Beagles are one of the most popular dogs on the planet. From iconic cartoon character Snoopy to Eddie in Frasier and even John Wick’s ill-fated pet Andy, we can’t get enough of these floppy-eared pooches. They consistently rank as one of the most sought after canine breeds across both Europe and the United States.
The Beagle’s diminutive stature, cheerful temperament and boundless curiosity make it a fantastic pet for families with children and anybody looking for a furry friend with low maintenance needs. These dogs are a common choice for older people as they provide companionship but can be exercised and cared for easily.
Though they can be maddeningly stubborn and capricious, it’s hard to resist the charm of a Beagle. Trust us, we’ve tried. Even the sternest master can be forgiven for melting before those quizzical brown eyes. So, to celebrate this extraordinary breed, we’re sharing our favorite Beagle facts.
11. Is French For What A Noisy Dog
If you own a Beagle, you might be unsurprised to know the word derives from the Middle French phrase bee guele. It translates to ‘wide throat’ or, in more modern parlance, ‘loud mouth.’ These dogs really do have stronger, louder vocal cords than most other canine breeds their size. This is because they were genetically bred to be hunting dogs. Louder Beagles were bred more aggressively and, today, the result is a breed that instinctively responds to stimuli with loud, clear calls.
These puppies can be trained to bark when (mostly) appropriate. However, owners must understand this breed has a naturally loud voice and they shouldn’t punish their dog for vocalizing. You can’t take the bark out of a Beagle.
10. One Former President Was A Big Beagle Fan
President Lyndon B. Johnson was a diehard Beagle enthusiast. During his six years as POTUS, he owned three of them who lived with him at the White House. They were rather curiously named Edgar, Him and Her. While nobody knows where Him and Her got their monikers, Edgar was a gift from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
Edgar the Beagle was given to the president as a cheer up token following Him and Her’s deaths in 1964 and 1966. It wasn’t the end for the two original Beagles though as Him produced a litter of puppies. Two of his progeny remained in Johnson’s family with one dog (Freckles) residing in the White House for the rest of his days.
09. White Tails Indicate Pure Breed Beagles
All Beagles have some white in their tails. However, the whiter the tail, the purer the dog’s breed according to experts. White tail tips were selectively bred into these canines to make them better hunting companions. It was easier to spot dogs with bright white tail tips when running through long grass.
Today, a white-tipped tail is prized by those who breed and own pure Beagle dogs. All of them are beautiful and worth owning but it’s something to look out for if breed purity is a priority for you.
08. Elvis The Beagle Has A Job At The Zoo
Elvis the Beagle isn’t famous for being on TV but he has an important job nonetheless. Elvis lives at Denver Zoo and is responsible for monitoring polar bear pregnancies. Yes, really. Using his tremendous sense of smell, this clever pooch tells zookeepers whether lady polar bears are expecting.
If it sounds like a complicated way to find out, listen to this. Polar bears regularly exhibit pseudopregnancies. We’re not completely sure why this happens but it can cause great difficulties for zookeepers who are actively trying to breed endangered species. Luckily, a quick sniff of polar bear poop is all Elvis needs to tell if a female is faking nor not.
07. The Most Famous Beagle Is Snoopy From Peanuts
The world’s most famous Beagle is one you’ve definitely heard of although not everybody knows he’s a Beagle. Snoopy first appeared in comic strip Peanuts in 1950 and has since become the most iconic Beagle of all time.
We’ll forgive you if you didn’t recognize him as he’s lacking the Beagle’s characteristic colorings and he doesn’t really fit AKC specifications. How do you reckon Snoopy fares against comic fans’ other favorite Beagle Odie? He’s got a bit more color on him and his ears are longer too. Ironically, both are frequently misidentified.
06. Are Houdinis Of The Canine World
Despite their diminutive stature, Beagles are notorious escape artists. Owners often struggle to house these dogs in backyard enclosures because they have a tricksy habit of climbing fences. Certainly, enclosures surrounded by chain links fences are strongly discouraged. There are lots of videos online of Beagles using their toes to climb up and over fences.
If you are going to enclose your Beagle in a yard, the fence needs to be as tall as possible. And no chain link. When unsupervised, there should be no climbable objects left next to fences. Extend this rule to your house where possible. Again, there are videos online of them using kitchen chairs to reach countertops. These canines are extremely intelligent and have been known to dig under fences and use basic latch locks.
05. Used To Be Pocket Sized
Beagles are pretty small dogs. They can be handled very easily and, according to the American Kennel Club, rarely exceed thirty pounds. Pure breeds are no taller than thirteen inches at the shoulder. This diminutive stature made them ideal hunting dogs and enabled them to chase hares and other prey into dens.
Yet, the modern Beagle is much larger than its fourteenth century cousins. These original ‘Pocket Beagles’ were no taller than nine inches (often smaller). As the nickname suggests, the pets were mini enough to be carried around in a coat pocket. They were eventually bred to be bigger so they could hunt more effectively.
04. Have Long Ears For Catching Smells
We all know that dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell and, regardless of their breed, can detect many odors humans cannot. This is true of all dogs but the Beagle’s olfactory abilities are uniquely impressive. Ever wondered why these dogs have such long, floppy ears?
According to animal experts, a Beagle’s ears are specifically designed to hang close to their nose, close enough to touch the tip when fully stretched out. These long, floppy ears catch scent particles and trap them close to the nose so they can pick up smells even faster. No wonder they’re so adept at tracking animals…and finding out if polar bears are genuinely pregnant. There are very few dogs who can use their ears in this manner.
03. Are Notoriously Tough To Train
We’ve told you all kinds of positive facts about Beagles. Now, let’s consider their biggest character flaw. This breed can be exceptionally difficult to train precisely because they have so much intelligence. They are frustratingly stubborn and almost as mischievous as toddlers sometimes. They require a lot of discipline, structure, and firm obedience training.
While rarely aggressive, Beagles are naughty. To train these dogs to do anything – toilet outdoors, lie down, stop barking – you must be very persistent. We can’t promise you won’t want to tear your hair out but, eventually, a dog will respond to commands, so don’t get angry. Be patient and don’t give in. The moment you show weakness, your Beagle will be back to running rings around the household.
02. One Thousand Beagles Is A World Record
In 2018, a British man called Sean Parkinson decided to do something rather unusual. After finding out about a Mexican world record held for most Yorkshire Terriers walked at one time, he said: “Hold my drink, I can do it better.” Using Facebook, he organized a mammoth Beagle walking event named ‘Beaglandia.’
On the big day in April, a remarkable 1,029 Beagles and their owners turned up to walk together in a park near Liverpool. The event raised over $13,000 for Beagle charities and smashed the previous world record. Parkinson has since confessed he might be convinced to come out of World Record retirement if somebody beats this attempt.
01. Are Natural Guardians And Protectors
Despite being awfully naughty, Beagles are cheerful, friendly and non-territorial. Unless behavioral issues are a problem, these dogs naturally associate other animals and people with opportunities for fun and socialization. They rarely fight, bite or nip out of aggression which makes them perfect for families with children.
Beagle owners can attest to this breed’s affectionate ways. If a family member gets injured, it’s not uncommon for these dogs to spend hours guarding their human and even laying protectively across the injured area. If another creature enters the home, be it a dog or a butterfly, they won’t be satisfied until they’ve tracked it down and alerted the rest of the household. Stand down guys, panic over. It’s just a ladybug.