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Is the Beagle Right for us?

6840 Views 43 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Pop_Rivit
Hi everyone, I understand that this is a forum for current beagle owners, and I hope to soon be one. I thought I could get some good advice from you on whether my fiance and I should get a beagle or not. We've been doing research and talking to breeders for 4-6 months now, but we're still not sure if our situation is right for us and the dog. We both think beagles are adorable and would love to have a fun, cuddly family pet, but we keep hearing horror stories that make us think twice. We know several people that have beagles, and they have mixed reviews. Here is a quick breakdown of where we're at:

We live in Boston. Our neighborhood is extremely dog friendly. We live next to several parks, and specifically a fenced in dog park that is usually quite crowded. We are both active young adults (late 20's/early 30's) that like to be outside and get exercise. I work full time during the day, but only about a 10 min drive from home. My fiance is in med school, so she has long but odd hours. Sometimes she leaves later in the morning, sometimes comes home early, but basically I assume that she is out of the house for most of the day, and sometimes until 8 pm or so. We do not have any children, but hope to in the next 5 years or so. We own our condo, and it is about 850 sq ft with a private, fenced in back patio that is probably 15-15 in size. The fence goes right to the ground (which is concrete around the edges) so there's no way a dog is digging under it.

We're thinking of getting a male tri-color puppy. I plan to come home at lunch everyday for at least month or two to let the dog out, and we're committed to going to puppy school, working with the dog at night, etc. I'm worried that leaving a puppy alone for 3-4 hours for the first 6 months will make it lonely and cause it to act out (ie bark a lot while we are gone, etc). We could potentially get a dog walker for the first few months to come let him out every 2-3 hours. Also, we've recently heard that beagles have a problem with seizures. A person we spoke to in our dog park mentioned their beagle has seizures every 3-4 months. Is that a common occurrence?

So, that's where we are at. We're trying to make the right decision for us and the dog. Any advice would be much appreciated!!! Thank you.
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With the breeders you've talked to, are there any you are able to go out and visit and meet their dogs? That's always a good place to start. It is really important to get a puppy from a AKC registered and reputable breeder - most of them will show their dogs too.

My beagle doesn't have a problem with barking or howling as long as she isn't bored. Keeping them mentally stimulated is key. I would be investing in some boredom busting toys like a kong that you can stuff with food, everlasting treat balls etc. 3-4 hours isn't really a long time, so I wouldn't be worried about it - puppies spend majority of their time sleeping!
I will never get another beagle. I went from having two sweet, obedient and wonderful dogs to a dog who is stubborn, unaffectionate, escapes at any opportunity, has destroyed my blinds, and listens only when she feels like it.

Daisy was a rescue, and I am certain she was abused. She has come a long way with that, and completely trusts me now. However, she is a stubborn thing, and DOES NOT listen. She won't come in when I call her, many times I have to go out and pick her up and carry her in. If she escapes, forget it. She has the highest prey drive ever, and runs the neighborhood screaming at the top of her lungs. I have to chase her and hope that I can break the spell and finally get her to stop running so I can get her. This can take hours. I can't just let her run, because she is so loud that I know she is disturbing the neighbors.

If she sees a rabbit outside, she goes ballistic. This is how she destroyed my blinds -- jumping up while barking wildly/screaming at the rabbit and tearing the blinds up in the process. The neighbors can hear her 2 houses down, and the windows are not open. I absolutely cannot break her of this hunting drive, or even slightly curb it. She has killed 4 full grown rabbits in the back yard, (she is very small - 11 and 20#, so I found that amazing.) She was eating one of them who was not dead yet. She can climb and/or jump a 4' chain link fence, so I had to add a 3' extension. She still tries to climb it.

When I first got her she peed on my bed a few times. She tore up 3 dog beds and some shoes. She jumped up on the barstools and ate or knocked things off the counter. I stopped taking her to the dog park recently, because she found a spot on the fence where she can get out. (Luckily I caught her before she made it - the park borders a freeway.) The place where she can get out is a tree that has grown through the chain link fence over the years, and she can climb it due to the shape of the trunk.

I tried to give her back within 2 months of getting her, but the rescue was full and would not take her. I had her on the 'net for awhile, but no takers.

As mentioned, she has come a long way in the almost two years that I've had her, but I'm still sorry that I chose a beagle. The good things I can say about her is that she is undeniably cute, and I know she loves me because I have given her a good home and treat her gently and with love, unlike her previous owners. She can be very funny, and has a blast playing with other dogs. It is still very hard for me to have a dog that doesn't listen unless she feels like it, is not very affectionate, and can never ever ever ever be let off her leash. While I am not actively looking, I would rehome her if the right situation arose. I would not want her to be abused or neglected again.

