The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Beagle as “friendly, curious, and merry”. Affectionate is also another suitable adjective.
Are Beagles affectionate? Beagles are among the happiest of breeds and are very affectionate. Their innate good nature makes them an excellent family dog, and they are especially good with children.
For most people, affection is high on the list of attributes they seek in a dog. I’ve had many Beagles in my life and can attest to the fact that they are sweet and loving. That doesn’t mean Beagles are for everyone. This article can help you decide whether a Beagle is the right affectionate small dog for you.
How Do Beagles Show Affection?
Most Beagles are blessed with excellent temperaments.
The exceptions have usually suffered abuse or neglect or lack of early socialization. Many can come around with patience and caring.
Overall, they are among the friendliest of breeds. That spirit extends to other dogs and cats. Although affection rankings for dog breeds are subjective, Beagles are usually high on the list.
Beagles show affection in myriad ways: each dog may have its own methodology. First, they are great companions. Their affection extends to just wanting to be around you all the time – unless some unusual scent gets in the way. Beagles want to physically connect with their people, so you may always have a Beagle on your foot when sitting down or on your lap when watching TV.
Expect your Beagle buddy to follow you everywhere around the house, or at least every part of the dwelling in which he is permitted. You may never have privacy in the bathroom again, but it’s worth it!
Nothing compares to coming home after a hard day’s work – or even from a brief outing – and having your Beagle explode with joy at your return. Your pet may greet you with a favorite toy in his mouth, eager for you to toss it.
How Not To Show Affection
Beagles also show affection in ways you might prefer they did not.
That frantic greeting may be accompanied by jumping on you, but discourage that behavior.
Your Beagle could accidentally knock you down, and no one wants dirty paw prints on clean clothes. You also do not want your Beagle jumping on guests and causing problems. An elderly person or a small child can fall down and get hurt.
Like any dog, Beagles benefit from basic obedience training.
While they are a smart breed, Beagles are quite independent, so training may take a little more patience and effort than with other dogs. Make it clear that your Beagle gets no attention from you when he jumps. Once he learns basic obedience, have him do something else, such as sit, when you enter, and he appears poised to leap on you.
If you have a Beagle that jumps, take the time to watch trainer Zac George’s session below on how to stop your dog from jumping on people.
Other Beagle PDAs
Most Beagles enjoy a good belly rub. If your dog comes to you, rolls over and exposes her underside, that means she really trusts you. It’s a probable sign that she wants that belly rubbed and rubbed now.
Many Beagles show affection with a major lickfest. Some people don’t mind that, while others find it gross. Depending on what side of the fence you fall on, you can encourage or discourage these oral Beagle displays of affection.
Keep in mind that a Beagle’s insatiable food drive means he’ll chow down on anything you encounter on walks, including other animals’ feces. When a Beagle shares your home, you soon learn to keep garbage cans well-secured and food safely out of Beagle reach. The breed has made counter surfing into an art form. You don’t want to let your Beagle lick your face effusively only to find out he just ate all of the dirty tissues in the bathroom garbage!
If you brush your Beagle’s teeth and keep his pearly whites clean and hygienic, let him give you a good lick bath as a reward.
Are Beagles Affectionate?
Beagles are utterly lovable. Everything about their appearance, from those deep, expressive eyes to the wagging white tip of the tail, makes your heart melt. Their looks just scream, “Cuddle me,” and their people are more than happy to oblige.
Do Beagles like to cuddle? Not every Beagle enjoys cuddling, but most do. It is actually part of their genetic makeup. Dogs were first domesticated for humans for hunting, and hunters and their dogs slept together on cold nights to keep each other warm. As a dog specifically bred for hunting, Beagles still retain that cuddling instinct.
Of course, a Beagle wants to cuddle with her person, but instincts play a role here, too. If you’ve had a bad day or are feeling down, your Beagle senses your mood. She wants to comfort you, and there is nothing better than a good Beagle cuddle to lift your spirits and make you feel better. Cuddling is a great way to bond with your pet.
Burrowing and Cuddling
Many Beagle owners like nighttime cuddling best of all.
Beagles are notorious burrowers, so your pet might make a comfy nest within your blanket or quilt. Perhaps she’ll stick her head out for some ear rubs or kisses, or exit her lair sometime during the night to snuggle next to you. When you’re safe in bed with your Beagle at the end of a long day, everything seems right with the world.
The downside of all that Beagle love and affection is potential separation anxiety. Some Beagles are fine as long as their people are present, but when left alone for long periods, they will become destructive or start howling .
Physical Benefits of Beagle Cuddling
While there are emotional benefits for you and your Beagle when you cuddle, there are also physical advantages.
Petting and cuddling your Beagle releases oxytocin. This chemical dubbed the “love hormone,” triggers the bonding between mothers and their offspring. Oxytocin helps reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone, in humans.
Cuddling your Beagle is a great way to destress, but if you live with a Beagle, you already knew that. A 2019 Austrian study confirms that when a dog gazes at its owner, the owner’s oxytocin level increases.
Oxytocin can help fight depression. Even if you’re feeling down, spending time with your happy-go-lucky Beagle should raise your spirits.
If you feel better after a good Beagle cuddle session, it’s not your imagination. Overall, oxytocin can help your body deal with all sorts of pain, and the same holds true for your Beagle. You become a mutual pain-relieving, stress-reducing society.
Anxiety is another condition that often responds to Beagle cuddling. While you can cuddle your pet to calm him down when he’s anxious, take care not to inadvertently encourage his fears.
Cuddling your Beagle may even lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, anxiety and depression are linked to higher risks of stroke. High levels of stress hormones contribute to rates of heart disease.
Beagle cuddling is not a substitute for monitoring your blood pressure and a heart-healthy diet, but it can help.
If your Beagle knew your pets and cuddles were helping you live a healthier life, he would be even happier than usual.
Beagles are the best medicine.
Strengthening The Bond With Your Beagle
Increase your Beagle’s affection even more by spending lots of time with him and doing the things Beagles like to do.
This is a breed needing a lot of exercise, so take him on long walks where he can spend significant time sniffing. Always keep your Beagle leashed – even a well-trained Beagle might heed the lure of a passing scent and run off.
While it is true that Beagles can leave something to be desired in the trainability department, you can strengthen the bond with your dog by participating in activities such as field trials. Start out at AKC field trials with brace trials, in which two or three dogs run as a brace trailing wild rabbits. AKC field trial judges score the Beagles on their trailing accuracy.
Scent detection trials
A variant on field trials is scent detection trials, otherwise known as the Joy of Sniffing.
Keep in mind that many working Beagles are employed at airports and transportation facilities to detect the scent of narcotics and other contraband.
In AKC scent work, the Beagle may compete in either the odor search division or the handler discrimination division. In the former, the Beagle searches for the odor of specific essential oils placed in certain areas. The latter division involves the Beagle searching for his handler’s aroma.
Scent fun at home
Scent trials are held in different areas around the country and include divisions ranging from novice to master. This is the type of training and fun with your dog, you can do on your own.
Hide scented items all over your house or yard and let your Beagle get to work.
Praise her like crazy when she locates her “prey,” which will likely result in an outpouring of canine affection.
The AKC has materials available, and you can also find instructions on scent training on YouTube and elsewhere online.
Agility is fun too
Agility is another area where a Beagle can shine. While it may take longer to train a Beagle than other breeds for this sport, Beagles are capable of running and jumping and shimmying through items.
There is a special bond created when the two of you work together to reach a goal.
Other games to bond over
Other games to play with your Beagle and enhance your relationship include fetch and frisbee. Frisbee is a great outdoor activity for you and your Beagle. I’ve written an instructional post on how to get your dog interested in frisbee. And here is the link to that post.
Nothing pleases your Beagle more than playing games with his favorite person.
Kids and Beagles
As noted, kids and Beagles are usually perfect together.
Even though your Beagle appears kind and friendly, always teach children the proper way to approach and handle a dog. That said, Beagles make good choices for kids not only because they are so affectionate, but they boast a lot of energy. The kids and the dog can play in the backyard for hours and tire themselves out.
Even dogs that are good with kids are often nervous around toddlers and may snap.
While any dog and toddler interaction requires careful supervision, most Beagles tolerate even the youngest tots. Yes, those little ones may get a heap of Beagle affection and licking, although they were not expecting it.
A Beagle, however, is not a guard dog. Leaving small children out with a Beagle in the backyard does not mean the dog will alert you if there is a problem. That’s Lassie’s job, not Snoopy’s.
A Beagle should engage in the kids’ various fun and games, including running around for the sheer exhilaration.
Beagles are physically tough little dogs. They are not prone to many genetic disorders, although lack of exercise and overeating contributes to obesity.
Taking a Beagle for daily walks is a good way for children and the entire family to appreciate the outdoors and stay fit.
When the Beagle’s nose isn’t stuck to the ground as he explores the territory, he will gaze at you adoringly or let you know he’s eager for some fun.
Beagles were bred as hunting dogs, so they enjoy living in packs.
Beagles do best when there is another canine companion in the home.
If your Beagle suffers from separation anxiety when you are away, a dog friend can prove the cure. Another Beagle per se isn’t necessary, but the two dogs must get along.
The good news is that Beagles tend to get along with most other canines.
They’re as popular among their own species as they are with humans. More than one Beagle means even more affection and cuddling!
My Personal Experience
My own Beagle, Lincoln, shows affection by simply staring at me with those soulful brown eyes until I pet or hug him.
He gives me a nudge with his paw, then turns on his considerable Beagle charm.
He knows no matter how busy I seem, I always have time for a good Beagle cuddle.
He’s not much for sleeping with people, though. Lincoln prefers the company of his beloved feline friends at night.
If you would like to read more about Beagles, check out these articles: