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Based on years of experience with hundreds of beagles and hundreds of families, we have learned that beagles and preschoolers can be a potentially dangerous combination. Therefore, we recommend waiting until your youngest child is at least 5 years old before adding a beagle to the mix.

A high portion of our surrendered beagles come from families with preschoolers. The most common reason for owners surrendering their beagles is that juggling the demands of a busy young family and an active, curious beagle is more than most people can (or would want to) manage. And, of course, because you can't return your children, when something has to go to simplify life, it ends up being the dog. A variety of problems come from having beagles and young children, including:

  • Time: Moms are busy, and beagles are extremely social, demanding, and curious dogs. They need a lot of time and supervision.
  • Aggression: Although beagles, and all dogs for that matter, can be taught that the adults in the family are the alphas, dogs see children as fellow puppies and try to assert dominance over the children. Preschool children do not have the physical size, presence, verbal skills, and training skills to win a power struggle with a dog.
  • Food Aggression: Beagles love their food. As scent dogs, they are extremely drawn to the smell of food. If a child playfully tries to steal the treat or food bowl from the dog, the dog will defend its food. Even if the child is just handing your beagle a treat, the beagle might jump and grab the food, resulting in a nasty bite. This doesn't make your child or your beagle bad necessarily. They are just doing what comes naturally to them. In the dog's case, that's defending his food from the rest of the pack. In the child's case, it is innocently playful. But the result can still be quite nasty.
  • Size: A beagle's head will be about the same height as your toddler's head. A nip in the face, even a small one, can be quite nasty.
  • Activity: Beagles cannot contain themselves when they are excited. They will run, and they will jump. One of the hardest things to teach a beagle, second probably only to "come," is "off." When the beagle comes charging at your child in play, it looks really scary to the child, and the beagle is strong enough to knock a toddler over and do serious damage.
  • Self-Protection: Smaller dogs, such as beagles, are more protective of their bodies than larger dogs. They are more likely to snap at a child who is coming toward them on wobbly feet, like a toddler. A fast-moving, loud, excited child at play coming toward them can also scare them and lead them to snap.

We are extra careful about placing beagles with young children not only to protect the beagle from being returned or euthanized (usually required when biting occurs), but also because we want to protect your child--from both the physical harm of a bite and even the emotional harm that can occur if the adoption is unsuccessful. The last thing we want is for your child to be injured, and we simply do not feel comfortable taking any chances with your child's health. There is no such thing as a child-proof dog. However, as children get older, the risks reduce.

For all of these reasons, we ask you to wait on adopting not only a beagle, but any dog. We want you to have a successful adoption and a positive experience with your new dog. We hope that you will consider waiting until your youngest child is school-aged, and at that time, we would be happy to work with you to find a wonderful beagle to welcome into your family.