I realize that she has issues, and that not all beagles are like her, but I do know that most beagles are not good listeners unless it suits them, and 99.9% of beagles can never be trusted off leash. I did not do my homework thoroughly enough. One of my neighbors has a beagle that is so cute and sweet. That's what got me interested. The descriptions of beagles on the 'net mention stubbornness and not safe off leash, but I guess it just didn't sink in how bad certain ones can actually be.
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Originally Posted By: Toby & LuckyI just have to add that in the 8+ years I have had Toby, the happiest he has ever been was when we lived in a small apartment with a dog park right next to us! We loved it, too. We got to know all of our neighbors so well! Toby got to go out for a nice morning play (15-20 minutes) and then if the weather was nice enough, he would play for an hour or more in the evenings. It actually became a social thing! We all came home from work and took our dogs out to play! While a condo may not be easiest place in the world to have a dog, I think you will find your proximity to that dog park will be invaluable!
You have had so much great advice that I won't cover off everything others have gone through so well before, but will add a few things from our situation - although we have only adopted adults so I'll leave the trials and tribulations of puppies to those who have experienced them first-hand. It sounds like you have your heart set on a puppy but just in case that isn't the case I will also put in a plug for considering an older rescue - even a dog that is six months or so will have developed a lot and you won't have to go through some of the most difficult times of those first few weeks - and may even come (mostly) housetrained!

Toby&Lucky's comment above also couldn't be more true for us. We live downtown in a large city with four beagles in a 1200 square foot apartment. We love it and I think anyone who knows our beagles would also say that our beagles are happy and well adjusted. Because our inside space is limited we spend a lot of time at parks and on walks and at cafes with the dogs - and by doing so have made a lot of canine and human friends and acquaintances that I don't think we would have otherwise - and our neighbourhood really does feel like a neighbourhood which I don't think it would in the same way if we didn't have the beagles.

As to the barking/howling/baying, I think there it will depend a lot on the personality of the dog and most importantly whether the dog has separation anxiety. None of our dogs are vocal unless there is something to bark at - their normal activity when we are not home is sleeping. Ours are quite loud snorers but so far no neighbours have complained about that!

And as to the seizures, two of our four beagles have minor and infrequent seizures (two or three times a year) but they are such a minor part of their existence (knock on wood it stays that way) that I hesitate even mentioning that, other than to ease your concerns that having a dog with seizures is necessarily a traumatic thing. Although I do believe that beagles are more prone to epilepsy than some other breeds, I really don't think that the incidence of seizures is high enough for it to be a hallmark of the breed.

Good luck and keep us all posted on your decision!
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Well I can't give much info in the puppy department because it's been 5 yrs for us. We have an 11yr old male and 5 yr old female. First off let me say not everything bad thing you hear about beagles is typical of all of them, personality plays a big part. BUT stealing food, not being trusted off the leash and stubbornness seem to be typical of all.
We lived in an apartment when we got our first beagle. At first he stayed in a crate but the howling and crying was just to loud so we just left him out and learned quickly not to leave anything in his reach and if we were not sure if he could reach we decided he probably could so we put it up. If you have a laundry room or bathroom to leave the pup in that would be good so long as you don't mind the chewing of the baseboards and cabinet doors(this is all puppy behavior, not just beagles)then that would work if crating does not. Our second beagle was purchased while living in a condo but I was a stay at home mom by then and was able to be home all day, we moved into our house when she was 4 months old but they both prefered to be indoor dogs. They don't play outside much and never really played with toys.
Our oldest has been having seizures since he was 2, it happens about every 6 months and lasts 15-20 minutes, he doesn't need meds we just sit with him until it's over and then he is fine.
Our female barks way more than our male again it's just personality difference and I forgot to mention crating is the way to go and their are lots of people on here who can give you good advice and how to do it right, I was lazy with it and couldn't handle his crying so I always rescued him..STICK WITH IT AND ASK FOR HELP. Your pup will do fine in a crate while you are at work.
They do try to escape every chance they get, they will steal your food in a flash, they will eat hamburger meat defrosting on the counter or whole boxes of candy bars for a fundraiser, whole loafs of bread, steal your child's snack right out of their tiny hands, heck they will take your food right out of your hands, BUT they will give you soo much love, put a smile on your face everyday(most of the time) they are beautiful dogs, smart, good with kids and keep your friends and family looking at you like your a nut for owning such a dog. You just have to own one to understand one and they are addicting so if you get one you will probably be wanting another and another
I don't regret getting a beagle. I think I rambled on and I am sorry, the point is it takes work, training, patience, love and a sense of humor but I think all dogs take work, love, training etc.. no dog is perfect and if your heart is saying beagle then go for it!
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DaisytheDevilDog, have you considered consulting a behaviourist?

Reading your post it does sound like the beagle isn't a breed that is best suited to you, but by the same token, a lot of the problems you described i.e. her high prey drive, destructive nature, refusal to listen to you etc are things that can be managed through training.

