Beagles are one of the friendliest, most happy-go-lucky dogs out there. That’s why they’re seen for all types of purposes, from companions to hunting dogs. But there’s still a lot that most people don’t know about Beagles, including their average lifespan. So, how long do Beagles live and how can you help them live longer?
What is a Beagle?
Beagles are medium-sized dogs with floppy ears and an excellent sense of smell. They’re one of the happiest breeds, which is why they rank so high in terms of popularity. They often have a long life expectancy, but it’s important to know something about their characteristics first.
There’s a lot of speculation around the Beagle’s history. A lot of their early days weren’t documented well, but they are believed to have originated before the Roman era. Some experts believe the name “Beagle” comes from a Gaelic term for “little” while other argue that it’s a French term instead.
But one thing’s for sure: the Beagle was bred as a scent hound. Since Beagles are much smaller than other detection dogs, they were greatly preferred by hunters. Hunters could easily follow behind a Beagle without having to ride a horse to keep up.
After the Civil War, Beagles came to the United States. They become popular as rabbit hunter, but today, they’re more well-known as family companions.
Beagles have a distinct color pattern that usually consists of brown, black, and white fur. While it can vary, most Beagles have a white belly and darker colors on their back. They also have thin, floppy ears.
A Beagle’s fur is short and thin, but it sheds moderately. Thus, you will never have to take your Beagle in for a haircut, but you may need to brush their coat weekly.
As mentioned before, Beagles are much smaller than other scent hounds. They typically weigh between 18 and 25 pounds, and they stand 13 to 15 inches tall.
The best way to describe a Beagle is happy! Beagles are friendly, playful dogs that thrive with a loving family for companionship. They are tolerant around people of every age, even kids, if properly socialized.
They’re smart little pups, but can be stubborn if their family neglects training. Plus, they’ll be happiest if they get plenty of time to run around and play outside. After all, they love to follow their nose, so give them plenty of opportunities to explore. But only when supervised, of course. A happy pup is more likely to be healthier and have a longer life span.
How Long Do Beagles Live?
Many families are drawn to Beagle puppies due to their fun-loving personalities. But dogs are a lifelong commitment, not just a cute face. So, what is the life expectancy for a Beagle?
The average Beagle lives between 10 and 15 years. Of course, how well you take care of your Beagle greatly reflects how long their lifespan will be.
Beagle Lifespan Compared to Similar Dog Breeds
There are several other dog breeds that look like Beagles and have a similar personality. Many of these dogs are also bred for hunting and tracking purposes, but can make great companions too.
Here are the life expectancy estimates for some similar dog breeds (according to the American Kennel Club):
- American English Coonhound – 11 to 12 years
- American Foxhound – 11 to 13 years
- Basset Hound – 12 to 13 years
- Dachshund – 12 to 16 years
- English Foxhound – 10 to 13 years
- Harrier – 12 to 15 years
You might notice that most of these similar breeds also have similar lifespans. So, a Beagle lifespan is fairly average, but with a pretty wide range.
After all, smaller breeds are more likely to live longer than large breeds. For example, a Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso would live much longer than an Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane, likely because their small body doesn’t have to work as hard. So, all pups age at different paces, and it often depends on their size and breed.
Can a Beagle Live for 20 Years?
Yes, it’s possible for a Beagle to live over 15 years, and even to 20 years! But this isn’t close to their average life expectancy. Like any dog, this isn’t possible without proper care. Regular exercise, high-quality meals, and vet check-ups are necessary for helping a Beagle live close to 20 years.
What is the Oldest Beagle to Live?
A Beagle from the United States is the oldest of his breed on record. He was born in 1975 and lived until 2003, making him 28 years old.
Another notable Beagle is a rescue dog named Chanel. She lived to be about 21 years old, but passed away in 2009. So, it is certainly possible for an adult Beagle to live over 20 years old, and your dog could even become famous because of it.
What Health Problems do Beagles Have?
A Beagle life is generally a happy one. But like all pups, they can develop severe health concerns, especially if their owners neglect regular vet visits. These health conditions could take a toll on your dog’s life expectancy. So, here are some diseases and health problems to look out for.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Intervertebral disc disease is a severe condition that could affect any part of your dog’s spine and neck, which can ultimately damage their central nervous system. It makes even small movements painful for adult Beagles. In an extreme case, these restricted movements might require surgery to correct.
Congenital Heart Defect
Heart defects, liver shunts, and heart disease are less common conditions, but they’re equally as severe. Heart problems can cause lots of pain for your dog, including shortness of breath, restlessness, coughing, and fainting. Depending on the severity of this condition, your vet might recommend medication, surgery, or changes in your Beagle’s lifestyle.
Dogs with floppy ears like Beagles are prone to ear infections. Check your pup’s ears often for foul smells or unusual substances. If an ear infection goes untreated, your Beagle might lose their ability to hear.
Glaucoma and other eye problems are fairly common for Beagles. If your dog is experiencing eye pain or unnatural eye discharge, they might be at-risk. In extreme cases, blindness could occur as well. The sooner an eye disorder is treated, the safer your dog will be. But treatment can be pricey, with a combination of medications and surgery.
Hip dysplasia is a common issue for many breeds. It occurs when your dog’s hip socket doesn’t form properly, causing pain when your Beagle moves. A similar problem could occur for kneecaps and other joints, especially with seniors. Many joint problems require surgery, but some related to age can be prevented with necessary supplements and caution.
