Do Beagles Make Good Running Dogs?


Beagles are active dogs originally bred for hunting. Driven by a strong prey drive and an excellent sense of smell, this scent hound is quite the sprinter! If you are looking for a running partner for long-distance training, though, it is best to leave your Beagle at home.

How Fast Can Beagles Run?

The average Beagle can run at 20 miles per hour – not even half the speed of the brown hare, which tops out at 45 miles per hour. Despite giving up speed to its one-time prey, the Beagle has an incredible sense of smell to help in tracking and unearthing hares.

Hunting the brown hare is now forbidden, but hundreds of years of selective breeding have made sure that the Beagle still harbors a love for scent tracking and sprinting!

Are Beagles Good For Sprinting Or More For Long Distance?

As mentioned above, Beagles are sprinters selectively bred for hunting rabbits and hares. The nature of their breeding and their physiology means that the Beagle is a dog that does well with short-distance sprinting but will begin to fatigue after three miles.

Can You Let Your Beagle Off-Leash Outdoors? Are They Prone To Running Away?

Anyone who has ever owned a scent hound, or a sighthound will tell you unequivocally that a dog that was selectively bred for hunting, should not be allowed off-leash.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but most scent and sighthounds get easily distracted, and the sight or smell of one creature kicks their prey drive into gear.

Simply put, if you let a scent hound like a Beagle or a sighthound off-leash, they are highly likely to run away and your best chance of catching them is to wait until they tire out.

Yes, even the best-trained hound can be lured away by that incredibly strong prey drive, and yes, even if your dog has never hunted before, they can succumb to the call of their genetics.  

At What Age Should You Take Your Beagle Puppy Walking And Then Running?

All puppies must go through a series of puppy vaccinations. These vaccinations come in a series that is staggered throughout your puppy’s first few months. By 16 to 20 weeks old, a puppy has had their complete vaccine series and is protected against disease by antibodies.

Since puppies are not protected from disease until they have completed the full vaccine schedule, vets require that a Beagle puppy complete the vaccine schedule before going for walks outside.

Without first completing the complete series of “puppy shots,” a puppy is at high risk of contracting disease or illness from common areas. Most of these diseases can be passed through the feces of infected dogs or even just the soil that they have defecated on.

If you plan on making your Beagle your running partner, you will have to wait much longer than sixteen weeks. In fact, you should wait for a minimum of six months!

Ideally, dogs should not start to run heavily until they are fully grown. Some people argue that six months is a good milestone to aim for, but a Beagle is not usually fully grown until they reach eight months.

By eight months, your Beagle should have reached their maximum height and their growth plates will have filled in. Before eight months, though, the growth plates on the bones are still soft and can easily be damaged. Damage to growth plates can stop bones from growing and cause stunted growth or other painful conditions that take away from your dog’s quality of life.

How Much Exercise Does A Beagle Puppy Need?

When it comes to exercising your Beagle, the rule of thumb tends to be that you should walk for five minutes for every month of your puppy’s age. You should also only walk a maximum of twice daily while your puppy is still growing.

By adulthood, a fully grown Beagle thrives with between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise daily, but you should always watch for any signs of fatigue and stop exercising if you see your pup start to get tired.  

Senior Beagles require less exercise than adult Beagles and are happy with between 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise split between two walks a day.

5 Tips To Enjoy Running With Your Beagle

Once your Beagle has matured, and you are ready to begin running together, there are a few tips that can ensure that you both have an enjoyable running experience.

1. Try Running on Softer Surfaces

Remember that your Beagle has paw pads and not sneakers! Running on the softer ground is much easier for your dog’s feet and less likely to cause cuts and scrapes on their paw pads.

The grass is also much cooler than asphalt which can get extremely hot and burn your dog’s feet during the warmer months of the year. In winter months, the grass is still preferable because many homeowners spread ice-melting chemicals on the sidewalks and roads that can cause injury to your dog’s paw pads!

2. Give Your Beagle Time to Sniff!

As we have mentioned a few times now, Beagles are scent hounds, they rely on their sense of smell to learn about their surroundings, and they track things by following their scent.

Of course, when you are walking, you want to stop and let your dog take in the scents around them! These periodic stops also make running much more interesting for your Beagle.

Remember, just because you want to keep running without stopping, it does not mean that your pup does! Add a couple of breaks in your run and indulge your little running partner.

3. Carry Water For Your Pup

When you do start running with your dog, make sure that you take plenty of water for you both to drink.

There are some great doggy water bottles available that make drinking on the go easier for your pup by providing a reservoir for water collection.

These bottles make it easier for your dog to stay hydrated as opposed to you pouring water from a “human” bottle and hoping your dog will drink.

4. Stay Away From the Retractable Leash!

Retractable leashes are dangerous for everyone – canine and human! If you plan to run with your Beagle, invest in a professional running leash system that will keep you and your Beagle safe.

Retractable leashes are not stable enough to keep control of your Beagle if they catch an interesting scent and bolt after it.

These leashes are also extremely dangerous to pedestrians and passersby when they are stretched out to their full length because they pose tripping and tangling risks.

5. Recognize Signs of Fatigue In Your Beagle

Lastly, to enjoy running with your Beagle, you must always keep a close eye on their breathing, gait, and general demeanor. It is one thing to push yourself when you are running, but do not push your Beagle past their limits!

Forcing your Beagle to continue running after they have shown signs of fatigue is extremely dangerous and risks dehydration, overheating, limb injury, and a host of other medical conditions that can be life-threatening.

Once your Beagle lets you know that they are getting tired, wind down instantly. Do not go for that extra mile or use your dog’s fatigue as a sign to turn around and start running home! Slow down, rest if your Beagle needs to, and make your way home at a leisurely speed.

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