The Beagle is a member of the Hound group of dogs, originally bred for hunting in packs. He still has a strong hunting instinct. He’s a medium sized dog who is a popular family pet. He needs plenty of exercise both on and off lead. He has a short, dense coat which is relatively easy to keep clean. He needs to be groomed regularly. Average lifespan 10 years.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 10.2% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPSTBC
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- The Beagle’s long ears will have some impact on his ability to signal effectively to other dogs.
- His moist and damp lip folds may cause skin inflammation or infection.
- Excessive wrinkling could lead to entropion (eyelids turning inward)
- Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 20.2 (parents should be lower)
- Eye disease: Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) (litter screening); Primary open angle glaucoma (annual screening) (or DNA test – see below)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Parents should be tested for:
- Factor VII deficiency (bleeding disease)
- Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG)
- MLS (Musladin-Leuke Syndrome) (several congenital defects – short outer toes, flat skull, creased ears, thick, tight skin)
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency (a key enzyme deficiency which shortens the lifespan of red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anaemia)
- Neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration (NCCD) (severe progressive neurological disorder)
- IGS (Imerslund – Grasbeck syndrome) (vitamin B12 is unable to be absorbed through the gut) (lack of appetite,lethargy and malaise) (requires long term treatment) test currently available in the US
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Hypothyroidism (lethargy, changes in coat, weight gain)
- Heart disease – Pulmonic stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonic valve, causing exercise intolerance and risk of heart failure)
- Diabetes mellitus (usually female)
- Cushings syndrome (Hyperadrenocortism)
- Cancer – Mast cell tumours (skin tumours); bladder (urothelial carcinoma)
- Intervertebral disc disease (rupture of a disc with compression of the spinal cord, causing pain and weakness)
- Eye disease: Glaucoma, Cataract
- Renal amyloidosis (Kidney disease)
- Steroid Responsive Meningitis (fever and neck pain)
- Lafora’s disease (a type of seizure)
- Cerebellar hypoplasia (incomplete development of the hind brain, causes poor balance and co-ordination -emerging as a breed problem)
- Chondrodystrophy (dwarfism) (emerging – gene mapping underway)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: