AKC Hound Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Beagle is one of the most popular scenthounds because of his energy, willingness, and sweet disposition. The breed probably originated as a cross between the Harrier and other hounds in England. The Beagle has been used in packs, alone, and in pairs for hunting hare, pheasant, and quail. He has also served as an excellent narcotics-, contraband-, and even termite-detection dog and makes a fine family companion. Unfortunately, because they are fairly uniform in size and small, Beagles are often used for medical experimentation.


A hardy, sturdy, squarely built small hound, the Beagle has a sleek, easy-care, short coat, most often in red, orange, or lemon, with white trim (legs, collar, blaze, and tail tip) or on a white background, and often with a dark saddle. The Beagle looks like a small English Foxhound. The skull is broad and slightly rounded, and the muzzle is straight and square. The black nose has full nostrils for scenting. The long, wide ears are pendant. The brown or hazel eyes have a characteristic pleading expression. The tail is carried gaily, but never curled over the back. There are two height classes: 13 to 15 in. and under 13 in.

Key Facts

  • Height: 11 to 15 in.
  • Size: Small
  • Weight: 20 to 30 lbs.
  • Availability: Very popular
  • Talents: Hunting, tracking, watchdog, scent detection, and agility


Has a loud, baying cry that was a delight to hunting horsemen, but can be disturbing to family and neighbors. Needs firm training; a strong recall is especially important. Might take off on his own explorations if let off leash in an unfenced area. Good with other animals. Can be difficult to housebreak. It is important to buy from a reputable breeder as some lines can be prone to heart disease, epilepsy, eye, and back problems. Some Beagle lines may carry the gene for Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS), a serious hereditary disease of the connective tissue. A DNA test for MLS is now available and is recommended for breeding stock. The long ears need regular cleaning and inspection.


Gentle, sweet, lively, and curious. A happy little tail-wagger. Calm and loving. Can be willful, requires patient, firm training. This breed doesn’t like being left alone. Consider buying two if you will be gone a lot.


  • Children: Excellent with children
  • Friendliness: Loves everyone
  • Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence: Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance: Low
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise: Likes to bay
  • Indoors: Very active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Very little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Short coat
  • Shedding: Average shedder
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging: Small, but a pretty good jogging companion
  • Apartments: Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space: A small yard is sufficient.
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Beagle Breed Standard

Beagle Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Beagle

Beagle Gifts