Friday, February 20, 2015

Want a show beagle like Miss P? 5 things to know

ZOMG Miss P, Miss P!

Courtesy Westminster Dog Show
Westminster's 2015 Best in Show is gorgeous and she knows she is the best!

Are you in love? Are you ready to run out and get a Miss P of your very own to show in the ring.

Well guess what?

You probably won't find a Miss P in a puppy store. And she probably won't be online either.

Here are the five things you need to know about getting a beagle like Miss P.

1) Not every beagle is a show beagle.

Miss P photo courtesy Westminster Dog Show
Look at Miss P and look at my Lulu. They are both adorable. But only one is a show dog. And that's ok. Most beagles aren't.

There are show beagles -- they conform to a rigid standard and are bred for show. And then there are field beagles -- beagles bred for hunting and tracking. They have their own standard, but they won't look like show beagles.

Check out the standards information from the National Beagle Club.

There are lots of beagles that don't conform to either standard.

Lokavi Beagle show beagle puppies.
2) A beagle like Miss P takes research.
I have personal experience with pet store puppies. My parents bought a Lhasa Apso when I was a kid. He cost at hundreds of dollars, had papers and everything. Mom thought she would breed him. She didn't, know why? He was a miserable, spiteful son of a bitch who had every allergy known the man. At least a year after we had him he started losing his fur. A Lhasa without fur is not cute. He didn't have the health nor the temperament to be anything.

We learned after that the pet store got puppy mill dogs.

Puppy mills are notorious for churning out hundreds, if not thousands of dogs. The dogs who do the breeding live their lives in cages, are poorly cared for, poorly fed, are not necessarily bred with good genetic stock and in-breeding can also be a problem. And you may hundreds of dollars, if not more for that dog.

Getting a dog from a breeder may not protect you from these problems either. Not every breeder is reputable. And if you are buying a dog, sight unseen, online, you don't know what you will get? Would you buy a car that way? Think of a dog as you would a car. They may cost as much in upkeep.

Lori Norman is an AKC reputable breeder. She owns Lokavi Beagles in South Florida. She doesn't breed out her female dogs. They have maybe two litters and are then spayed. Norman once told me that when you adopt a beagle from a reputable breeder, you adopt the breeder as well. A good breeder will be part of you life.
"Reputable breeders will use their normal screening processes to be sure their pups end up in a good, prepared, and responsible home," Norman said.

And outside of that, beagles aren't always the easiest dogs to live with. If you've never had a beagle before, watch this:

3) A beagle like Miss P costs money.
If someone tells you that they have AKC show quality beagles with papers for next to nothing -- question. Question the bloodlines, question the dog's care, see everything.

Lori Norman's beagles are from grand champion stock. Her beagles are not going to cost less than a thousand dollars.

Beagles at an AKC dog show.
Likewise, Miss P, being from the same genetic stock as Uno, the first beagle to win Westminster in 2008, was not cheap for her owners to buy. And when she has puppies, you can bet those puppies won't sell for less than a few thousand dollars.

The only reason to buy a show beagle puppy is really to raise it to show, unless you have tons of money lying around to blow on a beagle.

4) Showing a beagle is not cheap.
If you look at the info for Miss P, you'll see she has three owners. None of them are the man who actually handled the beagle in the ring.

Many show beagles are owned by a group of people. That's because it is so expensive to show a beagle. You have to travel all over to events to show the beagle so they can collect enough points to get to these bigger shows. They need to be groomed (even beagles!), they need show training. There's room and board too. And food. And show fees.

5) There are lots of beagles out there who are inexpensive, feisty and loveable.
The good news is if you think, after seeing points 2, 3 and 4 that buying a beagle is not for you, you can still get a beagle.

Rescue one!

There are beautiful beagles who need rescuing all over the country. They fill up shelters and dog rescues. Some are discarded hunters. Some are discarded bred-out dogs from backyard breeders or puppy mills. Some are former research lab beagles. And some are just beagles who were unlucky in finding their forever home.

Here's some great beagle rescues in the US where you can start to find the right beagle for you.
And don't forget and Adopt A to find beagles in shelters and rescues all over the country.


  1. Great Post! If those who want a show beagle listened to the announcer , they said to have a dog in the Westminster the owners pay anywhere from 50,000- 100,000 DOLLARS to put their dogs in shows to get enough points to get in the Westminster. Yearly it is probably going to cost you six figures between handling fees, boarding for the handler, grooming, travel, show entries and advertising.”

    1. Which is why some dogs are handled in groups. A lot of people don't even do Westminster.

  2. Just to be clear: For the average champion show dog it certainly does not cost nearly that much to show your own champion at Westminster. It DOES cost that much to send a dog out on the show circuit for a year with a top professional handler including all expenses, advertising, grooming, etc., but the average dog show person can show at Westminster for a fraction of that cost. I know, I have shown there myself three times so far. It's about a $1000.00 weekend with hotel and restaurant fees and all..entry fee was $100.00 this year...and it costs $500-$1000.00 to turn the average good purebred into a champion. So you CAN show at just won't go Best In Show at Westminster ;)

    1. Thanks for the clarification! How many points do you need to qualify for Westminster?

    2. Most dogs who enter Westminster are already Champions. That means they have earned 15 points and 2 Major wins. Sounds easy? It is not and some dogs never reach that or finish. You can enter a class dog meaning one that does not have it's Championship yet but it needs to have at least one Major win. Most do not do this. They wait until their dog is more mature. Anyone who is interested in showing a dog needs to do their research and find a reputable show breeder. Not every dog will be able to or want to do it. You need to find a dog that conforms to the standard closely for that breed . It takes time, training and expense to show a dog.

  3. I love my rescue beagles! Love, love, love. While I was excited that Miss P won, I am smart enough to know that she in fact is a show dog. Regular ole beagles are fantastic and perfect in every way IMO. Have had two and neither bark or tear things up. Eating and sniffing is their entertainment. So many beagles need rescued! Hope Miss P will encourage some people to do just that!

  4. I love this article! I wasn't aware until recently, how many hunters dump their dogs each year. I hope anyone considering a beagle will check into a rescue rather than purchasing one sourced from a puppy mill.

  5. Great article and advice! You brought some really important topics to light that a lot of people should be aware of. Especially the part about puppy mills. I wish pet stores would stop buying from them as it keeps puppy mills in business. Those poor doggies!

    Rescuing is definitely a great option. Thanks for sharing!


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