Beagle food will be left uneaten!

Beagles are hound dogs with acute senses of smell. They are often employed as detection and quarantine dogs world wide. Sadly, they are also the dog of choice for animal testing probably because of their small / medium size, short hair, gentle, friendly nature and even temper.

Beagles are pack hounds and benefit from not being the only dog in the house. They love children, company, cuddles and being considered an important family member. They will bark and bay in excitement. They will be equally at home in the role of lap dog and playmate, but suffer terribly from loneliness. Left to their own devices, they can become very naughty, digging holes and pulling washing off the line. They love playing in the dirt!

Training is the big issue with Beagles. They are the hardest dog in the world to train. You need to be very patient teaching one command at a time. Once they have mastered commands they will be obedient, with one exception - if you let them off lead. Their natural instinct to follow scents will see them wander off, following their nose. These dogs are prime candidates for getting lost, so make sure their backyard is very secure.

Because of their great sense of smell, they are experts in sniffing out food, so this also needs to be kept out of reach, bins need to be tightly lidded and pantry doors shut tight. Beagles enjoy food immensely and will eat to bursting point if you let them. They will also relish dead and rotting things and if they don't eat it, they will roll in it! You will need to closely monitor their food intake or they will quickly become obese.

Regular exercise is also a must, on lead. Because of their scent drive, they are not good jogging or running companions, and they will want to stop for a sniff every few minutes. Long walks with encouragement to keep their head up are the way to go.

Beagles are an extremely healthy breed free of most common dog ailments and diseases, so they are low maintenance in terms of veterinary bills. They do shed quite a bit so a regularly brush and a monthly bath are necessary. With minimal effort, Beagles will be great companions for 12 - 15 years.

<ul> <li>Small / medium, short haired dog</li> <li>Very friendly</li> <li>Acute sense of smell</li> <li>Needs companionship</li> <li>Slow to train</li> </ul>