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Beagles are among most favorite breeds. Their bubbly social personalities, obvious smarts, and adorable looks are some of the characteristics that have gained them their reputation as excellent family pets. But there’s so much you probably don’t know about this dog breed. When you look at a beagle’s features, one of the most prominent parts that stick out is its ears. According to the breed standard, their ears can reach the end of their nose when drawn out. These long, droopy ears and impressive eyes are generally what separates them from most canines. But aside from being adorable, did you know there’s an excellent purpose behind beagles having such huge and floppy ears?
Why Do Beagles Have Big Ears? The big ears are due to their breeding. Being scent hounds, beagles’ big floppy ears help funnel scents directly from the surrounding environment and keep them close to the dog’s nose for longer. This helps them in fragrance recognition and makes them a pro at chasing and hunting. The big ears also reduce their ability to hear far-off sounds, which forces them to rely more on their sense of smell.
You probably don’t need your Beagle to track your next meal, but their long, floppy ears are as cute as they are useful and create a good deal of entertainment. Beagle pet owners are notorious for playing with their dog’s ears, massaging, and folding them into funny shapes. But remember, this breed is prone to ear infections. The ears fall over the ear canal, blocking airflow and creating a rather dark and moist environment that encourages bacteria to grow. Carefully cleaning your Beagle‘s ears at least once a week can help prevent potential ear infections. Long ears remain a distinctive trait on beagles, so keep reading to learn more about this part of your dog’s body.
Scent Hounds – Ears Close To the Nose
Ears are among the most defining characteristics of a dog. They also are a huge part of understanding your furry friend’s needs, personality, and behavior. Belonging to the scent hound family, beagles have longer, floppier ears than other popular dog breeds. As discussed earlier, this is because of their historical purpose as a hunting companion and tracking dogs. You’re probably wondering what the length of a beagle’s ears has to do with their sense of smell.
In addition to having a powerful nose, a beagle’s big ears are actually very vital to their abilities as trackers and hunters. For starters, they are able to capture additional particles of scent on the trail that the nose might otherwise miss. Being close to the nose, the big ears are also able to sweep the scents towards the nose, and the particles stay around the sniffing area, allowing the Beagle to get a better sniff. The ears also hold onto scents, allowing the dog to carry reference samples as they hunt or track. Last but not least, the floppy ears reduce the dog’s ability to hear far-off sounds quite as well as upright ears can, forcing them to rely on their sense of smell.
So basically, a beagle’s big ears are a big asset to its natural hunting instincts. Instead of having straight upright ears, Beagles’ large, floppy ears have been developed through breeding to help them follow scents better.
Do Beagle Puppies Have A Strong Sense Of Smell?
When it comes to the sense of smell, your dog’s is approximately thousands of times more sensitive than yours. Beagles have some of the best noses in the dog world, and the same goes for their puppies as well. With over 200 million scent receptors, your beagle puppy’s keen sense of smell can be superior to many popular breeds. Their nose is quite perceptive at differentiating between scents that you can actually train it to recognize as many as 50 distinct odors. It’s no wonder beagles are used in security and law enforcement.
Beagle puppies navigate by the smell from the moment they are born, long before their hearing has developed and when their eyes are still closed. In fact, like other scent dogs, they have a special olfactory lobe of their brains (around 40 times larger than a human’s) dedicated to processing, storing, and figuring out what those smells are. Your puppy’s ability to sniff out anything is what helps them discover the world around them.
Beagles are bred for tracking and hunting, and your puppy’s wide, wet nose with long snouts is perfect for picking up all kinds of smells. Scientists have found that its big, floppy ears assist the Beagle’s nose. With ears often reaching the end of their noses, they both stir up and catch scent molecules, directing them towards the nose so your puppy can smell and identify the scent trail even better.
That being said, a beagle puppy’s amazing sense of smell is not as strong as an adult beagle; after all, it is still developing. That super-sniffer behavior is a huge part of their biological makeup, and it’s best to encourage it. Your beagle puppy needs to exercise that powerful sniffer, so give them the opportunity to sniff. Taking them to new places such as the park or simply a walk around the neighborhood will provide them with new smells to inventory, thus growing them to become the champion sniffers this breed is known to be.
Breed Behaviour and Personality
If you own or are going to own a beagle, what are your expectations from them? There are probably a ton of questions on your mind when thinking of adding a four-legged member to your family. Beagles are even-tempered dogs, meaning they are neither too timid nor too aggressive. Key beagle personality traits are friendly, loving, loyal companions, and curious. They do quite well with children of all ages; however, puppies are rather hyper and may need to be supervised when around very young children.
In addition to having a happy personality, beagles are highly energetic family dogs. This means they’re always thrilled to play fetch or take part in other fun activities. Being high energy and highly intelligent means your Beagle will require plenty of physical and mental regular exercise. Otherwise, they will resort to destructive behavior like digging to release pent-up energy.
Beagles were meant to work together in packs, which means they get along well with other dogs and love human companionship. The downside to this is they are prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to unpleasant effects like barking, howling, and destroying things around them during their period of anxiety.
They were also bred to be hunting companion dogs and have an incredible sense of hearing and smell. But it would help if you remembered how that inner hunting instinct could affect your Beagle. For starters, while they make popular family pet, they tend to chase small animals and may struggle to get along with cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small household pets.
Beagles are explorers, and together with their strong sense of smell, it can be risky to let them off their leash. They may end up running off to chase after a scent. This also means they are easily distracted.
While your Beagle has a unique set of traits to which it is predisposed, its own personality will be a combination of genetics, environment, and training. A significant portion of its temperament will also be determined by early socialisation. Their behaviour, on the other hand, is influenced by their present and past environment. When the environment proves suitable, filled with love, enough care, and playful activities, your Beagle will likely be calm and good-natured.
Why Does My Beagle Have Small Ears?
We’ve already determined that beagles have big ears, but how big are they? According to the AKC breed standard for beagles, the ears should be long, reaching nearly to the end of the nose when drawn out, and be rounded at the tips as well. These distinctive ears tend to be fine in texture, cover much of the dog’s face while hanging gracefully close to cheeks.
This standard emphasizes exactly how specific parts of your dog’s body should like for it to be considered the perfect Beagle. But what if your beagle has the opposite physical traits? For instance, your Beagle has pointy ears that sit on the top of its head. Well, it very well may be that you don’t own a beagle or, at the least, not a pure breed. Another reason for small ears instead of long, floppy ones is they could have been bred in unfavorable conditions. That being said, it depends on how short the ears are.
A good example is the contrast between the English Beagle and the American Beagle. The ears on the former are longer than their American counterparts and tend to be adjusted at the tip. When an English Beagle pulls their ear to full length, it reaches the tip of its nose. On the other hand, the American Beagle has somewhat more limited ears than its English counterparts. When their ears are pulled out, they probably won’t reach the furthest point of their nose tip.