Are Beagles Good Farm Dogs?

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Beagles have lots of stamina and need lots of exercise.
Beagles have lots of stamina and need lots of exercise. (Image: Russell Illig/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Beagles have been helping hunters for centuries. They're known for their sharp tracking skills and baying whine, offering the hunter confirmation that an animal has been spotted. Beagles are also sidekicks on equestrians' foxhunts. This breed's hunting instinct and devotion to tracking can offer conflict or convenience on the farm.

History

For centuries, beagles have helped hunters bag rabbits, pheasants, quail and other small animals. Beagle-type dogs lived in ancient Greece, with the first actual beagles noted in the 1500s. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The beagle is lively, curious and happy, which makes them good with kids and other dogs. However, their hunting instinct can take over if they pick up on a scent. This can make them helpful or not on the farm, depending on the situation.

Flower and Produce Farms

Beagles are scent hounds who are hard-wired to follow their noses. When it comes to warding off rabbits and other invaders of flower and produce farms, these dogs may offer a helping hand or paw. Rutgers University's New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station says rabbits quickly devour a number of vegetables including broccoli, beans, beet tops, carrots, lettuce and peas, along with tulip shoots and other spring flowers. Therefore, employing a beagle's services on vegetable and flower farms could be useful.

Animal-Centered Farms

Just as beagles may benefit the work on flower or produce farms, they may hinder the efforts of farmers with chickens or other animals. With beagles' long history of bird hunting, farmed birds may seem like just another piece of prey. If a beagle lives on this kind of farm, keeping the farmed animals and the beagle separate may reduce the risk of conflict. One advantage to having a beagle on a bird farm may be the beagle's fox-hunting ability.

Fencing Issues

Beagles have a tendency to track in any direction they pick up a scent. While this can come in handy within farm perimeters, farmers should keep fencing issues in mind. If a beagle is keeping a flower or vegetable farm's rabbit population in check, for example, he should have access to the farm to do his job. However, if the farm isn't fenced, he may wander off, leading to injury or a lost beagle.

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