If you’re planning to bring home a new pet and are wondering which is a better breed for you between a Beagle and Basset Hound, then read this in-depth guide. We have for you a head-on-head comparison of these two wonderful breeds which can help you discover which one is most suitable for you.
Belonging to the hound family, both Beagles and Basset Hounds are scent hounds. You can find both these dogs sniffing around and usually wandering off following scents. While there are many similarities between the two breeds, in terms of their appearance, both dogs are quite different.
Beagles are slightly taller compared to the Basset Hound which is on the heavier side. While Beagles have a happy, cheerful expression, the Basset Hound is characterized by their sad-looking faces. In the sections below, we have discussed the appearance, temperament, health, grooming and training needs of both breeds.
Beagles are scent hounds and their origin goes way back to ancient Rome; however, the specific details of the breed are not very well known. The origin of the name Beagle is unknown. It is believed that the word “Beagle” may have come from “begueule” the French word for “open throat” or “beugler”, which means “to bellow” in French or from “beag”, which means “small” in Old English or the word “begele”, which means “to scold” in German.
The history of the breed is not clear and the Beagles of today were not developed until the 19th century. It was during the time of Edward II and Henry VII, that Beagles became quite popular in England as very small versions, which were called Gloved Beagles. 9-inch-tall Pocket Beagles became popular during the time of Queen Elizabeth I.
It was during the mid-1800s that Beagles were developed by Rev Philip Honeywood, who are considered as the ancestors of the modern Beagles of today. During this time, Beagles were imported by American breeders from England and started breeding them for hunting rabbits. It was in 1884 that the first Beagle specialty club and the American Kennel Club were founded and Beagles were registered by the AKC.
Developed by the French, the name “Basset” comes from “bas”, the French word meaning “low.” It is believed that the Basset Hound is probably a descendant of the St. Hubert Hound, an ancestor of the Bloodhound. In early times, Basset Hounds were popular with the French nobles; however, they became hunting dogs of the commoners after the French Revolution.
It was during the mid-19th century that Basset Hounds were imported into England by Lord Galway and later in 1874, Sir Everett Millais imported a Basset Hound from France and began breeding them. The breed gained popularity when they were kept in the royal kennels of Alexandra, the Princess of Wales.
The Basset Hound was accepted as a breed by the Kennel Club in England in 1882 and in 1884, the English Basset Hound Club was created. While the breed came to the US during colonial times, it became popular only in the 20th century. The Basset Hound was registered by the AKC in 1885 but recognized the breed formally only in 1916.
In the 1960s, Basset Hounds became hugely popular when they became the face of the Hush Puppy ad campaign and appeared in the comic strip, Fred Basset. Today, the breed is ranked 28th among the 155 dog breeds registered by the AKC.
According to the AKC, there are 2 varieties of Beagles — the 13-inch variety, which does not exceed the height of 13 inches at the shoulder and the 15-inch hounds that are around 13-15 inches high at the shoulder. The weight of the Beagles depends on their height and is typically between 18 lb and 30 lb.
Both Beagle varieties are large for their inches, have solid, sturdy and compactly built bodies. They come in coat colors including tricolor (tan, black and white), red and white and lemon. The Beagle is characterized by their adorable, charming face with large hazel or brown eyes, long, hound-like ears set quite low on their broad head.
Basset Hounds typically are around 15 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh around 40 lb to 65 lb. They are large-size, low-slung dogs, have a heavy bone structure, short but powerful legs and huge paws, with lots of strength and stamina. The short legs mean that these dogs move a lot slower compared to long-legged dogs.
Bassets have a deep muzzle, characteristic large, domed heads, which they are famous for with long floppy, velvety ears, a wrinkled brow and droopy mournful eyes, which gives the Basset Hound a sad expression. They have long tails with a white tip that stands upright.
The most common colors that Basset Hounds come in include tri-color (black, tan and white), brown and white, red and white or black and white. They may come in lemon and white too; however, this color is rather rare.
Beagles are charming dogs with sweet and gentle temperaments. They are quite funny dogs and can make you laugh with their antics; however, they can be quite naughty too. Beagles are quite independent and smart, but they can be quite difficult to train.
They are friendly dogs, love making friends and are great with kids. Since they are pack dogs, Beagles generally get along quite well with humans, as well as other animals. While they don’t bark a lot, Beagles have 3 vocalizations — a bark/growl, a half-baying howl and a baying howl. These high-energy dogs love to run around and play.
- They are quite sociable dogs and make great family pets.
- These dogs are extremely friendly and love making friends with people and other pets.
- Generally healthy, Beagles are low-maintenance dogs.
- Their small size makes them great for apartments and small homes.
- Beagles are quite vocal and have a loud bark, which can be quite annoying to your neighbors.
- They can be rather stubborn, which makes it quite difficult to train Beagles.
- Beagles love to eat and are prone to obesity.
- They love digging and may end up tearing up your backyard.
Basset Hounds are mild-mannered dogs that get along with humans, kids and other animals. They are friendly and pleasant by nature and are very loyal to their humans. Generally, they are relaxed, even-tempered and happy dogs.
