Welcome to our comprehensive guide to Beagle colors.
The first Beagle coat colors that spring to mind for many of us are the classic black, tan and white.
This characterful breed actually comes in a huge range of colors. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at those Beagle color variations.
We’ll also explore the genetics of these coat colors, and whether different colors can affect the health and temperament of Beagles.
To read more about the Beagle breed, please head on over to our full breed review.
History and Origins of the Beagle
Beagles were first bred as foot hounds in England, and used as a pack to hunt rabbits and hares.
It’s thought that their use stretches as far back as 55 B.C.
Beagles were imported to the U.S. shortly after the Civil War.
The first Beagle, a male named “Blunder,” was registered by AKC in 1885.
The National Beagle Club formed in 1888.
Beagle Fur Colors
But Beagles can be found in a huge variety of coat colors and markings besides the previously mentioned “classic” colors.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the colors approved by the breed standard as:
- Black and tan
- Red, white and black
- Bluetick, tan and black
- Black, tan and white
- White, tan and black
- Blue, tan and white
- Brown and white
- Tan, white and brown
- Lemon and white
- Red and white
- Tan and white
In addition to these standard mixed colors, Beagle color variations can also include blue, black, tan, white, red, lemon, red and brown.
The full list of approved colors can be found here.
In addition to the approved colors, Beagles are found with a variety of markings.
These include Beagles who are ticked; spotted; or marked with black, brown, tan or white.
Ticking refers to the “freckles” seen running through parts of some Beagles’ coats.
Color ranges include Beagle colors white & tan, Beagle colors brown & white, and even Beagle colors orange & white.
The combinations for this breed are almost endless.
You can find a Beagle color chart here.
Bear in mind that whatever the Beagle colors, they should have white on the tips of their tails.
The reason for this is historical. A white-tipped tail, also known as a “flag,” is easy to spot in tall grass and vegetation.
Some Beagles will have a significant amount of white on their tails; others may only have a few white hairs.
Rare Beagle Colors
While some approved coat colors are less likely to be seen than others, be cautious of any breeders who advertise Beagle colors and markings as “rare.”
You may see puppies advertised as “Beagle colors chocolate tri,” or perhaps even lilac, mocha, silver khaki or lavender.
You may be expected to pay a premium for these “rare” colors.
Before you do so, bear in mind that none of these colors are approved by the AKC for pedigree Beagles.
They will be a standard color. For example, chocolate would be officially classified as brown, fawn or tan.
Likewise, lilac or lavender may be a blue coat.
Another possibility is that the puppies being advertised have been crossed with another breed to produce a different coat color.
Some more unusual color combinations, which are approved, include Blue Tick Beagles, a color combination which is popular due to the attractive freckled markings.
The same is true for the Beagle colors lemon & white.
This is an example of a Beagle color change.
Puppies with this delicate color combination appear white when born, with their lemon markings only visible as they mature.
Beagle pups that appear to have lemon and white coloring will mature to have the Beagle colors red & white.
The Genetics of Beagle Colors
As with many pedigree breeds, the Beagle has been the subject of inbreeding, which results in the loss of genetic diversity within any particular breed.
In the case of the Beagle, this was found to be highest during the 1980s and 1990s in the U.K.
From 2000 onward, the rate of inbreeding has decreased.
This is probably due to the use of imported Beagles. Prior to this, there were a few very popular Beagle sires, which were used extensively.
The genetics of any coat color are complex, depending on the combination of genes the parent Beagles pass onto their puppies.
Puppies receive one set of genes from each parent. These genes can be dominant or recessive.
In Beagles, the genes for tri color are dominant, meaning this combination (in a range of colors) is more common than any other.
To read more about Beagle genetics, this site provides a comprehensive explanation of all the known genes at play.
Beagles are a fairly healthy breed. But there are a few health conditions that you should be aware of when deciding if this is the right breed for you.
The National Breed Club recommends the following tests:
- Hip dysplasia evaluation
- Eye certification
- DNA test for Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS)
- Health screening for autoimmune thyroid disease, or cardiac screening
Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS) can cause joint contractures, and stiff skin, which can sometimes lead to epilepsy, or issues walking.
You should ask to see the DNA results for both parent dogs to ensure they are clear of this syndrome.
Beagles can suffer from steroid responsive meningitis, which is caused by an immune response.
An inherited blood clotting issue can also affect Beagles, due to a Factor VII deficiency. This can impact their recovery from surgery.
Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration (NCCD) affects a number of breeds, including the Beagle.
Luckily, none of these conditions are linked to color, so you can choose your favorite Beagle coat at liberty!
Do You Have a Favorite Beagle Color?
The classic image of a Beagle is a smart little dog with a dapper black, white and tan coat.
But as we’ve seen, other more unusual colors are available. And as Beagles move further away from their working roots and into our homes as household pets, those rare colors are becoming more popular.
Have you met or owned a rare-colored Beagle?
Tell us which Beagle colors most appeal to you in the comments section!
References and Further Reading
Bader, H., et al., 2010, “An ADAMTSL2 Founder Mutation Causes Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, a Heritable Disorder of Beagle Dogs, Featuring Stiff Skin and Joint Contractures,” PLOS One
Callan, M.B., et al., 2006, “A Novel Missense Mutation Responsible for Factor Vii Deficiency in Research Beagle Colonies,” Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Vol. 4, Issue 12, pgs. 2616-2622
“Coat Color Inheritance in Beagles,” Geocities
Forman, O., et al., 2012, “Genome-Wide Mrna Sequencing of a Single Canine Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration Case Leads to the Identification of a Disease Associated sptbn2 Mutation,” BMC Genetics, Vol. 13, Issue 55
Hitchcock, K., 2018, “25 Fascinating Lemon Beagle Facts,” The Happy Puppy Site
Tipold, A. and Jaggy, A., 1994, “Steroid Responsive Meningitis‐Arteritis in Dogs: Long‐Term Study of 32 Cases,” Journal of Small Animal Practice
“Top Twenty Breeds in Registration Order for the Years 2016 and 2017,” The Kennel Club