If you’re looking for a small dog with a big heart, then you can’t go wrong with a beagle. These dogs are great family dogs with a distinct personality, and are able to adapt to small apartments or country living. Their sense of smell is one of the highest in the canine world, and they’re used by hunters and drug detection teams to detect everything from rabbits to cocaine.
Beagles are physically small dogs and are sometimes confused as a toy breed, although they’re not. Their size ranges anywhere from 13 – 16 inches in height at the shoulders, rarely weighing in at more than 30 pounds. Their coats are short and sleek, requiring daily grooming, though a weekly brushing should be done to remove dead skin and hair and keep the skin healthy.
There aren’t many dogs that can plead with their eyes as well as beagles can. Their soft dark eyes, soulful expressions and long, floppy ears all add up to an endearing little dog that blends well with any family. They get along great with kids and other pets, though they need to be acclimated early to any pets other than dogs.
Beagles are known for their keen sense of smell. All dogs excel in this area, but beagles are one of the top scent hounds. Historically, they were used as hunting dogs and still are today. Their keen noses can track rabbits and other animals for their owners. Even though they aren’t the fastest at chasing them, their tracking ability still leads the hunter right to the quarry.
Today, beagles are commonly used by law enforcement in various capacities. Drug detection teams use them to sniff out cocaine and other illegal drugs at airports and crime scenes, and these little dogs are also used on search and rescue missions to find lost hikers. Various canines also function as cadaver dogs, whose job is to find dead bodies at natural disasters such as earthquakes. Beagles perform extremely well at all of these types of jobs.
When trained specifically, beagles also have the rare ability to pick up the scent of illegal agricultural items such as fruits and vegetables. Illegal (and sometimes unintended) import of these kinds of items is extremely difficult to detect, but beagles are one of the few breeds that are capable of it.
Beagles pack a huge personality into a small body. Friendly and nonagressive, they like nothing more than being included in every family activity and are often found right in the middle of family life. They do tend to be vocal, especially if left alone for extended lengths of time. Beagles are highly active and, for such small dogs, need quite a bit of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They need a patient but firm hand when it comes to training, but as they mature they settle down and relax.
Whatever you want in a dog, whether it’s companionship, a family pet, or a hunting partner, you can find it in a beagle.