Your Beagle Doesn’t Bark (Should You Be Worried)?

I remember my Beagle Lincoln started off a very quiet dog. As he grew into a teenager he didn’t bark very much. I was worried just like you might be. So I went to see my vet. He educated me that Beagles can vocalize in different ways to other dogs. This goes back to their roots as a hunting dog.

So your Beagle doesn’t bark? That’s no cause for alarm. Beagles have three ways they vocalize not just one. Conventional barking lets you know he wants to go outside, or he’s excited to go for a walk. Baying and howling are other ways a Beagle may choose to express themselves instead of barking.

As a longtime Beagle owner, I am familiar with this outgoing but determined breed. Read on to learn more about Beagle psychology related to vocalizing, and how everything your Beagles does relates to his ancestry as a hunting dog. You will also learn the variety of sounds your Beagle might make, even if standard barking isn’t one of them.

Why You Should Trust Us

My own Beagle, Lincoln, does not bark. Maybe that is because his Keeshond companion does all the barking for him. He is certainly not silent, but it is a bay or howl that emits from his throat, not a standard bark.

Start singing in a loud voice, and there is soon Beagle musical accompaniment. He lets me know whether he wants in or out of the back yard via a hearty howl.

Why doesn't my beagle bark
My dog Lincoln the Beagle

His lack of an actual bark has never troubled me. Beagle experts understand that much depends on the individual dog. It is natural for some Beagles to bark and just as natural for others to never make a sound resembling a “woof.” Just love your Beagle for the intriguing character he is.

Beaglemania

Somewhere along the line, you acquired a Beagle. You could have bought your puppy from a breeder, adopted your Beagle friend from the pound, or found your Beagle and could never find the owner. That last scenario happens more often with Beagles than with other dogs.

Beagles are ruled by their noses and often dig under fences if left unsupervised.

It is also unwise to trust Beagles off-lead because they are off running and and ignoring all commands for them to stop once they catch wind of prey.

The bad news is that they get lost all too often, especially if there is no microchip or collar with ID on the animal. Beagles used for hunting get lost a lot, and many do not have any form of identification.

If you got your Beagle via a rescue group, it’s important to know that one of the major reasons these dogs are re-homed is because the dog won’t stop howling.

Even if you’re entirely overwhelmed by those soulful, gentle brown eyes, ask the adoption agency for as much information as possible. You definitely want to know if excess noise contributed to the re-homing. That does not mean adopting such a dog is not a good idea, but you must understand what you are getting into and the best ways to correct it.

A Happy, Quiet Beagle

A Beagle that doesn’t bark may not feel the need to because he enjoys plenty of stimulation. That’s a testament to your good dog care. A bored dog might bark because there is nothing else to do.

The lack of stimulation creates a need to keep himself busy in some manner. A happy dog spending lots of time with his person and kept active has little desire to make noise for the sake of being heard.

Look on the bright side, if your Beagle doesn’t bark, at least he isn’t yapping like some smaller canines.

The Three Methods of Vocalization

The average Beagle has three methods of vocalization.

  1. Howling
  2. Barking and
  3. Baying.

Howling

Beagles were bred to howl so that hunters would know prey was cornered.

When a Beagle howls, the head is thrown back, the nose points upward, and that unforgettable sound emerges.

Those howls needed to be heard from a long distance out in the hunt field, which is why a Beagle’s bay or howl can really carry.

Howls are much longer than short, sharp barks.

In the video below, you can listen to a Beagle howling to music in the background.

Beagle howling to music

Barking

Even Beagles who do bark usually don’t make that particular sound as often as a howl or bay.

Barking is usually done at specific times, often revolving around meals.

Few dogs are as food-oriented as Beagles. If mealtime is lagging, the person may receive a Beagle bark to remind that a hungry dog is in the vicinity.

Baying

The bay is an in-between bark and howl sound.

Baying usually starts when the Beagle catches a scent, and he is off to track it down.

Beagles may also bay when sensing a possible threat, and they want to come across as loud and strong. You can listen to a beagle baying in the video below.

Beagle baying at the door next door

Why Doesn’t My Beagle Bark?

Possibly your Beagle doesn’t bark because his lineage doesn’t point in that direction. Beagles from working bloodlines tend toward more vocalization than those from show lines.

Working bloodlines are bred to hunt, and life as a house pet is secondary.

Many show dogs have had much of their hunting ability bred out of them since their primary purpose revolves around companionship.

If you want a Beagle that barks and are purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder, ask whether the dog’s particular lines tend toward barking.

Beagle Puppies and Howling

If you have just brought your Beagle puppy home, it’s likely he has already started to howl.

That distinctive noise first issues from the Beagle puppy’s throat as early as eight weeks of age.

Howling is in his genes. Some Beagles start in puppyhood, while others may not do so until they are a year old or more. The only certainty is they will do it and keep doing it for the rest of their lives.

The howling is not only inherent, but it tends to make a Beagle happy. While you want a happy pet, there are limits on how much noise you and your neighbors can put up with.

Not a Watchdog

Beagles have many admirable qualities, but alerting you to the presence of strangers is not usually one of them.

They were not bred as watchdogs, and have little interest in the task.

Your Beagle might make some noise if a delivery person with dog treats is making the rounds, but that is because it’s in his best interests, not yours.

There are exceptions, and perhaps your Beagle bays at anyone coming near. For the most part, though, guarding your house and warning you about people on the property is not in the Beagle toolkit. However, he will let you know if there are rabbits or squirrels in the vicinity.

That does not mean certain noises or activities will not set your Beagle to howling. It’s less likely that the mailman, or someone at your door will start him howling as opposed to a shadow or some other item that only your dog notices.

Fun fact about Beagles: They make great auxiliary dogs. Because they were bred to live and work in a pack, they usually get along well with other canines. If a Beagle has her druthers, she is not the sole dog in the household.

If you can keep two dogs, choose another breed as a watchdog, and let your Beagle handle her preferred tasks. An added bonus of a second – or third – canine is that your Beagle will lose the neediness for companionship it demands from you as an only dog.

The Noisy Beagle

Perhaps your question is not, “Why doesn’t my Beagle bark,” but why doesn’t my dog stop making noise all the time?

Taming the noisemaker

Some Beagles are noisemakers, whether barking or baying.

As with any dog, excess noise making can become a problem. That is why it’s crucial to train your Beagle to stop barking or baying and quiet down when you give him the signal.

Training a Beagle to stay quiet is like teaching a Beagle to do anything else – it takes time and patience.

Beagles are not the easiest dogs to train. That is because they are slaves to their noses, and it does not take much to distract them. It is not just Beagles, but a hound thing.

Why doesn't my beagle bark

The breed is also notorious for selective hearing. So if you think your Beagle is ignoring you, you’re probably right.

Although Beagles are often affectionate, pleasing their person is not at the top of their agenda as with so many other dogs.

The need for routine

Beagles were originally bred to hunt for rabbits in a pack. These sweet canines need a fair amount of exercise. While you should focus on training your Beagle to stop being noisy, figure out why he carries on. If he is bored, making noise is a way of getting attention, even if it is negative.

While all dogs thrive on routine, it is especially necessary for a Beagle.

Your pet is more willing to concentrate on training if he knows they occur after a good walk and are followed by other activities, like playing.

If he starts making too much noise, try redirecting his attention. That might mean throwing a ball for him to fetch, or asking him to perform some basic obedience task, like sitting.

Separation anxiety

Those Beagles left alone for long periods may develop separation anxiety. In this case, constant howling becomes part of their way of dealing with their loneliness.

Consider leaving the TV or radio on for your Beagle when you are away or supply him with “brain game” puzzles for dogs to keep him occupied. The beauty of some puzzles is that you can adjust the difficulty level once your Beagle figures out how to get the reward.

Get a trainer

If your attempts to keep him quiet are not fruitful and your Beagle continues to make noise and bother the neighbors, consider hiring a trainer. Make sure the trainer is experienced with hounds. The type of training that may provide results with other dogs may not work when hound breeds are involved.

The second canine in the pack

Being the only dog can increase the desire to make noise. Even if your Beagle fails to bark, she can go on a continuous howl or bay spree.

Try “borrowing” a friend’s dog and see if another dog’s presence in the backyard alleviates the noise issue.

If it helps and is within your ability, think about obtaining another canine to share your life and calm your Beagle.

Beagle Excitement

Some Beagles may need a trigger to actually bark rather than howl.

That trigger is usually some type of Beagle excitement: something that has gotten him so enthused that a bark is his immediate reaction.

Maybe he hasn’t seen you or another family member for a while, and he’s so thrilled that only a bark will do.

Maybe there’s a cat in the vicinity. While Beagles might chase cats, they are a breed that usually gets along well with felines. In fact, if a companion dog for your Beagle is not a possibility, having a cat for company is a good option if your dog is home alone frequently.

Eventually Barking May Happen

Just because your Beagle doesn’t bark now doesn’t mean it will never happen. As noted, some Beagle puppies might not make much in the way of any noise until they reach their first birthday, or later. Sooner or later, something piques their interest enough that a bark is the only response.

Mad About Beagles?

If you have enjoyed this article, we have more great information about Beagles on Outdoor Dog Fun:

Jane M

Jane is a longtime dog writer whose work has appeared in dozens of publications. She is also a nationally-known equine journalist. She has three dogs - a beagle named Lincoln, Bella the Keeshond, and Peanut, a little mixed breed whose tail never stops wagging. They all enjoy taking long walks and hanging around the farm.

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