Beagles have been used for hunting in Newfoundland and other areas for decades and have commonly been called “hunting” or “rabbit” dogs. Because these dogs have been associated with outdoor sport for generations, it has lead to the opinion that beagles, and hounds in general, should be kept as “outdoor” dogs requiring minimal care and little human interaction.
While some hunters may consider their dogs to be loyal companions who deserve the comforts of indoor living, the majority of people who use beagles to hunt share the belief that their dogs must stay outside to maintain the instinct to hunt prey. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is a beagle’s instinct to hunt and that is a trait he/she is born with. Just as it’s a collie’s instinct to chase and herd, hounds will find and follow a scent. Keeping a dog outside away from it’s human companions, does not increase it’s desire or willingness to hunt, chase, herd, or act instinctively in any way. A beagle kept outdoors is no more skilled as a predator than a beagle who sleeps at the foot of a bed each night.
This misguided view of beagles has lead to many myths surrounding their acceptable care and adequate living conditions.
Myth: A beagle must be hungry in order to hunt and should be fed every other day.
Fact: All dogs must receive a well-balanced diet of high quality dog food each day especially if they are involved in regular outdoor activity.
Myth: Spaying/neutering dogs ruins their ability to hunt.
Fact: There is no physical or behavioural evidence that shows spayed/neutered beagles are less effective hunters.
Myth: Beagles should be kept in outdoor enclosures or pens
Fact: Beagles enjoy the fresh air and should receive plenty of exercise through routine walks on a leash or in a fenced area. It is inhumane to keep a dog confined to a small enclosure for long periods of time.
Myth: Beagles can withstand the cold winter months with minimal shelter.
Fact: A beagle’s coat is smooth or short-haired and is not meant to protect against harsh weather conditions. Dogs who are left outside in the cold with inadequate shelter may suffer from sever frostbite, hypothermia and possibly death. The best place for a beagle is inside with his/her human family.
Myth: Beagles are dirty and have a distinctive smell.
Fact: Most people have experienced the sight and smell of a beagle kept outside in a pen that is in desperate need of a good cleaning. The result, a dog that lives in it’s own mess becomes associated with a foul odour. Any dog that does not receive the proper bathing and grooming will emit an unpleasant smell.
Myth: Beagles aren’t meant to be pets and can’t be housetrained.
Fact: Beagles are one of the most affectionate and loyal of all dog breeds. They are great with children and make loving companions. Though they may be stubborn to house train at times, all they require is a consistent routine and plenty of praise.
“Beagles are Pets Too!” provided by the Humane Services Animal Shelter (709) 576-8677
Photos provided by www.animalsvoice.com