Beagles and retrievers are both popular breeds among families and dog enthusiasts. If you want to adopt a dog in the near future, you should consider both breeds.
Beagles and retrievers are very smart, active dogs that are great for families, though they have their differences. Beagles are more inclined to use their sense of smell while retrievers are more likely to retrieve things. Retrievers are easier to train while beagles don’t enjoy learning tricks.
In this article, we will do a complete and thorough comparison of beagles and retriever dogs. We will highlight the biggest differences between the dogs and go over the defining characteristics of each breed. Keep reading to learn more about these types of dogs!
As a lifelong dog owner and someone who has thoroughly researched all types of dog breeds, I will be able to give you a detailed comparison between these dog breeds. I will provide information that you might not have considered important during your pet research and will provide as much information about each breed as possible. Let’s get started!
What Are the Differences Between Retrievers and Beagles?
Retrievers and beagles are two dog breeds known for being lovable and good-natured. They are also some of the most popular dogs for families with kids. In fact, the American Kennel Club lists both breeds among the 10 best family dogs.
If you are considering either a retriever or a beagle to adopt for your family, you might be wondering about the biggest differences between the two types of dogs. We already know that both dogs are sociable and do great with families and children. Knowing some of the differences between the breeds might help you decide which is the best choice for your family.
The table below summarizes some of the biggest differences between the two breeds.
First and foremost, the two dogs come from different categories, meaning they have completely different ancestry and are genetically inclined to do certain tasks. Retrievers, for example, are genetically inclined to retrieve things while beagles are used to doing scent work. This means that the dogs are going to be inherently interested in different games and toys.
This could be an important difference between the dogs for your family to consider. Are you more likely to take your dog on fast-paced runs or set up mentally stimulating games for your dog? These lifestyle habits could make you better suited for one breed over the other.
Another big difference between the two breeds is in their size. Retriever dogs are considered a large breed and can be very strong too. Consider that walking this type of dog might be more of a challenge than walking a beagle, which is considered medium size.
One last difference that potential pet owners need to understand about these dogs is their grooming needs. Retrievers, especially golden retrievers, have thick, long hair that requires regular grooming. You will have to take your retriever to the groomer for regular appointments, while beagles can get away with at-home baths and regular brushing.
Understanding the differences between these two dog breeds can help families decide which to adopt. In the next section, we will go over some characteristics that are found in both retrievers and beagles.
What Are the Similarities Between Retrievers and Beagles?
While knowing the differences between these two types of dogs is great information if you are trying to decide between them, it might also be good to know their similarities. This can help you decide if you want to narrow down your search to just these breeds yet.
Both retrievers and beagles are:
- Working dogs
- Highly intelligent
- Have high energy levels and exercise needs
- Great family dogs
Both retrievers and beagles have been bred to be “working dogs,” meaning that they typically want to work and perform the tasks that they were bred to perform. Retrievers were bred to retrieve things, so they are great at playing games like fetch. Since beagles are scent hounds, they are more likely to be interested in games that involve scent work and require some mental stimulation.
Retrievers and beagles are also both highly intelligent breeds. This characteristic is related to their desire to work and perform tasks. Since both of these breeds are intelligent, they will benefit from playing games that stimulate them mentally. They will also benefit from learning tricks, as that is another form of mental stimulation.
Both dog breeds are also very energetic and have a lot of exercise needs. Both types of dogs need a space to run around in often. This would preferably be a private, fenced-in backyard. If you don’t have access to a yard, you must take either breed on frequent walks and trips to a local dog park.
Finally, considering both their similarities and differences, both of these breeds make excellent family dogs. Both breeds are great with children and are usually gentle. The differences between the dogs might help you decide which type is the best fit for your family, but you can feel confident that either would be a great fit as long as you give them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Types of Retrievers
Many people might not realize that there are six types of retrievers. Golden retrievers and labrador retrievers are probably the two types that come to mind for most people. Other types of retrievers include:
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Flat-Coated Retriever
- Curly Coated Retriever
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
While each of these types of dogs are retrievers and share many of the same characteristics, they do have their differences. Each of these types of retrievers look slightly different and were bred for different purposes. Because of this, these dogs might act differently from each other while still keeping most of the overall retriever characteristics.
Consider looking into the characteristics and temperaments of each type of retriever if you are interested in this type of dog. Everyone has heard of golden and labrador retrievers, but you might find that a unique retriever breed is perfect for your family.
