Should I get a beagle?
December 27, 2006 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Should we adopt a beagle?

Calling all beagle owners: Our household consists of my husband, myself, our 3 year-old yellow lab, and two cats. I've got a hankering for another dog, and we're considering a beagle. Can any beagle owners give me some inside advice on the breed? What are the major pros and cons?
posted by gokart4xmas to Pets & Animals (50 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Beagles are excellent diggers and tunnelers. They're famous for digging under the fence and escaping. They're also diabolically smart. If only they would use their genius for good instead of evil...
posted by wsg at 9:58 AM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

I used to work at an animal hospital in high school, and some of the dogs that regularly boarded at our kennel were beagles. They were nice dogs, but their beagle-bray is terrible. It's like a dying donkey honking for help. That is the only reason I would warn against a beagle. But not all beagles are major barkers, so you might not have a problem.
posted by tastybrains at 10:03 AM on December 27, 2006

Runs, jumps fences, will run into traffic blindly, dumb as a rock, but diabolically cunning. Howls at all hours. very lovable. Capable of learning how to climb your chain-link fence. Can certainly dig under it. Must be walked or put on a very strong dog run.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:11 AM on December 27, 2006

Response by poster: Just to clarify one issue: we have a 6 foot tall concrete block fence with padlocked gates in the backyard. Can this contain a beagle?
posted by gokart4xmas at 10:18 AM on December 27, 2006

Beagles are a hunting breed. I have found that outdoor specific/ hunting breeds are harder to housebreak.

To continue with the hunting blood of a beagle, they are runners. They need lots of training not to run away off the leash. This is just part of their breed to run long distances for the hunt. Which I will also add, if you do not excercise beagles they will become very destructive out of frusteration and become those roly poly tubular beagles that you see so many of.
posted by brinkzilla at 10:18 AM on December 27, 2006

they're remarkably smart problems solvers, so your first solution has to be THE solution to your problem with the dog. (like where to stash the food.) Will steal food from counters. will overeat if given the chance. doens't believe it's a small dog, and will run with the big dogs. will take over the most comfortable spot in the room. never really out grows the "puppy" phase, and will follow you around the house no matter what you're doing. (even if you're only folding laundry)
they're hard to walk as they want to sniff every blade of grass between you and your destination.
so if you're planning to cover some ground, take the other dog.
posted by Thrillhouse at 10:22 AM on December 27, 2006

My family had a beagle when I was a teenager. She was sweet and loving but I would not want another. She had to be walked, often, on a leash. If you let her off to run a bit, she was gone and we'd get a call several hours later from the other side of town, where she'd show up on someone's doorstep, hungry. She ate everything she could get at, including things not really edible. She was excitable and barked a lot. She was very cute but once my brother and I moved out on our own, I think my parents grew to enjoy her company less and less. The final straw was when, with great agility and cunning, she stole and ate the entire box of Valentine's Day chocolates my dad got for my mom. It was a big box and the dog spent the next couple of days repeatedly throwing up all over the house. After that my mom, angry and chocolate-less, convinced the kennel where we occasionally boarded the beagle to take her in permanently.

As I said, she was a sweet natured dog but my next pup won't be a beagle.
posted by Kangaroo at 10:27 AM on December 27, 2006

The beagle we adopted from the pound when I was a kid bit me in the face, then started biting everyone every chance he got.

I've always had the impression that beagles don't make very good pets.
posted by BackwardsCity at 10:27 AM on December 27, 2006

You might wanna check this out first. It's a pretty decent primer on costs you can expect in the first year.
posted by wmeredith at 10:28 AM on December 27, 2006

My beagle mix definitely fits the description everyone else has given: godawful bray, goes over fences, goes under fences, fast, sneaky, sly, way too smart, stubborn. Ours appears to be crossed with greyhound or something similar, and it takes two other young dogs to actually exercise her enough (they play really, really hard, too).

But that can happen with any dog. Beagles are not particularly prone to eye, hip, or respiratory genetic diseases, so that's a plus. They tend to not be huge, though I've seen some pretty sturdy ones. I love that short, sleek, low-to-no undercoat fur - wash and wear, vacuums up relatively easily, not a lot of shed.

Our own recent fence tribulations with Sophie suggest that a 6' concrete fence is exactly what you need, though 8' might not be overkill. We've now staked down the bottom of our chain link fences, and extended the top with PVC fencing.

