Here's a great website that I found a few years ago - I think it has some great information about our merry little hounds. I hope some of this is helpful to you.
Being a hobby breeder of championship line beagles, I make sure that I tell prospective owners about the pros and cons of owning a beagle. They are very special dogs - but they are not for everyone. When I place a puppy in a home, I want to make sure it's there for good - and isn't dumped at some shelter because the new owner wasn't well-prepared for a beagle puppy. However, circumstances CAN change, and I will always take back a puppy - for any reason.
Here's what I tell people who are interested in one of my puppies.
This is a document that I give to everyone that is interested in buying a beagle puppy from me. It's a 'work in progress' - but I wish I'd had this information BEFORE I got my first beagle puppy almost 8 years ago!
So you think you want a beagle?
Before deciding that you just “have to have” one of these adorable puppies, please consider that you are making a “life-time commitment” to this little canine friend. Before making this commitment, please ask yourself a few questions.
The average life-span of a beagle is 12-15 years – assuming that all goes well and it doesn’t develop a serious illness or meet with an unfortunate accident. Are you willing to make a commitment to this little one?
Can you afford vet care? The minimum requirements are for yearly shots and exams, which alone can present you with “healthy bills” from the vet. My bills for the vet usually average $100. We won’t mention those “unforeseen” things, ear infections, accidents, etc., which can add up quickly.
Food is another BIG item. Your puppy has special needs. The pups in my home are weaned to Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Food. It is a very good quality dog food – which means it is not cheap. By the time you get your puppy (at roughly 8-10 weeks of age), he/she will still need to be fed 3-4 times a day. Your puppy will also need fresh clean water available at all times. You CAN buy cheaper puppy food, but in the long run, you and your dog will be better off with good quality food. You will need to feed less than of a cheaper brand, and because it’s more digestible, there is less “waste” – so less “clean up” with good quality food. I do NOT recommend canned foods, as they are not good for their teeth. Dry kibble is much better for them.
Are you willing to spend time training your puppy? All puppies need training – and beagles perhaps more than other breeds. While it’s EASY to fall in love with a beagle puppy, they CAN (and usually are) DIFFICULT dogs to “housetrain”. Hounds in many ways are unlike other dogs you may have had who were completely “potty trained” by the age of 3 months. You will find FEW beagles that are totally “housetrained” by 3 months, perhaps even 6 months. Are you willing to put the time into working with your puppy? If you’re NOT, then stop right now, because it is a time-consuming process.
MY first beagle was a total surprise and very difficult for me. I knew nothing about this wonderful breed – except that they were “cute” and “cuddly”. Beagles, like other hounds, are STUBBORN and more “independent” than many other breeds. They are led by their noses. This is why beagles are NEVER left off-leash unless they’re HUNTING (which is what they were bred to do). If you want a beagle as a pet, then PLEASE make sure you have a safe, secure fenced yard for him/her.
Do you have a place for a puppy where he/she will be safe while you’re away at work? Puppies – all puppies are destructive! You have to accept that and make your home as “puppy proof” (safe for them) as possible. Puppies LOVE shoes – and telephone cords, and electrical cords, so these things need to be out of puppy’s reach – because if it’s “there, they will chew”. If you have a “safe” room where puppy can’t chew things – such as a kitchen or bath that can be closed off, that will work, but I’ve known (and loved) pups who have chewed walls, so I prefer using a “crate” or “kennel” when I’m away. I’m fortunate with my job, I live close enough that I can run home at noon and let pups out for some play/exercise time. Years ago I would have said that was “cruel” – and it would be if you leave them in it all the time. It is their “den” – or safe place for them if you can’t be supervising them every minute. Even my dogs that have the run of the house will often go into an empty crate/kennel for a nap. IF you get a puppy from me, it will be accustomed to a crate from an early age, which makes it MUCH easier for YOU as a new owner.
There are several words that beagles do NOT like, among them “come” if they’re hot on the trail of something good. “No” is also a naughty word for beagles. I don’t want to discourage you – but if you’re considering a beagle puppy, you should be aware that they can be and often are STUBBORN. I suggest a good “Puppy Kindergarten” to get him/her started right. The key to beagle training is consistency (and TREATS) – beagles will do ANYTHING for treats. More about that later.
IF you get a puppy from me, he/she will have been born into a loving home environment with lots of love and socializing. I am not a “big breeder” with dozens of dogs, my pups are born right here in my family room, where I spend most of MY waking hours when not at work. They get a lot of handling and a lot of love. This is very important to making a good dog! He/she will also come with a “puppy kit” to get you started. These puppies are from excellent field champion lines and the litter is AKC registered. You will be furnished with the paperwork to register YOUR puppy. I have registered the litter, but registering your pup is your responsibility. I suggest that you do so as soon as possible, if you have any intentions of using your dog for field trials (their paternal grandparents are both International Field Champs), or for other AKC events they will need the AKC registration.
Beagles are “pack” animals, and do much better if they have other dogs in their pack.
IF you decide on a beagle puppy, and something happens that you cannot keep him, then he is to be returned to me for re-homing. I do NOT want one of these puppies to ever wind up in a shelter or rescue. I know that circumstances can change and you may not be in a position to keep your puppy – in that case, call me, and I will take the pup back. These are very special puppies, from very special lines and deserve a special home.
I will ALWAYS be available to answer questions for you and to help in anyway that I can with your puppy.