5 Things to Know About Beagles

Beagles may hunt, but they are also lovable, curious companion pets. Find out if this active hound dog is a great pet for you.

beagle breed profile
Beagles are social dogs with a natural curiosity and high intelligence. Photos by: Peter Kirillov
AKC GroupAKC Group
20-30 lbs.
13-15 in.
Life ExpectancyLife Span
12-15 years

1. Key Characteristics of Beagles

Beagles are sturdy hunting dogs and look like miniature Foxhounds.

They are compact and have coats that require minimal grooming. They are also among the most popular dog breeds in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC)’s registration statistics.

There are 2 different sizes for this breed: the 13-inch tall and 15-inch tall Beagle.

Beagle coat colors include any true hound color, tricolor, red, lemon and white. The large eyes are brown or hazel.

The ears are wide and long, the nose is black, and the tail is set high but does not curl over the back.

Beagles come in 2 standard sizes.

2. Where Beagles Came From

Some records point to the 1500s as the Beagle’s origin, but documentation is lacking.

What is known is that hounds were noted in England before the Romans were there, and it is believed that sight and scent hounds descended from these dogs.

Fox hunting became popular in 18th-century England, and the Foxhound was created by crossing a buck hound and a Beagle.

Hunting hounds in the southern states of America were called Beagles even before 1870, but these dogs were straight-legged with weaker heads. Beagles from a well-bred strain were sent to the United States from England and were crossed with the southern hounds. The breeding was successful in aligning the type with the Beagle standard in England. Classes were developed in the United States for the 2 heights.

The National Beagle Club of America was formed in 1887, the English club was formed shortly after, and the AKC added the breed in 1885.

Beagles are companion pets and participate in conformation, tracking, obedience and agility events, and work as therapy dogs. These dogs are still used for hunting.

3. How Friendly Are Beagles?

Sweet, loving, affectionate and gentle are characteristics of the Beagle.

They are social dogs with a natural curiosity and high intelligence.

They are great with children and other dogs, but their strong hunting instincts may prevent them from becoming friends with non-canine pets unless thoroughly socialized from a young age.

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Even though Beagles are smart, they need firm, consistent training to curb unwanted or negative behaviors, such as guarding, obsessive barking, snapping, biting and destructive behavior.

Beagles can experience separation anxiety, so try to minimize the time they are left alone or keep them occupied while you are away.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


MEDIUM: Beagles are energetic and have great stamina, so they require daily exercise. A brisk daily walk or slow jog is recommended.

This breed is active indoors and does well in apartments with regular exercise, although a small yard would be a bonus. Beagles must be kept on a lead or leash when outdoors because they are likely to chase after smaller animals or ignore commands and take off to track a scent.

Grooming Needs


LOW: Shedding is average, so grooming isn’t too time-consuming. Brush weekly with a bristle brush. Bathe when necessary and not too often.

Check the ears regularly for drainage and infection.

Also check for ticks, cuts and debris on Beagles who fulfill working or hunting jobs outdoors. Check and clean the teeth daily, and maintain nails at an acceptable length.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: Although Beagles are active and energetic, they are still prone to certain health problems, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems
  • Back problems
  • Chondrodysplasia (cartilage and bone problems most often affecting the legs/feet)
  • Mast cell tumors

Always keep annual veterinary appointments.

More Stats About Beagles

Friendliness ★★★★★
Ease of Training ★★☆☆☆
Barking/Howling ★★★★★
Shedding ★★★☆☆
Tolerate Being Alone ★☆☆☆☆
Very Good With Kids ★★★★★

Learn more about Beagles in this fascinating video:

YouTube player

5. How to Adopt a Beagle

Beagles end up in shelters and rescues, so start your search there or see Beagles available for adoption through Petful’s free online adoption search.

If you choose to use a breeder to buy a Beagle, get to know the breeder and keep an eye out for the warning signs of puppy mills. Ask for health certificates or test results from the puppy or the parents.