A Merry Hound - The Beagle
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Beagles were developed as scent hounds and used to hunt rabbits and small prey. Today, this popular breed is used for hunting, pet therapy, "sniffing" dogs for law enforcement, and as family pets. This is one of the most popular dogs in the United States due to the temperament and long life of the breed.

Beagles love to be part of the pack and will readily adopt the family as it's pack. In fact, Beagles suffer separation anxiety if left alone too long. They are friendly with nearly everyone and some are downright timid and retiring. They enjoy playing, romping around, chasing things and running. Despite the small stature, they are a muscular dog that requires some activity on a regular basis or they become lazy. The breed tends to gain weight as it gets older and more sedentary in its life. To protect against this, the owner should include some daily play time in the routine for this dog.

The breed is happy and fun loving and wants to pursue any interesting smell that may happen along. With one of the best noses in the dog world, it is no wonder they breed can be hard to train. Once on scent, it is difficult to get the dog's attention. It is totally focused on what it is pursuing, just as it was breed for originally. When hunting it did not catch the prey due to speed, but rather due to endurance. This is true of the breed today.

Unfortunately, they know very few strangers and this makes their abilities as a watch dog suspect. Being a very sensitive dog, they respond to positive reinforcement and food! Training can be a challenge due to the single mindedness and distractibility of the dog. If it smells something interesting, training is over and it wants to explore the interesting smell! It is recommended that the Beagle be chipped or tagged in some fashion, given its intent to follow an interesting smell and its endurance. Given these two traits, the dog can be found several miles from where the trail started and may not be returned unless identifiable.

Despite the desire and endurance for the run and pursuing the smells, this is a good apartment dweller. Remember, however, that the Beagle is a vocal dog and will bark or bay at things new to it. This could be a hazard in an apartment setting. Usually, they are about a foot tall and weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, so they meet most size requirements for apartment dwellers. The breed is healthy, living 12 to 16 years, which makes them popular as pets as well. Grooming requirements are minimal. Bathing occasionally, brushing regularly, trimming nails, and checking the ears for ear mites is the regular maintenance. They can develop the wet dog smell and emit a dog smell if not kept clean. About the only common inherited disease for the Beagle is epilepsy. They can develop other problems but these are relatively rare.

Beagles like children and playing. They like to belong and will adopt most other pets pretty readily - even cats. My Beagle mix will curl up on top of the dog house with our cat on a regular basis. They can tend to be mouthy, which may bother some people, they mean this as play and interaction with people. They can be trained not do this and if not desired, training in this area should be done early. As with all dogs, they should be socialized early to children, pets, and other people. Stay consistent in your expectations during these interactions, so that the dog does not become confused. For Beagles this is especially important because they are easily distracted from the task at hand. This is the biggest training challenge.

Beagles are very popular as pets due to their sweet nature, ability to get along, desire to please, and long life. An added benefit, is that grooming is pretty easy. Grooming supplies can be found online at Dog Grooming Tables Plus. Remember the Beagle likes to play and chase the scent, so chip or tag the dog.


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