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Beagles are intelligent, hunting dogs who instinctively want to please their handler in the ways they know how: chasing small animals, barking and howling, and always having the energy to go-go-go. They’re small, falling between 13 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder, and have short hair. One of their most common coat colors or patterns is tri-color. Despite being a smaller hound, they have a big personality and the stamina to keep up on any adventure. Beagles are very cute but aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and they can easily be perceived as mean or bad because of the natural behaviors they display.
Are Beagles Mean? Beagles are mean because they’re a working breed of dog that sometimes find themselves in homes where they have no job and too much time to be bored. When a working dog doesn’t have a job, you can see behavioral issues manifest as high prey drive, destructiveness, escaping, and more.
The Beagle isn’t typically recognized as an “aggressive” dog by the breed standard. They do well with other dogs because they instinctively hunt in a pack. They’re often very friendly with people as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for most households though. A Beagle with too much time on its paws will get itself into trouble without proper training, socializing, and enrichment. Like any other dog breed, Beagles have specific needs that must be met in order for them to thrive. Before bringing one home, you would want to prepare yourself for the amount of energy, training, and enrichment a Beagle demands of its owner.
Why are Beagles so mean
Beagles are mean when they’re not given the proper structure to live happily in a home. Just because we bring a dog into a house and expect it to make a great pet doesn’t mean that the dog won’t have to work against its own instincts to become that great pet. Beagles are working against instincts seen in hunting dogs such as:
Prey drive in dogs in the natural desire to chase, catch, and potentially kill and eat small animals. This fixation is typically demonstrated towards squirrels, birds, rabbits, and other flighty wild animals. Sometimes, dogs with particularly high prey drives are unsafe to live with cats.
Beagles, as a breed of hunting dog, tend to have decent prey drives because their jobs are usually to pursue the animals their handler is hunting. If you aren’t a hunter, this behavior can be perceived as mean.
Biting and Nipping
Biting, nipping, and chewing is natural behavior of all dog breeds. It takes time for puppies to learn when and what they can bite or chew on. Puppies learn not to bite by playing with littermates and, eventually, their owners. They need to be redirected to toys, chews, or other tasks to understand that there is a time and place for these behaviors.
However, it’s not uncommon for working dogs to bite or nip more persistently than other breeds. Make sure to give your Beagle plenty of other ways to occupy themselves such as playing with toys, exercising, and doing nose work.
Beagles are curious and love to explore new places, things, and smells. When left to occupy themselves, they can be very destructive. If you’re lucky, they may just tear up a toy or two but you could also find that they take their boredom out on the couch.
When with your Beagle, you should be supervising and interacting with them so they have something to do. If you need to leave your Beagle for work or errands, you should crate them to keep them from destroying something important or ingesting something dangerous. Crate training can easily keep your Beagle safe and prevent the headache of chewed-up shoes, cords, etc.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) wouldn’t say beagles are mean, but that they’re misunderstood. The AKC describes Beagle personality as high energy, noisy, moderately stubborn to train, and enjoying work. They’re overall affectionate and playful and are very popular in the United States, despite being a working breed.
Beagles are commonly portrayed as loyal best friends in books and movies. Their big eyes and happy-go-lucky demeanor are cute, and they’re small enough to not be too intimidating without being stereotyped by smaller dog behaviors. They’re also very determined to be a part of something bigger than themselves – such as a family unit or pack.
As a result, Beagles sometimes display signs of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in Beagles can look like a lot of other common behaviors displayed at the same time, specifically when you have to leave your dog alone. Beagles definitely prefer to be with their person or another dog than to be by themselves.
Their intelligence, activity level, and desire to spend quality time together make them good candidates for dog sports such as agility, tracking, and barn hunt training.
Are beagles good for first-time owners?
For a first-time dog owner, a Beagle may not be the right fit. You want to consider breed characteristics such as energy level, prey drive, size, etc., and evaluate how those characteristics would fit your lifestyle. It’s very important to weigh the pros and cons of bringing any animal home before committing to them.
For example, Beagles are a great apartment-size dog breed but they are incredibly loud which wouldn’t make you the favorite neighbor. Beagles are also very prey-driven towards smaller animals because of their natural instinct to hunt. If you’re also a cat owner, this could potentially put your cat in harm’s way if a Beagle isn’t properly socialized with cats.
A first-time dog owner with no prior dog experience would likely feel overwhelmed by Beagle tendencies. Once a Beagle is on a scent, they follow it until they find what they’re looking for. This means they’re not often trustworthy off leash and can be escape artists if your fence isn’t properly secured.
They can be stubborn to train, despite the fact that they are very food motivated. Without prior dog experience, a new Beagle owner might not know how to break bad habits and set a working dog up for success at home.
On the other hand, if a first-time dog owner has prior experience with dogs and is interested in a smaller breed with a higher energy level then a Beagle may be a good fit. Beagles would be a good breed to start dog sports with or go on leashed hikes with. They’re very loyal, as many dogs are.
When given plenty of enrichment opportunities to use their brains and let out some energy, Beagles can be a great fit for the right owner.
Why are Beagles so bad?
There is a dog breed for everyone. While Beagles may be bad dogs for some people, they’re great dogs for others. Let’s review:
- Beagles are one of the smallest breeds of hound dogs. Their size makes them more manageable than a larger hound.
- Beagles are very smart and love to work. They would do great with someone who enjoys spending a lot of time with their dog.
- Beagles are affectionate and friendly overall.
- Beagles are working dogs, so when they are bored they can become destructive or display biting and nipping.
- Beagles can have a high prey drive and are very motivated by smell. They can become fixated on small animals or decide to escape in order to track down a scent.
- Beagles can develop separation anxiety when left alone frequently and for too long at one time.
Beagles are going to be bad dogs for someone who wants a couch potato for a pet. If you lack experience with dogs, Beagles may seem to be mean. In reality, they’re displaying natural behaviors that require training and structure to manage.
Learning about dog breeds and interacting with different types of dogs is a great way to decide what characteristics will make a great pet for you personally. In addition to understanding what you’re looking for in a dog, you can also ask yourself how much work you’re willing to put into your relationship with a dog.
Learning about training techniques and making sure your schedule allows for a dog can eliminate a lot of stress so you can focus on the great parts of dog ownership. Dog ownership is demanding, but it can be very rewarding as well.
Even if you’re drawn towards beagles.