Beagle Pain Syndrome
Despite the name, Beagle pain syndrome is uncommon in Beagles and can also occur for other dogs. It’s a form of canine meningitis, and causes include blood vessel inflammation. It’s a disorder that’s most common for a Beagle puppy, which can usually be cured using prescriptions from your vet.
What is the Most Common Beagle Cause of Death?
Sadly, the most common cause of death for Beagles is cancer. Cancer is a common cause of death for all seniors, and it’s a concern that’s not as easily cured or avoided. Early detection is key for cancer, and some forms can be cured with surgery or chemotherapy. Regularly examine your Beagle for lumps and bumps to ensure that cancer doesn’t take their life early.
Ways to Help Your Beagle Live a Long, Healthy Life
The answer to “how long do Beagles live?” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You shouldn’t be worrying about your dog’s life expectancy being cut short. Instead, you should find ways to extend their life as much as possible. And luckily, Beagle life often has to do with how well we care for them.
Provide a Healthy Diet
Dog food is the biggest factor of a dog’s health. There are tons of different dog food brands out there, but most kibble is far from healthy. Canines need a diet that’s packed with real protein, fat, and nutrients, but sadly, most food is filled with unnecessary carbs instead. But food with healthy nutrients can help strengthen your dog’s immune system, digestion, and other parts of their body.
Believe it or not, Beagles don’t really need any carbs in their diet at all. Sure, small amounts of carbs won’t cause harm, but you should be looking for a food that’s high in protein, especially since a dog’s ancestral diet consisted of 56% protein while many kibble brands only have about 18% to 25%. If you can afford it, consider wet food, fresh food, or raw food as a more beneficial alternative to kibble.
Exercise is also incredibly important for both Beagle puppies and adult Beagles. Even though Beagles are on the smaller side, they were bred to track down critters, so they love to be on the go. Most Beagles are a medium-energy dog breed that should get about an hour of exercise per day. For many Beagles, walks are enough to suffice, but some might prefer to run, hike, swim, play, or go through agility courses.
A lack of exercise can put your Beagle at risk of obesity. It can also affect their mood, making them bored, anxious, or depressed. Beagle dogs love to get outside and explore, so being cooped up inside all the time isn’t healthy for them.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Spaying and neutering is crucial for helping less pups die in shelters, but it can also improve your Beagle’s life as well. Cancer is the main cause of death for Beagles, so it can prevent ovarian cancer for females and testicular cancer for males. Plus, Beagles who are fixed are often less likely to be aggressive, mark their territory, and run away to search for a mate.
Brush Their Teeth
Dental care is an easy part of your Beagle’s health, but many dog owners still neglect it. Despite seeming so simple, teeth brushing could save your dog’s life. It’s incredibly common for an adult Beagle to experience dental issues if they’re three years or older . If you ignore the problem too long, you’ll need to pay for expensive dental treatments and possibly even remove teeth.
It’s recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth daily, but we all forget at times. So, at least do it a couple times a week before extreme symptoms occur.
Visit the Vet Regularly
The vet is the key to improving your Beagle’s life expectancy. A yearly checkup is a great way to ensure that your Beagle has no underlying health issues. It’s also an opportunity to get them up-to-date on vaccinations, like rabies and distemper, and monthly preventatives like heartworm.
Once Beagles age, they should start visiting the vet more often. Beagles are considered seniors at around 7.5 years old. Older Beagles are more likely to develop health concerns than puppies, so visiting the vet twice a year instead of only once could help save you from the tragedy of pet loss.
Where Can You Find a Beagle?
If you have your heart set on this breed, you’re in luck. Beagles are fairly common to find, especially if you’re willing to be patient.
Always contact your local shelters and rescues first. They have plenty of animals that are already looking for homes, and Beagles are often found there. Puppies might not be as easy to find as adults, but any breed can be a rescue if you look hard enough.
If something is preventing you from rescuing, please do lots of research. Adopting from a rescue saves animals in need while buying from a breeder only puts more dogs in danger. Plus, many breeders aren’t as trustworthy as they claim to be. Pet stores that sell puppies get their puppies from puppy mills, which breed animals over and over again in inhumane conditions. Many regular breeders get puppies this way too.
So, if you go to a breeder for a puppy, make sure they’re a reputable source. If you just go anywhere for a puppy, you could be supporting an inhumane business without even knowing it. Plus, Beagles from irresponsible breeders will likely have a shorter lifespan and more diseases. So, ask breeders lots of questions and request to meet the puppy parents and see where they’re bred. If someone is resistant to give you detailed information, turn away and find a better place.
Is a Beagle the Right Dog Breed for You?
Beagles are excellent companions with an above average lifespan. Like all dogs, they may have health issues, but there are always ways for you to protect your Beagle from disease and illness.
As cute as Beagles are, you should never choose a dog solely based on appearance. Make sure the dog’s personality and care requirements fit the lifestyle of your family. After all, your Beagle will be a new family member, so they should be treated with as much love and attention as possible.
If you’re unable to give Beagles enough exercise, you might want to consider a smaller breed or a dog with a lower energy level. There are so many factors that go into choosing a dog, so always do your research before making a big decision. And make sure you help give your Beagle the best and longest life possible.
For more info on lifespan of other dogs check out our article on How long do Pit bulls live?