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At some point, designer dog breeds went from the functional (such as the Labradoodle) to the fun (the Puggle) and just plain weird (Chorkie, anyone?). A mix between the English Toy Spaniel and Beagle, the English Speagle fits into one of the latter two categories.
11 – 15 inches
15 – 30 pounds
10 – 15 years
White, red, brown, black, pied
Apartment dwellers, those looking for an active lap dog
Loyal, intelligent, gentle, amiable, loud, energetic
The dog that results from that mix is an energetic lap dog with a high prey drive, so they’re a bundle of contradictions. That said, they make wonderful pets, and they can be the perfect companion for apartment dwellers who want a big dog in a small package.
These pups aren’t for everyone, though. To learn more about this interesting breed (and to see if it’s right for you), read this guide.
English Speagle Characteristics
English Speagle Puppies
Many designer dog breeds were created to fill a specific need. Many were made to be hypoallergenic, while others were fine-tuned to perform specific jobs.
The English Speagle, on the other hand, was seemingly created just because the breeders wanted to see if they could. The Beagle was designed as a hunting dog, whereas the English Toy Spaniel was originally intended to be a lap dog for European nobility. Those are two different jobs, and there’s not really much call for a dog that only hunts from your lap.
That means that the only reason to get an English Speagle is that you like them. While they can be trained to do all sorts of things, they don’t have a well-defined niche like many other dogs do.
Of course, most people get a dog just because they want to, so the English Speagle actually isn’t all that different from any other breed.
Temperament & Intelligence of the English Speagle
Unlike many lapdogs, which tend to be aggressive and territorial with nasty Napoleon complexes, the English Speagle is a sweetheart through and through. While they won’t hesitate to bark at strangers, they make friends quickly and welcome people of all ages into their lives.
However, that friendliness often turns to neediness. They don’t like to be left alone and can be prone to separation anxiety. If you like taking your dog with you wherever you go, this is a good breed for you.
They’re fairly easygoing and low maintenance, so it doesn’t take an expert dog trainer to teach them basic manners. While they’re energetic, they don’t require hours of exercise.
This is a smart breed, and they can pick up on new commands quickly. They’re generally agreeable, but if your dog favors the Beagle portion of the family tree, they may have a sizable stubborn streak hiding inside them.
They can be focused during training, so you don’t have to worry about them being distracted when you’re teaching them new commands. They also don’t need constant variety, although it’s always nice to give them something new to learn.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
English Speagles are wonderful family pets. They love children, and they’re small enough that they’re not likely to trample a toddler accidentally if they get a sudden bout of the zoomies.
They’re not that aggressive either, so there’s little worry about them snapping without warning. Of course, any dog can turn aggressive if pushed too far, so you should never leave your children unattended around one of these pups.
They love to play but they don’t require constant supervision. They’re happy to just curl up next to you on the couch, although they still need a fair amount of exercise.
In terms of temperament, they’re perfect for apartments. However, their tendency to bark may make them better suited for rural life, so you’ll want to figure out a way to get their vocalizations under control.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Generally speaking, these dogs love other dogs, as they consider any potential playmate a welcome one. They don’t tend to be plagued by the Napoleon complex that troubles other small breeds, so they don’t usually feel the need to prove anything to bigger dogs.
When it comes to cats and other pets, it all depends on the individual dog. If they take after the Beagle part of their heritage, they may feel the need to chase smaller animals in an effort to tree them. Then again, some of these dogs won’t care about sharing their homes with other creatures.
Regardless, it’s critical to socialize these dogs early and often. Your chances of having them tolerate small pets are better if they grow up with them, so it’s always better to introduce a puppy into a house that already has cats than the other way around.
Things to Know When Owning an English Speagle
Given how new and rare these dogs are, there’s not much information out there about raising them. They’re not too different from other dogs, but there are a few things that you should know before you bring one home.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
These dogs aren’t that big, but like their Beagle forebears, they can easily become overweight if not fed properly. Being obese is terrible for these pups, as it can cause all sorts of health issues, not to mention shorten their lifespan.
Exercising strict portion control is extremely important, so don’t let them free-feed. Instead, give them carefully measured meals on a regular schedule. Puppies should eat more frequently than adult dogs, and senior pups may be able to get by on a single meal each day.
We recommend giving them food that’s high in protein, as that will give them long-lasting energy without adding to their waistline. It should be high in fat too, as that will keep them feeling full between meals.
Be sure to read the ingredients list carefully, though. You want to avoid ingredients like animal by-products, as they’re made with low-grade meat that’s been rejected for any other purpose, and you also want to eschew cheap fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.
Don’t go overboard with treats during training sessions. It doesn’t take much to fatten these dogs up, and they’re happy to obey even if all they get is a kind word and a few ear scritches.
These dogs need a fair amount of exercise every day, as they can become destructive and ill-behaved if they have a ton of pent-up energy bouncing around inside them.
Fortunately, their small nature means that a long walk may be all that it takes to tucker them out. They also love to play, so you can just toss a ball around or grab a rope toy for fun on demand.
Given how smart these pooches are, they do well with puzzle toys. Obedience training works to burn off mental energy, so regular sessions will keep them calm and happy.
These are surprisingly athletic dogs, and they’re often entered into agility competitions and other athletic endeavors. They may not be able to match Golden Retrievers or Labradors, but spending a day in competition is likely to be fun for both of you.
While English Speagles aren’t known for being rowdy or disobedient dogs, regular training is still incredibly important. In addition to teaching them proper manners, frequent training will also burn off excess energy.
These dogs are usually eager to please, although they might be a bit pigheaded if they take after the Beagle portion of their DNA. They’re also intelligent, so it shouldn’t take much time to teach them to do what you want.
They are a bit sensitive, so you should only use positive reinforcement when training them. Any punishment-based training techniques will likely backfire, as they’re more likely to pull away from you rather than give you the behavior that you desire.
You can use treats to convince them to cooperate, but that’s not strictly necessary. They thrive under positive attention, so a simple “atta dog” and a few well-timed pats may be all that you need.
If you don’t feel up to the task of training your Speagle yourself, don’t hesitate to enlist the services of a professional trainer. However, it’s rare that you’ll need to go this far, and it’s always better to handle the training yourself because it will deepen the bond between you and your pet.
Both parent breeds are heavy shedders, so it’s no surprise that the English Speagle would be as well. If you enjoy being immaculate, this isn’t the breed for you. If you don’t mind a little dog hair on your clothes, furniture, and toothbrush, though, you’ll be fine with one of these pups.
To keep the shedding to a minimum, you’ll need to brush them often. Three times a week is about the minimum to keep the hair under control, but daily is even better.
You shouldn’t need to bathe them more than once every 3 or 4 months, with the only exception being if they’re visibly dirty. In between those baths, you should take a damp cloth and wipe it around the inside of their ears to prevent dirt and bacteria from building up. You should also dry those ears out thoroughly if they get wet.
Beyond that, all you need to do is brush their teeth daily and trim their nails as necessary.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Most designer breeds — or any mutt — are healthier than their purebred counterparts, as the addition of another breed adds more DNA into their gene pool.
English Speagles are healthier than Beagles or English Toy Spaniels, but they still have a fair amount of health issues to deal with. If you adopt one of these dogs, expect to spend time and money at the vet’s office over the years.
However, this breed isn’t established enough for any of the following conditions to be truly considered “likely.” These are just issues that many Speagles have encountered, but there’s no guarantee that your Speagle will suffer from any of the problems on this list.
That’s not a guarantee that your dog will be healthy either, of course. They could have a whole host of medical problems that aren’t shown here — or they could be the picture of health well into old age. It’s a roll of the dice with a young breed like this.
Male vs. Female
Given how young the breed is, it’s too early to tell if there are any clear and established differences between the two sexes. From what we currently know, though, they seem to be roughly the same size and close in terms of health and temperament.
3 Little-Known Facts About the English Speagle
1. Little Is Known About the English Speagle’s Origins
There’s little information as to why, how, or when the breed first came about.
In fact, the first Speagles might have been complete accidents for all we know. If that’s the case, it’s no surprise that the owners of the unexpected pups would want to recreate them, as these dogs are loyal and affectionate.
We may not know how the breed came about, but if they become incredibly popular in the future, the reason won’t be a mystery.
2. The Newness of the Breed Makes Each Dog Somewhat Unpredictable
It takes years and years — and generations and generations — for any dog breed’s traits to become somewhat predictable. Until that happens, any dog that is born is equally likely to favor one parent breed or the other or be some sort of mishmash of both.
The English Speagle is new enough that you never know for sure how your puppy will turn out. They could be Beagle-like or they could favor the English Toy Spaniel. This is true in terms of temperament, body style, fur quality, health and behavioral issues, etc.
This is important because you shouldn’t get one of these puppies if you’re dead-set on them turning out a certain way. You’ll simply have to pick out your puppy and take your chances on what they grow up to be.
3. They Make Surprisingly Good Guard Dogs
Many people look at a dog as small as the English Speagle and immediately dismiss them as a guard or watch dog, but that’s a mistake. The Beagle inside these pups gives them a powerful bark, and the English Toy Spaniel has a fearless nature that ensures that they’re not afraid to sound the alarm at the slightest provocation.
Of course, having a dog with a hair-trigger alarm isn’t ideal if you live in confined spaces, so you’ll need to train your Speagle to avoid problematic barking (and angry neighbors).
The English Speagle is an interesting dog with an interesting name, and while they may not have a clearly defined role in this world, they make wonderful and affectionate companions.
They’re non-aggressive guard dogs, they’re energetic without being overwhelming, and they’re equally happy playing with your or curled up next to you on the couch. Tracking down a reputable breeder may take a little legwork, but it’s well worth it in the end.
We never would’ve thought to cross a Beagle with an English Toy Spaniel, but once you have one of these pups sitting in your lap, it’s hard not to feel grateful that someone did.
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Featured Image Credit: Andy-Ginns, Shutterstock