by Ron Provines
WHERE TO LOOK
So you’ve decided that a Beagle puppy is what you want. What are your opportunities? If you’re reading this then you have what is perhaps your best resource at your fingertips. The BEAGLES UNLIMITED site has some very good resources. In my initial search for a pup I found that any local breeders, if they are out there at all, are small and unadvertised. I turned to the Internet.
A simple search with the keyword “Beagles” will yield hundreds of results. I just tried that and I got 342 sites. Many of these will be non-dog related sites. The very first result, though, was a listing of “Breeders”. These are the sites that you’re looking for. Start checking them, and looking for those that are breeding the type of Beagle your looking for. Perhaps you won’t mind traveling a distance to obtain a pup; I wanted to find one within 50 miles. My reason for that was to allow me to remain in contact with the breeder. There is a wealth of information available on the web, and the site that you are now visiting is one of the best. Use these to learn about Beagle history, care, training, and health.
The situation that I encountered was that there were no readily available puppies within a close vicinity to me. There were dogs two-hundred miles from my home but I thought that I had exhausted my resources locally. I had a timeline that I needed to observe. My sons expected a puppy and I was beholden to find one. I started e-mailing breeders. I then received a response from a gentleman in southern Indiana that had bred one of his studs to a female in a city not twenty miles from my home. According to his calendar she was due to whelp (give birth) in less than a month. A call to the number he provided yielded results. I was put on the list of prospective clients.
PICKING A PUPPY
A key question here. “How do I know that I am getting the type of Beaglethat I want?” One thing that I caught onto quickly in my web research is that the breed is divided into dogs with different end results in mind as to their breeding goals. A Beagle is not a Beagle is not just a Beagle! The dog that has been bred for show competitions may not meet your hunting needs, and I say MAY because we’re still talking a breed here and some characteristics run across the various bloodlines. Many non-hunting bloodlines have been bred for other characteristics so they don't need all of the qualities that make for a traditional hunting Beagle. Conversely, that puppy that’s been bred to hopefully capture the best of its parents’ hunting characteristics will probably not do well as an AKC show Beagle. They are bred with only conformation in mind. Know what end you have in mind and ASK THE BREEDER the characteristics of their dogs. I received an education in doing this and so will you.
Should it not matter to you, if you are simply looking for a pet or are willing to forego the breedlines, there are several Beaglerescue organizations and those sites, also, will turn up in your web search results. If tracking the dog’s family tree won’t matter to you, this is an opportunity. Consider it.
If, like me, you’ve decided on a hunting dog, a litter has been found, and you’re willing to meet the asking price; what’s next? Do yourself a favor and decide ahead of time whether you want a female or a male puppy. In terms of hunting Beagles I have heard several Beaglers describe in generalities the tendencies of the sexes. I’m still new to this so I can’t verify much. But the fact that my two females are circling rabbits at less than 6 months of age has impressed me. Some of these generalities are LOOSELY as follows:
These are some of the generalities that I have heard hunters say of their hounds, and a rabbit hound was what I wanted.
Any dog will need shelter. If your dog is to be a housepet, this is not an issue. What concerned me about this were the possible negative effects of the dog living, at least in our area, in a heated environment and then being taken outside for possibly hours at a time to hunt in very cold temperatures. The shelter that I decided on was to put up a garden shed, something that I needed anyway, and installing a two-way dog door in it. Outside I put in a rudimentary exercise run, approximately ten feet by 12 feet. This provides a place for the dog(s) to go if the climate in the shed doesn’t suit them and a place to do their duties, so to speak. There is no reason that you can’t settle on the standard “dog house” with your dog on a lead if that is what meets your needs. Let me say here that the best money that I invested in my dogs was that spent for an electronic containment fence. I went with a brand that had the fence, collar receivers, and a training transmitter in the initial kit. It was a wise investment. We installed the fence ourselves, saving some money, in August. The pups had reached the age of learning that they would try to sneak away when they thought that no one was watching them. With a road nearby, that fence brought a lot of peace of mind and the dogs learned to observe its boundaries in just a few days’ time. The remote transmitter has been useful in enforcing commands in the field. You decide for yourself.
Another need that has to be met is that of medical care. Your puppy should come to you wormed and may have had its first shots. Find a reliable veterinarian BEFORE you need one. Friends, and especially those that may have hunting dogs, are a good source of information. Vets are like medical doctors, people generally won’t recommend them if they’re thought poorly of. Schedule a visit shortly after you get the animal and get a health care history started.
I won’t pretend to recommend any particular brand of food. Whatever you choose make sure that it is nutritionally sound and that the animal will eat it. For the most part follow the feeding directions on the label but don’t forget to allow for weather. Like people, animals will eat less when stressed by heat and more when trying to keep themselves warm. Add to that the stress of hunting and the needs may increase significantly. Don’t allow yourself to let your dog(s) become obese. Like any other animal an overweight dog is not as healthy as one in good physical condition.
FINISHING THE DEAL
The telephone call came a couple of weeks after the pups were born. The breeder called and said that it was time to select a puppy. You pick up each animal, hold it up to eye level, look into those big watery brown eyes and your heart melts. You don’t want to put it down to look at the next. It is at this point that my puppy decision really went from one to two. Don’t ask. Some things just have to be done. A couple of parties had been working on me beforehand to get two dogs but when I got there, all that cuteness in one place just got to me. I don’t regret it a bit.
After having picked out your puppy, plural in my case, the wait until they are weaned can be excruciating. Rest assured, at some point you will bring that puppy home. When you do make sure to love it and play with it. I think socialization and interaction are important and pay big dividends when you start training. Others with far more experience than I have written very fine articles on those needs and some of those articles are on this website; read themall.
May you always have good running!