She's a real doll when she's not being the floppy-eared personification of satan, though. She's a snuggler, and nothing makes her prouder than a sock to carry around. As long as you can provide a lot of exercise, and maybe some complex play to occupy their devious little walnut brains, they're pretty nice to have around.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:36 AM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

We've got a beagle mix. We think he's part spaniel or corgi. He does sniff a lot, which does make for lingering walks, but it's no huge deal. He does follow us all over the house, no matter what we're doing. He uses his length to his advantage--last year he somehow got up on the dining room table and managed to eat three theater-size packages of DOTS (and proceeded to throw up multi-colored throw up all over the house) and recently he managed to get up on the kitchen counter to eat a loaf of bread. He's definitely a cuddler, and loves to lounge with you to watch television or in bed at night. Despite his little short legs, he's also very FAST, which makes chasing him during his infrequent escapes pretty much impossible. He's pretty low-key around kids, but hates most other dogs.

If you want to compromise, go for a beagle mix -- same cute, souful eyes, and you might be lucky and get a cuddly disposition thrown in.
posted by printchick at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2006

Also a former beagle owner and would not have another (although I feel terrible saying that!) She was howly and snuffly and a nippy little thing and could open cabinets with her nose and knock down the doggy gate and scratch at the piano legs for no good reason and always seemed to need something and did not like it much when the babies came. I was a diligent trainer and exercised her a lot, and she would be fine for a day or so but then revert.

Cute to look at though.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2006

They are almost untrainable. We had one. It was always wanting to run off. Even with a shock collar on high power all she would do is "yelp" and keep on going. No way I'd ever want another one. They are cute, loveable and such a pain. The shock collar was at the suggestion of our vet. Nothing worked to keep her under control. They are the most 'hard-headed' dog I have ever encountered.
posted by JayRwv at 10:46 AM on December 27, 2006

Response by poster: Wow. That sounds like exactly the kind of dog I don't want. Can anyone recommend a beagle-sized dog with a similar loving temperament, but less of a PITA? Must be good with cats and other dogs.
posted by gokart4xmas at 11:03 AM on December 27, 2006

First rule... be smarter than the dog.

We have a beagle, for two years now, seems like 10! We got ours from a beagle rescue, and my joke to the wife is 'Who got rescued, the beagle or the prior owners?!"

Cute, sweet, gentle, smart, food motivated, very trainable.

Avoid males.

Requires supervision. Will run away.

Units are nose-driven. No higher level priority once the nose is engaged out of doors. Fortunately, you can chase them down and tackle them when they pause for sniffing, which is fairly often.

(I just realized that my description is pretty close to teenage boy? How odd!)

Ours is a snorty buzzard and is a babe pickup magnet. If you get one, get a 13" model... cutest of all and just under critical countertop height when extended.
posted by FauxScot at 11:17 AM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Love the look of a beagle but everything I've ever heard about them echoes everything that's up here; great to admire, hell to own.

I grew up with a Boston Terrier; can't get much more lovable and loving than that. Mine was about beagle-sized, though the ones I've seen lately have been smaller. Playful, funny, and companionable as heck when you want it to be, passed out and snoring when you don't. Bostons can have major health issues, though, which is the downside to a rather low-maintenance (otherwise), awesome dog. Ours didn't have them until the end of his life, though YMMV, of course.
posted by atayah at 11:18 AM on December 27, 2006

I have a Beagle-Blue Tick mix. She has been my constant companion for 7 years.

Amazing that something so smart can be so dumb, as the only command she has learned in this time is "stay" (which she does astoundingly).

I have no fenced in yard so I walk her several times a day and she is amazing at following me without a leash.

When the weather is good, I put her on the leash, get on the bike, and run her until she passes out when we get home.

She hunts constantly and bags a squirrel or rabbit every month or so, though she will break chase when I yell "stay!"
posted by sourwookie at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2006

Almost anything is less trouble than a beagle. I'd shoot for a cocker/cockapoo if I were looking for a dog that size, springer if you could see yourself with a dog just a bit bigger than a standard beagle-- sweet and bright but their energy level is manageable and their noses don't get them in trouble. Also, they're more durable than most smaller dogs (besides terriers, which you definitely don't want if you don't want hyperactivity and digging).

