Thinking about getting a new pet and wondering which breed you should adopt? If you’ve narrowed your choices down to a beagle vs basset hound, you may be wondering which puppy is best for you. Read on to discover a head-to-head comparison of these two equally charming dog breeds.
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Overview For Dog Owners
Thanks to their compact size, easy grooming requirements, and happy nature, Beagles are one of the most popular pet breeds for families. According to the United Kennel Club, they have been a “top ten” pet breed in America for over 30 years.1
Beagles were originally bred to hunt rabbits, and they are still happiest when they get to follow their nose. For this reason, they are often called scent hounds. Beagles are happiest when they get to be around their pack (i.e. you and your family).2
The basset hound’s short legs, floppy ears, and mournful eyes have touched the hearts of many. This medium-sized dog is one of the most recognizable and beloved breeds in America. Their combination of stubbornness and silliness can sometimes make it hard for pet owners to know whether to laugh or to cry. But their clown-like antics are all part of their charm.
Like beagles, basset hounds were bred to be hunting dogs. Their long-ago past can lead them to follow their nose and wander freely if unconfined. But more often, this breed will be found as close to its family as possible. They are deeply attached to their humans and will howl loudly if left outdoors unattended.3
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Physical Differences
- 13-15 inches tall
- 20-25 pounds
- Hound-like appearance in a compact body
- Common coat color: white, tan, and black4
- Up to 15 inches tall
- 40-65 pounds, bassets have a heavy bone structure
- Distinctive droopy eyes, long back, short legs, and floppy ears
- Common coat color: white, tan, and black5
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Temperament
Beagle dogs are sweet, gentle, and silly. They like to have fun. They can occasionally be mischievous if not trained properly. Remember, beagles are hunting dogs that were bred to catch a scent and run long distances. They do best in a family home if they are given a purpose and adequate training.6
Basset Hound Temperament
Basset hounds are charming, patient, and low-key. They tend to be more docile and subdued than beagles. They are generally good with young children and tend to tolerate things like pulling of the ears or unwanted attention. The basset hound loves to be part of a pack and dislikes being left alone for long periods of time.7
All dogs, including basset hounds and beagles, benefit from early socialization. Exposing your puppy to different people, places, sights, and sounds may help curb anxiety or behavior issues later on in life.
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Noise
Another similarity of these two breeds is their tendency to howl or “bay” when left outside alone. This is a trait shared by many dogs in the hound group. This unique sound can have neighbors complaining in no time. Both breeds should not be left outside unsupervised.8
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Intelligence And Trainability
Beagles and basset hounds can both be stubborn and challenging to train. Some pet owners report that housetraining is particularly difficult for both breeds. Using a kennel (or crate) is recommended to help with potty training.
While both breeds can be stubborn, they are thankfully quite food motivated. If offered a treat, they are happy to do anything. Positive reinforcement training may work best for both breeds. Basset hounds can be emotionally sensitive and will shut down if treated roughly. Beagles also have a tendency to switch off if treated harshly.9,10
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Care
The Ideal Environment
A fenced-in backyard is necessary for scent hounds such as beagles and basset hounds. Again, both of these breeds like to follow their nose and have a tendency to ignore your call to “come” if they don’t feel like it. When outside in an unconfined area, both breeds should be on a leash. They like to wander.
Long walks with plenty of opportunities for sniffing will please the instincts of both breeds.
Beagles are more likely to wander off than basset hounds. Beagles are full of energy – especially in their puppy stage. Basset hounds can be homebodies and prefer the company of their family. Both breeds should primarily live indoors with their humans.
The Threat Of Obesity
Some basset hounds can become couch potatoes if you let them. As cute as it sounds, this should be discouraged, as it can lead to obesity and health problems. Beagles who do not get enough exercise may also become obese.11,12
A Great Love Of Food
Both breeds live for food, which comes in handy for training. Unfortunately, this also means that they may steal tidbits of food from your plate or countertops if you aren’t looking. If encouraged, bassets in particular may also become persistent beggars. Diligent training and control of the environment may help with these potential behavior issues.13
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Exercise Requirements
Beagles were bred to hunt in packs over long distances. True to their roots, they are energetic and sociable dogs. Beagles need a daily walk of 20-40 minutes or more. In addition to daily walks, beagles thrive on being social and playing with other dogs.14
Basset hounds have moderate exercise needs of 30-60 minutes a day. A daily walk of 20-30 minutes is recommended. Because of their long backs and short legs, bassets are not suitable jogging or running partners. You should also avoid running up or downstairs with your basset. Try playing fetch, tug of war, or digging games.15
Both of these breeds can become bored, destructive, noisy, or obese if not given a proper amount of exercise. Canine obesity can strain the hip and joints and cause other health problems. To keep any dog healthy, make sure you help them get enough exercise.16,17
Beagle Vs Basset Hound: Grooming Requirements
- Brushing 2-3 times a week
- Seasonal shedding
- Occasional bathing. Their coat has a tendency to dry out and they are generally clean dogs, so don’t overdo it.
Beagles have smooth, dense double coats that tend to grow thick in the winter and shed in the spring. Beagles shed moderately year-round. Regular brushing will help remove loose hair and promote new hair growth. Beagles don’t need to be bathed too often, unless they begin to smell or get particularly dirty.18,19
- Brushing 3-5 times a week
- Heavy shedding
- Regular bathing. Their coat has a distinct scent you may want to keep under control.
Basset hounds have an oily, short coat that requires daily care because of how much it sheds. If possible, brush daily with a rubber brush to remove dead hair. At the very least, try to brush your dog 3-5 times a week. Their coats tend to have a “hound” odor that some people enjoy and some dislike. To keep it in control, bathe them weekly or bi-weekly.20
Which Breed Is Right For You?
Still on the fence? Can’t decide if you should get a beagle or basset hound (or even an English cocker spaniel, springer spaniel, or some other breed)? Choosing one over the other will depend on your own circumstances and preferences. There is no breed that is “better” than another.
Here’s a summary of considerations that may help you:
Get A Beagle If….
- You want an active, energetic dog and you have a fenced-in backyard.
- You enjoy outdoor activities and you’re looking for a dog to join you.
- You’re looking for a dog with easy grooming requirements.
Get A Basset Hound If….
- You live in an apartment with limited space and no stairs.
- You prefer snuggling indoors and you’re okay with a less-active dog.
- You don’t mind giving your pet regular brushing and baths.
If you are realistic about the environment and the amount of exercise you can provide, you can’t go wrong with either breed. If possible, avoid puppy mills and seek out reputable dog rescues or responsible breeders in your area.
Remember, great dogs aren’t just born, they are made. If you choose to adopt a dog, be prepared to dedicate time to give it the attention, training, and love that it needs to thrive.