Looking at the long, floppy ears, small barreled body and big puppy-dog eyes, the Beagle may not look like a dog meant for much more than cuddling. If you belong to this school of thought, the breed’s athletic history and hunting roots might surprise you!
Owing to this, Beagles are among the fastest dog breeds out there, making them an excellent choice for owners who love themselves a good morning run or long leisurely walks.
How fast can a Beagle run, though? Does it come anywhere close to competing with the fastest breed—Greyhounds—or does it bring up the rear of the list, with Toy Spaniels and Chihuahuas?
Read on to find the answer!
A Little Bit about Beagles
Beagles are unarguably among the most adorable breeds out there, with their dark brown eyes and a perpetually pleading expression! Loving, outgoing, energetic on one hand and determined, curious and food lovers on the other, these pack dogs are the perfect mix of hound and cuddle bunny!
Beagles trace their origins back to 16th-century England, where they were bred as scent hounds to hunt small prey, most popularly rabbits. This made them a favorite among the men of the English nobility and also donned the hat of ‘gun dogs’, flushing out game for hunters to then shoot.
The breed eventually made its way to North America, gaining recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1885 and full-blown popularity among the masses towards the end of the 19th century. Their excellent scenthound abilities also saw them becoming sniffer dogs at airports across the country.
Ultimately, whether hunting dogs or companion dogs, these dogs are plain wonderful!
Beagles and Running Fast
With their athletic hunting background, Beagles love running. The ‘scent hound’ side of their nature, especially, plays a huge role here.
Dogs, in general, are able to smell anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than humans. Beagles are among those breeds closer to the 10,000 mark, bred as they were, for generations, to be hunting hounds finding their prey purely by tracking the scent. These dogs have 200 million scent glands on average (for comparison, humans have only around 5 million!).
Serving as scent hounds for generations, Beagles love chasing scents. This is now in their genetic make up and Beagles may instinctively pick up scents and chase them—ergo, plenty of running!
Beagles are capable of quite the speed while running, averaging anywhere between 20 and 30 miles per hour. Just for scale, an average human male jogs at 8.5 miles per hour, whereas the average human female runs at 6.5 miles per hour. Your Beagle is going to have absolutely no trouble keeping up with you!
Their excellent running speed is backed by quite great stamina, which makes them the go-to breed for those who are athletically inclined. Additionally, their impulsiveness can make walk time quite challenging!
Can Beagles Sustain Their Speed?
Though the love for running is in their blood and though they’re energetic and speedy, especially while chasing a scent, Beagles don’t have the highest stamina on the table. Therefore, to take your beagle cross-country or marathon running is definitely going to be a source of harm.
Beagles are sprinters and not long-distance runners, which means that they can cover short distances at excellent speeds. However, they lack the stamina to sustain their speed beyond these distances.
The maximum your Beagle can run before fatigue hits is 3 miles. However, this isn’t the default distance that every Beagle can and must run—some Beagles may be able to even do 4 miles, while other beagles may only be able to manage a mile or two.
Should I Take My Beagle Running?
As mentioned earlier, Beagles love running, but only take them running if you’re planning to run a short distance (a couple of miles, at most). Your Beagle may hold up for even longer distances, but just because it can, doesn’t mean it’s healthy or that it should be done.
You can start your beagle off slowly and gradually increase the distance (and your Beagle’s endurance), with longer distances each day, but this should be done slowly and carefully. Even with all this endurance training, you shouldn’t push your Beagle to run more than 5 miles.
Related: Are Beagles Good With Kids?
What If I Train My Beagle to Run Long Distances?
This is quite a sensitive topic—half the folks argue that Beagles are athletic and love running and hence, can be pushed and trained to run long distances. The other half naturally doesn’t believe this.
Just as each person is unique, each Beagle is unique. Some Beagles, based on genetics and upbringing, may be able to handle longer distances, while some will struggle quite a bit.
Again, we would suggest that you only run up to 5 miles with your dog. If your dog is not displaying any signs of fatigue by the fifth mile, you can try to push the run a mile farther.
Look out for signs of fatigue in your Beagle—he or she should be steadily moving but not losing breath at any point.
Your Beagle loving the idea of running is the job half done; it is easier to run with and train for running, a Beagle that loves running.
How to Train Your Beagle to Run
Training your Beagle to run also becomes much easier if the owner loves running. Remember, running further won’t happen overnight; it takes quite a bit of time, awareness and dedication.
Before pushing your dog to run further, ensure that he or she can handle a normal-length run. If your dog is struggling to handle a couple of miles, pushing it to run further will severely harm it. Run the same distance till it no longer feels stressful, before you decide to push things further.
Remember, don’t overwork yourself or your Beagle while doing so. Again, 5 miles is the maximum you should aim for—anything higher will harm your Beagle (and you).
Am I Overworking My Beagle?
You can easily identify if you’re overworking and exhausting your Beagle and when ‘run time’ should stop. Check for signs of exhaustion so that overworking can be avoided.
The following will help you identify whether you’re overworking your Beagle:
- Stopping frequently
- Panting heavily
Apart from these, your Beagle can also exhibit extreme signs of fatigue, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other injuries. Overworking and muscle strain can cause injuries and problems in the joints.
The Risk of Running Away!
Since Beagles love running, do you have to be wary of the possibility of running away?
Yes, it may so happen that your beagle runs away on picking up a scent, especially that of a female dog in heat (they can smell this at least 3 miles away!).
This issue can be solved by keeping your Beagle on a leash, if running away has become his or her favorite thing to do. Beagles very rarely run away from things, though, they more generally run towards something, especially a smell that they’re tracking.
This is in their genetic make-up; a Beagle running away is not a show of misbehavior—it’s a following of natural instincts!
If you’re looking to curb your Beagle’s running away, though, keeping them on the leash while walking is a good idea.
An extendable leash, especially, is great, as it gives them the freedom to run and explore while also keeping them close to you and preventing them from running away. If you’d like more control, consider a harness.
Give your Beagle plenty of exercise—this means a half-an-hour walk at least once a day, dotted with intense cardio sessions at least once a week.
The Bottom Line
Beagles love running and when they run, they really run! Faster than the average dog, these dogs can manage an impressive speed of 20-30 miles an hour, which is at least 3 times the average speed of a human male jogging.
Beagles are hyper dogs who can bolt off while following a scent, which means you may have to deal with your Beagle running away from time to time! However, this can be controlled and more than the intention to misbehave, it is the dog following its instincts and nature.
Additionally, as they age, their nature mellows and you’ll face lesser problems of running away.
Remember, though these dogs run fast, they don’t run long distances. They’re sprinters and can cover short distances at insane speeds, but don’t do so well covering longer distances.
Therefore, never push your Beagle to do over 3 miles at a stretch and in the “best” (or worst!) of cases, more than 5 miles. Anything more is a health risk, even if it seems like your dog is able to manage it. You and your beagle may love running, but it’s you who has to be mindful of the limits.
That apart, having a Beagle around means that a world of fun and adventures await you and you’ll be racing along on these adventures with your little fur baby!