Every month, we will highlight a popular dog breed at risk for arthritis. We will talk about what we love about them, as well as reflect on how to keep them healthy. This month, we are focusing on the Beagle as it is the sixth most popular dog breed in the world. Check in every month for a new breed focus!
If you have a Beagle, you know that they are the cutest dog breed out there. Amazingly, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the experts on all dog breeds, the Beagle has been in different places in the top 10 dog breeds for the past 60 years. Currently, they are the sixth most popular dog breed out of 193 different breeds.
Top 5 Reasons We Love Beagles
We asked “The Beagle Community” FaceBook group, a group of 30,000 Beagle parents from all over the world, for reasons why Beagles have found their way into their hearts and their homes. Those who know the Beagle best describe their Beagles as loyal, loving and intuitive. Here are some of the sentiments we received:
- Loyalty was mentioned the most. Matraca R. explained, “I’ve never had a dog more loyal and loving than my Beagle. Want to go outside and play? I’m game. Want to cuddle and watch TV? Sounds great! He’s always wanting to be by my side!”
- A close second was how happy they are. “I love how happy she always is! No matter how bad of a day I'm having, she can always make me smile. I'm so thankful to be her mom,” said Alexis C.
- Their great personality is also what makes them so fun. Alison K. said, “No two days are the same, you never know if your Beagle will calm and cuddly or loco and have the zoomies - they keep you on your toes”
- Cute was mentioned several times. As one Beagle pet parent said, it’s a good thing they are cute because they can me mischievous. “Beagles are a unique breed; they are loyal, lovable, snuggable and the cutest ever. They are also insanely smart, stubborn and mischievous which makes a good thing they are so stinking cute! I have had other dogs, but no other dog connects personally with their owner like a Beagle,” said Amy P.
- Beagles are very intuitive, said many. “I love my Beagle because when I pet her, she melts in my arms as if she understands the weight of the worlds problems,” said S. Hood. Another said, "Miles and I are so intuitive with each other. I understand what he is trying to tell me when other people are like "What is he doing?" and he understands my words," said Valerie P.
Another observation is how people love their Beagles enough that most likely you will have more than one Beagle at the house. “They are true family dogs. Some breeds are a one person only dog. We have 5 and they love all of us,” said Shannon B.
And it seems Beagle pet parents love their dogs enough that they have stuffed animal Beagles as well as shirts and bed sheets! Beagle owners go "all in" on their dog and their love is equally returned.
Best quote ever: "Fun people have Beagles," Karly B. (I am biased, of course, because I have a Beagle too!)
Beagles have been around for centuries. While there is no official documentation that states this, of course, there are images as early as 400 BC that show small dogs assisting humans in a hunt. It is believed that was the first types of the Beagle, or at least a relative of the Beagle, which helped ancestors hunt for food. Then, 8th Century records document “scent hounds” helping with hunting. By the 11th Century, Beagles were regarded as the hunting dog of choice because of their ability to track with their noses. This hunting is part of the Beagle’s natural breeding.
It was shortly after the civil war that Beagles made their way to the United States thanks to General Richard Rowett, a civil war hero from Illinois. General Rowett is known for establishing a quality bloodline in American Standard Beagles because he wanted a better life in America complete with quality dogs. The AKC first recognized the Beagle as a breed in 1884.
An exciting part of the more recent history is how a Beagle named “Uno” won “Best in Show” at the Westminister Kennel Club. That year during the selection process, Uno started to “bay,” the trademark Beagle call, as if to tell the judge “Pick me!” After winning, the Beagle continued his trademark baying to an eruptive audience. Uno became quite the celebrity. Uno passed in 2018 at age 13. There were tributes written about Uno, including one in the New York Times.
Want to know more about Beagles? Check out this great video from AKC about the breed.
Beagle Keen Senses
If you see a Beagle out on a walk, you can see it's trademark nose to the ground. That's because Beagles have an amazing sense of smell for one adorable cute package. It is said that humans have 5 million scent receptors. Beagles have 225 million! Here’s how the scent receptors stack up against others, according to the "For Dummies" Dog series:
- Humans: 5 million
- Dachshund: 125 million
- Fox Terrier: 147 million
- German Shepherd: 225 million
- Beagle: 225 million
- Blood Hound: 300 million
Part of their keen ability to find what they are looking for is their ability to hear. It is thanks to the way the Beagles ears are made: floppy and low to the ground. This helps them hear as well as smell what they are looking for. It's really amazing, actually.
All of these Beagle traits are put to good use. Their noses are used in ways that are still true to heritage as drug-sniffing dogs. You may see Beagles more often in airports as they are thought to be more friendly-looking than a German Shepherd. But as you can see, their ability to smell is as good as a German Shepherd's.
