Dogs are said to be man's best friend, and the mini beagle certainly is no exception. Initially bred to function as hunting dogs, mini beagles, also called "pocket beagles," have found their way into homes as beloved family members. Although they are noted for several health conditions as adults, mini beagles require little grooming, love to exercise and play, and behave well around other pets and children.
Mini or pocket beagles are believed to have originated in England as hunting dogs in the mid-1500s and early 1600s. They were bred to be small enough to fit into hunters' bags, but they were not used as hunting dogs long as their short legs could not run very quickly. Today, the American Kennel Club does not recognize mini beagles as an actual breed of beagle, as their short height causes undesirable health problems.
Mini beagles absolutely live up to their name. They grow up to no more than one foot tall, and range between seven and 12 inches. They typically weigh between seven and 15 pounds. Mini beagles' coats can be a variety of colors, such as white, black, brown, cream, tan, orange or red. Most mini beagles' tails have a white tip, which was useful so that hunters could see where they were in tall grass fields.
This breed has a sweet demeanor. They make great companion animals, and get along wonderfully with children and other pets, although it is suggested that they be introduced to non-dog pets with caution. Young children should be supervised when playing with mini beagles. These little dogs appreciate having other pets as housemates, as they don't like to be left home alone.
Pocket beagles should be fed twice daily. How much they should be fed depends on their size, build, age and activity levels. Mini beagles should be fed around the same time each day to set up a routine. As for exercise, they love to take walks and be played with daily. Always keep a mini beagle on a leash and collar when walking them, as they will follow their nose and could run off if not secured properly. This breed is prone to obesity, so even having a small backyard for them to play in would be sufficient to keep weight off.
Like all breeds of dogs, the pocket beagle is genetically predisposed to certain health problems. They occur more frequently in adults over two years of age. Such health conditions include, but are not limited to, eye conditions, hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, cleft lip, heart disease and back problems. Regular checkups with a veterinarian should help prevent or monitor any health conditions.
Mini beagles' coats should be brushed once per week. Grooming is quick and easy, as their coat is short and straight, and, even when shedding, is easy to clean up after. Unless they find something smelly to roll in, they don't need to be bathed often. Drop-eared mini beagles should have their ears cleaned out frequently to prevent infections, as there is poor air circulation and wax can build up easily. Their nails should be trimmed by a professional as often as needed.
By Amanda Williams
About the Author
Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. She enjoys writing about health, medicine, education and home and garden topics. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at East Stroudsburg University in May 2013. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician.