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Pet Road Tests > Dogs


Breed: Beagle
Temperament: Friendly but stubborn
Lifespan: 12-13 years
Recommended for: Families
Popularity: Rising
Maintenance: Low
Dumpage Rate: Low

What is small, energetic, low maintenance and good company for children under the age of 10 years? Besides another small child, the choice is a Beagle.

'Burke's Backyard' recommends the Beagle as one of the best overall family dogs for children under the age of 10 years.


In Australia Beagles are about 30-40cm (13-16") tall and weigh 11-13kg (24-30lb). They are a small to mid-sized breed, with a short, smooth coat usually tricoloured or tan and white.

Temperament & training

The Beagle is said to be lively, inquisitive, and tolerant of children but most owners admit they are also stubborn and single-minded especially if nosedown on a scent! Most people who have owned Beagles soon realise that some skill is required to train them.

Beagles are used successfully by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) in major airports to detect illegal imports.

Steve Austin, of Hanrod Dog Training Centre, who trains the AQIS Beagles, says of 20 Beagles offered for training only one may be suitable. These dogs need to display initiative, independent thinking, and respond to food rewards. He says these dogs are selected for a specific purpose, using their sense of smell - at which they excel - but pet Beagles may require more time and perseverance to train. A structured training program is strongly recommended for all Beagles.

Health & lifespan

The Beagle is a tough little dog with few health problems. Main areas to watch are: obesity - which can lead to problems such as back strain.
anal glands - some owners report problems with blockages in the dog's anal glands, located on either side of the anus. This is usually indicated by the dog dragging its bottom along the ground. It can be treated at home by squeezing out the affected area or if you are unsure about doing this, take your dog to a vet.

Most Beagles live for 12-13 years.

Ideal owner, space & exercise

The Beagle is highly recommended as a pet for families with children under the age of 10 years. As Beagles are adept diggers, the yard must be well-fenced. As with all breeds, they must be on a leash when walked.

Grooming & feeding

The short, smooth coat needs an occasional wash and brush. Beagles are said to "vacuum" up their food and must have their diets monitored.

Housepet potential

Being a small, smooth-coated dog they suit many people as an indoor dog, although they do develop a very "doggy" odour even when washed regularly.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 - Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

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