A cheeky and affectionate dog that is full of mischief, this cross between the Beagle and Border Collie is a rare find. While the number of ‘designer dogs’ is rising, neither the Border Collie nor the Beagle are traditional choices.
Though this dog may not be one you’ll see very often, the “Border Beagle” might well be a cross-breed you want to learn more about.
With their unique look and big personality, perhaps this is the dog for you. Read on to learn lots more about this mix.
About the Border Collie Breed
As the Border Collie is the larger of the two breeds in this pairing, she should be the female. This means the pups have room to grow and there is a much lower risk of needing a c-section.
The Border Collie has been used on farms for many centuries, herding the sheep and keeping the farmer company. They are intelligent, hard-working and athletic. This makes them the perfect choice for a farm dog. However, keeping a pet Border Collie entertained and well-exercised is a monumental task.
Border Collies need a huge amount of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and content and to prevent them from developing behavioral issues. They are not the kind of dog who will stay in the house for hours on end relaxing. They are best matched with a very active family that has lots of outdoor access.
About the Beagle Breed
Beagles are also working dogs and these guys were traditionally used to hunt rabbits and other small prey. Despite their working background, they make popular pet dogs today. This is mainly down to their affectionate personality and merry temperament. A well-balanced Beagle is one who gets on well with all family members, including the children.
These are fun-loving dogs who enjoy being part of the hustle and bustle of a busy home. They tend to get on well with most but do rely on others for their companionship. For this reason, many are prone to separation anxiety when left alone.
The Beagle is notorious for their love of food and it can be hard to keep these guys slim. Owners need to be strict when it comes to portion size and treat allowance if they don’t want to end up with an over-weight dog.
The History of the Border Collie Beagle Mix
As with a great deal of other hybrids, we don’t know much about the history of the Border Collie x Beagle. This is because their breeding is not regulated and they cannot be officially registered with any Kennel Clubs, as they are not a pedigree.
Cross-breeding became a big deal in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the creation of some of the better known crosses including the Labradoodle and Cavapoo. However, less common matings like the Border Beagle were probably not created for another couple of decades.
It is tricky to predict the temperament of a cross breed as we cannot know which genes they will inherit from each parent breed.
For some potential owners, this is a ‘gamble’ they are not willing to take.
Generally speaking, this dog will be calmer than its Border Collie parent and may be more intelligent than the Beagle.
They are fun-loving and always keen to be in the company of their family, never wanting to miss out on any action.
It is not unheard of for this dog to be wary of strangers, a trait which can be minimized with proper socialization from an early age. Once they have grown to know someone, they will be fawningly affectionate and they show great loyalty.
The size of a hybrid dog is never easy to predict and, even within the same litter, we can see a great deal of variability. If the size of the dog is a big deal to you, consider adopting an adult Border Beagle, whose size is easy for all to see.
Border beagles are typically medium-sized, weighing between 22-44lbs (10-20kg) and will measure from 15-22 In. (40 to 57cm) at the withers.
Females will typically be shorter and lighter than males.
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Coat & Grooming
Most dogs will have a short coat that is moderately dense. Color-wise, dogs are usually either tri-colour (black, white and brown) or black and white. They should be brushed several times a week to remove any loose fur and to help spread the oils along their coat.
The majority of breed members will have floppy ears. This means the ear canals are prone to becoming warm and moist, making them a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. To reduce the incidence of infection, owners are advised to clean the ears of wax a few times a month. It is also sensible to dry the canals with cotton wool after every swim and bath.
As long as your Border Beagle is walked on hard surfaces, they should not need their claws regularly trimmed. Their dew claw, however, will need to be cut short every couple of months. In senior dogs, the claws can grow thicker so it can become necessary to trim all claws. It is a good idea to get your Border Beagle used to this from a young age, so they do not find it ‘scary’.
Some would refer to this crossing as ‘hyper’ as they don’t tend to stop between dawn and dusk. This makes them the perfect workout partner and the ideal pooch to bring along with you on a hike or jog. These dogs love to be outside, off lead and sniffing.