There are a million options that will suit you fine, really. And beagles do have their strong points, but I'm glad this thread was so effective in discouraging you from getting one. I wouldn't want another beagle unless I already knew it was on the less-pushy side.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2006

Friends of mine have a beagle, and after having known him for many years, I would never get one myself. He's adorable, but unbelievably unruly. Runs away, steals food off of tables, howls at the door... the trouble to cute ratio is too far in favour of trouble.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:27 AM on December 27, 2006

Well- if you are going to adopt you have the benefit of trying out the model before you order.
There are tons of shelters and you will know how big they will get- because they already are full size.

SO- well- here are some pretty good looking mutts in your state...
posted by beccaj at 11:32 AM on December 27, 2006

Welsh Corgis are often very good. They're extremely smart, and love to please, so they're usually easy to train. Some of them have a stubborn streak, though, and if you get one of those, it will probably never be perfectly obedient. Usually it will do what you want, but sometimes... not. They're not actively mean and don't misbehave much, but the stubborn ones will just refuse commands sometimes.

They seem to like to dig a little, but not generally to get under fences... just small holes in the yard. They're actually a small dog, but high energy and need exercise, so you can think of them more as a medium-sized animal. If you've got a reasonable sized yard, that's usually enough. They're just delightful little animals, by and large.

They tend to get fat easily, so you have to watch their food intake and not over-treat.
posted by Malor at 11:34 AM on December 27, 2006

My friend has what she believes is a finnish spitz mix. I'm not sure what she think the dog's mixed with. She's a little bit bigger than a beagle. Freakin' adorable. Smart, gentle, affectionate, inquisitive, quite obedient, loyal. Not much of a shedder, not a barker at all. I don't know if these are finnish spitz qualities generally, but something to look into. If only she wasn't spayed....
posted by Amizu at 11:35 AM on December 27, 2006

also classified too

this one sounds nice....
Dog:Queensland Heeler-Lab Mix
Tucson,AZ 520-555-5555 Elizabeth Slick 12-23-2006
Name: Bella
Age:1.5 years
Delete We have a Black Lab-Queensland Heeler mix female dog, medium sized, 1 1/2 years-old. Shes had obedience classes at Petsmart, has all shots, is spayed, and is kennel trained and 100% house trained. We adopted her last Christmas and named her Bella. Adoption fee: $25.00 She is just absolutely the most loving dog in the world. As an indoor/outdoor dog, she is gentle and good with our toddler and is the same with our kitten and two older cats. The problem is, we do not have the time and attention that Bella deserves. She needs a good home with someone who has time for walks and more interaction. She loves to go running along the Rillito Riverwalk. If you are caring and love dogs, give us a call. I can email photos of her if you are interested. We will include her kennel, bed, bowls, and leashes. If you are interested, please email: Location: Tucson-Central-Winterhaven area
posted by beccaj at 11:36 AM on December 27, 2006

We have a boxer (either a mix or unregistered, don't know) who is one of those dogs who kind of ruins you for other dogs. She's not real smart, or more accurately she's not very clever, so she's well trained but doesn't need to be constantly occupied to keep her from eating the furniture. She chews only on things we give her to chew, she loves treats but won't pester for them, has never ever peed in the house, doesn't even try to go in the kitchen, and waits for us to wake up before she leaps in between us with kisses and snuggles. She's a very chill dog.

As gentle and sweet and calm as she is inside, when it's time to go out and play she can kick some ass. They're all muscle and needs a lot of exercise, but if you've got another healthy energetic dog and an inclination to throw a ball now and then, you can exercise them enough.

It is impossible to tell how big they're going to get when they're young, though. The people who had her before thought they were getting a pug or little terrier. I didn't think she would muscle up so big, myself, but she seems to have just about finished up at 45-50 pounds. That may be more dog than you want, but they are pretty short.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:37 AM on December 27, 2006

Do NOT get a cocker spaniel. They are not only stupid, but stubborn as hell...stinky, too.
posted by wsg at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2006

You might consider a Basset Hound. They are sort of a kissing cousin to the Beagle, and do share some of the same challenging traits (stubbornness, predilection to overeat, loud howl, slow walks on the leash). But they are much easier to train, get along very well with dogs and cats and children, they're cuddle monsters, etc.) At least read a little bio on them and see if maybe this isn't what you're looking for.
posted by vito90 at 11:54 AM on December 27, 2006

What about a Daschund? Not a mini-daschund lap-dog snack-sized thingy, but the real sized one. The ones I know are wonderful dogs.

