Beagle vs Labrador is a difficult choice! In this article we will help you to look at the differences between the Beagle and Labrador breeds, comparing their pros and cons to help you decide which would be a better pet for your family.
There are very few things in life more exciting deciding to adopt a dog. Everyone has heard the saying, “man’s best friend”, and anyone who has ever owned a dog knows this to be true. There is nothing quite as comforting as coming home to a wet nose and a wiggly butt after a long, stressful day at school or work. Whereas realizing you’re ready to open your home to a new dog is one thing, finding the right breed can be tricky. And different dog breeds have vastly different qualities.
Finding the right breed with the right qualities to fit into your lifestyle is key to a happy, healthy relationship between you and your pet! Personality traits, health concerns, behavioral attributes, and even physical appearance can play a big role in your ultimate decision. But what happens when you come across two breeds that are so similar and so loveable that you find yourself at a crossroads?
If you’ve got your sights set on a Labrador vs Beagle, you are likely facing this very dilemma! Don’t you worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the Beagle vs Lab to help you decide which furry friend is right for you.
Labrador vs Beagle
Both the Labrador and the Beagle are intelligent, friendly breeds with many similar qualities. Their many attributes give them both the “It Factor” when it comes to pet appeal. In fact, they are two of the most popular breeds of dog in the US, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). This is likely due to their playful disposition and the fact that each breed is famously known for their family-friendly nature and outgoing personalities.
But regardless of their similarities, at the end of the day, the Labrador and Beagle are still two different breeds. When it comes to Labs, majority rules. Although both the Beagle and the Lab shine in popularity, the Lab still comes in at number one and the Beagle at number five. However, it’s more than trendsetting that maintains the Labrador’s position as top dog.
The Labrador is very smart, making him an ideal service animal and law enforcement dog. The gentle, friendly nature of the Lab has also earned him a gold-star reputation when it comes to families with small children. The Lab is perhaps best known for his intelligence and ability to adapt and learn at ease. He enjoys challenges and loves being center of attention!
But what about the Beagle? Even though the Beagle isn’t number one, they are still considered the most popular dog in the hound family. The Beagle is known for a playful disposition and keen sense of smell—they are curious, extremely active, and love the outdoors! Just like his Lab counterpart, the Beagle is also famous for his family-friendly disposition.
So how do you choose between the two breeds? This may come down to personal preference, your type of household, or simply size, grooming requirements, or energy levels. So let’s learn more about the Beagle vs Labrador.
Size of Beagle vs Labrador Size
The fully-grown Labrador is around 22 to 25 inches and weighs between 55 to 80 pounds. An adult Beagle can be anywhere from 13 to 15 inches tall and weighs 20 to 30 pounds. As with most breeds, male Labradors and Beagles will be on the bigger end of the spectrum and females are usually smaller. So, if you are basing your decision on size, bear in mind the Labrador is going to be the larger of the two breeds.
Beagle vs Labrador Coat and Shedding
The Beagle has short hair that sheds regularly and requires weekly grooming to keep loose hair under control and their coats nice and healthy. The Beagle has 25 possible color combinations based on 10 colors:
The Labrador has a short coat, but unlike the Beagle, the Labrador mostly sheds seasonally. Still, the AKC recommends brushing your Lab regularly to keep their coat at its best and all loose hairs off your couch and carpets. The Lab comes in three solid colors :
Since both the Lab and the Beagle shed, grooming tools will be required for brushing. Great tools for brushing loose hair are the hound glove or shedding tool. Hound gloves are specialized mitts with brush-like ridges on the palm. There are many different shedding tools but their basic functions are typically the same—removing as much loose hair from your dog as possible. You can purchase shedding tools and grooming mitts almost anywhere pet supplies are sold, or order them online.
Lab or Beagle Grooming
Along with weekly brushing and occasional bathing, both the Beagle and Lab will need their nails trimmed regularly to prevent them from becoming split, cracked, or broken. With his long ears, the Beagle will require regular cleaning under and inside the ears to decrease moisture build-up and reduce the chance of infection. The Labrador’s ears also require weekly cleaning to keep wax build-up at bay.
Beagle vs Labrador Noise Issues
The Beagle is known for many of his unique attributes, one of them being his signature boisterous bark. Primarily bred for hunting, the Beagle has used this howl for decades leading huntsmen through the woods to their fallen prey. Whether in the forest or your backyard, Beagles enjoys using their voice! If left alone for too long or if he does not get enough attention or exercise, the Beagle can also be known to howl from boredom. Adequate exercise and proper training can reduce barking.
