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Foxhound vs. Beagle: Dog Breed Differences & Similarities

Are you looking to add a hunting dog to your home but can't decide between the Foxhound and the Beagle? Never fear! These two breeds are incredibly similar but have some differences that will help make your decision. Read on to find which one is a better fit!

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: August 21, 2021 | 10 min read

Foxhound vs Beagle Breed Comparison

Hunting dogs are great breeds, especially, of course, if you like to hunt. Even if you don’t, they show great traits of intelligence and loyalty. While Foxhounds and Beagles come from the same ancestry, they have been developed over the years to specialize in different game with different specific traits. If you’re considering owning one of these breeds, you should take into consideration both their similarities and their differences.

As similar as these two breeds are in both appearance and mannerisms, they do have their differences. It’s important to highlight these differences for anyone who is seriously considering getting either one of these.

Both breeds are great for families, but they do have some very distinct differences between their temperament, size, personality, and capacity to learn during training sessions. Let’s look at both of these dogs, the difference, and their similarities. Both are great breeds that can make a great addition to any family.

Breed Comparison

Foxhound

  • Height 21-25 Inches
  • Weight 60-70 Pounds
  • Temperament Independent, Easy-Going, Sweet-Tempered
  • Energy High
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 11-13 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Beagle

  • Height 13-15 Inches
  • Weight 20-30 Pounds
  • Temperament Friendly, Curious, Merry
  • Energy Average
  • Health Below Average
  • Lifespan 10-15 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Breed History

Foxhounds and Beagles have been trusted throughout various hunting endeavors since as early as the 14th Century, where they were used by even royalty to hunt hares and rabbits. Since then, these kinds of dogs have been bred and cross-bred to achieve only the best in hunting traits. Let’s see how their histories link up.

Beagle

Happy Pack of Hunting Dogs
Beagles were one of the original hunting dogs in England.

For a long time, Beagles were the most popular small hound in England, gaining use and fame in the 1300s. Many people, including the royal family, used Beagles to hunt small game. The name Beagles come from the Old English word “begle,” which actually means small. During that period, Beagles were even smaller than they are today. It is said that Queen Elizabeth I had a pack of six-inch Beagles. These dogs were used for hunting mainly hares and rabbits.

As the years went on, Beagles, along with other hunting dogs like Foxhounds, were strategically interbred to enhance their gene pools and increase their overall traits. Between the 1600s and 1700s, many Beagles and Hounds were interbred, producing some of the top Foxhounds ever seen in that time.

American Foxhound

Pack of Hunting Dogs With a Horse
Foxhounds are more commonly used in hunting nowadays than the Beagle.

As the Beagle was continuously used for small game and on-foot hunting, the Foxhound was used for large game and horseback hunting. In the 1600s, both of these breeds were introduced in America. George Washington himself was even a fan of the American Foxhound. It’s worth mentioning here that the American Foxhound is slightly different from the English Foxhound. And that deserves its own comparison guide!

Since then, many folks have continued the traditional use of these pets in hunting, though the Foxhound is now more commonly used than the Beagle, who tends to appear as more of a family pet than a trained hunter. Other interbreeding included Foxhounds with Greyhounds and Spanish Pointers. This kind of breeding improved scenting ability and mobility, both of which made the Foxhound great for hunting.

Appearance

White, Tan, and Black Dogs Standing Outside
The biggest difference in appearance between these two is their size.

The most obvious similarity between the Foxhound and the Beagle is their appearance. It’s easy to see they both come from hunting heritage. Both dogs have short, straight hair that comes in similar colors and patterns. These patterns feature colors of white, black, tan, brown, and red shades, and they are very low maintenance in terms of grooming and dander. Both are considered hounds, similar to the Dachshund.

The main difference between a Foxhound and Beagle physically is their size. While their fur color is very similar, the Foxhound is much bigger than the Beagle. A Beagle will grow to be about 13 to 15 inches tall, while a Foxhound can be as tall as 21 to 25 inches. In the same way, a Beagle will weigh just 20 to 30 pounds, while a Foxhound can be as large as 60 to 70 pounds.

There are two sizes, or categories, of Beagle. The most common is the larger Beagle. Sometimes these are referred to as the Pocket Beagle. These guys measure 13 inches and under, and weigh less than 20 pounds. Making these guys even smaller than the Foxhound. So, if the size is limited in your home, the Beagle is the better option for you.

In terms of strength, Foxhounds dominate in this area as well. Beagles are not very strong. While Foxhounds have the potential to be very strong thanks to their extra muscles. They look much more athletic than Beagles. And this is before you take into account that many Beagles are overweight because they become accustomed to the easy life on the sofa. You’ll rarely find an overweight Foxhound.

