At first glance, the Foxhound and the Beagle look quite similar. They are both intelligent and loyal hunting dogs that can pose quite a challenge in training, given their selective listening when they detect a new scent. These two breeds also possess an array of qualities that make them wonderful companions for active families. In this article, we go over both the Foxhound and the Beagle to help you find the breed that’s right for you!
At a Glance
There are two types of Foxhounds: the American Foxhound and the English Foxhound. They are relatively similar in temperament and physique, although the American is a little taller and more slender than their English cousin. The American Foxhound was imported from England in the mid-17th century for the purpose of hunting foxes.
They have a coat of medium length and diverse colors, ranging from black and cream to beige, red, and white. They are famous for their sweet, pleading look, capable of melting the heart of any dog lover!
In addition, they are friendly, enduring, and loyal, they get along well with other pets, they are always in a good mood, and they are highly energetic. Considering their high need for daily exercise, they are not suitable for everyone. Also, Foxhounds make a loud bawling noise, which is perfect to indicate to their hunter owners that prey has been detected, but these howls can quickly become a nuisance to your neighbors!
Foxhounds are known to be gentle, tolerant, balanced dogs that are friendly with people and other pets, though you should be careful if you have cats. Foxhounds can live and even develop a friendship with cats, but extra vigilance is required if you introduce a new feline companion into your home with a full-grown Foxhound, given this breed’s strong hunting instincts.
One thing that you need to keep in mind before adopting a Foxhound is that they need plenty of exercise. Otherwise, they will become unhappy, depressed, and destructive. That said, you don’t have to be a hunter to provide them with all the adrenaline that they need to thrive. Two 30-minute walks daily, along with playtime, like fetching, or other games, like hide-and-seek (always in a fenced yard), should be enough to tire out your pup and keep them happy and healthy.
Foxhounds are not easy to train and are not a good choice as someone’s first dog. Although they are smart and kind, they are inclined to turn a deaf ear whenever it pleases them. They are stubborn and have strong hunting instincts, which poses a significant challenge when training them. Therefore, a firm and consistent education starting at an early age is essential. Do not hesitate to take obedience lessons with your Foxhound in order to perfect your training techniques.
An amazing thing about Foxhounds is that they aren’t particularly prone to major health issues. They may suffer from thrombopathy (a condition affecting the functioning of blood platelets), but this can be detected early by a simple blood test. By providing proper care, food, and exercise, you can expect these dogs to live up to 13 years.
Other points in favor of the Foxhound are that their coat is easy to maintain (regular brushing is enough to remove dead hair and keep their coat shiny) and that they have no specific dietary needs. However, due to their high exercise requirements, these dogs are not at all suited to apartment living. They will be happiest in the countryside and with an owner who can give them all the attention, love, and exercise that they need to thrive.
Foxhounds are great for active owners and families who enjoy spending time outdoors.
The Beagle is a breed of hunting dog that appeared in England in the 1800s. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. At first glance, these cheerful and endearing dogs look like miniature Foxhounds. They have the same sweet, pleading expression and make excellent four-legged companions for the whole family. They are also famous for their distinctive howls, incredibly well-developed sense of smell, and stubbornness.
Beagles are kind and tolerant dogs and are particularly patient with young children. They love spending hours playing with their mini humans, making them outstanding playmates. However, they are quite independent and stubborn and will stop at nothing when faced with an intriguing new smell detected during their walks, hence the need to keep them on a leash at all times!
Just like the Foxhound, the Beagle needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to maintain a healthy body and mind. A simple daily walk of fewer than 30 minutes will not be enough for these scent hounds, as they need at least 1 hour of daily exercise. The ideal situation would be to give them access to a fenced yard so they can roam and follow their noses as they please, in addition to a daily walk and playtime.
Beagles are independent and stubborn, so training them requires special attention. Unlike other, more docile breeds, they are not prone to respond to your commands just to please you. Therefore, it is essential to focus their training on positive reinforcement, with the help of rewards such as treats (but not too many because these dogs tend to gain weight easily), praise, and stimulating games, like an obstacle course. Be consistent, patient, and firm at all times, and never resort to punishment at the risk of losing your pet’s trust.
Beagles have an average lifespan similar to Foxhounds at between 12 and 15 years. However, they are not as hardy as their cousins, as they are prone to several health conditions, such as epilepsy, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, progressive central retinal atrophy, and other ocular and auditory issues.
Major ailments include primary carnitine deficiency and intervertebral disc disease. You can get specific exams done on your Beagle to identify these breed-specific health issues early.
Despite their independent side, Beagles love the company of humans and other furry friends. Their coat requires no more than a good brushing a few times a week, though they will benefit from daily brushing during heavy shedding seasons (twice a year). In addition, they gain weight easily, hence the importance of providing them with an appropriate diet and getting them enough daily exercise.
Beagles make wonderful companions for active families with young children, and they can adapt to city life as long as they can stretch their legs for at least 1 hour a day.
Which Breed Is Right for You?
Foxhounds and Beagles are hunting dog breeds with countless qualities that make them smart, loving, loyal, and kind pets. But you must respect their energetic natures and the individual needs of each breed.
For one thing, Foxhounds are best suited to rural living and owners who enjoy hunting and the great outdoors. As for Beagles, they can live in an apartment but will only thrive if they receive enough cuddles, exercise, and playtime every day. With either breed, you’ll need to invest a great deal of time, skill, and patience in their training.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself the following question: Can your lifestyle and household meet the needs of the feisty Foxhound or the smaller, less demanding Beagle? Only you know the answer!
Featured Image Credit: Top – Olga Aniven, Shutterstock | Bottom – 825545, Pixabay