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Are Beagles Hunting Dogs? The Truth About These Sniffers

Are Beagles Hunting Dogs? The Truth About These Sniffers

Beagles are probably one of the most famous hunting and family dogs around the globe. As hunting dogs, they are always ready for some hunting action such as hunting rabbits, foxes, and many other animals.

Beagles are recognized by the National Beagle Club and the American Kennel Club (AKC) as hunting dogs. Hunting Beagles belong to the hound dog group of hunters.

The intention was to make Beagles hunting dogs, and I can only say that it succeeded. They were originally supposed to hunt rabbits and foxes because of their great sense of smell.

Nowadays, Beagle dog breeds are recognized as family pets. They are playful, clean, neat, and great with children. But, nevertheless, they still possess extremely good hunting skills and are very capable hunters.

This article will explain why Beagles are hunting dogs, how Beagles evolved as hunters, and why they make excellent hunting companions. In addition, we’ll talk about one interesting topic of how to train your Beagle to “hunt” if that’s your final objective.

Are Beagles Hunting Dogs?

Beautiful beagle dog standing outdoor

Beagles were originally bred to be hunters. They developed a sharp sense of smell, short legs, long ears, and excellent instincts in the wild. All this makes them a very popular breed among the scent hounds. Scent hounds are a type of small dog that hunt primarily by scent rather than by sight.

In the eighteenth century, the most famous hunting Beagle was the St. Hubert Hound. After that, the Talbot Hound was created, and he took over the spotlight of being an outstanding hunting dog. However, Talbot Hounds had an issue – they were too slow and sluggish. They had exceptional tracking ability, but they were too slow to chase rabbits. Breeders had to find a solution to this problem. To boost their speed, breeders, including the best breeders from California, simply crossbred Talbot hounds with Greyhounds to combine stamina and speed.

Another type of hunting Beagle is the small but cute pocket Beagle. Unfortunately, due to his small size and speed, he never thrived to become an excellent hunting dog. People just opted for bigger and larger dogs because they could chase and catch bigger prey.

You can check out the Beagle growth chart to know exactly what size was the favorite.

The modern Beagle as we know him today was developed in the early 19th century.

Now, let’s jump to some more interesting stuff!


Beagles were such a popular hunting companion in the 19th century that their act of hunting was given its own name: “beagling.” This was popular when hunters sought to experience the thrill of the hunt while putting themselves in less danger.

Beagling hunts were mostly for hares, foxes, and rabbits. Hunters would lead a pack of Beagles, generally ten or sometimes even more, on foot in pursuit of small game. Beagles would locate the animal and give the hunter a signal by using their remarkable nose.

Beagling was ideal for both experienced and inexperienced rabbit hunters. It was unquestionably less dangerous and risky than fox hunting. Beagling was a fantastic method for new hunters to learn the basics of how to handle tiny hounds through the wild.

Read Next: How Much Do Beagles Cost? Puppy And Adult Dog Life Expenses

What Makes The Beagle A Great Hunting Dog?

beagle dog lying outdoor in leaves

Simply put, Beagles have been bred to be excellent hunting dogs. They are a clever dog breed that are best when hunting. Furthermore, being trained to hunt for multiple generations has given them superb hunting instincts.

Breed standard has changed nowadays. Breeders are breeding Beagles to be household pets. And, just because Beagles have been tamed as family pets, or to be watchdogs or guard dogs does not imply they have lost all of their instincts. You could still train your Beagle to hunt today if you wanted to. That instinct in them never dies. In fact, some Beagles are still hunting today!

They are also quite vigilant, and can detect minor motions that may signal potential prey. All of these characteristics exist in modern-day Beagles, and provide a look into their background as hunting dogs.

If Beagles are famous for anything, it’s their remarkable nose and ability to analyze scents. Beagles have the third greatest nose in the dog world. Some may even claim that these dogs have the best sense of smell.

So, how good is a Beagle’s nose? Beagles have 225 million scent receptors, making their sense of smell thousands of times greater than a human’s! Some researchers believe it may be up to ten thousand times better.

Humans have around five million smell sensors. There aren’t many dog breeds that have better senses than Beagles. Only Bloodhounds and German Shepherds have a slightly better nose than a Beagle. Basset Hounds and Terrier dog breeds have around 200 million scent receptors, and are considered excellent hunting dogs as well!

The volume of scent receptors doesn’t necessarily determine a good hunter. But, it could be a clear indication that these dogs have great tracking skills. It’s a big reason why the Beagle breed is such great hunters.

Hunting With Their Long Ears

The Beagle’s flexible long ears are a distinguishing feature of their physique. But, did you realize that their ears have a special function? No, it’s not only to make them appear nice and lovely. In reality, their ears aid in the detection of smells.

The Beagle uses its long ears to collect the scents and smells, and chase them to its nose. Their ears have the ability to extend all the way to the tip of their nose.

Beagles may use their ears to collect smell particles due to their particular shape. Furthermore, they will direct these particles towards their nostrils, forming a smell funnel.

This ability is very useful for Beagles. They use this to their advantage in order to follow different animal traces. It’s not a coincidence that all hunting dogs (foxhounds and Basset hounds) have long ears. This is what makes them good at their hunting jobs.

The Beagle’s Body Is Designed To Hunt

A Beagles’ body is designed in such a way that they make excellent hunting dogs. Here are some of the less notable body parts that make Beagles outstanding hunters.

Let’s start with their neck. The neck of the Beagle is somewhat prolonged. Furthermore, the neck is strong and well-constructed. All of these traits help them to lower their head to the ground and pick up different scents and smells.

A Beagles’ legs are also shorter than those of most dogs. Again, because their head is often closer to the ground, this makes it simpler for them to sniff up odors. It is difficult to track small game for several hours without these physical abilities.

Hunting Adaptations

Beagles are appreciated for their hunting adaptations. The most important ones are hunting in the dark, and long-distance runs. Their versatility and adaptations come into play during long searches. Because Beagles are powerful dogs with a lot of energy, they can sprint for long distances, which comes in handy on long and exhausting hunting trips.

Beagles may also hunt at dark or in the morning when there isn’t much light. They have a white-tipped tail, which helps hunters to recognize them in the dark.

Hunting Beagles were used for hunting animals like cottontail rabbits and pheasants. But, thanks to their numerous adaptations, they are now used for hunting even larger prey like foxes and many other animals similar in size.

Related Article: Male Vs Female Beagle

How To Train A Beagle

cute beagle puppy running over meadow

If your desire is to train your Beagle to hunt, then hunting zones are the way to go. There also exist hunting clubs where you can meet other Beagle owners and discuss their behavior, exchange advice, and maybe, if you want to have fun, hunt together.

We will help you with some tips and tricks of training a Beagle to hunt.

The first step would be to hide toys and sweets around the house. This gives your Beagle puppy the opportunity to sharpen its hunting skills.

Another important thing would be letting your Beagle puppy hunt with older and more experienced Beagles. This will help them to quickly learn some new moves in hunting and tracking prey.

The next move would be introducing your puppy to gunfire sounds. This is very important because they have never heard it before, and they would otherwise get scared and run away.

The final thing would be taking your Beagle on an actual hunt. You should take them to a spot that is known for having a lot of rabbits and other small game in the area so they can train their chasing skills as well. Practice makes perfect!

Bird Hunting

You won’t believe this, but Beagles can actually hunt birds, too. Although they are designed to chase and hunt rabbits, they can also be trained to hunt birds.

Of course, you can’t expect them to be as successful at bird hunting as in rabbit hunting. They are simply designed to follow ground scents and follow animal trails.

But, if they see a bird, the instinct kicks in and they start chasing it.

The Beagle’s Way Of Hunting

With all this being said, you now get an understanding of why Beagles are great hunters. Now, let us learn something about how Beagles actually hunt in the wild.

Beagles frequently hunt in packs. When the Beagle is given the signal to leave, groups of the pack depart together to hunt for prey.

The Beagles use their nose to follow different animal trails and scents. They follow those trails until they discover the small game. When they spot the prey, they will do everything in their power to flush it out in the open.