Temperament

Smiling Faces of Two Dogs
Though both breeds are known to be friendly, the Beagle tends to be more affectionate.

Overall, both of these breeds tend to be very friendly. They behave well around families, kids, and other pets. Even though they are both known to be stubborn with a lack of patience and focus, they are affectionate and loving animals. Making them both ideal for most family settings. They just need the right family.

Though both of these breeds were historically used for hunting, the Beagle for small game and the Foxhound for large game, the Foxhound is more readily used for hunting today. Beagles are very friendly, loving, and affectionate dogs, so they tend to be more suited as household family pets for most families. The average family probably hasn’t got the time or patience to commit to the Foxhounds exercise needs.

Foxhounds and Beagles both function best when they have a lot of space. Homes with large yards provide them enough space to run and roam. Another similarity, though not necessarily a positive one, is they both have a tendency to bark and howl. Both breeds are great with kids, and beagles are commonly crossbred with other breeds as designer dogs.

Foxhounds tend to be more independent and a little warier of strangers, though they are not aggressive. They may not be as cuddly and affectionate as Beagles, but they are willing to please their masters. Ultimately, neither of these dogs would make good guard dogs.

Both the Foxhound and the Beagle are friendly dogs with good amounts of loyalty; however, the Beagle is more friendly than the Foxhound. Beagles are more likely to approach strangers or show affection. They love attention and cuddling, and they do not like being left alone. Foxhounds do not particularly like to be left alone either, but since they are more active and need more attention and exercise than Beagles, they can become destructive when they’re lonely or bored.

Exercise

Dogs Looking to Chase Items
Foxhounds have more energy to burn off than Beagles.

Both of these breeds have exercise needs, as many dogs do; however, the Foxhound requires much more physical activity due to its high energy levels. Foxhound owners should have a lot of land where their dogs can run freely. Foxhounds are great for families with high levels of activity, and kids who like to play outside a lot. Foxhounds need between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day.

A Beagle’s energy level ranges more in the medium range, which makes it more suited for apartment living than a Foxhound. These dogs are very adaptable and will adjust better to their environment. They would do just fine with plenty of walks or a moderately-sized yard with a fence. 45 minutes or so will be plenty for the Beagle, making him better suited to the average working family.

Training

Happy Dogs Sitting Outside
Both breeds are highly trainable, but Beagles tend to be easier than Foxhounds.

Though they have their differences, it’s clear that both Foxhounds and Beagles are incredibly intelligent. Since they are used in hunting, they have to be very trainable. They have excellent senses and are very loyal to their masters. However, both breeds tend to have traits of stubbornness and impatience, and they are very independent. They are not likely to be shadows to their owners, but they also are not known to be dominant.

Surprisingly, with their other traits in mind, Beagles are known to be a little more intelligent than Foxhounds, who have average intelligence. Because of traits like this, Beagles are better choices for new pet owners, and Foxhounds should be owned by experienced dog owners.

Because Beagles are easy to train, it’s great to get them into basic obedience lessons right away. Once they start to learn, you can also teach them basic tricks and commands.

Beagles are generally easier to train than Foxhounds. While they may come off as independent and stubborn at first, they work well with positive reinforcement training. Foxhounds are certainly smart and trainable but may take a little more work than Beagles. They both need to be socialized well as a pup if you want them to transform into polite adults.

Foxhounds love the outdoors and wide-open spaces. They have the innate desire to track and make excellent hunting companions. While you can train your Beagle to hunt, you will likely have better success with a Foxhound.

Health

Curious Dogs Looking up
Beagles tend to have more health concerns than Foxhounds.

Overall, Foxhounds are considered to be very healthy dogs. Both the English and the American Foxhound do not hold any recommendations for particular health tests. Though the risk is not high, Foxhounds can be at risk for bloat, ear infections, dental issues, hip dysplasia, and thrombocytopathy.

However, it’s always best to keep up with regular vet visits. As with any breed, your dog’s diet and lifestyle will play a significant role in its health. As a pet owner, it is important to take responsible steps towards maintaining your Foxhound or Beagle’s health.

While Beagles have a longer life expectancy, they are also at risk for more health issues than Foxhounds. The National Breed Club recommends Beagles owners have their dogs complete an ophthalmologist evaluation, a hip evaluation, and an MLS DNA test. Beagles can be prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, luxating patella, epilepsy, eye disorders, ear infections, and dental issues.

