In order to fully understand the temperament and personality of a Beagle, knowing their history and characteristics is very important. Beagles are a medium sized breed of dog belonging to the hound family. Beagles are scent hounds and were originally bred to assist with hunting hare in Great Britain. A Beagle club was finally created in Great Britain in 1890 with its first standards for the breed. By this time, the Beagle began to look very similar to what it is today.
Sense of Smell
Beagles have one of the best senses of smell of any dog breed. Bloodhounds and Basset Hounds are their only competition for best sense of smell. Scientists John Paul Scott and John Fuller are very famous for a 13-year study where they put dogs of all breeds in a 1-acre field with a mouse, and they timed how long it took each dog to find the mouse. Beagles were able to find the mouse in less than one minute. Fox Terriers spent 15 minutes searching for the mouse and some other dogs could not find the mouse at all.
However, one important thing to note is that Beagles are ideal for ground scenting. They do not excel as much at air scenting.
For example, air scenting can be helpful for mountain rescue teams. It is believed that the long ears and large lips of the Beagle help to trap scents near the nose.
This is all important because knowing this skill will help you better understand the personality and temperament of your Beagle.
Knowing that your pup will constantly be distracted by scent trails and that he can get lost in his own head for hours following a scent because he was bred for long-endurance hunts is quite important.
The temperament of a Beagle is notoriously friendly and gentle. They are even-tempered dogs, neither too aggressive nor too timid. They have medium energy and are of a smaller build. Other Beagles traits are “happy-go-lucky,” and loyal. They also are known for their soulful expressions.
The breed was meant to work together in packs, and consequently, Beagles get along very well with other dogs and prefer companionship. Beagles will look to their owners and families as their new “pack.” For this reason, among others, they make terrific family dogs as they love to be surrounded by energy, love, and attention.
Not only do Beagles make great additions for families, but also they can be great additions for singles or couples as well (as long as the singles or couples enjoy spending time outdoors and can give their dogs plenty of exercise and play time). Beagles love any opportunity to use their noses, which is why outdoor time is so important.
Beagles make poor guard dogs because of their friendly dispositions, and they can easily be won over by people even if they are initially standoffish. However, they make good watchdogs because of their boisterous voices and howling.
Because Beagles were bred for a long chase on a hunt, they are quite determined dogs. This characteristic can be difficult to deal with when your Beagle ignores you in favor of something that he has set his mind to. Furthermore, this can make a Beagle hard to train.
Similar to some other hounds, Beagles can have select deafness. This appears beneficial during a hunt so that the dogs will stay focused on their scent trails. However, outside of the hunt, it can make it hard for an owner to try to communicate with their dogs, especially when calling them to come. However, this select deafness really does translate to selective hearing, so you can never be quite sure if your dog is ignoring you or not. For that reason, training your dog at a young age to gain respect is important.
Beagles get along very well with other dogs. But, of course, with any type of dog, they should be socialized with other dogs from a young age to learn good characteristics of sharing and playing.
Key Beagle personality traits are loving, curious, and friendly. It is very uncommon for a Beagle’s personality to be aggressive or violent. However, they have a boisterous voice and are known for their deep howls. A good way to combat difficult behavior is by making sure your Beagle is getting enough physical activity and attention.
Along with their deep howls, they are known for having “musical voices.” They tend to “sing” along to any loud outside noises such as sirens or people passing by their house.
Beagles are explorers, and for this reason, it can be risky to let them off of their leash. Again, once Beagles are tracking a scent, they will not give up. It will prove to be quite difficult to get them to pay attention to you once they have their mind set on something.
They can be easily distracted and get bored easily when they do not receive proper stimulation, and when they are not set on tracking a scent.
One downside to Beagles being pack animals is that they can be prone to canine separation anxiety. This condition can have some unpleasant effects as the Beagle will then likely destroy things around them during their bout of anxiety.
They are also known to bark and howl for quite a while when they have separation anxiety. This can prove to be quite a nuisance for neighbors when the Beagle’s owner is away.
Optimizing Your Beagle’s Temperament and Personality
In order to take advantage of all the wonderful qualities of your Beagle’s personality and temperament, you as the owner should try to do things to make his best qualities show. This means proper exercise, training, a healthy diet, socialization, and knowing the breeding and health history of your pup.
Also, keep in mind that even though Beagles were bred to work outside, they are not outdoor-living dogs. They prefer and require indoor care and are the happiest right at home with their families. They like to be considered members of the family!
Part of optimizing your Beagle’s temperament and personality is by making him a part of your family. Beagles are pack animals and once they leave their mom and their litter, they will need a new pack, which is where you come in.
Remember, the first 3 month’s of your Beagle’s life will be very important for shaping his personality down the line. Your little pal will be with his breeder for at least half, if not more, of that time. But, when your pup comes home to you, then it’s your responsibility to take over and help your dog have the best qualities.
Ideally, Beagles should be trained as puppies instead of during adulthood. This is because they may take longer to train than other breeds, and they can have a strong, stubborn mind of their own because of their evolved traits for scent hunting.
Early training can be very beneficial down the road as it allows the Beagle and owner to establish a solid relationship with understanding commands. Furthermore, because Beagles are such strong pack animals, the early training will be quite beneficial for establishing their relationship with their new “pack.”
Remember, training must be early and consistent and owners should be patient with their new puppies. The biggest trick when it comes to training Beagles is to make everything fun. Beagles get bored easily, so it is important to keep their attention.
Exercise and Outdoor Time
Beagles thrive outdoors through walks and playtime. They love sniffing and following scents. You will find that your Beagle will be much happier if you let him have time every day for sniffing.
For this reason, it is recommended that you have an enclosed yard so that he doesn’t wander too far.