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Beagle dog breed profile

Beagles are happy-go-lucky and loyal to their people.

Whether your dog is a purebred beagle, or a beagle mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a beagle and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Not only are beagles irresistibly cute, but these funny, stocky scent hounds also come by their reputation as fantastic hunters and scent followers, honestly. The breed often works alongside humans, performing tasks best suited to their excellent sniffers. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service couldn’t do its job without the hypersensitive noses of its "Beagle Brigade," who help to search luggage at U.S. airports for agricultural products.

If you have a beagle or hope to add one to your family, it’s important to understand the breed’s personality, temperament and the health issues they commonly face to provide your pet with the best life possible. So we talked to Dr. Liz Devitt, DVM, a veterinary consultant for Fetch, to learn more about this special breed.

What do beagles look like?

Beagles usually stand around 16-inches tall and have a blocky, low-to-the-ground build.
It's hard to say "no" to a beagle's sweet face, thanks largely to their puppy-dog stare and hazel-or-brown doe eyes. We should point out those big, floppy ears, too. They're not just super cute. Beagles' ears help trap scent particles, contributing to their reputation as some of the canine world's best scent followers.

Most people are familiar with the tri-colored black, tan and white pattern of a beagle's coat, but Dr. Devitt says that the breed has other color variations, including red and white or a lighter "lemon" and white. And you can expect heavy-to-moderate shedding with these pups. Their smooth, dense double coat usually thins out throughout the year but loses a lot of fur in the spring.

Beagle's tails are another defining feature of the breed, as they end in a long, white tip. So the next time you bring your pup to the dog park, you'll likely be able to spot them in a crowd of pups when they swish their tail.

RELATED: Cavapoo dog breed profile

What are beagles’ personalities like?

These big-personality pups love to be part of a pack, making them a great addition to a home with other dogs. Curious and clever, beagles are driven by their sense of smell and love to dig holes, but this also means they can be pretty single-minded and prone to escaping when determined to follow a scent.

Do beagles bark a lot?

Known for being a vocal breed, a beagle will ensure you always know how they’re feeling through various cute snorts, barks and bays.

“Although they're often described as barkers, it depends on the individual dog,” Dr. Devitt says. “They’re social dogs, however, and may be more vocal if left alone a lot.”

What are common health issues for beagles?

Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are essential to keep your beagle happy and healthy. “Obesity is often a concern with this breed,” Dr. Devitt explains. “They're meant for an active life, but they don’t always have that lifestyle.”

Other conditions that beagles are susceptible to include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation (when the kneecap pops off its normal track of movement), epilepsy and eye conditions, like cherry eye and progressive retinal atrophy. Less commonly, some beagles are born with Musladin-Leuke Syndrome (MLS).

“Puppies with MLS have smaller builds and shorter outer toes, so they walk like a ballerina on the front feet,” Dr. Devitt says. “The skin and tendons seem tighter than unaffected dogs, and they have a flatter skull shape, ears set higher and slanted eyes. Their disposition is described as ‘extremely cheerful.’”

Adopting a beagle

Are you interested in adopting a beagle, beagle mix, or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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