Nutrition

Hungry Dogs Snacking
Beagles are greedy pooches that need to be monitored for food consumption.

The more active the dog, the more nourishment they need. That being said, not all dogs stop when they’re full. This is especially true for Beagles. They are known to be “food thieves,” meaning they will steal any food they see. If given the chance, Beagles will raid your snack pantry and knock over your garbage can for an extra snack. In addition, a Beagle is likely going to eat any food you put in front of him. For this reason, you must measure their food carefully and only feed them twice a day rather than leaving food out all day.

Foxhounds also have very hearty appetites, but unlike smaller breeds, they benefit from a good balance of nutrients like minerals and vitamins. At the same time, they are also more prone to bloating and stomach issues. It’s important to find a dog food that’s high in nutrients without upsetting your Foxhound’s stomach. Smaller, more frequent meals can help with stomach issues and bloating. Foxhounds should be fed a food designed specifically for large breeds.

When it comes to the monthly food bill, you can expect to pay a little bit more on the Foxhound. But this is probably expected given his much larger size. The average Beagle will eat around two cups of food a day, compared to a Foxhound who will eat around three cups a day. Good quality kibbles will almost always list meat as the first ingredient, and be full of healthy omega fats for your dog’s best well-being.

Grooming

Close Up of Serious Dogs
Both breeds shed quite a bit, so regular brushing is recommended.

Beagles shed quite often, but the Foxhound sheds just as much. The difference is that the Beagle has a slightly thicker coat, which can make it seem more apparent on your sofa and carpet. The best way to manage shedding is to establish a regular brushing routine. Both of these guys need to be brushed two times a week or so throughout the year. During the shedding seasons, you’ll need to brush them a little more to manage the seasonal shedding.

Both of these guys will need bathing once every 8 to 12 weeks or so. Try not to wash them any more than this, even if they get covered in mud on their daily adventures. Rinse them with water instead. For bathtime, pick a doggy shampoo made with natural ingredients such as oatmeal, as these are much better for sensitive doggy skin.

The only real difference between these guys’ grooming schedules is that the Foxhound is much larger, meaning it will take you that little bit longer. But overall, it’s not a huge difference that will affect your decision-making process if you’re trying to decide between them.

Puppy Prices

Young Hunting Dogs
Foxhound puppies tend to be more affordable than Beagle puppies.

On average, you can find Foxhound puppies for sale from breeders ranging from $1,000 and up, which is a pretty decent price for a smart hunting dog. The normal price for a Beagle is $1,000 to $1,500. If you are looking for a pup from an award-winning bloodline, or a pup who has already begun their hunting training, you can expect to pay a little bit more than this.

Be aware of pricing when you purchase either of these puppies. If they are outside of these ranges, they are most likely to be red flags. Overcharging is an obvious negative, but undercharging could show signs of poor breeding, neglect, or improper care. Many people are lured in, but end up spending much more in the long run on vet bills and behavioral correction training.

The price of your puppy will depend on your location, the age of the pup, their registration type, and whether they are coming from a breeder, a shelter, or even a puppy mill. You should also be aware that about 30% of dogs in the shelter are purebreds. Meaning there are many Beagles and Foxhounds out there waiting for their forever home. Adoption should always be a consideration, so it’s a good idea to take a look there as well.

Final Thoughts

Foxhounds and Beagles can make great pets if you know what you’re getting into. It’s very important to recognize and act upon the individual needs of each breed. Though they were both originally used in hunting, the Beagle has become more accustomed to a life of playing, cuddling, and eating. On the flip side, Foxhounds need lots of open space and tons of exercise. Considering the Foxhounds exercise needs, he needs a really active family who can meet his requirements.

If you’re considering getting one of these dogs for hunting, it’s also vital that you know the amount of effort that goes into training. These stubborn dogs are very smart, but not as eager to please as some breeds. As long as you stick with it and give them plenty of attention and affirmation, you could have yourself a fine hunting companion.

All in all, consider what you can offer the breed, and go from there. Yes, the Beagle and the Foxhound are very similar, but they need a different kind of family. So, the question is, are you team Beagle or team Foxhound?

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

Andrew France

June 2, 2021 at 12:52 pm

Love our Lucy, got from Beagle Rescue but at 6 months she certainly didn't look like a Beagle longer legs, longer Snout, eyes spread out almost on edges of head , longer ears and and a very lean body with a tail that looks like a radio antenna! So active and runs like a gazelle, she loves to run away and is so intelligent! She is now about a year and 2 months and snores like a trooper!

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Kelly Wilson

June 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Sounds like an amazing dog, Andrew! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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