Given that beagles were initially scenthounds employed to track rabbits and hares, you may have quite a few apprehensions before making a beagle the newest member of your family, especially with kids in the brood.
However, beagles are known to be vibrant, fun loving and quite suited to family life, despite the stubbornness and sturdiness that comes as a part of their scenthound origins. Though they may retain these hunting instincts, they get along well with large groups of people, thanks to their friendly and sociable nature.
If you’re looking to welcome a beagle into the family and are worried about whether they’ll get along with your kids, here’s a breakdown of the breed and its compatibility with the youngest members of a family. Read on to find out more!
So, Are Beagles Great for Kids?
With kids around, their happiness and safety are extremely important; as a parent, you obviously don’t want to compromise on this in any way. Therefore, you’re probably looking for a family pet that can match your little one’s energy levels yet is calm by nature!
Well, these cute four-legged bundles of joy tick both those boxes — they’re extremely playful, happy and even a mischievous side that’s more endearing than irritating but have the patience and temperament that lets you trust them with your child’s safety. In short, they’re just like kids themselves!
Given all this, beagles make great family pets and have every potential to be your child’s BFF. How well they get along is determined to a large extent by their training (as with any breed; they need to be trained well to socialize well with children from the time they’re puppies). Your child’s nature will also matter in this relationship!
Though we’re all for adopting pets that really need homes, rehoming older beagles may be a challenge; these dogs have not had the same amount of exposure to children and the required socialization. Due to this, they may find it hard to adapt to family life, whereas you may end up getting frustrated with their behavior.
However, there’s nothing the magic of a little patience and love can’t cure; they’ll both go a long way in helping older beagles adapt to family life!
Related: Why Do Beagles Sleep So Much?
Do They Also Get Along with Toddlers?
Beagles are extremely loyal by nature, making them a great option for watchdogs! They’re blessed with deep, loud voices that make it easy for them to alert family members in case of any mishap, ensuring your family’s safety within the home as well as outside!
However, their deep voices can be just as much a bane as a boon; nap-time for your kids or being around very young babies can be a bit of a challenge. We’re yet to find parents who agree that loud yelps and excessive barking mix well with their infants, especially when nap-time (and the few minutes of kid-free peace that parents can snatch!) is disturbed!
To add to this, beagles are pack dogs, meaning that they’re given to separation anxiety, which further spurs excessive barking, continuous whining and yelping, all of which could even go on for hours, in addition to running around the house and making quick work of your furniture. Therefore, not only is the noise a problem but also the destructive behavior which could easily scare a young child.
Long story short, a beagle that loves barking more than average may not be the best idea with an infant/toddler around. Additionally, they’ll demand just as much attention as your two-legged little one and constantly need your presence; if you aren’t able to give them the required attention, a beagle may not be the breed for you. The tons of energy and playfulness they have may also not be a great idea around fragile toddlers, even with training.
Remember, these are traits of the breed, so don’t blame individual doggos for their genetic behavior; you may find another breed to be a better fit with a toddler around.
What Kind of Kids and Families Are Beagles Great For?
As mentioned earlier, your child’s nature will also dictate how well your little ones of both varieties get along! One of the friendliest dogs out there, these little bundles of fun and energy love exercising and playing, making them a great fit for energetic kids and families; being outdoorsy is sure to be a huge plus for your beagle!
Energy and playfulness apart, beagles are also tolerant and calm, making them great for small children; this is especially helpful given how much of a ruffian young kids can be (let’s be honest; this isn’t always endearing!). This combination of liveliness and easy-going nature makes them a hit with young kids.
Beagles are also curious and extremely sweet, in addition to being friendly, happy-go-lucky, loyal and friendly — all perfect complements to a child’s nature. Beagles are the complete package of fun, activity and calmness, and make for some of the best guardian dogs, developing strong bonds with children.
Training Beagles to Be Around Kids
The right training is important for your child and beagle to develop a good bond; given that they’re highly independent in their thoughts, they need to be trained in the right manner to get them to listen to instructions, obey them and learn to interact with the kids.
Consistent, correct training will go a long way, as beagles are quite smart and can pick up skills quite fast. If they learn to recognize their masters early on, it’s easier to get them to be obedient; this is generally the parent. Beagles view other kids as part of the pack, which brings out their protectiveness.
Another great way to train them is to involve them in short learning exercises, as beagles love having tasks to do; it’s embedded in their genes! They enjoy tasks and don’t view them as work, which makes it a great way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated, thereby reducing any aggressive or harmful behavior that could scare your child.
Remember, training won’t happen overnight. Consistency is key, so patience is important! These things take time and positive reinforcement will greatly help.
Socializing your beagle between weeks 7 to 16 is optimal; in order for them to be great family/children dogs, they need to be socialized at a young age (before they are fully grown) so that they can accept children.
Games such as fetch, catch and hide-and-seek are great ways to get your kids and beagle to socialize. Playing these games on a daily basis will lead to your kids and beagles loving each other on an increasing basis!
Teaching Your Kids to Be Around Beagles
Remember, it doesn’t just lie on the dog to change to be a good fit for the family; a lot of it depends on your child learning to respect the dog as well. For this, socialization at an early age is important; this allows ample space for the development of mutual respect.
Kids can be unintentionally rowdy; let’s admit it! This could cause discomfort and even harm to a young puppy and result in the puppy growing up being afraid and wary around your kids. It could even cause your beagle to bite or lash out as a means of self-defense.
Sitting on the dog, pulling their long ears, pushing/pulling them around — these are all strict “nos”, and honestly, not just with beagles. It’s necessary to make them understand what respecting your dog is and if they’re too young to understand this (or for some reason, are unable to understand it), supervise every interaction between them till they are able to understand this.
The Final Word
Yes, beagles make great companions for children, as well as great family pets — they have a ton of characteristics that make a great fit for both. They’re also extremely easy to groom and not generally given to too many health problems.
However, there are certain traits which may give you cause for pause, take a step back and really evaluate if a beagle would fit your family. After all, it isn’t just about the child; it’s also about the family and the beagle’s compatibility. Beagles may not be every family’s cup of tea.
For example, families that love spending time indoors may not be the ideal family for a beagle, as the breed loves exercising and playing outdoors. These “chowhounds” love eating, as it is, and could easily get overweight without sufficient exercise and motivated by their boredom. (They’re also don’t easily adapt to a change in diet, so gradually introduce them to new food; else, it can upset their stomachs.)
Additionally, families with working parents who are away at work for long hours and kids who are at school the whole day may also not be ideal for beagles, as they crave attention and company.
Therefore, deciding whether a beagle is right for your family doesn’t just lie on the beagle; the onus also lies on your family and the nature of your children! However, with the right training (on both ends!), your beagle and your kids can end up becoming best friends for life!