About Beagles

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What to expect

So… You Want a Beagle?

Reprinted with permission from Laura Johnson

Beagles are wonderful dogs. They appeal to millions of families for several reasons:

They are medium-sized dogs.

They are short-haired, and although they do shed, their coats are relatively low-maintenance.

They are great as a family dog. They tend to be good with children and other pets.

Despite the qualities listed above, beagles are not for everyone. Please refer to the list below.


I want a dog that will jog next to me and play off-lead without running away.


Beagles are scent hounds, and that makes them liable to chase off after a scent at any time! Often called ‘stubborn’, it may really be more their ‘persistence’ or ‘single-mindedness’ that keeps them from being easily-trained… and from coming when called. We recommend that beagles not be let off-lead outside unless it is in an area that is completely fenced. They are programmed to chase prey and will do so if given the opportunity. In addition, most beagles really don’t like water and are not normally swimmers. If you want a retriever, get a golden!

I want a dog that is easy to train and lives to obey me.


Beagles can be stubborn and often do things on their terms. This single-mindedness usually keeps them out of the obedience winner’s circle. The standard choke chain, jerk-and-release method does not work well with beagles. A positive reinforcement method (e.g., clicker training) works wonders because food or other desired items are used as praise. Of course, with appropriate training and time, beagles can be well-behaved.

I want a dog I can train if I’m willing to put some time and effort into the training.


As stated above, beagles can be difficult to train, but it certainly can be done. Beagles do well at agility competitions. They run, jump, and crawl with the best of them. Have you heard of the Beagle Brigade? They are beagles used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sniff out illegal animal and plant products being brought into this country. Since sniffing is something beagles like to do, they’re good at it!

I want a dog that is easy to housetrain.


While adult beagles are easier to housetrain than beagle pups, they still can be slow to pick up the concept. Beagle pups are sometimes difficult to housetrain because of their single-mindedness and their extremely powerful noses. It is very difficult to remove the smell of urine from a carpet to the point where the beagle pup cannot smell it. The pup, if it smells urine, will continue to return to that spot.

I want a dog that can be housetrained.


Again, beagles are not necessarily the easiest dogs to housetrain, but they are well suited to crate training, and that may be one of the best forms/ways of house training. We’ll be happy to give you some tips and advice on crate training your dog.

I want a dog who will play with me (and my kids).


Beagles are energetic by nature. Beagles generally love children. They are a hearty hunting breed that, for hundreds of years, have spent hours following prey. They are ready, willing, and able to play with you and/or your children in a controlled area (like a fenced-in back yard). And they’re good at devising games for your entertainment like “keep the ball away from Mom/Dad”.

I want a dog who is lively and confident.


Welcome to a beagle’s world! These guys and gals are generally busy exploring their world (even if they just smelled it an hour ago). They’ll investigate anything and everything. They’ll bring you their “finds” with tail wagging and butt swinging.

Note: Please keep in mind that some of our dogs may have come from abusive/neglectful situations and may need time to gain their confidence.

I want a dog who doesn't get into trouble in the house.


Most adult beagles can be left out during the day while you are at work; however, you need to keep certain things in mind. First, if there is a trash can to explore, they will find it! Also, beagles are notorious counter-surfers, meaning you can’t leave food unattended. Also, beagles are not the kind of dog who eats until they’re full. They eat until they explode! You cannot free-feed a beagle!

I want a dog who can be left at home while I'm at work or out of the house.


In this day and age, most families are gone from their homes almost every day. Beagles (or any dog for that matter) are safer and happier if they are crate trained. This is a new concept to some folks, but we highly recommend you do crate train any dog you may be considering. Beagles are generally quite adaptable and can be crate trained as easily as any breed. We would be happy to discuss the merits of crate training with you.

I want a guard dog.


As we’ve stated before, beagles are scent hounds that were bred for hunting. While they have very musical voices, it’s unlikely they would “scare” a potential intruder. You (and your neighbors) might know someone was breaking into your home, but the burglar would be as likely to be licked to death as attacked by your beagle. This quality makes them great pets but not aggressive guard dogs.

I want a dog who enjoys the company of people and other dogs.


Beagles are natural pack animals and love to hang out with people, other dogs, and other beagles. Keep in mind, though, that twice as many beagles means twice as much trouble and twice as much love!

Things to Consider before adopting

Is A Rescue Dog Right For You?

By adopting a rescue dog instead of buying a breeder or pet store dog, you are providing a new opportunity to a dog that lost out on his first chance at a happy forever life. We thank you for being interested in a rescue dog, but we want you to be aware that adopting a rescue dog is a lifetime commitment. If you aren’t prepared to work with your rescue dog through the adjustment period and beyond, please look no further. If you aren’t prepared to provide your dog with regular medical care and nurse your dog back to health if he or she gets ill or needs surgery, please look no further. If you won’t keep your dog if you move or as your family grows, please look no further. If you really care what color a dog’s coat is, how much it weighs, or what gender it is, and won’t accept anything but exactly what you want, then a rescue dog may not be for you. You do not “order” a rescue dog to meet your exact specifications; instead, you invite a rescue dog into your life because you have a special kind of love and compassion that you are willing to share with an animal that is in need.

A rescue dog is different from a breeder or pet store dog in several ways. A rescue dog will most likely be older as there are few dogs rescued as puppies. Most rescue dogs are adolescents or middle aged dogs, but even the senior rescue dogs have a lifetime of love to give. A rescue dog may be a bit more cautious than a dog who has not been abandoned or abused. A rescue dog may need time to grieve the loss of the family who rejected him for reasons he does not understand. It may take him some time to be interested in food, play, or his environment.

Rescue dogs have been through so much: dumped in shelters, found roaming the streets, abandoned, neglected, starved, and possibly physically abused. They need time, patience, understanding, and love in order to succeed in their new homes. Sometimes it may take several weeks or months for a rescue dog to make the adjustment to your home and family. If you aren’t 100% committed to making this work with your new dog, then please don’t adopt. There is nothing worse for a rescue dog than to be rejected by his new adoptive family after only a few days or weeks.

But ask any adopter of a rescue dog who has been through the adjustment period and they will tell you that the love and loyalty they receive in return for their commitment is more than worth their time and effort. A rescue dog can make the best pet you’ve ever had. Having been rejected, abused, or neglected in his first life, a rescue dog truly appreciates his new family and will reward you with unending love and loyalty.

No dog is perfect… just like no human is perfect. Please don’t expect too much too soon from your new dog. We want every adoption to be a successful one. We don’t want any of our rescue dogs to experience even one more minute of hunger, discomfort or pain. That’s why we are here to answer questions before and after each adoption, but we can’t do it without your commitment.

Reprinted with permission from Bostons By the Bay Rescue.