About health

Overall, the Beagle is a very healthy breed, they have an average life span of 13 years, but can live also quite a bit longer with good care. Beagles are sturdy, strong and less prone to canine disease than many other dog breeds.

However, as with all breeds, there are some conditions that are seen with the Beagle too.

This does not mean that your dog is going to have any of these conditions; however, you should be aware of them in order to keep an eye out for the symptoms.

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing (or pharyngeal gag reflex) is a condition that can affect beagles. It is a respiratory spasmodic episode that can I could best describe as a combination of a hiccup, snort and hiss.
Fortunately, these sneezing episodes are usually only seconds in duration and are generally harmless.

How it looks like?

  • Flaring nostrils and chest cavity
  • Gasping
  • Hiccup-like
  • Hissing sound
  • Hyper-extended neck
  • Snorting
  • Squinting of eyes
  • Subtle honking sound

Usually, a beagle will hyper-extend their neck and begin making gasping sounds. They may snort all the while acting like they can’t catch their breath (but they can). It sounds and acts much worse than it actually is.

How we can help?

  • A yummy, yet effective way is to have them lick a small amount of peanut butter, leberwurst or similar from a spoon. The swallowing action may halt the reverse sneezing.
  • Massaging your beagle’s throat gently can help relieve a spasm.
  • Lightly blowing in their face, and speak to them in a calming voice.
  • Briefly covering their nasal passages for a second will also force your beagle to swallow.
  • Pro tip: A reverse sneezing episode is not a seizure. That being said, your beagle will not bite off their tongue. Therefore, do not place your fingers into your dog’s mouth to move their tongue out of the way.

Ear infections

We do love our beagles long & floppy ears, but these ears need a bit extra care. Because they cover the ear opening completely, there is reduced air flow in the ear canal. This creates a moist, dark environment that allows bacteria and yeast to grow. This can end in an infection.

Beagles with ear infections will scratch excessively at their ears. You might even notice a yeasty smell. To prevent this, regularly clean your dog’s ears with a good-quality ear cleanser

Dental diseases

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Problems start when tartar builds up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. Later if nothing done, the dog can lose his teeth but the infections can be a danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your Beagle’s life span may be cut short by one to three years! Check regularly your dog's teeth and clean it to avoid later problems.


Despite being a high-energy breed, obesity is very common among Beagles. Most Beagles have an insatiable appetite along with a very strong sense of smell. If allowed, most will overeat and seek out any food within reach. We need to stick strictly to the feeding plan and not overfed them just because they look so hungry. Mainly, the obesity is our own mistake not the dog's itself. Any temptations shall be kept sure so that the Beagle has no chance to steal food. 

Beagles often get in trouble when eating something they shouldn't have. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis, and may require surgery to remove ingested food packaging or other materials. 

Beagle tail / Cold tail

If you notice that your dog has a limp tail and is not wagging happily when you walk through the door, she /he may have a condition known as limber tail. This sad state of tail has many names, including cold-water tail, broken wag, swimmer’s tail, frozen tail, and sprung tail.
Limber tail often is due to a muscle sprain or strain in a dog’s tail. These injuries are associated with overuse, but also can be due to:
  • Swimming
  • Prolonged crate confinement
  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Excessive exercise without proper conditioning
  • Climate changes

Swimming is the most common cause of limber tail, possibly due to chilly water conditions and abnormal exercise. While swimming, dogs use their tails to help with balance and steering, resulting in overexertion compared with their dry-land activities.
If your beagle’s discomfort is severe, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers to alleviate her pain, and recommend ice or heat packs to reduce swelling or inflammation. Also, avoid excitement—you don’t want your enthusiastic dog to wag her tail while it’s healing, keep him calm and warm.


All dogs can be prone to environmental and food allergies and may start to scratch, lick excessively or have coat or gastrointestinal issues or chronic ear infections. However not too often by our beagles, still, better to know about.

Cherry eye

A prolapsed nictitans gland in the eye, commonly referred to as "cherry eye,” is sometimes happens to a beagle. This condition happens when the tear gland is inflamed, becoming visible in the lower inner corner of the eye. This condition is usually not painful, but it can lead to eye infections. Cherry eye can occur in one or both eyes. Some cases resolve on their own, while others may need surgery.


Epilepsy can occur in any dog breed. This commonly starts from 2-5 years of age and sometimes requires anti-seizure medications to help control.

