The modern beagle dog breed has been around for centuries. They’re popular family pets that can often live quite long. But how old was the oldest beagle ever? We’ll dig into the oldest beagle and also share some tips for helping a beagle live a long, healthy life.
Origins of the Modern Beagle
According to The National Beagle Club of America Inc, the modern beagle of today was developed in the 15th Century throughout Great Britain and Greece, as well as Italy and France. Unfortunately, few reliable sources exist about beagle ancestry, but we know they developed from breeding with other hounds like the Talbot hound.
Beagles became popular dogs among English royalty and aristocrats through the 18th century, then eventually moved into the hearts and homes of farmers and other citizens across Great Britain.
Beagles have made ideal working dogs throughout their history because they are expert trackers of foxes and rabbits. The beagle is a scent hound able to sniff its way to a hunter’s target. They are so good at tracking the scent of rabbits (also called hares) that hunting rabbits with the help of a beagle became known as “beagling.”
By the 19th century, the beagle’s reputation as an excellent scent hound and a loveable pet made this sweet dog popular in the United States. Breeders in the US developed an even cuter variety of beagles that is still one of the most recognizable and beloved dogs to this day.
President Lyndon Johnson was a fan of the beagle. He had a male and a female beagle named Him and Her.
How Old Was the Oldest Beagle
The oldest beagle ever was named Butch and reached 28 years of age! Butch’s home was in Virginia, where he lived for 28 years. He was born in 1975 and died in 2003.
Butch lived so long he once earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest dog of any breed, until an Australian cattle dog called Bluey beat his record. Bluey lived to be 29 ½ years old.
Was Butch an especially long-lived beagle or do they regularly reach long ages? First bred in Great Britain as a hunting dog, the playful beagle is also a family-friendly companion with an average 12-15 years lifespan. That gives them one of the longest lifespans among dog breeds.
Still, Butch’s longevity stands out among beagles. No other beagles have been verified by the Guinness Book of World Records as living longer than 20 years.
How To Boost A Beagle’s Lifespan
A healthy diet and exercise are part of any dog’s healthy life plan, but the beagle could benefit from some special extra care. They might even live longer when you take extra steps to boost their physical and mental health.
The energetic beagle needs daily playtime and exercise. Beagles require regular physical activity and social stimulation. Obesity is common among beagles that don’t get the daily exercise their bodies need. Carrying too much weight could lead to joint pain and even chronic conditions like heart disease.
The beagle also needs proper dental care, as it is prone to dental disease. Tartar build-up can lead to infections that could also cause heart disease. Help your beagle live a longer life by having their teeth checked regularly by a veterinarian.
Beagles can develop back and eye problems (like glaucoma) as they age, so be on the lookout for these issues to catch them early for treatment. Also, keep watch for your beagle developing a wobbly walk that could mean they are dealing with brain dysfunction and need immediate medical care.
Overall, the beagle is a healthy breed with a cheerful personality. Most beagles won’t live as many years as Butch did, but with great care and lots of play, they could live a wonderfully long life.
How to Know a Beagle When You See One
Four easy ways to recognize a beagle are:
- A beagle has floppy ears that reach its nose.
- Most beagles have a square jaw.
- It likely has a tail with a white tip.
- Beagles have an average height of 13-15 inches. Females stand an inch or two shorter than males.
Beagles also have striking coloring. Their short-hair coats are usually a 2-color or 3-color mix of black, brown, or tan in large patches over their backs and backsides. Their chest, belly, and legs are often white. Some beagles have reddish fur or even a golden tint to their coat, referred to as lemon.
Beagle Breeds and Mixed Breeds
You know that beagles are part of the hound group if you’ve ever seen a dog show. Hounds are highly regarded for their hunting and tracking skills.
Here’s a brief list of some of the modern beagle and beagle-mix breeds:
- Beagle – Classified by their height of 13-15 inches
- Pocket Beagle – Classified by their height of below 13 inches
- Peagle – A crossbreed of a beagle and a Pekingese
- Poogle – A crossbreed of a beagle and a poodle
- Bagel – A crossbreed of a beagle and a basset hound
- Puggle – A crossbreed of a beagle and a pug
- Meagle – A crossbreed of a beagle and a miniature pinscher
- Beagle Shepherd – A crossbreed of a beagle and a German shepherd
- Beagador – A crossbreed of a beagle and a Labrador retriever
Many of the beagle mixed breeds of today are considered “designer dogs” created by breeders who wanted the positive traits of both breeds in one healthy pet.
Breeders developing these designer dogs with beagles need to be mindful of genetics. For example, a healthy puggle is born of a female beagle with a male pug. However, experienced breeders know that pairing the opposite – a male beagle with a female pug – could result in health complications for the mother and create puppies that don’t survive.
Most beagle mixed breeds have similar average life spans but could vary based on health conditions common for each original dog breed. Purebred beagle mixes are always ideal and are generally healthier than non-purebred mixes.
Is a Beagle the Right Pet for You?
Because of its sweet and gentle temperament, families with young children gravitate toward the beagle as a family dog. The beagle is generally a happy dog who loves to play. In addition, beagles get along well with other dogs and love to socialize.
It’s important to note that having a beagle in the family can come with challenges. A beagle has lots of energy and needs an environment that supports daily play and exercise. Beagles are also quite vocal. They often bark and howl.
But the perks can outweigh the drawbacks of bringing a beagle home to stay. Beagles are fun, loyal, intelligent, and always happy to see you.
Beagles might also be beneficial as emotional support dogs for children with Autism because of their joyful and compassionate personalities.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/androsov58
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