Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Beago
Travis Weins /

A delightful and unique-looking dog, the Beago looks like a shrunken version of the attractive Golden Retriever but with a face and ears that are more similar to the Beagle. They typically have the characteristic golden fur of the Golden Retriever, but may also have some white, or even black, markings, as well. They have a square-shaped body and are prone to becoming over-weight.

While the Beagle is a scent hound and the Golden Retriever is a gun dog, they were both developed for a similar type of work and thus have very compatible personalities. They are biddable, easy-going, adaptable and with a strong desire to please their master. They have moderate exercise requirements and can act out if these are not fulfilled on a daily basis.

About & History

The Beago is a delightful mixture of the sociable Golden Retriever and the cheerful Beagle, two breeds renowned for their friendly natures and tolerance of children. With both parent breeds originating in England, it is little surprise that the first Beago is thought to have been bred within the UK – likely in the latter half of the 20th century. However, as with other designer dogs, factual data on where and when they were developed is sadly lacking.

The Beagle

The Beagle was traditionally a hunting dog that was small enough to pursue rabbits and other small prey on foot. They were well-liked for their docile temperaments, steadfast nature and ability to work well in packs. While never as quick as some of the longer-legged hounds, they had impressive stamina and could hunt for hours on end at a steady pace without tiring. Amazingly, many Beagles are still used for this purpose today within Britain.

However, since the hunting of live animals has been a controversial topic in the last few decades, and since the ban on hunting, many are instead used for trail hunting. In trail hunting, no live prey is followed and the dog instead tracks a scent that has been laid by humans. Beagles are also popular family pets and many of today’s Beagles will not work at all, instead integrating into a content member of their human ‘pack’. Some individuals will also be used as sniffer dogs in places, such as airports and harbours, thanks to their superior scenting abilities.

The Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are popular the world over and are thought of by many as the quintessential ‘family pet’. Large and furry teddy bears, they are happiest when around their family and are known for their lack of aggression. Though the first Golden Retriever was developed to hunt prey on both land and water in Scotland in the mid 1800s, most are no longer used for this function. Similarly to the Beagle, Golden Retrievers excel when it comes to being functional members of society and make wonderful therapy dogs, as well as efficient sniffer dogs.


Beago Large Photo
Travis Weins /

As the Golden Retriever and the Beagle are two very different dogs when it comes to their looks, the Beago has turned out to have quite an unusual appearance, which can vary significantly from dog to dog. In general, they are quite a bit smaller than a Golden Retriever, reaching heights of 43cm to 50cm and weights of 16kg to 25kg.

They have the flat skull, pronounced eyebrows and large, pendulous ears that we typically associate with hounds, such as the Beagle, though their muzzle is longer and more pronounced like that of the Golden Retriever. Their almond-shaped eyes are brown or hazel and they have a curious and intelligent expression. Their body is sturdy and compact, certainly not elegant or slim-line!

The medium length coat of the Beago is somewhat dense and tends to be straight, though may have a slight wave to it. While many will inherit the golden fur of their Golden Retriever parent, it is not unusual for a dog to have markings that are most commonly white or black.

Character & Temperament

Perhaps the best feature of any Beago dog is their delightful temperament. Here is a dog that was made to live alongside man and to integrate well into any family. A relaxed dog that seems to take everything in its stride, there is little that will faze a Beago. These affectionate characters are just as keen to show warmth to others as they are to be fawned over themselves. Generous and patient, they make the perfect breed choice for those with young children.

While it is true that both parent breeds were designed to hunt, the Beago is surprisingly accepting of other pets and will typically get along well with any pet that they have been raised alongside. Despite this, it is still sensible to monitor them closely when around smaller animals, in case their prey drive decides to make an unexpected appearance!

These dogs love to spend time outside and are real water babies who rarely pass up the chance to go for a swim. Indeed, they enjoy keeping themselves active and it is possible for them to become destructive within the home or garden if they are left to their own devices for too long with little interaction.


Photo of Beago puppy
Travis Weins /

A real advantage of training a Beago is that you can guarantee that they will work as hard as they can to please their master. With an average intelligence and a keen desire to please, they can be trained to a good standard. Rarely stubborn and always up for a challenge, owners should introduce them to various disciplines to see which they take to the best.

Incredibly food-driven, owners should use this trait to their advantage and be sure to reward good and consistent behaviour with tasty treats in order to reinforce it. A hungry Beago will soon pick up on what they need to be doing to earn their yummy incentives!


Most veterinarians will agree that mixing Pedigree dogs is one of the best ways to reduce genetic, breed-specific disease within a population. While this is broadly true, it does not make hybrids, such as the Beago, immune to developing inherited conditions and there are a number of disorders which owners and breeders should monitor for.


Anecdotally, it would seem that the Beago is prone to developing allergies, which may manifest as skin disease, gastrointestinal upset or both. For some, they will be allergic to things in their environment, such as pollen or moulds, while others may react to food. A proportion of unfortunate dogs will have both food and environmental allergies and can be slightly more difficult to manage.

Though food allergies can be well-controlled with prescription diets, it can be trickier to get on top of environmental allergies. Avoidance of an allergen is not always possible and some dogs will benefit from a series of immunotherapy injections to build up their natural resistance.

Hip Dysplasia

As hip dysplasia is easily diagnosed on X-rays, there is now no excuse to be breeding animals who have hip dysplasia. Those that do inherit it will suffer from chronic hip pain and mobility issues. Though this condition can be managed with lifestyle modifications and medication, it will often reduce a dog’s quality of life, particularly as they get older.


It is likely that the Beago has more genes than the average canine which predispose it to being food-driven and ultimately obese. Obesity leads to a plethora of issues, including canine diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Thankfully, by following a calorie-controlled diet and an exercise programme, owners can both prevent and reverse obesity in any dog.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A breed that benefits from a good hour of exercise each day, owners need to be committed to providing their Beago with interesting and varied outlets for their abundant energy. These dogs love to swim, jog and run and relish any opportunity to go scent trailing. If possible, they should also have access to a large and fenced-in garden where they can run about and play games with the children.


The coat of the Beago is quite low maintenance and should be brushed through twice weekly to prevent tangles from forming and remove any brambles or twigs that may have gotten caught up in it. They do require regular ear cleans and neglecting to do so may result in chronic ear infections. This is especially true for those ‘water babies’ who should really have their ear canals dried out after each swim.

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