This is not the dog for you if you are a couch potato and spend most of your day indoors. On the contrary, this dog loves to be out and about and would make a great farm or ranch dog.
Provide the Border Beagle with at least 90 minutes of solid exercise each day. This must be varied and should consist of a range of appealing activities, including runs, hikes, swims, agility sessions and training sessions.
With the right owner, this dog can excel when it comes to their training. They are eager to please and smart as a button. One potential pitfall is their stubbornness. Some individuals may take their time when it comes to accepting a new training technique or command, but they should get there in the end.
Given their intelligence, they will need you to keep up with them, providing new training activities to keep them on their toes. They respond best to positive reward-based training. This means the dog gets praise and a reward when they do the correct thing, incentivizing them to do as we ask and keeping them onside.
The Border Beagle can be trained to act as a watch dog and a guard dog, though they are not ‘naturals’. They are alert and some breed members can be quite protective. Most will naturally want to keep their home safe from intruders and would be quick to bark at the first sign of any new arrival.
- Related: Are Border Collies Good Guard Dogs?
Cross-breeds can develop issues from either parent but do tend to enjoy better health overall.
Most of these dogs enjoy good health. Some of the main conditions we need to consider when it comes to the Border Beagle include:
When a dog has fits, it will always look alarming but it is important to stay calm. Owners are advised to contact their vet right away, so we can get to the bottom of things and prevent future fits from occurring.
In some cases, no cause for the fit will be found and these dogs are usually found to be epileptic. Most epileptic dogs can be well managed with daily medication. In some cases, diet changes can help too.
The aim of therapy is not to stop all seizures (which is not always possible), but to prevent them as much as possible. It is generally deemed acceptable if a dog is having less than a seizure a month and if this seizure is not lasting more than a couple of minutes.
2. Hip Dysplasia
When the ball and socket hip joint does not fit together as it should, this can lead to cartilage breakdown and localized inflammation.
Over time, those with hip dysplasia become arthritic and can suffer with significant mobility issues. This is usually managed with pain relief, anti inflammatories, weight loss (if needed), diet and joint supplements.
This condition is relatively easy to diagnose on X-ray. If diagnosed early enough, there are surgical procedures that can be done.
3. Ear infections
Thanks to the shape of the Border Beagles’ ears, they are prone to otitis externa. Signs can include ear redness, excess wax, a foul smell, head shaking and ear scratching.
A vet visit is always needed when a dog has an ear infection, so we can rule out any underlying issues (such as a grass awn within the canal or allergies) and swab the discharge to determine which ‘bugs’ are growing’.
Most dogs will need prescription ear drops as well as oral anti-inflammatories.
A low level of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood results in various signs, including trouble losing weight, sluggishness, heat-seeking behavior and chronic skin complaints. If hypothyroidism is suspected, we can confirm it with a blood test.
Most dogs affected will be middle-aged or older. Once diagnosed, affected Border Beagles can be treated with daily thyroid hormone replacement. For most, they respond very well to therapy.
Though obesity is not a disease in itself, it can significantly impact both duration and quality of life for the dog.
Those who are food-driven (like the Beagle) are most prone to obesity. Overtime, the excess pressure on the organs and joints can lead to significant health issues including arthritis.
Owners should become familiar with the ‘Body Condition Score’ chart and work towards their dog being a healthy score.
- Further reading: 10 Tips To Keep Your Border Collie Healthy (From a Vet)
If you are looking for a cheery dog with lots to offer, this may well be the breed for you. The Border Beagle does require plenty in the way of mental and physical stimulation and will be sure to keep you busy. Once provided with all they need, these dogs make excellent family pets and are truly rewarding to own.
Be aware of the potential health issues that this mixed breed can face and, where possible, buy a pup from a reputable breeder who has screen the parents for inherited conditions like hip dysplasia.