The beagles I've known are horrible, and many of their owners were either frustrated and apologetic or clueless. A beagle is the only other dog that my Ridgeback actually showed any real aggression towards... mostly, she just wants to play.
posted by SpecialK at 11:57 AM on December 27, 2006

I'm a sheltie lover. Widely believed to be the smartest breed, all-too-human in their interactions with people, as I believe most shepherd dogs are, they can be affectionate but not usually needy, beautiful and soft, need exercise, benefit from grooming, come in a range of sizes from approximately fox terrier to springer spaniel. Sometimes barky, but very trainable. Doesn't overeat, but gets bored and needs play. Love to chase. That can be bad. Some have more herding instinct than others. This is a dog that can learn dozens upon dozens of commands, like "Go get Dad." Sa-weet.

My advice is get a dog whose breeds evoke traits you want. People wind up with poodles, dalmatians, beagles and pits and find they have an animal that's not bred to be a pet, but a hunter, digger, swimmer, fighter, etc.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:58 AM on December 27, 2006

Just last year we lost our beagle. She was a sweet, lovable dog. She was easily the best dog I've ever had around children, and she loved them back.

That was the plus side. She was as dumb as a rock, unless there was some food around. ("We described her as a nose with a dog attached") Then, she'd pull out her Book of Evil and get it no matter how well concealed or contained. She was a big fan of what we called "Kitty Krunchies" other words getting extra snacks out of the litter box. She couldn't be trained to do anything, including being housebroken. However, in all fairness to the breed, we bought her from a pet store after she'd lived there for about 6 months.

If you're willing to put in the effort, they're a great breed, and I can honestly say that despite how bad she was, I loved her more than any other dog I've ever had.

Interesting side note: she actually learned how to lie. I'd sometimes come into the kitchen and hear her rooting around in the litter box in the laundry room. When she'd hear me coming, she'd run over to her food bowl and chew over top of it as if to indicate she'd been eating what she was supposed to rather than a Krunchy. Like I said, dumb as a rock..unless there was food.
posted by Spoonman at 12:24 PM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Can anyone recommend a beagle-sized dog with a similar loving temperament, but less of a PITA?

I'd avoid terriers and scenthounds generally, but what you really want to do is go to some local dog shows. They're free, and you'll see lots of breeds walking around and interacting with their owners/handlers and being themselves. And people will generally tell you all about their breed, both good and bad.

Must be good with cats and other dogs.

This is going to be more of an individual dog thing than a breed thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:25 PM on December 27, 2006

I've heard good things about whippets.
posted by wsg at 12:34 PM on December 27, 2006

My Beagle, Godot, is a great dog. She is the most loving, gentle soul I've met. I'm surprised at the amount of abuse she puts up with from our toddler. She is also fantastic with the cats. She is a serious dog of leisure, and spends most of her time sleeping. She is currently 7 or 8 years old.

Her vices include food stealing even from tables and counters and occasionally howling when she is outside.

Regardless of how many times we discuss the matter, I can not convince her that the random strangers who happen to walk by on the sidewalk are not the physical manifestation of Satan. She is certain they all deserve to be howled at, unless of course they happen to come over and pet her, whereas she immediately becomes their best friend. I think the howling must translate as.. "You there! Pet me NOW! NOW! Hey You! God Damn it! Give me affection!"

It is hard to excercise her as she wants to stop and smell everything. Also I have to plan in regular baths as she is fond of rolling in things that smell like death.

But for the pros far outweigh the cons. She is probably my favorite out of the steady stream of dogs I've had in my life.
posted by jlowen at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

My dog sammy is 12 now, a beagle. It seems to me that there are two types of beagles I've encountered, very hyper digging type of beagles and very sweet, docile types. My dog falls into the latter. She's sweet, and chubby and sniffs around and would eat things when she was younger. But overall a wonderful dog. Unfortunately, she's gone blind now and has some heart trouble, but great nonetheless.
posted by Sreiny at 12:36 PM on December 27, 2006

The sheltie suggestion is a good one, if you like smart dogs. My sister has a sheltie/corgi mix. That dog is incredibly intelligent. Corgis are smart themselves, and combined with a sheltie, wow. They did a dog obedience class, and were a bit lax about training her in the off time... often they'd train her for ten minutes before class and she'd have whatever trick they were supposed to do that week. The other dog owners were jealous.

