How to choose the right dog breed: The Beagle

It may be the distinctive, colorful personality of the Beagle that so endears it to people. If you ask a child to draw a dog, the drawing will probably come closer to looking like a Beagle than any other breed. In size, shape and coloration, Beagles come across as the generic dog, which may account for their overall high popularity. Even their high ranking on excessive barking, which can be challenging at times for neighbors or adults in the family, is at least the very picture of what dogs do.

Despite the Beagle's lovable comic-strip Snoopy-like image, however, its behavorial profile suggests that it may not be the ideal family breed. The Beagle is not even strong on demand for affection. To its credits, the Beagle does not rank high on snapping at children.

By way of a further precaution, note that Beagles rank in the lowest decile on obedience training and ease of housebreaking. A rating this low is unusual for small breeds: only one other small breed, the Fox Terrier, ranked as low in trainability tests. Many owners might consider it unfortunate that the Beagle ranks low on territorial defense and watchdog barking, medium on aggression toward other dogs, and high on the tendency to exert dominance over the owner. As the top-ranking dog on excessive barking, the Beagle would probably not be the best breed for either a home or institutional setting.

No other breed is like the Beagle, but a similar and more moderate breed is the Pug, which ranks only low on exerting dominance over the owner.

The Beagle:

Weight: 30 lbs
Height: 15 in.
Build: Light
Coat: Short.
Color: Tan, black, or white.

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