What is a Beagle?

Sheri Cyprus

A beagle is a small to medium-sized breed of dog once bred for rabbit hunting. Today, the beagle is one of the most popular breeds of companion dogs. Beagle owners have been known to say that the expression "puppy dog eyes" was coined to describe the beagle's soulfully sweet brown eyes.

Beagles were originally bred to hunt rabbits.
Beagles were originally bred to hunt rabbits.

Beagles have a sturdy and muscular build with a smooth coat. Beagle colors range from a brown, black and white combination to tan and white or red and white markings. Although the beagle is a short-haired breed, a weekly brushing will keep the amount of shedding down. Beagles should be bathed only every few months, if possible, with a dog shampoo that's made for sensitive skin.

Beagles have a sturdy build, and a smooth coat.
Beagles have a sturdy build, and a smooth coat.

Since Beagles have long, hanging ears, they're likely to get ear problems such as yeast or other infections. An odor from the ears often signals infection and should be treated by a veterinarian. Beagles are prone to eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal dysplasia and microphthalmia. Retinal dsyplasia involves the malformation of the eye, while microphthalmia results in abnormally small eyes. Canine wobbler syndrome, a neurological condition that damages the spinal cord in the neck, is another health problem associated with beagles.

Beagles are not considered good apartment dogs. The beagle's hunting howl is often appreciated by hunters so they know the dog’s whereabouts, but not usually appreciated by city neighbors. Beagles will often howl when bored or when experiencing separation anxiety when their owners leave. A very social animal, the beagle doesn't usually do too well without the constant company of people and other dogs.

A secured yard is necessary for a beagle. If a beagle gets loose, he or she may wander off a long way from home. Although beagles are very gentle with a good temperament, they can be stubborn and difficult to train. A beagle is considered a great dog for those with patience and who are home with the beagle most of the time.

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