I've known children I didn't think were that smart. :)

That particular dog, while super friendly and nice, is also a bit needy, and gets frustrated if any animal is being petted in the area and it's not her. She has an unlimited desire for affection. All in all, she's a super dog, but the constant 'pet me!' gets a little annoying.
posted by Malor at 12:38 PM on December 27, 2006

Response by poster: beccaj, I have been emailing with the foster mom of Georgie, who you found on Petfinder. I think we are going to meet him on Friday. Anyone have a German Shorthaired Pointer?
posted by gokart4xmas at 1:24 PM on December 27, 2006

gokart4xmas: "beccaj, I have been emailing with the foster mom of Georgie, who you found on Petfinder. I think we are going to meet him on Friday. Anyone have a German Shorthaired Pointer?"

I've met lots of GSP owners on my walks and via friends. GSPs are very affectionate and lovable but very hyperactive and jumpy. They need a lot of exercise and a backyard run is not enough.

Basically in my experience, once you can commit to the dog's exercise needs, you tend to adapt to any dog you get once you're in love with him/her. Exercise needs are the primary decision factor in a choice of breed.
posted by zaebiz at 2:02 PM on December 27, 2006

Thirding the Sheltie recommendation. My Kaylee is actually a mix (American Eskimo Dog is the other half) but tends to the Sheltie side of the mix. She's smart, sweet, loves to play, great with the cats, gets a bit jealous but only noses into the the muddle - not mean about it at all, she's a bit shy around strange dogs but quickly warms up and she loves people. She's a lap dog when you want her to be but is good at amusing herself not too destructively (she is still a puppy). She barks only when in "guard" mode and has a hellacious growl for such a small dog (she'll be 20 pounds at the most).
posted by deborah at 2:07 PM on December 27, 2006

Here's some pictures of the best dog in the entire world:

I found him at the Humane Society. He was in the puppy room when I found him, and while the rest of the dogs were going insane looking for attention, he was sitting on his haunches, quietly and politely looking at me and the friends that came with me. Come to find out, he had been found on the street, in the rain. I believe his previous owner must have abused him, because he can be quite skittish when I get angry.

He was probably about 4 months old when I got him, and I have to say it was the perfect age. He still needed some house training, but it was never the constant small-puppy type of thing. Two weeks of going outside on a regular schedule, and he was pretty much on track.

The vet believes him to be a mix between a Corgi and a Jack Russell.

Socially, he is one of the most gregarious, friendly, kind, and intelligent dogs I have ever met. I lived in an apartment complex where we had a dog-walker who would walk a half-dozen dogs and keep a bunch of them in his apartment during walks. Baxter (my dog's name) was always the star of the show on the walks, and constantly got attention from people on the street. He is always willing to meet new people, and with both cats and other dogs he is playful but not aggressive. I've only heard him bark a few times, and while he can be a bundle of energy when I get home, he is usually able to entertain himself with a chew-toy.

Moral of this mushy story? My opinion is that you should go to the Humane Society and Animal Control, and keep going back every two weeks until you find a dog that really strikes your fancy. Look for the calm dogs, and ask the people at the HS how they behave on walks. Get an older dog if you want the convenience of training, or an "older-puppy" if you still want that good puppy phase without all the destruction. Not taking a dog home on your first trip unless the dog is absolutely perfect is the best way to go -- the longer you go and still want the dog, the more likely you are to "really want it."

Please don't buy from a breeder when there are so many good dogs out there in shelters!
posted by PandemicSoul at 2:55 PM on December 27, 2006

I just read this book about a family that adopts a beagle. It's a really funny book, and I love dogs, but I've got to say stories of beagle coprophilia and capricious attitude toward house training gave me pause.

You might check the site Glowdog, they have a test you can take to recommend a breed, or a mix of known breeds.
posted by tula at 3:02 PM on December 27, 2006

From pre-school through high school, I grew up in a suburban house with two beagles in succession (one at a time).

tricolor (black, white and tan)
medium to medium large on the beagle scale
thoroughly housetrained (wtf everone else)
trained to never go up on any furniture
never ever stole food not actually on the floor
very loyal
never ever attacked any person
never to be trusted off a leash and would make an extended break for it at the first opportunity
quiet by default
tore around the house like they were on fire after getting out of a bath
"sit" and "stay"
trained to sleep in the kitchen/breakfast nook at night
expressive demeanors

one would bark and bark at door knocks, but then just want to sniff whoever entered. The other would just silently check out whoever came in.
one was all alpha, always straining at the end of the leash, the other was all lovable lump, content to meander at a relaxed stroll.

