Beagle - Agoura Hills Animal Hospital

Photo courtesy of AKC. For more information on 153 AKC recognized breeds, visit

With so many attractive qualities, the beagle is one of the most popular breeds today. Medium in size, beagles love children, are friendly with people and animals, and adapt well to life in the city, suburb or country. Behaviors such as howling or digging can be prevented if training and socialization are started at an early age.

Breed-related concerns

Every dog breed carries a distinct set of genetic advantages and health risk factors. The following are the most common diseases found in the Beagle breed. Hopefully, your beagle will not face these problems. However, early detection and preventive healthcare can make all the difference in helping your dog live a longer, happier life (see breed-related disease descriptions below).

Puppy (birth to 1 year)

  • Excessive vocalization

Adult (1 to 6 years)

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Patella luxation
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity
  • Hyperlipidemia

Senior (7 years and older)

  • None listed*

Breed-related disease descriptions

Listed in alphabetical order *Please note that these common diseases can occur earlier or later in the dog’s life.

Epilepsy. Recurrent convulsions (seizures) starting at a young age and without an identifiable cause. It is usually presumed to be an inherited trait. Signs include a sudden onset and short duration of loss of consciousness. Additionally, signs can include falling over with paddling of the limbs, muscle twitching, loss of bladder and bowel control, drooling and jaw clamping.

Excessive vocalization. Vocalization includes barking, whining, yipping and howling. Protective vocalization is a valuable activity, and many breeds are bred to vocalize for protection, to identify their location or other reasons. When a human thinks the dog is excessively vocal, it might be because of exaggerated territoriality after hearing noises that may seem threatening to them; out of pain, frustration, separation anxiety or for other reasons.

Hyperlipidemia. Persistently high levels of fat in the blood that may cause pancreatitis, seizures or eye disease. Signs may include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, a painful tummy, seizures and white discoloration of the eye.

Insufficient thyroid hormone production caused by disease of the thyroid glands. Symptoms include hair loss, obesity, lethargy, cold intolerance and skin infections.

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Slipping of the discs in between the bones of the spine. Signs include back or neck pain with or without weakness and wobbliness, and sometimes paralysis of the back legs or both the front and back legs.

Patella luxation. The kneecap slips out of place occasionally leading to pain and lameness. Symptoms include holding the affected limb up off the ground, avoiding exercise and lameness of hind legs.

Obesity. Beagles have a tendency to want to eat everything in sight. This can lead to the pet being overweight and the extra weight puts more pressure on the back. Since they have back problems to begin with, the extra weight will only increase the chances of having IVDD.

Help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Ask your veterinarian about a breed-related preventive health plan.

Note: Pet owner information provided in this article and more available through the Pet Health Library at Copyright © American Animal Hospital Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email