English Beagle Vs American Beagle

english beagle vs american beagle

English Beagle vs American Beagle - There's A Difference?

In this article, we discuss history and differing characteristics of these English and American beagle cousins. We uncovering their unique traits, origins, and temperaments. From their physical appearance to their hunting instincts, we sort through these two beagles, shedding light on the subtle differences that make each beagle type so special. 

The Kennel Club (TKC) has set a certain criteria that must be observed by a purebred beagle.  If a Beagle is born in England, they has to adapt to the breed standard appearance adopted by the TKC. 

The American Beagle has to maintain characteristics of the breed standard set forth by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to be considered show quality.

History and Origins of the English Beagle

The English beagle has a long history, dating back several centuries. Its origins can be traced to the medieval period, where it was primarily used for hunting small game such as rabbits and hares. Beagles were highly valued for their exceptional scenting abilities and their determination in pursuing their prey.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the English beagle gained even more prominence. The Queen herself was an avid hunter and had a particular fondness for this tenacious, compactly-built hound. It was during this time that beagles began to be selectively bred for specific traits, such as a keen sense of smell and an ability to work as pack animals.

The English beagle eventually made its way to the United States, where it continued to thrive and adapt to its new environment.

History and Origins of the American Beagle

While the English beagle has a long and storied history, the American beagle is a newer breed, relatively speaking. It was developed in the United States in the late 19th century, again primarily for hunting purposes. American breeders sought to create a smaller, faster, and more agile version of the English beagle, better suited for hunting in the American terrain.

To achieve this, American breeders started to cross the English beagle with smaller scent hounds, such as the Harrier. This selective breeding resulted in a breed that retained the strong scenting abilities of the English beagle but possessed a more streamlined and athletic physique.

The American beagle quickly gained popularity among hunters in the United States, thanks to its adaptability and versatility in different hunting environments. 

Today, modern beagles remain a beloved breed not only for rabbit hunting but also as a great companion and affectionate family pet.

Characteristics and Personality Traits of the English Beagle

The English beagle is a compact and muscular dog, with a well-defined head and a slightly domed skull. Their brown or hazel eyes are vibrant and expressive, and their ears are long and droopy, giving them a perpetually curious and endearing expression.

In terms of temperament, the English beagle is known for its friendly and sociable personality. They are good-natured and get along well with children and other pets. However, they can be a bit stubborn at times, which can make training a challenge. Patience and consistency are key when it comes to successfully training an English beagle.

The English beagle are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They have a natural instinct to explore and follow scents, so it’s important to provide them with opportunities to engage in activities that stimulate their senses, such as scent work or tracking games.

Both English and American beagles can struggle with separation anxiety.  This is when they act out, show destructive behavior, or otherwise feel stress when left alone.  

Our article on beagle separation anxiety is a great resource for identifying the signs of separation anxiety and also tips for helping your beagle.

english beagle vs american beagle
English Beagle - Notice the stocky, muscular build

Characteristics and Personality Traits of the American Beagle

The American beagle is slightly smaller and more agile than its English counterpart. It has a leaner build, with a deep chest and strong hindquarters that enable it to move swiftly and efficiently. Its head is proportionate to its body, with a slightly rounded and more steam-lined skull.

The American beagle is known for its outgoing and cheerful personality. They are highly sociable dogs that thrive on human companionship and enjoy being part of a family or pack. They are also good with children and other pets, making them an excellent choice for households with young children or multiple animals.

The American beagle is also an intelligent and trainable breed, although they can be a bit independent at times. Positive reinforcement training methods work best with this breed, as they respond well to rewards and praise. 

It’s important to start training sessions at a young age and be consistent to ensure a well-behaved and obedient companion.

English Beagle vs American Beagle - Physical Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between English and American beagles is their size. English beagles are generally larger and heavier, with males typically weighing between 25-35 pounds and females between 20-30 pounds. American beagles, on the other hand, are smaller and more compact size, with males weighing around 20-30 pounds and females around 18-28 pounds.

Another physical difference is the shape of their ears. English beagles have longer and floppier ears that hang down close to their heads, while American beagles have slightly shorter ears that stand up a bit more.  The American Kennel Club looks for ears that are long enough to that touch the tip of their black noses as the breed standard.

Additionally, English beagles tend to have a more stocky and muscular build, with a broader chest and a more substantial bone structure. American beagles, on the other hand, have a leaner and more athletic physique, with a narrower chest and lighter bone structure.  

You’ll often hear of small stature beagles, or pocket beagles, these small beagles fall in the American beagle class.

English Beagle vs American Beagle - Temperament and Behavior

In terms of temperament, both English and American beagles share many similarities. They are both friendly, sociable, and affectionate dogs that thrive on human companionship. However, there are some subtle differences in their behavior.

English beagles are generally more laid-back and easygoing. They are known for their calm and gentle nature, making them excellent family pets. They are typically less vocal than their American counterparts and are less prone to excessive barking or howling.

American beagles, on the other hand, are known for their high energy levels and their tendency to be more vocal. They have a distinctive bay, which is a loud howl that they use to communicate with each other. This can be a charming trait for some, but it’s worth noting that it may not be suitable for all households, especially those in close proximity to neighbors – i.e. apartments!


Training and Exercise Requirements for English and American Beagles

Both English and American beagles are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. However, there are some differences in their training and exercise requirements.  Both the English and American beagles should be getting 30-60 minutes of exercise per day.

English beagles, being more laid-back and less energetic, require moderate physical exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks and playtime in a securely fenced yard are usually sufficient to meet their exercise needs. They also enjoy participating in scent work or tracking activities, as it taps into their naturally strong hunting instincts.

American beagles, on the other hand, are a more high-energy dogs that require plenty of exercise. They thrive on activities that allow them to run, such as off-leash play in a safe and secure area or participating in agility courses. 

Regular exercise is crucial for preventing weight gain and also behavioral issues that may arise from pent-up energy, such as excessive barking or destructive behavior.

english beagle vs american beagle
American Beagle - A more athletic and streamlined physique

Health Considerations for English and American Beagles

Both English and American beagles are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. However, there are some health considerations that potential owners should be aware of.

English beagles, due to their larger size, may be more prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and obesity. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary care are essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being.

American beagles, while generally healthy, may be more susceptible to certain genetic conditions such as Beagle Dwarfism and Musladin-Lueke Syndrome. 

Both American beagles and English beagles are prone to ear infections (due to their larger ears) and an eye infection called cherry eye.  This shows up as red growth in the corner of the eye, it will often go away on it’s own but should be monitored closely as veterinarian intervention is sometimes needed to clear it up.

Responsible breeders should conduct health screenings to ensure that their breeding stock is free from these conditions. It’s important to choose a reputable breeder and ask for health clearances before bringing home a beagle puppy.

Choosing the Right Beagle for You

When it comes to choosing between an English and an American beagle, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back and easygoing companion, the English beagle may be a good idea for you. They are great for families with children and are generally more suitable for apartment living.

On the other hand, if you lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a more energetic and vocal breed, the American beagle may be a better fit. They thrive in homes with ample space for them to run and play, and they enjoy participating in activities that challenge their physical and mental abilities.  They also make a really good watch dog, due to their vocal nature.

Regardless of which variety you choose, it’s important to provide your beagle with a loving and nurturing environment, proper training and socialization, and routine veterinary care. 

With the right care and attention, both English and American beagles will definitely bring joy and companionship to your life for many years.

What's Next?

So, the English and the American. From their historical origins to their subtle physical and behavioral differences, these two varieties have carved their own unique place in the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

Whether you’re drawn to the English version beagle’s gentle and laid-back nature or the American beagle’s high energy and vocal charm, both varieties offer tremendous companionship, loyalty and make great family dogs.

Have you ever considered a beagle mix breed?  We have articles that discuss several different beagle cross breeds – Trust me, there are a lot of positives in the beagle mix breeds!

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