breeding is the most common practice.
Are Beagles difficult to house train?
No more so than any dog. The secret to housebreaking is timing and consistency. The most successful method in the majority of cases is to crate train; the theory behind this being that dogs insitictively dislike soiling their "den", and will do their best to wait until released to the appropriate outdoor location to relieve themselves.
Be very consistent right from the start... Always crate your hound when you can not properly supervise and then immediately take outside to potty when you release them from the crate. To properly housetrain, it is important to not give the puppy the opportunity to repeatedly make mistakes (never allow freedom to roam the home unsupervised before a dog is very reliably housebroken... this is where many people make a big mistake). You must be consistent, even if your beagle buddy protests the restricted activities. If allowed to roam the house unsupervised, and permitted to relieve themselves in the home it is likely to become a difficult habit to break.
As for the occassional spotting around the house: accidents will happen, especially if not closely supervised. Remember, young puppies will need to relieve themselves quite frequently. Ignore mistakes and praise/reward all successes. Be sure to clean up all accidents extremely well... or the beagle is likely to return to the scene of the crime later and "mark" the same spot. Use of one of of the enzymatic cleaners that remove all traces of odor, such as "Fresh & Clean" is a good idea. Remember that the crate must be used wisely, and that young puppies typically can not hold their urine for more than a few hours at a time. With patience and consistency on your part, your beagle will eventually develop bladder control, establish a routine for voiding, and learn the appropriate location to do so. Puppies do not have complete bowel and bladder control, physically, until about 9 months of age.
Do Beagles eat a lot?
Beagles, when fed a recommended, premium quality food actually need only one or two cups a day, a surprisingly small amount for such an active, medium sized dog. It is very easy to overfeed, as most beagles are "good eaters" so you must monitor their weight carefully. If you try to feed a cheaper, grocery store type food, you will be feeding almost twice as much (up to five cups) to maintain the same weight, so no money is saved with this practice, and you'll end up scooping twice as much poop. It is important to remember that rapidly growing puppies need to consume approximately twice as much volume of food per pound of their own body weight as do adult hounds. You will need to gradually increase the portion amounts as your puppy grows, then begin to again reduce the intake to the proper amount for maintenance as he approaches maturity. Most dog foods will include a chart regarding suggested amounts of daily intake right on the bag. Use thesse charts as a guide, modifying the amounts slightly as necessary to maintain your beagle in top condition.
Do Beagles require a lot of exercise?
The Beagle himself will generally tell you no; left on his own, the adult "house pet" beagle is actually often a fairly lazy animal. The adolescent beagle, however, is an exhuberant creature who will need adequate opportunities to exercise his growing body and mind. The prefered forms of exercise include leisurely walks with their family or a good run while out hunting. Many beagles are enthusiastic retrievers, if taught when young. The beagle also can be a faithful jogging companion if you wish, but it is important to not over-exercise a young animal as you could do damage to the skeletal development. If you like to take walks with your dog or jog, please remember that it is very unwise to take a puppy under the age of 18 months on walks or jogs of more than 1/2 mile as their skeletal systems are not yet solidified enough to take the stress. After 18 months gradually extend the walks a 1/2 mile every week or so.
Do I need to fence my yard?
Yes, a fenced yard is preferred. It is highly recommended that your Beagle always be kept in a safe, secure environment. The securely fenced yard provides an area where your beagle can exercise without fear of his wandering off in pursuit of an intriguing scent trail. Because of their scenthound heritage, beagles should not be permitted outdoors off lead unless confined to a safely fenced area or while afield hunting. If you are not home during the day, a 6'x8' kennel enclosure placed on a concrete paved run with an insulated doghouse is a fine place for your Beagle to hang out in. Beagles enjoy being outdoors, but hate to be tied-out, and can become escape artists. A kennel run is not always the best solution, however, as a bored beagle may tend to pace back and forth and bark. A crate in a quiet location inside the home is the alternative solution. Some breeders will not sell a dog unless there is a fenced yard due to the incidence of "hit by car" deaths. An invisible fence with collar does not prevent another animal from entering your property and attacking your dog. Many breeders will not sell dogs to homes where the dog will be a strictly outdoor dog, either, as they feel that beagles, being the pack-oriented animals they are, need the companionship of their human pack. A beagle left outside can quickly become bored and destructive or noisy, even with another dog in the yard.
Beagles are also very intelligent and will quickly discover a way out of the yard if there is one. For this reason, it is not enough that the yard be fenced, but it must be beagle-proofed, as well. This means having a fence that cannot be climbed or dug under, or one whose material is such that a beagle cannot go through it or under it. It is surprising what small spaces they can escape through and how determined they can be to find a way out.
What if I live in an apartment?
While a securely fenced yard is a plus, it is not an absolute necessity if you are willing to commit to walking your beagle on lead several times per day in any and all weather conditions. Because of their smaller size and gentle temperaments, beagles can be wonderful apartment pets. But such a situation will require a major committment on your part to providing adequate exercise and opportunity to relieve themselves.
Will my Beagle have to visit the veterinarian frequently?
A normal, healthy dog only has to see his vet once a year for his annual "booster" vacciantions, health exam, and stool check. Your "family companion" hound should be spayed or neutered at about six or seven months of age, or older, according to your personal veterinarian's or the breeder's recommends. This routine proceedure not only eliminates the possibility of unplanned breedings, but also has numerous health benefits for your beagle buddy. For more on beagle health problems.
How long will my Beagle live?
It is not unusual for beagles to have a life span of 10 to 15 years. By that age, they will require special care for some of the typical infirmities. The new glucosamine/chondroitin/ester C supplements can be especially helpful in aiding with joint care.
Why are purebred animals more expensive than mixed breeds?
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" is usually true of purebred animals. The price you pay includes the stud fee that was paid (or helps offset costs of maintaining a home based stud dog), the shipping and care of the bitch, the cost of tattooing or microchips for ID, worming, vaccinations, registrations, advertising, health checks, feeding, time devoted to whelping and caring for the litter...plus you are paying for the generations of quality champions that are behind your dog. You are paying for a beautiful Beagle that looks like a Beagle should, and acts/hunts like a Beagle does. You are paying for the time the reputable, responsible breeder puts into each litter and for the wonderful temperament they are producing. You are paying for a quality animal that you can be proud of for many years. You are paying for a heritage.
What is a pocket beagle?
Pocket beagles were very, very small beagle popularized back in the days of Queen Elizabeth I. measuring 9 inches at the shoulder, and Paintings of the time show these beagles to be short-legged and somewhat pointy nosed. In the days of Edward II and Henry VIII, even smaller beagles, referred to as "glove beagles" because they were small enough to to be held in a gauntlet, were much in favor with the Royal Family. However, today, while there may be a few really small 13" variety beagles which may approach heights of around 10", they are not a breed or variety of beagle as such, and are not recognized by either AKC or UKC. Quite often beagles of this size are often only short by virtue of shortened legs caused by poor breeding or the dwarfing of chondodystrophy (see the Health problems page) with it's ensuing health problems. It must also be noted that many times it is impossible to predict mature size of a puppy, even when both parents are under 13". Birth weight may be a good indicator of final size, as is size at around 8 weeks, but they are no means reliable. If you want a beagle that will be small get one at around 9 months when the dog has pretty well finished growing, or from a breeder who has never produced an over 13". In this way you will have a much better chance of getting a small dog. However, be also aware that usually the smaller the beagle, the more hyperactive it is. But, there are exceptions.
What is a Patch beagle?
The 'patch' beagle strain is attributed to Willet Randall of New York who began his strain around 1880. His and the 'patch' beagle story are chronicled in a book called 'Wilderness Patchwork'. Many people today call lemon & white or red & white beagles a patch beagle. Sometimes any pied Beagle (Open marked or Irish spotting) primarily of hunting/field trial utility were referred to as patch hounds, as well. These primarily white dogs were very much in demand in the 40's and 50's for their running skill. Genetically they are white-colored background hounds with a very large tri-colored spot. (Thanks go to Hal Davis and Robert Goodfellow for these explanations).
What is a "Kerry" Beagle
Kerry Beagles are really not beagles at all (despite the name), but a variety of foxhound found in Ireland. They are a big, black and tan hound. There are probably no Kerry Beagles in this country at all, unless imported and incorporated into one of the organized fox hunting packs
The closest thing in America that would resemble one, would be the black and tan coonhound; they are quite similar in general appearance. Although in certain portions of the USA, it has been common for members of the hunting faction to refer to dark blue tricolor beagles as "Kerry", possibly due to the similarity in saddle color to the Kerry Blue Terrier. So what some might call a Kerry Beagle might be just a dark blue tricolor beagle.
Remember, always buy from a reputable, responsible breeder!
Pet shops and dealers can not be relied upon to provide you with healthy puppies. They may do their best, but can not guarantee the health care provided before they received the puppy, nor the medical or genetic background & early socialization. A responsible breeder plans each litter carefully and follows up their puppies with a lifetime commitment to provide advice and rehome if/when a problem arises. So always buy from a reputable breeder. For additional information on breeders, or more detailed information on beagles: Please contact the NBC members or your local all breed dog club or SPCA or other Animal Shelter(s).
Question: Is a beagle the right fit for me and my family?
Contributed by New Jersey Beagle's Discussion Forum members
Answer: Every year during the Westminster Kennel Club show, the commentators talk about "doing your research" to find the right breed for you, if a purebred dog is what you really want. One of the key questions any potential beagle owner should ask himself/herself is whether the beagle is a good fit with the individual and with the family. Beagles are known as "the merry little hound," and they're incredibly cute and loving, but they can be a handful and can try the patience of the kindest soul. If you decide that you have what it takes to be a beagle parent, you are in for one of the most satisfying human-canine relationships, because beagles are cute, smart, fun, mischievous, and irrepressible, and they'll steal your heart forever.
First and foremost, a beagle parent needs to be patient, because this is a breed that is ruled by its nose, and that nose can lead the beagle astray from obedience training and into mischief. Beagles are difficult to train, but that's not an indication of lack of brainpower. Beagles are highly intelligent, but they get distracted, and when they get distracted, they don't listen. It's been said that beagles do a "cost benefit analysis" on whether they should do what they're told or do what the nose says. Oftentimes, the nose will flat out win! They can be trained, but it takes time and effort.
Second, the beagle parent needs to be tolerant, both because of the nose but also because the beagle has a strong sense for fun and adventure, and the beagle's definition of fun often is completely opposite of what anyone else wants. Beagles love to chew; love to roll in stinky stuff; love to be chased when they've been naughty. You'll want to be angry with them, especially if they've destroyed your favorite shoes or dug a big hole in your yard, but you'll be happier if you just accept that you need to be careful about how accessible you leave your prized possessions, and you need to try to find something to divert the beagle so you can protect your yard!
Moreover, beagle parents need to be tolerant, because they can't always be certain which beagle personality their dog might develop. Beagles are smart, cute, fun dogs, but this is a breed that has a range of variations in personalities more so than others. Some beagles are fun all the time and want to be around people, whereas other beagles might be moodier and want to be left alone sometimes. Some beagles love everybody, and other beagles are more selective in bonding only with a few people or their immediate family. Some beagles love the rough and tumble, and others are somewhat wimpy.
Third, the beagle parent needs to have a strong pack sense, because your beagle will. Beagles are dogs who need/crave time with their families. They require love and commitment. And it's not enough for just one person to stay home -- ideally they want the whole pack there with them all the time. This doesn't mean you have to be home 24/7, but it does mean that, if you work during the day, you need to stay home at night and be with them for playtime, and you need to spend time on weekends. You can incorporate them into your activities, but you can't leave them home alone. You'll make your beagle really unhappy, and when that happens, situations develop that often cause sadness -- beagle families give up their beagles because of destructive separation anxiety. Spending time with your beagle on walks and during playtime will give you a tired beagle, and a tired beagle is a happy beagle.
Finally, there is the voice issue. Beagles have a range of barking sounds, but the one that tells you, without question, that you're hearing a beagle talk is the distinctive "aroo." It's kind of a longish howl, and for beagle lovers, it's a beautiful sound that can be an indication of the beagle's happiness, annoyance, or sadness, but if you can't stand the "aroo" sound, a beagle is not for you.