Border Beagle

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Border Beagle
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A medium-sized, well-proportioned dog with floppy ears and expressive eyes, the Border Beagle is a real pleasure to look at. Considering that this designer dog is a mixture of the ever-popular Beagle and Border Collie, it is not surprising that this new breed is starting to take off around the world.

Most appreciated for their loving personalities, this dog is fawningly affectionate and dedicated to its owners. They love to feel like they are an integral part of the family and hate to be left out of anything. With seemingly endless energy, the Border Beagle will always be up for a walk in the park or a game in the garden and is certainly not a dog that would be happy to sit around all day doing nothing.

About & History

The Border Beagle is a ‘designer dog’ that comes from mixing the high-energy Border Collie and the sweet-natured Beagle. Though one of the lesser known hybrid dogs, the Border Beagle is much-loved for its playful and mischievous personality.

While the Border Beagle was likely developed in the USA around 20 to 30 years ago, little else is known about its history. However, we know far more about its parents. The Beagle is a scent hound that is thought to have evolved from ancient Greek dogs and was first established as a distinct breed in England in the 1800s. Historically used as hunting companions and sniffing dogs, the Beagle is also widely kept as a family pet today. The Border Collie shares a similar history with the Beagle, originating in England and Scotland in the 19th century. Traditionally known to be excellent sheepdogs, many still carry out this duty on farms today. There is also an emerging trend of Border Collies being used to compete in activities, such as Flyball and Agility at a high level, where they often excel.


The overall appearance of the Border Beagle is variable and, as with other designer dogs, can be tricky to predict. Often the result is a handsome dog with a medium-sized body, distinctive markings and a tail that curls at the tip and may or may not be feathered. Their ears are medium in length and pendulous while their brown eyes are keen and alert. The body of the Border Beagle is robust and well-muscled while its limbs are quite long.

The coat of the Border Beagle is medium in length, straight and of a moderate density. Fur colour may be white, brown or black and many dogs are all three. Once fully grown, adult dogs will measure from 38cm to 58cm and will weigh around 9kg to 18kg.

Character & Temperament

The most endearing trait of the Border Beagle is the love it openly shows to his or her family. This dog thrives when around its family and just wants to love and be loved back. Very affectionate (sometimes overly so!), the Border Beagle will not hold back in letting you know just how much you mean to them.

High energy and full of life, this breed is not for the faint-hearted and will inevitably be a big commitment that demands a lot of attention. While generally sweet-natured with all those around them, some Border Beagles will be wary of strangers so should be socialised well from a young age to increase their tolerance. They get on well with young children, though their rambunctious nature means that they will need to be constantly supervised when in their company.

Most Border Beagles are territorial and will make good guard dogs that will immediately alert you of any new arrivals to the home. They do not tend to be aggressive enough to function as guard dogs.


Beagles are notoriously stubborn and strong-willed, while Border Collies can be so intelligent that they know what you want them to do but don’t find the activity challenging enough to hold their attention. While your Border Beagle may inherit any mixture of these traits, most will be keen to learn and open to new challenges.

With patience and the correct training tools, it should be possible to train a Border Beagle to a very high standard and there is no reason why they shouldn’t excel in a number of dog activities like their Border Collie parents.

The fantastic sense of smell that this breed may inherit from their Beagle half may be a blessing or a curse. It will certainly work to their advantage in scenting tasks and on hunts, though may pose a distraction from other activities that don’t require scenting, such as agility and obedience.


Keeping in mind that the Border Beagle is a relatively new mixed breed that has not had any health studies performed on it, it is a challenge predicting what conditions we need to monitor for. However, analysing the health of each of their parents can help to point us in the right direction. It would be prudent to monitor the population for the following conditions:

Hip Dysplasia

One of the more prevalent conditions in the canine world, hip dysplasia can be a life-limiting disease that dramatically reduces a dog’s quality of life. Affected animals may start to show signs from 6 months of age, though these signs can be subtle and owners may not pick up on them for some time. A reduced willingness to exercise or an altered gait can be some of the early signs. Later in the course of the disease, dogs will begin to develop arthritis in their hip joints and will become progressively more lame and uncomfortable. A vet may be suspicious of the condition after carrying out an orthopaedic exam and will often follow-up by performing X-rays of the hips, spine and hind limbs.

Many diagnosed cages are managed with a multi-modal approach that may include weight loss, an exercise programme, hydrotherapy, joint supplements and anti-inflammatory medication. In severely affected animals, a total hip replacement may be offered. As this disease is known to be inherited it would be irresponsible to breed from an affected dog and it is recommended that these dogs are sterilised to prevent accidental matings.


Canine epilepsy is similar to human epilepsy in that it results in seizures caused by an increased brain activity. As seizures can have other causes, such as toxin ingestion, brain tumours or metabolic disturbances, often several tests are carried out before determining that a dog has epilepsy. Dogs are affected to varying degrees, with some only having short seizures every few years and others having seizures far more frequently.

As the anti-seizure medication can have side effects, if a dog’s seizures are extremely mild, they may be left untreated. However, the majority of dogs will be put on to lifelong medication. Some owners make the mistake of thinking that a medicated dog who has not had a seizure for several years can come off the medicine, but this is false and stopping the medicine will likely result in seizure activity. In recent years, there have been several new epilepsy medications put on the market, making the management of canine epilepsy more successful than ever.


A reduction in the amount of Thyroid hormone circulating in the dog’s body can result in a number of signs, including lethargy, weight gain and chronic skin infections. Simple blood tests, accompanied by the clinician’s suspicion, are often enough to make a diagnosis and affected dogs will be started on medication. This medication normally consists of daily tablets that are given for life and generally manage the condition very well.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Do not underestimate the exercise demands of this energetic cross breed! The Border Beagle should be homed with an active family as it requires at least 60 solid minutes of exercise every day. Long hikes are ideal, as well as time spent off lead in back gardens and playing games, such as fetch and chase.

This breed is not suited to a small apartment with no outdoor access as they will likely become frustrated. They enjoy having plenty of space and fresh air. Confining a Border Beagle to a small home without a yard may result in negative behaviours that are difficult to train out of them.


Though some breed members have very short fur, others may have a coat that is longer and silkier. Your dog’s grooming requirements will depend on their fur length and type once they have matured. Most dogs will need to be brushed daily or every other day to maintain a shiny, tangle-free coat.

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