Types of Beagles
There are only two types of beagles, and there are not many differences between them. The two types of beagles are:
- 13-15 inch beagle, also known as a standard beagle
- Under 13-inch beagle, sometimes called a pocket beagle
The main differences between the two types of beagle are the size. The beagle is measured in height to the shoulder and then classified into these categories. The two types of beagles are not recognized as separate breeds, the categories are just used to describe them.
If you are considering adopting a beagle, you should know that there are no differences between the two types besides size. Your choice between them relies on your personal preference.
Should My Family Get a Retriever or a Beagle?
Lifestyles Best Suited for Retrievers
All types of retrievers are known for being great family pets. These dogs are great with kids and can keep up with an active family. Your family might be well-suited for a retriever dog if you are active and plan to take your dog with you on walks, runs, or hikes. These dogs need lots of exercise and benefit from mental stimulation as well.
As puppies, retrievers can sometimes have too much energy and result in chewing on shoes or furniture in the house. This is a sign that the dog might need even more exercise and mental stimulation. Retrievers are generally known for being easier to train than other breeds. If you want to teach your dog a lot of tricks, then a retriever might be perfect for you.
Retrievers, specifically golden retrievers, are the most popular breed of dog in the United States, with labrador retrievers also being very popular. These dogs have had success being family pets for years, and will surely make a great addition to your family as well.
Lifestyles Best Suited for Beagles
Beagles are also known for being great family pets. Beagles love being outside and would make great companions for families that want to bring their dog along on outdoor adventures. Since beagles are scent hounds, be sure to give them plenty of time to smell things that you pass, especially if you are hiking in the woods where there are lots of animals around and different scents to pick up.
While beagles are intelligent, they are not generally as intelligent as retrievers. While a retriever needs mental stimulation in the form of learning tricks, this is not essential for beagles. A beagle might be a great choice for your family if you don’t know how or aren’t interested in teaching your dog tricks. You might want to consider at least teaching your beagle to not bark and howl, though, since they are known for being loud in this regard.
With beagles, you will want to mentally stimulate them with toys and games that involve scent work. Toys that hide pieces of kibble or games where they have to find food using their sense of smell are great for beagles.
Retrievers and Beagles With Jobs
Throughout time, dogs have had jobs in several fields from policing and therapy to hunting and herding. Both retrievers and beagles have been the preferred breed in certain professional settings.
Many people recognize that labrador and golden retrievers have been used as service dogs for many years. Their intelligence allows them to learn and obey commands, and their friendly demeanor allows them to bond with and trust their handler. These are some of the same qualities that make them great family dogs too.
These days, service dogs can be any type of breed as long as they are properly trained, though many are still retrievers. Types of jobs that service dogs perform include guiding visually impaired people, detecting seizures, and more. Service dogs go through a lot of training and require a temperate and calm personality.
The Beagle Brigade
A lesser-known job for dogs, specifically beagles, is the beagle brigade. Like we have said, beagles are scent hounds, and are genetically inclined to have great senses of smell. This characteristic paired with their high intelligence makes beagles the perfect breed for finding unauthorized materials by their scent.
The Beagle Brigade is a group of beagles that work in airports to find agricultural products. To protect natural ecosystems and adhere to food regulations, it is illegal to bring most food and agricultural products into the country from abroad. Beagles are used to sniff passengers’ luggage and alert their handlers if they find any food or agriculture product.
How to Adopt a Beagle or Retriever
Once you have decided that you want to adopt either a beagle or retriever, you need to decide where to get one from. You will also need to decide if you want a purebred dog or one that is mixed with another breed. There are pros and cons to either decision. Either way, you should get your dog from a reputable organization or breeder.
It is recommended that you start your search with local dog rescue organizations in your area. It is a common misconception that dog rescues don’t have purebred dogs, but that is not the case. Your city might even have rescues specifically for beagles and retrievers.
If you can’t find the perfect dog at a rescue organization, you can try finding a responsible breeder. Some ways to make sure you are working with a good breeder are to see the parent dogs and ensure they are being taken care of, ask your vet if they know about the breeder, and obtain a full medical history of both the puppy and parent dogs.
The most important part of picking out your family’s dog is to have everyone meet the dog before making a decision. This lets you know that the dog will get along with everyone and there won’t be any issues bringing them home. This is especially important if you already have one family dog, as not all dogs get along well together. By letting them meet, you can have an idea of whether they can be friends or not.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright