The beagle is a small hound, originally bred to hunt small game. The beagle's high energy level, keen sense of smell and single minded-ness make him an excellent rabbit hunter, but these same traits can make the beagle somewhat of a challenge as a family pet! If you are looking for a mellow, extremely obedient dog you had best look elsewhere! Some dog breeds are designed to work closely with you, taking direction easily and following commands. Beagles were designed to follow their instincts and work independently. Beagles can be spirited and mischievous. They will follow their noses with complete abandon, whether that takes them into woods or onto you kitchen counters.
None of this means, of course, that beagles can't be trained. But beagle owners may need a bit more patience and lots of common sense, and they will certainly need to use training methods that capitalize on the beagles insatiable appetite and his desire to have fun, rather than methods that rely on "Do it or else!" tactics.
Is the beagle right for you and your family? Perhaps. Beagles are happy dogs. They are small in size, have short, easy care coats and are generally friendly with other animals. They are also excellent with children, if raised with them and treated appropriately. If you have an active, fun loving family that is made up of true dog lover, then the beagle may be the perfect dog for you. If you are fastidiously clean, want robot-like obedience and expect a dog to be seen and not heard, a beagle is definitely out of the question.
Coonhounds make great pets because they are calm, gentle, and playful with families and other dogs. Coonhounds range in weight from about 45 to 80 lbs and come in a variety of types including, Redbone, Black and Tan, Blue-Tick, Treeing Walker, Red-Tick, and the Plott Hound. Because they were bred to be hunting dogs, coonies have a strong prey drive and must always be contained in a fenced area or walked on a leash. They need their daily excercise, but once they've had it, they can snooze for hours. Coonhounds are affectionate and love being with their people. Enthusiastic and eager to please, coonhounds are also sensitive; nothing looks more miserable than an unhappy hound dog. As great snugglers, coonhounds make excellent companions when watching TV or curling up with a book.
Coonhounds are a distinctly American breed of dog, bred by the early settlers who needed dogs that would tree their prey in the forested colonies of America, unlike the foxhounds who chased ground prey in the open fields of Britain. They were bred from foxhounds crossed with other European hunting dogs. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both kept hounds. The Disney character Pluto, with his floppy ears and tail, was based on a coonhound. The expression 'barking up the wrong tree' orginated in the 1800's and refers to a coonhound's hunting behavior.