Another example is how the United States Department of Agriculture employs the "Beagle Brigade," using the Beagle's sense of smell. This group consists of 60 canine teams and its sole purpose is to sniff out contraband fruit and vegetables being brought into the country at border entries and baggage claim areas of international airports. The Beagle Brigade has been known to seize an average of 75,000 prohibited agriculture products per year!
The trademark Beagle "bay" is also a component to help the hunters find them when they found their pray. Many of us beagle owners find it comical today. There are many videos of our Beagles busting eardrums as they search for food, a loved one who is playing hide and seek and also the dreaded bunny who happens to be in the back yard. The white tip of a Beagle tail also served as a "flag" as if they couldn't hear the Beagle, they could see the tail waiving.
Sheila L. said of her Beagle, "I have never met a breed as talkative as beagles. She speaks every.single.meal and always answers back to her Dad three times, she is priceless."
Ashley P. said, "Beagles are adventurous, kind, caring, spunky, and fun dogs! Copper brings so much light into the world. Not to mention the eyes and the big floppy ears can melt anyone’s heart. We love him so much."
Top Health Problems of Beagles
Beagles are relatively healthy, compared to other dogs. As long as Beagles are walked and exercised so they stay healthy and do not get bored, they will be in good shape. Here are some health risks you might encounter over the life of your Beagle:
- Obesity. Because Beagles love to eat anything, and they are known scavengers, they can get overweight if their owners aren’t strict on their diets. Be sure to check your food of choice recommendation charts and follow it appropriately. Avoid giving your Beagle too much people food, some are dangerous, while others are simply too oily and fatty for dogs.
- Joint Problems. Because of their athletic build and because they love to run as part of the hunt, many Beagles suffer from joint problems. This especially affects the hip and knee joints, which is called hip dysplasia or patellar luxation. This causes pain and impacts mobility of Beagles, especially as they age.
- Osteoarthritis, or arthritis. Because of the joint problems they have, Beagles are at medium-risk for osteoarthritis. Check out all the risk factors.
Prevention is always better than a Cure
It’s always best to prevent problems, rather than try to fix them afterward. Beagles can start to slow down sooner than expected due to joint pain or arthritis. Help relieve these signs safely and naturally by adding a joint supplement to their diet.
Here’s how to stay on top of these health-related problems in Beagles.
- Prevent signs of arthritis before they start! Joint supplements can promote joint health and cartilage development which keep dogs active and youthful, longer. Learn what to look for in joint supplements for your dog.
- If your Beagle is over age 5, consider starting them a joint supplement as cartilage improvement can be seen in most Beagles with a daily dose.
- Of course, make sure your dog is still active to help their joints work better. This includes regular walking and playing with your dog. A great opportunity to go to the dog park!
- Keep the weight down for your dog. The heavier the dog, the more pressure on their joints. Every bit of exercise and proper feeding amounts will help as they age.
Great Family Dogs
As Matteo C. said, "I love beagles for how much they love you and they're great family dogs." Beagles have big hearts and then they steal our hearts too. "Beagles are the best dogs to have around children," said Jennifer L.
"Beagles are such a gentle and loyal breed. They are smart, loving, and energetic little creatures. They are soulful. Look into a Beagles eyes and you can see inside their souls. They are cuddle bugs and genuinely love to be loved," said Susan M.
And that's why we love our Beagles!
If you have a Beagle, You Might...
Another interesting component of Beagles is the fact that the community is so close-knit. Some of these may ring true for the Beagle owner in you, or a friend. If you have a Beagle at home, you might...
- Talk or Howl back at your Beagle. You know what each other is saying.
- Own a stuffed Beagle as a toy or decoration.
- Have Beagle-themed towels, sheets or socks.
- Have artwork with a Beagle that hangs on the wall.
- Belong to a Beagle FaceBook group because the only people who will truly appreciate how your Beagle is at home is of course, other Beagle pet parents!
There were so many adorable Beagles that were shared with the writer of this article, that we put some of them in the image above. It showcases how different, yet similar, Beagles look. As well as how great they get along together. Plus, one person has a stuffed Beagle sitting in front of the television!
Of course, the writer is also a Beagle owner. My dog, Lucky Beagle, had arthritis. It wasn't until I started giving her Glyde that she changed back into the puppy I knew and love. My Beagle is almost 10 years old, and we still go on morning runs. To learn more about how my Beagle is doing, thanks to Glyde Mobility Chews, check out my story here. She also made a cameo, along with her Beagle cousins in this post during the Oscars.
Special thanks to all the Beagle friends who participated in this article, members of the FaceBook group, "The Beagle Community."