I thought of them as shedders, but they were my only dogs, so I couldn't really draw a contrast.

In between the first one dieing and the purchase of the new puppy, my mom lasted exactly one morning without him peeking around the corner to the kitchen to greet her in the morning.
posted by NortonDC at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2006

Beagles are great dogs if you live in the country. They are terrible dogs for the city.

They are bred to run and bark, really, that's their job. They chase fast animals and bark to let you know where the animal is. If you are not in the mood for a dog that wants to run and bark or don't have the facilities for a running barking dog, look elsewhere.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:55 PM on December 27, 2006

Australian cattle dog: small, smart, trainable. Everything you could want in a canine companion.
posted by SPrintF at 5:47 PM on December 27, 2006

Wow. I feel I should step in and defend beagles! Much of the abive is true and fits the beagles stereotype, but I think there are lots of beagles that are much easier to deal with. We got our rescue beagle Ginger from a foster home, where she'd been living with 2 other Beagles for 6 months. We could see exactly what we were getting: a calm, quite quiet and loving dog. I would really reccomend this organisation:

Ginger is a lazy cow and happily spends 20 hours a day on her bed in our apartment. She does require a good bit of outdoor walking: she gets an hour and a half minimum each day. I think this more for mental stimulation as much as physical exhaustion: she has to sniff everything. Every mark on the pavement, every blade of grass, every person's shopping bag, every and I mean every tree etc. This is really quite exhausting and as others have said beagles can't ever be let off the lead.

She is however, the cutest dog on the block and she is great with kids. At least 30% of people who walk past her say "aww" and smile at her, which she adores.

Beagles can be tough, but our experience has been pretty plain sailing so far..
posted by tonylord at 8:05 PM on December 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm a little late to the game, and I hope stuff with Georgie works out (he's adorable! And hooray for adopting from shelters!), but if you're just curious about breeds in general check out They have a 'find the right breed' quiz that's pretty great, too.

There's a lot to be said for an individual dog's personality, though, which another plus for adopting from a shelter or a foster home -- someone's already been able to observe what the dog is like. I've met vicious cocker spaniels and sweet pit bulls, so breed characteristics only go so far. Personally, my family has always had German Shepherds, and they were the nicest dogs you could hope to meet. It's all in how you raise them.
posted by AV at 6:37 AM on December 28, 2006

My wife's comments: If you want a loving, family pet, a beagle is a great choice. I never thought I would be a dog person - I only liked cats - but my beagle has changed that. Shelby was easy to train with treats, we have had no problem with her trying to jump or climb our fence, and (maybe because she's a female) does not have that annoying beagle braying. She is friendly to adults and other dogs, and she absolutely loves children, whom she plays with very gently. Compared with the other dogs owned by family and friends, including a lab, a poodle, and a pug, my beagle is the most easy-going, least aggressive, and least time consuming dog.

My comments: this is my second beagle, and I couldn't be happier. Her personality is a little different than my one growing up (neutered male), as she's a little more active and playful, but just in last few months, she's become more of a couch/bed sharer and feels more comfortable chewing on a bone in another part of a room than she used to be.

Also, we've not had any problems with her on walks - an hour-long walk that's over 2 miles will have her behaving quite well, unless a cat or dog comes near. She doesn't want to fight, just sniff and would play if I let her.

Oh, and she's crate trained and handles that very well.
posted by fijiwriter at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2006

I am a new user. I signed up just to give you my take on the beagle question. The beagle is a great dog; I own a 13-inch one named Tippy. Tippy is about 4 years old, female, and came from a great beagle rescue group called Beagle of New England States (BONES). BONES has lots of information about beagles on their site.

My beagle is a great dog. She came to me house-broken and crate-trained. She barks when someone approaches the house, but stops barking when we respond to her barking by telling her to be quiet or by dealing with the person at the door. (To be accurate, she doesn't "bark," she "roos.")

