Beagle Health Information

Beagles are generally a healthy breed of dog who are medium sized and don’t have any exaggerations.  With their short coat and merry disposition they are popular as family pets.  They were originally bred for hunting and will follow their noses to find food and anything else that smells exciting so they often eat inappropriate things!

We have a website which discusses some of the Beagle specific and more general things related to the breed.  This can be found at  Anyone doing a search on the Internet will bring up a list of diseases, which are supposed to be associated with Beagles.  The breed is unique in that they are sadly used for research and scientists have published all sorts of obscure things occurring in the lab population which are genetically very different breeds.  With the advent of DNA technology we can now test for some of the conditions, which may crop up occasionally in pet and show Beagles and avoid producing them.

In the UK the responsible breeders are testing their breeding Beagles for Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (known as MLS), which is a genetic disease that results in physical deformity and many health problems for any Beagle which is affected. Carriers are unaffected.  The Kennel Club (KC) records the results of DNA testing for this disease.  There are now many dogs who are hereditarily clear as both parents are clear.

The Animal Health Trust has released a DNA test for Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration (NCCD), which is a recessive gene.  Affected Beagles have a problem with coordination and cannot control their hind legs.  This shows up at a very early age. Again, as with MLS, carriers are healthy and affected puppies carry two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent. MLS and NCCD testing are a requirement for the KC Assured Breeder Scheme.

The other DNA tests that some people are looking at involves a blood-clotting factor known as Factor VII Deficiency and Imerslund-Grasbeck Syndrome which affects the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 from the diet. Both these are present in other breeds and for Beagles are now recognized and recorded by the UK Kennel Club.  We know that FVII deficiency can slow down clotting and although it is not one of the fatal clotting factors monitoring in the population is wise.  IGS can be treated by injections to affected dogs and although the incidence is low in the UK it is quite widely found in some Beagle populations abroad so again we need to be aware of it.

Other diseases under investigation include epilepsy, which has been present in low numbers of dogs for a long time and Steroid Responsive Meningitis (SRM also known as Stiff Beagle Disease and Beagle Pain Syndrome).  Both of these affect other breeds of dogs and the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket is investigating them to see if there is a genetic link or if we can determine what makes some dogs show problems and other relatives have none at all.

In the UK the Breed Clubs have a Health Coordinator who can be contacted at or via the website

October 2015

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