I am training Daisy (great name huh :p ) to compete for her obedience title, so I know what a pain their drive can be (she doesn't have the nick name 'the evil beagle' for nothing!) so I am doing a drive based training program that teaches you how to harness their drive and use it in a productive way. Now I love her level of drive and will always in the future chose a dog with a high prey or food drive - so there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I'm sorry you've been having such a frustrating experience, from your post it sounds like Daisy has a few behaviour problems that I personally wouldn't right off as just being part of the breed and therefore impossible to fix - a good trainer will be able to show you how to manage her behaviour and make your household a lot more harmonious.
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Some more info for you... my beagle is 3 now and I got her as a pup and think they're a great breed
Good things:
She just has a real character and a beautiful temperament, she's very friendly, is really good with cats and children and loves coming with us for long walks and bike rides.
Not so good things:
She is very very very friendly!! Ok, I'm joking obviously but she can be a bit in your face. Literally. For example, she gets very excited when we have visitors and wants to be as close as possible to them to the point where she's kind of wrapped round their neck, and I have to crate her in the car or she'd be sitting on my knee.
More seriously, because she can only be let off her lead in very specific situations and will run out of an open door in a split second I have to be very careful who I leave her with if I'm going away, people who don't have experience with this kind of dog sometimes just don't get it.
Similarly, I have had to spend a lot of time training her so I can let her off her lead in certain contexts (basically that means familiar areas with no roads).
She was also hard work as a pup (peeing, nipping and chewing, thieving), but I don't know if she was any more difficult than another breed would have been.

When she was a little pup I crated her while I was out, then she moved up to having the run of the kitchen and now, unless the weather's bad she stays in my garden where she has her kennel and plenty of shade. I think this is best as there's more to stimulate her outside than inside. my neighbours tell me she bays for about 2 minutes when we leave but then settles so the noise isn't a problem.

Good luck in your decision!

PS If I were to get company for her one day I'd probably go for a Jack Russell
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I probably can't add much to what has already been said. I love dogs of all breeds and I've had dogs all my life. Snoopy is my first pure beagle. We rescued her from a family that was moving but I don't think that was their whole story. I believe she was ignored for the first year of her life. She has been absolutely terrific. I think with any breed you will find horror stories and stories of extraordinary praise. (Just like kids). Some beagles bay and are considered a nuisance--some do not. I think all have a certain degree of stubborness. But they are typically very affectionate.

If you are uncertain, why not contact a local rescue and offer to foster a puppy or young adult beagle? This would give you an opportunity to take in a dog in need and if you feel it would work out you could offer to adopt.
Thanks again everyone for all of the helpful posts. I think we're going to decide this week whether or not we'll get a beagle... then we have to figure out if a puppy is right or a rescue. I'll be sure to post and let you all know.
Good luck-you've done the right thing. Whatever pet you choose will be one lucky animal!
As tempting as puppies might be, I would also like to suggest a rescue.

If you choose a rescue, the foster family can readily give you a heads-up on personality, temperment, house-break status and other variables. As somebody already mentioned, often these dogs might be used to being alone and past the puppy behavior that may result from being bored and lonely when left alone.

I have two beagles...both rescued as adults and although I love beagle puppies, I'm glad that I was able to bypass that stage.

Kudos for researching and asking questions before getting a dog. I wish more people did that...there would be less unwanted and/or returned dogs.

Good luck!

Hi everyone, its been a while since I posted anything on here, but for all of you that replied to my string I just wanted to provide an update. I am picking up my new beagle in 2 weeks! She is a 14 month old puppy (rescue) and I'm very excited. Thanks for all of your comments and help, its much appreciated. Now I need to start buying supplies and researching food, toys, treats, etc...
Aww, congratulations! I hope you enjoy your new pup. We're always around to help address questions and issues (and to look at pictures of her).
Congrats and glad to hear that you are getting a rescue!
Congratulations, and bravo for getting a rescue.

Advice from someone who got a rescue and was woefully unprepared for the challenges of a beagle: It does eventually get better
I adopted Daisy in July of '07. Tried to return her a few months later, but they wouldn't take her back. She has come a REALLY long way. She still has issues, but has learned most of the rules here. The ones she cannot learn due to her beagleness have become MY rules. In other words, she has learned as much as she is capable of despite her instincts, and I have learned the rest
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Thanks for giving a beagle a forever home. Can't wait to see pics and hear more about your new family member! My Teddy was a rescue and about 1 yr old when we adopted him. He fit in beautifully, with the only problem being he made several attempts to escape from our yard. Hopefully at the age your little girl is, she will already be housebroken. That's a great bonus over getting a puppy!
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Congratulations! Enjoy her.
Congrats on your new addtion to your family
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Thank you for rescuing and giving this beagle their forever home.

Hoping we'll see you at the Beagle Bash in September!!

Check out dogfoodanalysis.com to begin researching foods. You may want to find out what kind of food she is being fed now and do a slow transition if possible - easier on their tummies.

Toys - must have a kong (or two or three!)! We also have a kong ball. I'd probably skip anything plush, our guy rips them to shreds. I'd also recommend Nylabones (regal loves his galileo).

Treats - beagles eat anything!! Hee, hee - Charlee Bear's are great for training treats, we also give old mother hubbard biscuits.
Keep checking in - we love to hear updates!
Congratulations to you and your new pup!
You came to the right place for advice, venting and sharing everything beagles!
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