Everything I know About a Beagle I Learned from Sammy
Everything I know and learned about a beagle dog, I learned from our family beagle, Sammy. Sammy came to us in the spring of 1997 and sadly, left us recently to run and play in heaven. This is his story and our tribute to a special beagle dog. It is very true, that everything I know about a beagle, I learned the hard way (and sometimes fun way) by trial and error.
Even though you can read books on Beagles, you have to own one to know one. When I meet someone today who has a beagle in their family, we compare notes and laugh about how their personalities and behaviors are so similar. There is more to them than their soulful eyes and extrordinary sense of smell!
I mentioned Sammy was a family dog, in that he was brought home by my grown son, and lived back and forth between all of us. That is his story:
Photos in this story by Nancia
A Tri-colored Beagle Named Sammy
A recommended handbook or guide if considering owning a Beagle or if you already have a Beagle dog in your family and want to learn more about this wonderful breed of dog.
The Early Years
Sammy was born in April on a farm in rural Ohio. My son drove 25 miles down a dirt road to pick up Sammy for $25. A country beagle headed for the city of Cincinnati. The first night with my son was a tough one for the little guy (and Sammy too). The little beagle pup cried and cried and missed his mommy. After a time, Sammy quieted down and got used to living with my son. I do believe he may have been a bit young at six weeks to leave his mommy and developed a case of separation anxiety later on.
Oh, but the little beagle dog was so cute. He was a tri-colored pup with perfect markings. Sammy did not come with pedigree papers, but he was pure beagle!
I learned that a beagle pup loves to run. Sammy would love to go out in the grass and just run in circles. We called them "Sammy Circles". He was just so funny. One day I learned about his determined personality at only 3 months old. He got out into our front yard that did not have a fence, so I went to pick him up to put in the back yard, and he bit me. Hard. It wasn't a playful nip, but a bite to tell me he did not want to do what I wanted him to. That was my first experience with the stubbornness of a beagle. They do have minds of their own.
Our Beagle's Favorite Toys
Sammy loved toys with squeakers. It was a game for him to find and take out the squeaker, removing the stuffing as he searched. This flat raccoon was his favorite plush toy.
Their Love of Food
A beagle dog loves food. Not just their own, but everyone's food. I don't know if it is due to their keen sense of smell, but they seem to always be hungry. At least that is how they act. Also, in discussing beagles with other beagle owners, they all seem to love to get into the garbage, steal food when you are not looking and beg uncontrollably. Oh, those eyes look so sad! Sammy would steal food whenever he could.
When he went to live with my sons in Las Vegas, Nevada while they went to college, Sammy practiced his food-stealing skills. We still laugh at when my son had to fight Sammy to get his special 12 inch turkey sub sandwich back. Sammy would not let go of the package. Sammy taught us all not to leave any food items unattended unless you did not really want it. Later on, Sammy was in his glory when the grandson was born and would drop food from the high chair. The baby was Sammy's best friend!
My son worked in corrections and the department had a beagle dog on staff. He worked as a K-9 "sniffer". They will take him in to the cells to sniff out any drugs or contraband that does not belong in the jail. Beagles and other hound dogs are being used in jobs such as these or border stations since they have such a keen sense of smell.
I recommend a book on training prior to bringing your Beagle home. It will give you tips and suggestions on items to use for training your new pup.
Worry and Anxiety
I mentioned earlier that I suspect Sammy had a case of Separation Anxiety. He hated when anyone he was living with had to leave to go to either work or school. A beagle dog has a good sense of what is going on, and Sammy knew when we were getting ready to leave him. He started by getting that worried look in his eyes, then he would begin to whimper which led to the howl. Oh, have you heard a beagle dog howl? It is very loud.
My daughter-in-law has a funny story that she would literally have to go out her bedroom window to go to work so Sammy would not see her leave. The neighbors did not think a beagle dog howling was cute. Things got better when my daughter-in-law was able to work from home once she had her son. Sammy still did not like it when they left the house for appointments, but it wasn't as severe as when he was alone every day.
Beagles are naturally bred to run in packs chasing rabbits on the hunt. He thought the family as his pack and didn't want them to leave him behind. During his later years, he had the pleasure of living with my mother-in-law and her dogs in rural Utah where he could run free in the large yard and howl all he wanted.
When Sammy got older, I took him out of the city to live with us in the rural area of mid-Utah. He seemed to be much happier there than the city. He loved to roam the large yard and take in all the smells. A beagle dog has a great sense of smell due to those long ears and sensitive nose.
On one of our walks with Sammy in the middle of winter when ice was at least 6 inches thick on the ground, Sammy stopped and started to dig in the ice. We went to see what he found, and he found a donut on the ground under all that ice. Now that is a good sense of smell!
Sammy took sick with cancer. There were days when he could only drag along. Those eyes were so sad but full of love for us. We made him as comfortable as he could be with all his favorite toys. He left us in the winter of 2008 at only 11 years old.
I know that Sammy is running free and chasing rabbits in beagle dog heaven where all beagles run in packs and chase their dreams.
Beagle or Not to Beagle?
Do you have a favorite pet?
I hope my story about Sammy gives you a glimpse of how special a beagle dog can be. They are great family dogs, very loyal and true to their "pack". They need lots of love, healthy food and a place to run and play. A couple years back, the beagle dog, Uno, won the Westminister Dog Show as Best of Show. I was cheering for that beagle dog all the way!
- Member of the Hound Group
Beagles are scent hounds bred primarily for tracking rabbits and other small game. This is called "beagling"; usually running in "packs".
- Physical Description of the Beagle
Most kennel clubs around the world recognize beagle varieties between 13 inches and 16 inches in height. Males weigh 22-25 lbs (10-11 kg) and females from 20-23 lbs (9-10 kg). Coloring is the popular tri-color of white with large black areas and light brown shading or white in combination with red, lemon or orange/brown.
- Basic Health of the Beagle
Beagles typically live 10-13 years which is the common lifespan of a dog this size. Fairly healthy in general, the beagle may be prone to epilepsy, hypothyroidism and some types of dwarfism. They also can develop disk disease, inner ear infections and eye problems. The most common problem is weight gain.
Personality Traits and Temperament
The beagle has a pretty even temper and gentle disposition which makes them great family pets. They are prone to separation anxiety since they are bred to be pack animals. They will bark at strange situations and "bay" or howl when they catch a "scent". Beagles are intelligent, but since they were bred for a long chase they are single-minded and determined which makes them hard to train.
I recommend doing some research and learn about the beagle dog before choosing this breed for your family. Once you understand the beagle, he or she will be the best pet ever.
Facts gathered from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle.
Beagle Websites I Recommend
- Arizona Beagle Rescue
These volunteers do such a wonderful work in saving the lives of beagles in my area. There are other wonderful beagle rescues around the world too.
- Pedigree Database
A great resource for information on your beagle or other pedigree dog.
- America Kennel Club
Detailed information on the Beagle dog and any other dog that you may own.
- BREW Inc. (Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare)
Another wonderful organization saving the lives of the beagle.
Sammy's Best PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sammy We Miss You!
If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever!