Today I am teaming up with Royal Canin who make food that is nutritionally tailored to different dog breeds to give you an insight into Beagle ownership…
Out on dog walks I often encounter people who make a beeline for our dog and say they have “always wanted to have a Beagle” and there is something very appealing about these real life Snoopys, but what are they like to own?
Bella our own Beagle is a Cypriot rescue dog who we’ve had for six years. I knew very little about the breed when we first rehomed her and have learned an awful lot since, which is definitely not the best way to approach it.
Being hounds, Beagles are pack dogs and like company. Many Beagle owners I know have more than one dog (though not necessarily two Beagles) and Bella is not exceptional in her inability to cope with being left alone. In fact we can’t leave her n the garden when we go out as she will perform impressive acrobatics to escape and then run joyously down our lane to be reunited with us as though we could never have intended to leave without her! More than once I’ve had to turn up somewhere with her in a makeshift lead.
Beagles are famously highly food motivated. If you do a quick search of youtube you’ll come across a selection of impressive stunts performed by these hungry hounds who will go to incredible lengths for a snack. There’s one video in particular where a Beagle manages to navigate round a kitchen to reach an oven which he then opens in order to access the cooking contents. There are also quite a lot of Beagles that open fridges on their own.
Bella’s own food stealing efforts aren’t as extreme, although she does go through bins and people’s handbags and will eat absolutely anything left in her reach including stuff that once had contact with food like sweet wrappers! Her off-piste diet has lead to a few health problems in the past. I have written before about our struggle with diagnosing (and now treating) her Lymphomatic Enteritis/Colitis, a condition which was undoubtedly caused or triggered by the rubbish she has consumed. She is currently on low dose antibiotics and a couple of homeopathic treatments but otherwise eats a normal diet.
So Beagles are escape artists and food stealers – What are the good sides of their character? Well it turns out that Beagles unfortunate association with testing labs came about as a result of one of their better personality traits. They are quite simply very docile and calm animals. In testing labs they were used because they wouldn’t bite the staff and we have found our dog to be the perfect pet to have around children. When Theo was younger Bella would often be hugged tightly or have her eyes poked and I would intervene and take her away, only to find she was crawling back for more attention. My niece Millie has also always been a big fan of Bella as you can see above!
Caution must be applied when you have a Beagle out on a walk. People are often surprised to see Bella off the lead at all and we do have to pick and choose our moments, once her nose is down and she has a scent she loses her hearing totally and will not be lured back for anything, even when she is just a few feet away. One of her favourite tricks is to disappear into a field of crops and emerge two hours later looking a little sheepish. Fortunately for us it’s often one of the fields near our house and so after many wasted hours trying to call her back, I have started to be a little more relaxed and I leave her to come home on her own.
In conclusion Beagle ownership is nothing if not eventful, but I don’t think we’d be without her. She is certainly one of those dogs that will be fondly remembered when the children are older. Her distinctive character has infiltrated almost every area of our family life.
Thank you to Royal Canin for Bella’s great hamper and if you are considering dog ownership and would like to find out more about the personalities of different breeds head over to the Royal Canin website where you can find the “Royal Family” guide.
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