When can my beagle come to the hunt and why? – Some Veterinary info

One of our members of the JHB Beagle Club is a vet, and has kindly written some articles regarding dogs’ health for us for the website…

I will be posting a new article once a week – so please keep a look out for it, have a read, and circulate to your animal loving friends :)




When can my beagle come to the hunt and why?


Beagle puppies are welcome to come and see what goes on at the hunt but keep in mind a few things:

  • Puppies should not be in contact with other dogs (especially dogs that you don’t know) until they are fully vaccinated. This means after they have had 3 vaccinations for the 5 core diseases (parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, hepatitis and parainfulenza/kennel cough). This should be complete when the puppy is 3 months old, at which time they can also be vaccinated against rabies
  • A puppy should also have had some social interaction with other dogs on a smaller scale before being overwhelmed by 30+ beagles as this can be very intimidating


When can beagles start running the lines and why only then?

Beagles can only start running at 10 months old and can start getting points from 12 months old.


There are a few reasons for this. Many joint disorders in dogs, such as hip and elbow dysplasia have a genetic component. But, some disorders are latent with what is called a genetic predisposition -meaning that the potential is there but with careful management during the critical growth period the disease may not develop. Dogs are genetically predisposed to osteochondrosis (OCD), but environmental factors may influence how this disease is manifested. One of these factors is excessive exercise.


In large breed dogs the typical age at which the bones’ growth plates have closed is 14 months; they close in small breeds at about 10 months which is about the time that they close in beagles. The growth plates are the locations in each bone where new bone forms. Damage to the growth plates can result in serious limb abnormalities. This damage can occur by bumping the leg, excessive concussion from exercise, etc. How a pup is physically managed through this early growth stage will, in many instances, have an affect on whether or not these disorders actually develop.


Common sense should guide you. Would you ask a 7 year old child to run 5 kms with no training on their first outing?


What can I do to help my beagle on the hunts?

I am not going to discuss scent training as there are other people with far more experience, but some advice for the beagle hunts would be to make sure that your beagle is fit and at its ideal weight at the start of the season. You can imagine how you would feel if you were unfit and overweight and asked to run 5km.


Is your dog a healthy weight?

Use the chart below for a guide to your dog’s body condition. Please note that some breeds and different life stages may have different ideal body condition scores. Always consult your vet if you are unsure.

(click on the image to view full size)


(Weight chart courtesy of Royal Canin)

5 Responses to “ When can my beagle come to the hunt and why? – Some Veterinary info ”

  1. Bronwyn Feldwick-Davis says:

    Hi There

    Thank you for this useful info as I would like to take my beagle on her first hunt in April. Who would be able to tell me about scent training?


  2. Carolyn says:

    Hi Bronwyn

    There is some info if you google it but generally with the way the hunts work it is their natural instinct. A good idea is to get them really excited about pilchards as that is what is used to scent at the hunts. Another idea is that you can get someone to hold your dog and then drag a bag of pilchards in your garden/park and when your dog gets to the area you have stopped then treat him/her. See you at the hunt (if you are in JHB)

  3. Hi

    I have a 2month old beagle puppy. I am intrested in the beagle hunts for 2014. Can you please give me more info.

    Thank you


  4. P S Sandhu says:

    I have a beagle 9 months old. Should I give him salty vegetables etc whatever we eat.


  5. Carolyn says:

    Hi Paramjit
    Your beagle should not eat the food you eat. He should it a good quality dog food. The best foods are available through your vet but if cost is an issue there are also some foods at the supermarket that are better quality.

    Beagles are prone to obesity so you need to monitor how much food you give him and if he starts to get fat reduce the food. He should be on puppy food until 11-12 months old.

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