She is loveable and gentle. She lets children and adults alike pull her ears and stick their fingers in her mouth. All of the other beagles I have met have this trait.

Tippy is obedient. Tippy sits, stays, gives kisses, lets us know when she needs to go outside, gets in her crate, begs, and walks well on her leash when we use her harness. The only time Tippy has peed inside is when I have left her alone for too long.

Tippy sheds no more or less than any other short-haired dog.

The only "downside" is that Tippy cannot go "off-leash" because she is too tempted by scents to not run off. At times, when we have gone hiking, I have been envious of other hikers and their off-leash dogs, but this is not such a negative that I wouldn't recommend a beagle.

Tippy, and all the other beagles I have met, are not "hyper." Mostly, they like to sleep during the day. That said, Tippy does like to run with me and play "tug" and "catch" with my husband. She brings him her toys when she wants to play and manages to entice him into a game, even when he seems not interested.

Adopting a beagle from a rescue group is a marvelous idea. The rescue group will support you and will allow you to chose the right dog. I didn't know how to house-train a dog, so I made sure I got one already trained.

Frankly, I've been puzzled by all the negative responses you received. I know a number of people with beagles as pets now and the dogs have all made consistently good pets.
posted by kellygreen at 4:51 PM on December 28, 2006

Here's another thumbs-up for the beag! My Jack is a "beagle of leisure" type, about as far from a diggy, howly, stealy, mean-spirited doggie spawn of Satan as you can get. He's dumber than the average bear, but also cuddlier and sweeter and smiles every time I look at him. We don't have a fenced yard (a mistake to be remedied soon), so we have to keep him on a long tie-out while he does his thang. He's fine with that. The fence you describe in your question would hold a beagle from jumping, but you may want to double-check the area where the fence meets the ground. (But you'd have to do this for most dogs, not just beagles.)

We just acquired a yellow lab ourselves, and Jack and the new dog are the best of friends after only a month. One point to consider when making the leap to a multi-dog household is that often the original dog will forget his/her training and manners for a while (think accidents and bad behavior) until the excitement over the new addition wanes.

If you're going for a purebred, remember there are two standard heights for beagles (13" and 15"), so a beagle may have a wide range of sizes.

I love my beagle and would get another in a heartbeat.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:57 PM on December 28, 2006

we had a beagle mix for most of my life (not sure what he was mixed with, but he was pretty big so maybe some kind of lab?) He was the calmest, sweetest dog. He did like to bark, and he did tend to roam all over the place (we lve on 50 acres so he got lost a lot, but always eventually came home). yes he ate everything and was fat and lazy, but he was so loyal and soft and oh i miss him. RIP, Rocky.

now we have a cocker spaniel and he is equally fabulous and cute and sweet and fun, although a LOT of work since he's allergic to everything and requires daily cleaning and detangling.

Lhasa Apsos are also wonderful. so quiet and calm, at least the two that i've known. that might be our next dog.
posted by silverstatue at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2006

I wish your cats good luck.
posted by leavens at 6:24 AM on February 14, 2007

Very late to this thread, I would defend beagles to my last breath.

They can have all of the characteristics mentioned by the folks above who don't like beagles or find them vexing or irritating. But any dog can be vexing or irritating in specific circumstances or around specific people.

I suppose there's something to be said for owning a beagle first before deciding whether you want another; in other words, you won't really know what one's like to live with until you've lived with him or her. If anyone wants a pet that is unlikely ever to annoy him or her, cause problems, or be irritating, for Pete's sake, get a goldfish.

We lost our 12-year-old beagle boy Bayley two weeks ago and I'm still almost inconsolable. I've lived with a pit bull/lab mix, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Australian shepherd, and have had encounters with all kinds of other breeds, including the ever-popular and ever-adorable golden retriever (but see Marley & Me for a corrective about adorable golden retrievers). I loved them all, but none as much as Bayley.

Bayley was a pain in the butt at least 50% of the time, whining all the time to go out to poop and sniff the grass, begging for food, constantly following me around the house and getting underfoot, aloof when you wanted his affection and overclingy when you weren't in the mood for it, often impossible to walk, howly around strangers, and unpleasant around other dogs. But he was also the sweetest and most loving dog imaginable.

I miss him with all my heart, and we're getting at least one more beagle as soon as we can.
posted by blucevalo at 4:18 PM on March 14, 2007

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