For the most part, the Labrador is a quiet dog, barking only on occasion if excited or startled. Like the Beagle, Labs require adequate exercise and training. So if you are looking for a less vocal dog, the Labrador is the obvious choice between these two breeds.
Beagle vs Labrador Temperament
If you want a great family dog that enjoys the outdoors and gets along with other dogs and children, you’re in luck with the Beagle. The Beagle is curious, playful, and affectionate, but also highly energetic, requiring steady activity and enough exercise to keep them from becoming bored.
Labradors are brainy dogs that are eager to please and quick to learn. Just like the Beagle, they make excellent family pets. And do famously well in households with children and other dogs. However, Labs can be hyper as puppies and are prone to chewing. Therefore, lots of toys and chew bones are required to reduce the odds of home and material damage.
Like the Beagle, Labs are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise and play and love nothing more than being part of fun family activities.
Beagle vs Labrador Intelligence
Although the Labrador and Beagle are both intelligent breeds, their priorities vary slightly. The Lab, for example, is ranked number seven of the “brightest” in Stanley Coren’s 1994 book, The Intelligence of Dogs. The Labrador’s cleverness and ability to learn quickly is part of what makes him such a wonderful service animal, search and rescue dog or law enforcement K9.
Although Beagles are clever too, they are not as renowned for their intelligence. Whereas the Lab is notably keen to please, the Beagle sometimes has other concerns. The Beagle was bred more as a hunter than a companion. So they are often more interested than hunting down an abandoned hot dog than learning to dig through snow to find an avalanche victim. Still, the Beagle is a loving dog and will entertain you with his inquisitive playful nature.
Beagle vs Labrador Training Requirements
Since Labradors are smart and eager to please, training them is relatively simple. They love to learn and enjoy a challenge. Early socialization and proper training, along with a variety of toys and plenty of exercises, should keep your pup from becoming overly excited or destructive to property.
The Beagle with his disciplined hunting background is also easy to train. Like Labs, they are high-energy dogs that require early socialization and proper training to keep them from excessive barking and howling.
Beagle and Lab Health problems
With most purebred dogs, a number of health conditions can be passed down from through generations. And purebred Labradors and Beagles are no exception.
For the most part, the Beagle is a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. However, there are some heritable conditions to be aware of. These include:
- patellar luxation
- central progressive retinal atrophy
- cherry eye
- keratoconjunctivitis sicca
The typical lifespan of a Labrador’s is typically 10 to 12 years. Like the Beagle, Labs have some hereditary issues and have been known to suffer from:
- heart disease
- loose knee joints
- elbow and hip dysplasia
- eye disease
- ruptured ligaments in their hind legs
- chronic allergies
Labs are also more predisposed than the average dog to the gastrointestinal syndrome also known as bloat.
With any purebred dog, including the Labrador and Beagle, it’s best to get early health screening done to avoid or prepare for any future health or temperament problems. Most reputable breeders will provide certificates to verify the health and temperament of both the parents, as well as your new puppy. You can learn more about health testing requirements for the Beagle and the Labrador here.
Are Beagles and Labradors Good for Families?
Both the Labrador and Beagle make excellent family pets.
Labradors are known for their gentle nature and make wonderful dogs for households with small children. They also enjoy being part of family activities. If you are looking for a dog who can learn tons of tricks and who will enjoy pleasing you, a Lab is the best way to go. Your pup will keep you laughing with his clumsy, loveable nature, and impress you and your friends with her intelligent mind.
Beagles are also known to do well in family settings. Because of their hunting background, they do very well with other dogs and enjoy the outdoors. If you are a family that loves camping, hiking, or just being outside in general, then a Beagle is for you!
So, Labrador vs Beagle…Which One Should You Choose?
Choosing between the Labrador and Beagle is a difficult choice, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Both dogs are wonderful breeds with fantastic qualities and do well in family settings. Either way, with proper training and early socialization, one thing is abundantly clear—either breed is sure to bring you and your family many smiles for years to come!
Are you thinking about adopting a new dog or bringing home a puppy? Trying to choose between a Beagle vs Labrador? Or Perhaps you’ve already made a decision! Let us know in the comments below!
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References and Further Reading
Hsu Y and Serpell JA. 2003. Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Howell TJ et al. 2015. Puppy Parties and Beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports.
Bley T et al. 2002. Genetic aspects of Labrador Retriever myopathy. Research in Veterinary Science.
Hoffmann G et al. 2006. Copper-Associated Chronic Hepatitis in Labrador Retrievers, Journal Of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Irion DN et al. 2003. Analysis of Genetic Variation in 28 Dog Breed Populations With 100 Microsatellite Markers. Journal of Heredity.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website