Have nose, will hunt---that's the Beagle motto! Or maybe, have mouth, will eat...or have heart, will love...After all, there's a reason the Beagle may be the most beloved breed in the world.
Beagles have been hunting since the 1500s, when they followed the scent of rabbits, baying all the while so the hunters could follow them. They were brought to America in Colonial times, where they not only continued to be favorite rabbit dogs, but wormed they way into hearts and homes. By the 1950s they were America's most popular breed. They've been owned by Presidents, and at least Beagle---Snoopy---is a celebrity in his own right.
Beagles are officially divided into two varieties: 13" and 15". They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. True to their hound heritage, they have a habit of following their nose, and may not return until the trail runs cold. Beagles are pack dogs, and they get along with everyone. They do enjoy showing off their melodious voice.
Their small size, friendly personality and supercharged nose has earned them the role of favored contraband, termite, bedbug and anything-with-a-scent detector. But they are equally content sniffing out toys---and mischief!
Beagles are among the healthiest of breeds. They are prone to a few eye disorders, such as cherry eye, cataracts and glaucoma, which your veterinarian will need to attend to. They can also develop back problems (intervertebral disk disease). Any sign of back or neck pain warrants a trip to the veterinarian. If it's simply arthritis, a glucosamine chondroitin supplement can help.
The Beagle's greatest health curse is overeating. Beagles are professional eaters, and they tend to pack on pounds. You will have to ration his food, and very likely, feed a low calorie diet. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
Beagle coat care is easy. Their coat requires a quick brushing to remove dead hair once a week, and an occasional bath. Most Beagles do best with a deodorizing shampoo that cleans the coat and cuts down on doggy odor. A brightening shampoo will make your Beagle's white really sparkle.
Some Beagles can develop ear infections, which you'll notice from the goop and smell in the ear. An ear cleanser can make them look and smell better, and should also be used before instilling any medications in the ears. If the goop returns, see your veterinarian.
Brush the teeth daily.
Use a medium-duty nail clipper to keep the nails short.
Beagles can live well into their teens, but will require extra care as they age. A soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is at heart.