Seizures last about 30-60 seconds and can range from mild to severe. A mild seizure may include involuntary movements, such as your dog’s legs going stiff. Signs of a severe seizure can include: loss of consciousness, urinating, defecating, thrashing, involuntary body movements. 
There is no test in our days for epilepsy. However we can at least genetically test for Lafora epilepsy, a neurodegerenative disease. 


This condition is a disease of the thyroid gland, which controls metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, which can cause metabolic changes. Beagles experiencing hypothyroidism may have skin and hair coat changes, such as a coarse and dry coat or hair loss. It can also cause weight gain, even if you aren’t feeding your Beagle more than usual.

Beagle Pain Syndrome

Beagle Pain Syndrome is a form of meningitis caused by inflammation of the blood vessels. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder often caused by a tick bite in which the immune system attacks the blood vessels that go to the brain. It affects dogs by 5-10 months old and causes fever, depression, and severe neck pain. Symptoms tend to wax and wane over several weeks and are treated with steroids. 


Diabetes mellitus is a fairly common disease in dogs. Any breed can be affected. Dogs with diabetes are unable to regulate the metabolism of sugars and require daily treatment. It is a serious condition and one that is important to diagnose and treat as early as possible. Symptoms include increased eating, drinking, and urination, along with weight loss.  Well regulated diabetic dogs today have the same life expectancy as other dogs.

Cushing’s disease

 It is a malfunction of the adrenal glands causing them to produce too much steroid hormone. This is a common problem in dogs. The condition usually develops slowly, and the early signs are easily missed. Symptoms include drinking and urinating more than normal, increased appetite and reduced activity level. Later, a potbelly, thin skin, and hair loss are characteristic. Treatment usually includes medications.


Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Our beagles likely live longer than many other breeds and but they are prone too to get cancer in their old years. Many cancers are cured by surgically removing them, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is very critical!

Genetical testing in Beagles

DNA tests allow us to better understand our beagles genetics. These types of tests tell us if our dog is likely to be affected by specific conditions or whether they may pass on the genes associated with these conditions if they're bred from.

If  breeding, then knowing more about their genetics can help us reduce the risk of producing puppies affected by inherited conditions. 

The most relevant genetic diseases which can be tested nowadays are:

Musladin-Lueke Syndrom

MLS was previously known as Chinese Beagle Syndrom.  It manifests with extensive fibrosis of the skin and joints. As puppies, affected dogs fail to thrive. By one year of age the disease stabilizes whereby arthrosis, stiffness, short outer digits as well as a typical flat head shape with higher ear set and slanted eyes are characteristic for this disease. Affected dogs walk upright on their front feed in what resembles a ballerina stance. Additionally, they show a "happy" temperament.

Neonatal cortical cerebellar abiotrophy

Cerebellar abiotrophy in Beagle is caused by loss of brain tissue leading to dysfunction of balance and motor function. Affected dogs exhibit symptoms such as tremor, ataxia and spastic paralysis soon after birth or in very early age.

Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome

IGS  is characterised by malabsorption of Vitamin B12. Lack of cobalamin leads ultimately to irreversible damage of the brain and nervous system. IGS can be managed by supplementation with regular doses of cobalamin.


Acatalasemia is characterized by the deficiency of the enzyme catalase which is important for cellular defence in oxidative stress. Affected dogs suffer from ulcers and tissue death in the oral cavity.

Lafora disesase

Lafora disease is an autosomal recessive inherited glygogen metabolism disorder that causes progressive myoclonic epilepsy. The symptoms of this disease are: poor vision/blindness, generalized tonic clonic seizures, myoclonic jerks (often induced by light, sound or sudden movements in the visual field), panic attacks, dementia, aggression as well as fecal and urinary incontinence as a result of loss of house training. The average onset of first symptoms is reported at 7 years while the frequency and the severity of the seizures increase.

Several others diseased can be also tested by our Beagles, however they have mainly a very low relevance in the breed, still they are included to complete packages. Important is to know to use the tool of genetic testing in favor for our breed and not just to test anything which happens to be available and generate artificial issues.

In Austria, IGS & Lafora testing is obligatory for the breeding. We are pleased to note this decision! 

It is our responsibility and interest as breeders to use the possibility of genetic testing before any mating, so that we can ensure not to put any affected puppy to this world.