Is a beagle right for us?
Thinking of adding a beagle to your family? Make sure it's the right breed for you!
The beagle's small size, adorable looks, and friendly and loving personality make it a very popular family pet. But the decision to purchase or adopt a beagle (or any pet for that matter) should be made only with careful consideration and planning. Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you ready to care for a beagle for the rest of his or her life? Beagles live on average 12-15 years. Be sure you're ready to make a lifelong commitment to your pet.
Are you financially prepared to support a beagle? The cost of purchasing or adopting a dog is only the start. Don't forget dog food, toys, treats, bedding, routine and emergency veterinary care, and kennel expenses if no one will be able to care for your dog when you go away. Be prepared to spend at least $500 per year on your beagle.
Will you be able to exercise your beagle once or twice a day? Beagles are high energy dogs and need daily exercise to burn off that excess energy. Puppies especially need lots of exercise and play time to help wear them out and reduce the amount of trouble they can get into. A tired dog is a good dog!
Are you prepared to train your beagle so she or he will be a well-behaved family member? Beagles are very smart, but they are inherently stubborn and can be mischievous or even destructive when it comes to acquiring food (beagles are notorious "chow hounds"). We know of some beagle families who bungie chord their refrigerators shut to reduce beagle raids on the weekly groceries. Quite a few talented beagles are very good at “counter surfing” to look for any tidbits left just a little too close to the edge of the counter that might be tasty (the command “Off” is often used and only reluctantly obeyed in our house by beagle noses trying to reach over the edge of the kitchen counters). Some are known to leap directly up to counters and tabletops and not bother with just surfing at all. Beagles do respond well to diligent and consistent training, particularly if a positive and consistent approach with food rewards is used. This is true for puppies as well as adult dogs.
If you're a parent, do you want a beagle just as much as your children do, and are you prepared to provide the majority of its care? Don't make the mistake of getting a dog "for the kids" and assume they will take care of it. You will have the ultimate responsibility. And if your children are toddlers, are you prepared to supervise all interaction between them? This is an absolute necessity in order to prevent accidental nipping. More than one beagle has been caught stealing food from an unsuspecting hand. Small children can also easily be knocked over by an over-exuberant beagle bounce from a friendly nose wanting to plant a kiss or lick some missed food from a little kid face. Beagles are very good at vacuuming up after a messy eater though and very helpful in finding dropped food. And if your children are older, chances are that they will be at home for only part of your beagle's lifetime. Many people give up their dogs when the kids leave home. Don't be one of them! Kids, of all sizes, will need to learn to be vigilant about keeping belongings they do not want chewed or played with by their beagle in safe locations. Stuffed animals have a very short life cycle in our home, but the carcasses still make great doggy toys for years to come.
Now a few of the negatives in being owned by a beagle. First, when beagles are outside, they must always be either on a leash or in a securely fenced area. If they are loose, they can run away or ignore you completely if they get a good scent to follow. While they are busy tracking whatever scent gets their interest, they will not pay any attention to cars or other dangers. We admit it, we break this rule ourselves and fairly often, we’ve worked very hard to be able to keep our beagles off leash, but we only do this in safer areas and always keep a treat bag on hand and the leashes ready to be attached at the first sign of trouble. Next, most beagles will bark and howl, or arrrooo, and this can be a great source of annoyance for you and your neighbors. Okay, I admit it, we’ve been known to encourage the early puppy learning of how to arrrooo.... Keep in mind that a bored dog of any breed is more likely to bark incessantly, keep your pup well exercised to reduce this potential problem. And lastly, beagles shed, a lot, this is how all short-haired dogs maintain their coat length. If you have allergies or consider yourself a "neat freak", beware! We see more shedding when winter coats are being shed, a little less when the summer coats are shed. The Furminaor can be your friend! A beagle is often referred to as a nose with legs, if you decide a beagle is for you, start putting your trash cans behind cabinet doors or you very likely will come home to see what treasures your beagle has discovered and decided to re-decorate your house with....
If you've read this far, you might be saying to yourself, "Gee, is there anything good about beagles?" Of course there is! We have had beagles for over 20 years and have loved all of them dearly. They are cute, funny, loving, and characters that are very good at making you laugh. And don't just take my word for it! Visit some of the beagles on the web to see how they enrich the lives of their owners. But make the right decision! Make sure that a beagle is the right dog breed for you.
If you still aren’t sure if a beagle is a good breed for you and your lifestyle, feel free to contact us and ask us any questions you may have.
What’s better than one beagle? A pack of beagles!