Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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While not one of the better-known hybrid dogs, the Beacol is a new designer dog that has a lot to offer, inheriting valuable traits from both the Beagle and the Bearded Collie. Two words that describe this mixed-breed dog well are ‘active’ and ‘playful’ and the Beacol is not one who likes to sit around all day. Smart as a whip, these guys require a good deal of interaction, particularly during their younger years.

Perhaps not your classically handsome dog, the Beacol has a unique look and, given how unalike the parent breeds are, individuals can vary dramatically from litter to litter. Many will have the traditional tricolor fur colour of the Beagle, but solid grey and black coats are not uncommon.

About & History

Not much is known about the origins of the Beacol and there are not thought to be many in existence internationally. As with other designer dogs, it is likely they would have originated sometime around the turn of the 21st century. Some argue that they were first developed in the United States, but this is difficult to prove.

The Beagle

Beagles are popular hound dogs that were once renowned for their hunting ability and, to this day, are used in this capacity for sport. Not only were they bred for their good nature and trainability but also their athleticism and strong prey drive. For pet Beagles, some of these characteristics can pose issues, especially when owners are unable to provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they inherently need.

Traditionally, Beagles would have hunted in large packs – one of the reasons that today’s Beagle remains so gregarious and tolerant of other dogs. Though Beagles were established in Britain, in the mid 1800s they were exported to the USA, where an American strain was established.

The Bearded Collie

Bearded Collies, also known as ‘Beardies’, are arguably not as well-known as their close relatives, the Border Collie and the Rough Collie. Despite this, the breed is kept as both a working dog and a pet today and is highly regarded for its spirited nature and innate ability to herd and drive livestock.

Thought to have originated from Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, this breed has been in existence for over 500 years. This is a dog that excels in modern sports, such as Flyball, canine dancing and agility and makes an excellent training partner thanks to its intelligence and biddable nature.


Due to the fact that the Beagle and the Bearded Collie have so little in common physically, the Beacol has a varied appearance and, even within the same litter, puppies can grow up to look completely different. Having said this, there are some physical traits that seem to hold true for most.

The Beacol is a medium-sized dog that grows to heights of 36cm to 50cm and weighs in at between 12kg and 24kg. They typically have a square skull with a flat muzzle and pendulous, wide ears. They have bodies that are square to rectangular in shape and sturdy, athletic limbs. Their tail is medium in length and may have a plume of fur towards the end.

The coat of the Beacol can be anything from short and smooth to long and shaggy, with many variations in between. Some individuals will have lengthy beards and moustaches, while others will have much shorter facial fur. There are numerous colour combinations seen within the breed including tan and white, black and white, tricolor and slate grey.

Character & Temperament

Probably the most notable character trait of the Beacol is its desire to be active and playful. They have a real zest for life and are happiest when outdoors running around. Their curious nature means that they love exploring and benefit from being taken on lots of different walking routes, rather than the same one each day.

The majority of Beacols get along very well with other dogs and enjoy being kept in a multi-dog household. However, as their hunting instinct remains, some smaller dogs may be given a hard time and chased about or even ‘herded up’! This means that they are not typically suited to homes with cats or other small pets.

A smart cookie, the Beacol will keep you on your toes and likes to be constantly learning. While this makes them fun to train, it can be hard work to keep up with their mental demands. Those that are not challenged, can become bored and may develop undesired behaviours.


Obedience training tends to be very successful in this breed and should be started when they are puppies in order to see the best results. It is important to remember that training is a lifelong pursuit and should not stop, even when the dog is well into their adulthood. They should be rewarded throughout their entire life for good behaviour, ensuring they continue to act appropriately both inside and outside. It is especially important to consistently work on recall as the Beacol can get easily distracted when outdoors.

The keen sense of smell possessed by the Beacol makes them good at scent work but also makes for it hard for them to concentrate, as they are distracted by the scents around them both inside the home and outside. As they are eager to please, owners should be able to teach them to ignore interesting smells and continue with the work at hand.


Typically living to between 12 and 15 years of age, many Beacol dogs enjoy good health and, as a general rule of thumb, should suffer from less inherited diseases than their pedigree parents. Conditions to be monitored for within the breed include:

Addison’s Disease

Making a diagnosis of Addison’s Disease is not always easy as symptoms can wax and wane and are not specific. They can include bouts of an upset stomach, lethargy and trembling. Blood tests are used to definitively diagnose the condition and affected dogs are managed on tablets for the rest of their life.

Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common orthopaedic diseases, hip dysplasia can cause ‘bunny hopping’, discomfort and stiffness when moving, as well as reduced muscle mass in the hind-limbs. X-rays can diagnose the disorder and many dogs are managed on a combination of joint supplements, anti-inflammatories and pain-relieving medications.


While seizures can have many different causes (including abnormal calcium levels, brain tumours and liver disease), those who have seizures for no definable reason are said to have epilepsy. Some will benefit from daily medicine to control the frequency and severity of the fits.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Given the history of both parent breeds, the Beacol needs to be provided with plenty of exercise, as well as mental stimulation to keep them happy. Nice long hikes are always a winner and these dogs are especially good at canine sports.


Grooming needs will depend entirely on which coat type is inherited. Those with short fur like the Beagle will likely just need a quick brush down weekly to cope with shedding while the longer-furred dogs may well need brushing every day to prevent tangles and matting.

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