Basset Hounds are quite gentle with kids and other pets at home. They are very calm when indoors to the point of being lazy. Despite having a calm temperament, the Basset Hound is quite alert, making them good watchdogs.
When it comes to training, Bassetts can be quite stubborn. Since Basset Hounds are pack dogs, they hate being left alone and do well in the company of their human family or other pets. If left alone, they tend to howl and indulge in destructive behaviors.
- This charming, calm and easy-going dog is a great fit for most families.
- They are sociable and tend to get along with family members and other pets.
- Bassetts are low-maintenance dogs that are easy to care for.
- These dogs are happy to be indoors, making them great for condos and small apartments.
- Bassetts love to eat and tend to become overweight, even obese.
- These dogs tend to drool a lot.
- They bark and bay a lot.
- Basset Hounds love to dig and can dig their way out under the fence.
- They are prone to health problems.
In general, Beagles are quite healthy dogs and have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. However, they may be prone to certain health problems and illnesses including hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, glaucoma, cherry eye, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), distichiasis, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, epilepsy, Chinese Beagle Syndrome (CBS) and Beagle Dwarfism.
In general, the life expectancy of Basset Hounds is around 12 to 13 years. The long and droopy ears of the Basset Hounds are prone to ear infections and so you must check them regularly to ensure that there is proper air circulation.
Basset Hounds are prone to certain health problems including GDV (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) , Panosteitis, also called transient or wandering lameness, glaucoma, Von Willebrand’s Disease, thrombopathia, eyelid and eyelash problems, allergies, intervertebral disc disease, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, cherry eye and obesity.
Beagles have a double coat that is smooth and dense. They shed throughout the year, but spring is the shedding season, where they shed more heavily. Brushing your Beagle’s coat with a medium-bristle brush, hound glove or a grooming tool or mitt weekly will help to remove all the loose hair and promote new hair growth.
Beagles don’t require a bath very often. Trim your pet’s nails regularly as very long nails can cause problems. Beagles have drop ears, which prevents the air from circulating within the ear and causing infections.
So, check your pet’s ears often for a buildup of wax or infection. Brush your pet’s teeth 2-3 times a week at least to remove any bacteria and tartar buildup. Brushing their teeth daily can help to prevent bad breath and gum disease.
Basset Hounds have short and smooth hair; however, regular care and grooming with a hound glove, coarse cloth or bristle brush can keep your pet well-groomed and healthy. The short coat of the Basset Hound sheds a lot and can be controlled by using a shedding tool or a soft brush once a week.
The coat of the Basset Hound is water repellent and an occasional bath will keep your pet’s coat shiny and clean. Bassets have long ears that touch the ground and since the air does not circulate properly, they often suffer from ear infections.
Keep your pet’s ears clean by wiping the outer ear to remove any dirt or grime, clean the inner ear with a solution and also clean the facial wrinkles with a damp cloth. Brush your hound’s teeth 2 to 3 times a week to prevent any bacteria or tartar buildup. Brushing their teeth every day can prevent bad breath and gum disease. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed short.
Beagles are scent hounds and so they need a yard with a fence because they are usually fascinated by smells and often wander off to wherever their noses lead them. Even if you have a fenced yard, make sure that the fence extends underground because these escape artists love to dig and can easily tunnel their way out.
In unconfined areas, keep your pet on a leash or keep them confined and under supervision. Beagles are highly-energetic and active dogs and love any opportunity to run around and play. They love to run around hunting for rabbits or going on long walks with the family.
As they grow older, Beagles tend to grow lazy and are quite happy to lie about the home, only to get up for their meals or a cuddle. Beagles are prone to obesity and so to prevent this you must keep a watch out on your pet’s diet and keep them well exercised.
These dogs are easy to train and obedience training can help to make your Beagle well behaved and well socialized. Beagles don’t respond to harsh training techniques and do best with positive reinforcement treat-based training.
Typically, very calm dogs, Basset Hounds do better when kept indoors as they are not well suited for outdoor living in extreme cold or heat. These are not very active dogs but need moderate, but regular exercise.
Bassets are quite happy to be inactive and lie around in the sun the entire day, but they love to go on long walks with plenty of time to sniff around. Make sure that you watch your pet’s diet and ensure that they get their walk every day at a moderate pace, which can help to keep your pet healthy while preventing them from becoming obese, which can cause stress to their joints.
When your pet is outdoors, ensure that he is on a leash or in a fenced yard as any interesting scent can cause your pet to wander off. After a play session or a walk, your pet will be quite happy to settle down happily for a snooze. Basset Hounds are quite independent, with a mind of their own, which can make training them a challenge.
However, they do well when you are kind and train them with positive reinforcements, praise and food rewards. Harsh training methods can make your pet more stubborn and they will stop listening to you. And, ensure that you keep your training interesting because your pet may lose interest, especially if they have something else that they find more interesting.
So, now that you have all the information about the Beagle and Basset Hound, their temperament, health, grooming, care, exercise and training needs, you can now decide which breed is the best for you and your family, depending on your lifestyle and needs.