The decision to take on the responsibility of owning a beagle, whether as a pet, for showing or obedience trained companion, or all of the above, should not be taken lightly. A beagle of good health will be there to share in your joys and sorrows for approximately 10 to 14 years. Requiring proper food, shelter, exercise, training, grooming and medical care, plus a lifetime of love and companionship from you.
Selecting the right breed for your individual lifestyle and personality requires a bit of research. Before deciding which breed best fills your requirements, read, observe and ask questions. Visit your local library, search the internet and learn as much as you can about breeds that interest you. Attend dog shows. Nearly every weekend there are All Breed and Specialty Shows (featuring one breed). Here you will be able to see the breeds that you are interested in. If you are patient and considerate of the exhibitor’s attention to their dogs, you will find them more than willing to answer questions about their breeds.
Acquiring your puppy or dog from a reputable breeder is of utmost importance. Your puppy’s breeder should be able to show you the kind of environment in which your puppy was raised, your puppy’s dam, littermates and occasionally the sire. The breeder should also supply you with information about feeding, grooming, veterinary care (including vaccination details and future needs) and your puppy’s pedigree or a copy. If any problems should arise at any time in the future, your dog’s breeder should be available for consultation.
The appeal of puppies is almost irresistible. The temptation to take one home and trust everything will work out is strong. However, puppy beagles grow up into adult beagles, which may bear little resemblance to what they were at three or four months of age. The time and effort spent in selecting the right breed and then the right breeder is a sound investment in your own enjoyment for the next dozen or so years.
Good Breeders Make Good Puppies
Once you have decided that you definitely want a beagle, you will want a sound, healthy representative of the breed. Here’s how to start.
First choose a breeder in whom you have confidence. Look for a “Hobby Breeder” (a person who is dedicated to the improvement of the breed and will only breed when they feel they can make an improvement in their already show quality breeding stock.) Be wary of the breeder who produces puppies purely for profit and repeatedly use the same sire and dam over and over again.
The Beagle Club of SA Inc. Breeder’s Directory provides names of registered breeder members. You may also contact breeders at local dog shows. Talk to each breeder on the list you’ve compiled. Ensure that the breeder is currently registered with the South Australian Canine Association. This means that they must follow the rules and regulations laid down by the South Australian Canine Association and are bound by their Code of Ethics, in regard to the breeding/caring and rearing of dogs. As you speak to them they will be interviewing you as well. When you have chosen a breeder you are happy with ask to be placed on their list. While you wait, prepare your home for your new arrival and keep in regular contact with the breeder you have chosen.
Tell the breeder whether you want a companion, quality or show quality pup. Puppies of each breed are graded against the breed’s official standard of perfection, and only the pups that come the closest to the Breed Standard should be used to perpetuate the breed and be exhibited at dog shows. Pups that don’t come as close to the Breed Standard, whose imperfections may be unnoticeable and that make no difference to you or to the health of the animal, are companion quality pups. All are raised with the same care. All will be wormed and inoculated appropriately for their age.
If you ask for “Show Quality” be prepared to undertake the showing of that pup – an awesome task! Conversely, if you buy “Companion Quality” expect to have it sterilized and don’t expect it to come close enough to the Breed Standard to compete at dog shows or to be bred from. The terms “Pure Bred” and “Pedigree” are not guarantees of “Show Quality” and do not automatically mean that your dog should be bred from.
Ask to visit the breeder’s kennels. Good breeders use crates, runs and fences to control their dogs’ activities. However, they don’t “warehouse” their dogs in crates all the time, nor keep adults and puppies in kennels without human contact. Look for clean, happy, healthy beagles in the breeder’s reasonable clean, tidy and odour free premises.Don’t buy a dog out of sympathy or impulse; remember the impulse could be with you for as long as fourteen years!