With long silky ears, an inquisitive nature and puppy-dog eyes that can win you over in an instant, it’s only natural that beagles have stolen hearts everywhere, from Queen Elizabeth to Barry Manilow to President Lyndon Johnson.
The 5th most popular breed of dogs in the United States, beagles have come a long way from being literal pocket dogs and rabbit hunters in the 1300s (though their origins date back to the Roman Empire or even earlier) to the adored house pets that they are today.
One of the most common queries when it comes to beagles is when they actually stop growing. In our attempt to answer this question, we not only give you a detailed journey into a beagle’s growth but also explore their popularity and give you tips if you’re looking to welcome a beagle into your family.
A Little Introduction
As mentioned earlier, beagles initially found popularity as hunting dogs. The breed is so old that their origins still remain a mystery.
Beagles are adored the world over for their friendly and curious personalities as well as their excellent noses. There are very few trails that beagles can’t pick up, given their 220 million scent receptors; it doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that security bodies such as the US Department of Homeland Security prefer to use beagles to sniff out contraband products.
Beagles tend to be on the smaller side and can be quite a handful, given their love for activity and their desire to explore everything. However, don’t let the puppy-dog eyes fool you; beagles are also known to have quite the independent (read obstinate or headstrong!) streak in them that requires a lot of patience and persistence to effectively handle!
A Beagle’s Journey of Growth
There are many milestones that dot a beagle’s growing years. The breed, as a whole, has evolved from being merely 6-8 inch full-grown adults in the 1300s to around 14-16 inch adults today.
A beagle hits its maximum growth at around 18 months. The skeletal system is fully developed by this time and can provide the steadiness and stability that are required to support the breed’s active lifestyle.
As mentioned earlier, a fully-grown male beagle reaches around 14-16 inches in height and 22-24 pounds in weight, whereas females are slightly smaller, capable of reaching 13-15 inches in height and 20-22 pounds in weight.
Just as there are milestones in the growth of human babies, so it is with beagles. In fact, the milestones are extremely similar in both species (in terms of the actions themselves and obviously not the timeline!).
These milestones act as signs to keep an eye out for as they indicate whether your furry baby’s growth is healthy and normal. Here are a few to look out for in your beagle’s formative stage:
0-2 Weeks Old
Beagles, in the age of 0-2 weeks, should weigh around a pound and be capable of standing. Like most other young animals, beagles are born with their eyes closed and an absence of baby teeth. Their first attempts at walking will start around the end of this period.
3 Weeks Old
At 3 weeks old, their eyes should open and they should develop hearing abilities as well as the ability to make sounds such as whimpering and the very early version of barks. Their vision starts to get clearer leading to an increase in their level of alertness.
The development in their hearing abilities means that they also start to get more curious around this age and the pups are comfortable enough to explore the environment at a small distance away from their mother. The ideal weight in this period is 1.5-2 pounds.
4 Weeks Old
At 4 weeks, beagles should ideally weigh a healthy 2.5-3 pounds and be able to let out their first barks and start socializing with their own siblings as well as the humans around them.
It is at this age that they start becoming more playful and also learn very important socializing behavior such as the ability to differentiate between “serious” biting and “playful” biting. The process of weaning them off their mother’s milk should slowly start at this age and can be done by adding puppy food to the milk.
It is also important that at this age, beagles should be provided with as much human contact as possible to ensure that they get used to being trained and handled by their owners.
6-7 Weeks Old
Beagles, when 6-7 weeks old, should be able to recognize and respond to their given names. It is also at this age that they must be weaned completely off their mother’s milk. The weight at this age should be around 3.5-4 pounds.
For owners, beagle pups are going to be quite the handful at this age as their curiosity and inquisitiveness only increase here onwards! The human contact and household noises that they have become used to by now, along with their curiosity and inquisitiveness, bolster the puppies’ courage, making them comfortable enough to scamper about and explore the house.
You may have to puppy-proof your house to ensure that your puppies are protected.
8 Weeks Old
When beagles are 8 weeks old, they weigh a healthy 3.5-6 pounds and should be able to recognize simple commands such as “sit”, “stand” and the like.
The puppies should be completely independent of their mother, eating normal puppy food and ready for “puppy training school”!
16 Weeks Old
By 16 weeks, your beagle should be potty trained! He or she should also be able to fully understand simple commands and respond to their name without confusion. The ideal weight at this age is 8-12 pounds.
6 Months Old
6 months is a transition age, where owners should be able to get their puppers off puppy food and onto dog food.
The number of calories that puppy food contains is great till your puppy hits 6 months, providing the nutrition required to reach this age; after this, growth begins to slow and continuing with puppy food post the 6-month mark could result in your puppy becoming overweight.
Remember, your puppy may not take to dog food immediately; the process may take a few weeks and should be done slowly and patiently. The ideal weight at this age is anywhere between 10-15 pounds.
1.5 Years Old
At 1.5 years of age, beagles hit maturity. Your puppy is now fully grown and can weigh anywhere between 20-24 pounds.
At this age, beagles should be completely trained, ready to exercise at least twice a day and fully social. Their skeletal systems are completely developed and their weight should ideally remain steady, henceforth.
1.5-year-old beagles should walk at least a mile a day, with elements of cardio exercise incorporated into their playtime (apart from the mile-long walk).
Things to Look out For
If you notice that your beagle is falling behind on any of the mentioned milestones, a visit to the vet may be required.
As mentioned earlier, beagles tend to be on the smaller side, so judging their growth by their size can be difficult. Of course, the first obvious factor is the age; however, unless you’ve been with the puppy since its birth, it can be hard to tell the exact age of the dog, especially in the case of adopted or rescued beagles.
In such cases, height and weight are good indicators of the beagle’s stage in his or her lifecycle.
Additionally, don’t confuse the breed’s inherent stout shape with being overweight. Beagles have barrel-shaped chests which can give them a chubby appearance. You should be able to slightly feel the ribs and see a slight definition to the waist; these factors mean that your beagle is the right size!
Related: Why Do Beagles Sleep So Much?
How to Ensure Your Beagle Grows Healthily
As mentioned earlier, milestones are the best way to ensure that your beagle is growing healthily and developing as intended by Mother Nature.
That being said, dogs are individuals just like humans, which means that not all of them may hit the milestones at the same time; some are late bloomers while some may be eager go-getters!
However, a very significant delay in displaying the behavior associated with their different ages warrants a visit to the vet.
Additionally, ensure that your puppies get the right type of nutrition and the right amount. Owners sometimes tend to get over-enthusiastic and overfeed their puppies; as a result of this, once they’ve fully grown to be a little chubby, they tend to underfeed them!
A good diet is essential, especially in the formative years, but it is also important that your dog receives the right nutrition even later, along with a healthy dose of exercise. A healthy beagle can live up to 15 years and though the breed is prone to medical conditions, these can be controlled with the right medicines, provided a good diet and exercise are constant.
Getting a Beagle?
Beagles are extremely hyper, high-energy dogs that can keep you on your feet, especially in their growing years. If you’re considering getting a beagle, ensure that you’re able to fully invest the commitment, attention and patience the dog deserves.
Exercise is a must to keep beagles healthy and calm, the absence of which results in frustration, hyperactivity and behavioral problems in these dogs. These dogs also require attention and hate being left alone for long periods; this can result in destructive behavior in your dog, especially if he or she hasn’t had sufficient exercise.
Additionally, say “NO!” (yes, in capital letters and with an exclamation point) to miniature or pocket beagles. Though beagles were once tiny enough to fit into pockets, they mostly no longer are in today’s day and age. The modern-day beagle, if it can fit in your pocket, could be a victim of poor or incorrect breeding, which is sure to result in severe health issues and stunted growth.
Also, if you’re looking for a guard dog, beagles are not the ones for you! These dogs are generally extremely friendly with both humans and other animals, even if they are strangers.
They’re also very vocal dogs; in fact, the name “beagle” is said to come from the French word for “loudmouth”! They can bay to the point of being extremely excessive, meaning that they may not be a great option if you’re living in an apartment.
Lastly, ensure you have enough space to accommodate your beagle. Due to their active nature, these dogs hate being confined to small spaces. A larger space means that these dogs can expend their energy on their own when you aren’t available for a walk or playtime; small spaces can lead to frustration as well as other mental and physical issues.
Related: How Fast Can Beagles Run?
The End Point
Beagles are an adorable breed, extremely loving and intelligent. These dogs had stolen hearts across centuries and countries, even before Snoopy came into existence!
Remember that these dogs require patience, attention and persistence. They may be bundles of cuteness, but that doesn’t mean they are merely toy dogs for display. They require constant attention and exercise, lacking which they become ill behaved and unwell.
As always, adopt and don’t shop. Those cute puppies waiting for you in a breeder’s home may just be the product of a puppy mill, the horrendous side of which visitors don’t see, don’t wish to see, and sadly, don’t care enough about. Also, puppies are adorable, but older dogs are the ones that really require a home and more importantly, your love and care.
Therefore, along with understanding the breed and its requirements, also research and understand the source (organization or person) you’re getting your puppy from. Don’t become an unknowing accomplice to those behind cruel animal practices.