The question often gets asked whether you should get a second Beagle and if Beagles are better in pairs. Beagles love spending time with people. However, Beagles are pack animals, love to be with other Beagles or dogs, and hate being left alone.
If you are a one Beagle family with the resources, living space, time, and energy to give two dogs a healthy, quality lifestyle, then a second Beagle is often a good idea. A second Beagle will offer your first Beagle welcome dog company and provide you with two very loyal companions to share your life.
Adding a second Beagle to your ‘pack’ may be a good idea. However, deciding on another Beagle should not be taken lightly and is not without its pitfalls. Let’s explore why you might want to add another Beagle and the pros and cons of doing so.
A short history of the Beagle breed
Beagles are an ancient breed. Exactly how old and their origins are not known. However, Beagles were known to have lived in England around the time of the Roman Empire and probably became popular for hunting small game. For hundreds of years, Beagles have been used in large packs to track game. Beagles would spend all their time hunting and rest with other Beagles and hounds.
The Royal Beagles Queen Elizabeth often entertained guests at her royal table by letting her Pocket Beagles cavort amid their plates and cups. These little dogs are known for their high energy and playful nature, providing a lot of amusement for the guests. The queen enjoyed their company too, and she often took one or two of them for a walk around the palace grounds.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and most Beagles are now family pets. However, they still have the instinct to be part of a pack and rarely like being alone. A lonely Beagle is not just an unhappy dog but has the potential to become destructive, try to escape, urinate/pooping in the house, excessive barking, howling, and baying.
Why might you want a second Beagle?
As already mentioned, Beagles are pack animals and thrive on being with people or other dogs. They are merry hounds, with boundless energy, a sociable dog bred to work in packs. They love to play and need plenty of exercise and stimulation to burn off all that energy. However, at the end of a long walk, they love nothing more than to curl up with their pack members and snooze.
In a home with only one Beagle, the human family would take the place of the pack, providing the extra stimulation that the pack would have provided. Even with regular exercise, if the family cannot provide the level of companionship your only Beagle would get from a pack, you may find your dog showing signs of frustration and boredom. He’s more likely to try and escape your yard, howl or bark more regular and chew more often.
If your Beagle is showing these signs, and you are giving him regular exercise, then a second Beagle may be a good option. You are committed to your first dog, stimulate him with play and walk him daily. However, you go to work in the day, only managing to get home at lunchtimes to let him out for a poop. You don’t always have the opportunity to spend the extra time needed to keep him from becoming bored.
A second Beagle will give him an additional pack member to play in the yard with or snuggle next to when you are at work and generally keep each over distracted and be good company for each other.
However, what you must not do is take a second Beagle on if you are unable to keep them both regularly exercised or if they spend long periods alone.
We wrote an article about how much exercise a Beagle needs, you can read it here.
A second dog should not be a substitute for a caring family, and certainly not to plug a gap if you leave your dog alone for long periods. By inserting another dog into a lifestyle of being alone for extended periods, you will end up with two unhappy Beagles and all the issues that could bring. Be honest with yourself about your motives before making a final decision.
Helping your dog cope with losing a lifelong companion
Perhaps you have had two Beagles for many years and recently lost one of your beloved companions. Both yourself and the dog left behind can find it challenging to adjust to having just one dog around the place. For a Beagle to have had doggy companionship most of its life to being alone can be a hard thing to adjust to for the Beagle left behind.
Unfortunately, my wife and I have direct experience of this. In 2019, we lost our first Beagle, Bracken, aged 10, to cancer. We were all devastated to lose our best friend. Once our grief subsided enough for us to think clearly, it was apparent our other Beagle, Baylee, was struggling to come to terms with being an only dog. She became withdrawn, sleeping nearly all the time, barely wanting to go out or play. She was always the more playful of the two, so something was amiss.
We knew that dogs grieved, we both recall how much Bracken grieved when we lost our second Beagle, Polly, to a freak accident. We were aware it could take Baylee a while to get over her grief, but we also knew she wouldn’t be the same dog without a doggy companion.
So when the opportunity for us to adopt Bonnie came along, we had no hesitation in adding her to our small pack. After an introduction between the two dogs on neutral ground, and with no apparent issues, we agreed to take Bonnie home with us. In the beginning, Baylee didn’t want to know, barely looking at Bonnie. However, we knew she was just being stubborn, and in just a short time they have grown to become the best of buddies, though I’m sure if Baylee could talk she’d have something to say about that!
If you have recently lost a Beagle, leaving just one dog behind, then adding a second dog, Beagle or otherwise to the pack could help. Adding a second Beagle could be a great way to help lift the dog left behind. However, you must approach with caution to ensure you end up with two dogs that have a good chance of becoming well behaved and sociable pack members.
We wrote an article about Beagles and loneliness, you can read it here.
How to integrate a second Beagle
Introducing a new dog to your house should be an exciting time, but your existing dog is likely to find it stressful in the beginning.
Integrating a Beagle into a new home is a topic by itself, but let’s cover some of the basics.
- Let your existing dog and the new dog first meet on neutral ground. Agree to meet somewhere unfamiliar to both dogs, so neither dog feels a threat to their familiar territory.
- Stay relaxed, so neither dog picks up on any tension you might be feeling.
- Let both dogs do their thing, don’t force them together; just let them be comfortable around each other and the situation. They are likely to interact with each other in some way, let them sniff each other and see how they respond.
Hopefully, the meet goes well, the dogs are tolerant of one another, and with no aggression or bad behaviour. The dogs will learn to associate good, relaxed things with being together.
If you decide to take the new Beagle home, here a few essential tips to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible;
- Bring a blanket with the new dog’s scent into the house and place it where he will sleep. A familiar scent helps to settle the new dog.
- Be aware that your existing Beagle may perceive the new dog to be encroaching on their territory.
- Be slow and calm. Slowly does it keeps fear and aggression reactions from developing. Make sure you are in control of the situation.
- Never leave the two dogs unattended together while they both find their way around the new situation. You may think they are happy, but conditions can change suddenly.
- If you use crates, ensure each dog has access to a different crate. It may be tempting to put them together in one crate, but it will take time before you can do this safely.
- Be patient. You will need to teach your new dog to trust you and your existing Beagle that they are still safe. As with any good relationship, it takes time to build, but the rewards are great.
We wrote an article about crate training a Beagle, which you may find useful, you can read it here.
Getting a second Beagle is not something to be taken lightly. As a responsible Beagle owner, you will already know how much time and dedication these little hounds take. A second dog is extra care and responsibility. However, If you decide a second Beagle is right for your family/pack, ensure the motives are right. Follow some common-sense guidelines, and you will give your new Beagle every opportunity to integrate with his or her new pack.