Generally speaking all dogs are good for hiking, but it really depends on what sort of hiking you’re used to doing. Beagles are really energetic dogs and even the longest trekking tours wouldn’t be a problem for them, especially if they are well trained and have been getting plenty of exercise prior to the hiking you are going to take them on.
Beagles are generally dogs with a low center of gravity which makes them really great for climbing, but take into consideration the terrain which you’re going to be taking your dog through. Although they are perfectly capable of making their way through narrow canyons or even steep hills, large gaps between rocks and such are something that your dog wouldn’t be able to overcome, or at least it won’t be able to overcome it without your help.
Beagles are actually really courageous dogs because of their hunting genes and as previously mentioned they are going to be able to go through “off-path” conditions. Sometimes this courage could be bad for their well being though, so keep an eye on your dog while you’re on your hiking trip so it doesn’t do anything stupid or unnecessary.
If the hiking trip you’re planning to go would consist of you going through rivers and places where sharp branches and rocks are common, it would be good if your dog is wearing a vest to protect it’s skin such as the Ruffwear K-9 float coat for example and for the people who would walk during the night a Ultra visible at night lighted collar would be pretty helpful as well. Apart from these two things there aren’t plenty of things that would help you a lot with your dog, especially if your Beagle is not well trained.
Being well trained for hiking
The training of your Beagle dog should be one of your main priorities from the earliest age of the dog and it goes without saying that due to their hunting nature the beagles are mainly led by their nose. This means that in an environment where they are just being released for the first time, there are going to be lots of new scents for it to follow, which is something you would want to address from the start by not letting it follow them.
Beagles really do have a tendency to stray and even if they are properly trained to stay by your side you would want to watch them all the time. That being said my personal beagle called Harvey does not leave me out of his sight and I am pretty positive that he wouldn’t leave me especially when he’s on a new territory. Harvey isn’t the most common beagle you’ve seen though and as he’s grown pretty attached to me this might not be the case with the dog you are taking. You must take into consideration that if you are going on a hike with someone else’s beagle, he might not listen to you that much and you could consider keeping him on a leash.
If your beagle hasn’t been on a hunting trip ever or he’s the usual beagle couch potato you wouldn’t like him as a hiking companion for sure. There are plenty of reasons why the dog might not be able to go on a long hike with you though it is in the nature of the breed to have a high amount of stamina. Without the proper conditioning and a good introduction of long walks these dogs are prone to leg injuries, because their bones are not as strong as the ones of Labrador Retrievers, German shepherd dogs or Border collies, which in my opinion are three of the best breeds of dogs which you would want to take hiking with you.
Consult your vet first!
Before you even consider a hike with your beagle, first you must go and consult your personal vet about the condition of your dog and whether or not it is healthy enough to go on a long trip with you. This should be common knowledge, but it’s surprising how many people just don’t do it, so I decided to write this as one of the things you must do.
Once you get to your camp
If you are going on a hiking trip with a sleepover, there are a couple of things that you should do to ensure your beagle’s safety. Here’s a list of the things that you have to do when you become stationary for the night.
- Tie your beagle on a leash
- Don’t leave it’s sight for a long period of sight (it will make it really nervous)
- Don’t leave the dog unattended, because there are cases in which people steal other people’s dogs
- Bring additional water for your dog, so it doesn’t dehydrate.
Beagles are hunting dogs as I previously wrote, but if you own such a pet you are probably familiar with their ancestor’s pedigree. This being said they will follow the scent of any wildlife in the area if you don’t watch them over and they know that you’re staying at one place. Keep them occupied with something so they do not find themselves bored and looking for adventures. Their adventure seeking nature might lead them to predators in the woods and most of these predators would be bigger then the beagle. Even small wildlife such as badgers could be deadly to your dog so be weary!
There are some great advises on hiking safety which you could want to check out for more detailed information.
As a conclusion – beagles are great for hiking although this is not the ideal breed for the job. There are a few other medium sized breeds that are definitely better companions in the mountain or wherever you’ve decided to go hiking, so you might want to consider Labradors, Golden Retrievers or Border collies.
Hopefully this article has answered most of your questions about hiking with your beagle and whether or not beagles are good dogs for hiking, but if it hasn’t please ask away in the comments below
Wishing you a happy hiking trip with your dog – The Hiking Gear Guru