Beagles have a distinctive way of signaling the hunter that they found the prey. In most cases, it is group howling while chasing the prey.

The last thing that a Beagle will do when they chase the prey into open territory is stop and wait for the hunters to take the shot. After they shoot, they assign the Beagles a new mission – to chase more animals!

Hunting Personality

two beagle puppies posing outdoor

A Beagle’s favorite thing to do is some scent-oriented activities. They love when they are stimulated to do something they like, and this stimulation is very important in order to improve their hunting skills. Because they are scent hounds, their high sense of smell and outstanding tracking instincts make these dogs exceptional hunting partners.

Most of the time, they are distracted by smells and odors around them, and in that case, it might be difficult to recall them. Once they pick up a scent, it’s very hard to get them back to you. This personality trait allows them to socialize with other Beagles, and to hunt together in a pack.

Beagle personality qualities include love, curiosity, and friendliness. It is quite rare for a Beagle to have an aggressive or violent nature. They do, however, have a loud voice, and they are recognized for their deep howls. This is sometimes called the Beagle’s “singing”. They tend to answer with their highly musical voice.

One disadvantage of Beagles being group animals is that they might suffer from a disorder called canine separation anxiety. This illness might have some negative consequences, as they would most likely destroy objects around them during their panic attacks.

Beagle Health Problems

While Beagles are generally healthy animals, it is known that they could suffer from some serious illnesses.

The Beagle is a social kind of dog that enjoys being in the company of both people, kids, and other dogs. Beagles should also spend as much time outside as they do indoors. Regular exercise, such as romping in the park or in a large yard, as well as regular leash-led walks, are excellent outside activities for a Beagle.

This dog breed can survive in almost every region, and spend most of the year outside as long as it has bedding and a warm, enclosed shelter.

Beagles are prone to a variety of eye and ear problems. These conditions can vary from tiny eyes to cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. Also, ear infections are a real threat to their well-being. You know that Beagles use their ears to funnel smells to their nose. That’s how they get the infection.

Another relevant condition in Beagles is epilepsy. This condition manifests itself in the form of seizures. Anticonvulsants are used as treatment for this unusual condition.

The usual diseases that can strike a Beagle are all curable with proper help from a veterinarian. Most common health problems linked to Beagles are obesity, allergies, and hypothyroidism.

As you may assume, a Beagle’s lifespan isn’t affected by these conditions. After all, a good diet and quality dog food means a good-quality Beagle!

Taking Care Of Beagles

cute beagle jumping outdoor

In order to maintain your Beagle’s health, take him to the veterinarian for necessary vaccines and frequent examinations. This breed is genetically predisposed to a number of ailments, including intervertebral disk disease, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy.

To keep him healthy and at the right weight, feed him high-quality dry food. Beagles will eat as long as food is available, which will lead to obesity. To keep your beagle from scavenging between meals, keep your pantry and garbage cans well locked.

Your dog needs to stretch his legs. Beagles need at least one hour of regular exercise every day. When your beagle is outside, either keep him in a gated and secure area, or take him for multiple leash-led walks every day.

Make sure those places where you take your Beagle for a walk are safe since a Beagle has a tendency to stray, especially if he smells anything fascinating. If left alone for too long, a bored, house-bound Beagle can become noisy and destructive. Regular exercise is essential for both your and your Beagle’s pleasure.

Final Thoughts

This article gives us the answer to the question, “are Beagles hunting dogs”?, and the answer is that the Beagle is a hunting dog by nature. I hope you learned something new and useful about the many hunting skills that Beagles possess. The Beagle is a little bit of everything: family dog, hunting dog, guard dog, and much, much more!

Beagles are probably one of the most famous hunting and family dogs around the globe. As hunting dogs, they are always ready for some hunting action such as hunting rabbits, foxes, and many other animals.

A Beagle’s favorite things to do are playing and hunting. To be excellent in hunting, they use their body proportions the right way. Every part of a Beagle’s body has its purpose, and that purpose is to successfully hunt!

In the end, if you take proper care of your beloved Beagle, you should not have any problem with them. You can train them to be hunting dogs – you can train them to be family dogs. It solely depends on what you want.