Is the Beagle the Right Breed for You?
Few people can resist the winsome eyes, soft muzzle, and all-around cuteness of a Beagle. But when it comes to living with a Beagle, you have to take more into consideration. You need to think about the pros and cons of Beagles and whether they are a good fit for your family.
The pros of owning a Beagle
Beagles are consistently one of the most popular breeds in America. What's behind the Beagle's appeal? Beagles offer something for almost everyone, including the following:
*They're adorable. Just one soulful gaze from this happy-go-lucky little hound is enough to render almost any dog lover totally smitten.
*They're low-maintenance. With a Beagle, you don't have to worry about untangling the coat, creating a canine top-knot, or booking an appointment with the local groomer
*They're small. That small size makes this breed ideal for people who can't or don't want to deal with the logistics of caring for larger dogs.
*They're versatile. Beagles are truly multitalented individuals. They not only can excel in the conformation ring but also in such activities as competitive obedience, agility, and flyball, not to mention their natural tracking ability.
*They're sociable. Simply put, Beagles enjoy the company of human beings. They relish meeting and greeting just about any person. Their friendliness also makes them great therapy dogs.
*They're kid-friendly. The Beagle can be wonderful companions for kids. The Beagle is small enough to be able to romp with children without knocking them over, but large and sturdy enough to interact with sometimes-clumsy kids with relative safety.
The cons of Beagle ownership
Alas, as wonderful and appealing as the Beagle can be, the breed also has its dark side. Consider the following possible disadvantages of living with Snoopy-dogs:
*They're vocal. All dogs bark, but the Beagle adds a little something extra to his vocal repertoire: the howl. If he lives in an apartment, this tendency will almost certainly draw the ire of his human neighbors.
*They may have bathroom issues. The Beagle has a reputation for being more difficult to housetrain than other breeds. Patience, consistency, and a commitment to total cleanup of bathroom indiscretions are required to teach your Beagle proper potty protocol.
*They follow their noses. Humorist Dave Barry once described the Beagle as a nose with four legs, and he wasn't kidding. This devotion to odor can get the Beagle into trouble — such as going through the garbage can indoors, wandering off the owner's property outdoors, and attempting to eat anything and everything if his owner isn't vigilant.
*They won't help your hay fever. The relatively short, straight hairs on the Beagle's coat could make an allergy-prone person's life horrible, particularly during seasons when the dog sheds. The Beagle's love of the outdoors means he's likely to carry other allergens, such as dirt, grass, and leaves, into your home.
*They have their own agendas. Beagles are very intelligent dogs, but they're not necessarily eager to please, which makes them more of a training challenge. In fact, without training, the Beagle can be downright ornery if his priorities conflict with yours.
If these apparent deficiencies give you pause, they should. No dog is perfect — and a Beagle is no exception. But the Beagle might still be your dream dog despite any physical and behavioral challenges he might pose. The key to success is knowing what you're getting into and having the patience to raise and train your new friend to be the best, not the worst, he can be.