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The Beagle is a fun, happy, and energetic dog that loves kids, other pets, and just about everyone else! In my book, they're the total package.

Beagles originated in Great Britain over 2,000 years ago, but the modern breed has been around since the 1830s. The Beagle has historically been bred as a scenthound to track rabbit and other small ggame, sometimes individually or traditionally in packs of 70! They have even been known to hunt bobcat, coyote, and wild boar. Because of their strong scent recognition, size, and friendly disposition, they are also commonly used as "detection dogs" for food imports as well as illegal contraband and explosives.

Good Looks

Beagle have a small, lean physic. Their eyes are big and brown (sometimes hazel) and paired with a black square nose, their sweet face will melt your heart! Long drop ears are a key identifying feature of the beagle, as well as their coat, which is silky soft and their tail, which is short and sits high. Their coats are short and can be tri-colored or white in combination with red, lemon, or orange-brown.

Beagles range from 10-15" and usually weigh between 20 and 30 lbs. They are a hardy and sturdy medium-sized breed.

Mall Cops

Beagles are an outstanding breed for kids. They are extremely good-natured, but also very strong-headed and intelligent, so early training is a must. Because of their happy-go-lucky nature, when properly socialized at a young age, Beagles are poor guard dogs - they will quickly take to everyone! However, they are happy to alert you when people are coming to the house with their infamous Beagle howl or bark. As a scenthound, the Beagle loves to track and will follow a scent for miles, so special care and a fenced-in yard will most likely be required.

Exercise the Mind and Body

Beagles have a moderate activity level, which makes them fantastic jogging partners. They require at least one 30 minute walk a day, but two would be even better! (They likely won't let you forget anyway.) Beagles love their walks and the wondrous adventures and scents they offer! Their eager-to-please nature also means they will love to play fetch and learn tricks.

Training and working with your Beagle is an important part of keeping them mentally healthy and challenged. They can be busy-bodies and will seek out ways to entertain themselves (via destruction of your home) if proper care is not taken to exercise their mind and body.

Health Watch

The typical life span of a Beagle is 10 to 13 years, however they can have some serious health issues. They are vulnerable to obesity and can suffer from cleth palates, demodectic mange, dwarfism, epilepsy, eye problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disc disease, luxating patella's, and reproductive disorders. As with any breed, avoiding some of the nasty dog food out there and selecting a high-quality food instead should lengthen their lives and decrease their chances of developing these problems.

Adopt First

Consider looking for a Beagle through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

Have you fallen in LOVE those BIG brown eyes and long floppy ears? They're full of energy and fit right into any family dynamic. Sound like the dog for you?

Photo Credits:

flickr.com

Sources:

Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005

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