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Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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The original "pocket dog," Beagles are effective game trackers compact enough to carry in a coat if needed, and as such were favored companions of British rabbit and fox hunters as early as the 1300s. Beagles make fabulous family pets, immensely popular for their lovable and gentle nature, intelligence, low-maintenance grooming, and small size. Beagles are great with kids and quickly won over by strangers. Scent hounds as a group are characterized by sensitive sniffers, deep, loud barks, endurance and stamina over long distances, and long, droopy ears. Even as pets, these dogs are happiest in packs and, when outdoors, will actively seek out a trail to follow--even digging and climbing the fences of your yard to get at one. Their closest relative in the Hound group is the Foxhound, also a scent hound but slightly larger.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife "Ladybird" owned three Beagles: Him, Her, and Edgar. More recently, Beagles have been bred with Pugs to create "Puggles", a "Hybrid" or "Designer" dog quickly growing in popularity among celebrities and the general public.

General Care

Unlike other scent hounds, Beagles don't drool or have any "doggie smell", and they barely shed. Their only grooming requirements are weekly brushing and bathing, and regular nail clipping and teeth cleaning. Don't be fooled by their cute mugs and small size, however--Beagles are single-minded and stubborn scent hounds. Scent hounds in general are also difficult to obedience train, and as puppies, will follow their nose into trouble and will eat anything in sight, often causing frantic and expensive trips to the vet. Beagles have no known inherited health problems and an astoundingly even tempers, controversially making them popular dogs in animal testing. Beagles cannot ever be let off-leash for walks or hikes in the woods, etc. because of their strong tracking instincts. Best to keep these dogs tethered to their people or safely contained in a secure, fenced-in yard or dog run. Rescue groups cite their tendency to run off and their obstinacy in training as the top two reasons that Beagles are surrended by their owners.

For more information on Beagle ownership and care, check out the Seattle Beagle Rescue.

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