Beagles were originally bred to be hunting dogs. Their large floppy ears helped make them excellent hunters in a couple of key ways. First, their big ears funneled scents towards their nose, helping amplify smells and make it easier for beagles to follow a scent trail. Their large ears also stirred up ground scents as they ran through grass and underbrush, again making it easier to pick up on faint smells.
In addition, selective breeding over many generations led to beagles developing their signature oversized ears. Hunters selectively bred dogs with the biggest ears because it improved their scenting ability. Over time, this resulted in beagles evolving unusually large ears compared to other dogs. So while most breeds have erect, upright ears, beagle ears are long and drooping in order to catch more scents.
Why Do Beagles Have Long Ears?
A beagle’s huge ears help it smell better. The long, floppy ears actually help funnel scents towards the beagle’s nose. All those scents get trapped in their ears and directed right to their super-powered sniffers.
Beagles were bred to be scent hounds – dogs that track down prey by following a scent trail. Their amazing sense of smell is their specialty. So over time, beagle breeders selected dogs with the biggest, longest ears because they helped improve scenting ability.
The more ear surface area, the more scent particles get trapped inside those big ears. And when a beagle is on the hunt, all that scent gets funneled straight into their nostrils as their long ears drag and flap along the ground. Their long ears also stir up smells as they run through grass and bushes.
So next time you see a beagle with those adorable droopy ears that drag on the ground, just remember – those big ears aren’t just for looks. They help the beagle smell their way along a trail using their powerful nose.
Do Beagles Have Good Hearing?
While beagles are best known for their amazing sense of smell, their hearing abilities are also pretty impressive! Those big floppy ears beagles have don’t just help them pick up scents – they also help funnel sounds towards their ears.
Overall, beagles have excellent hearing compared to other dog breeds. Their long ears can rotate and pivot like little satellite dishes to precisely track where sounds are coming from. And inside those ears, beagles have a huge range of hearing frequencies – some studies suggest up to 45 kHz compared to a human’s puny 20 kHz range.
Beagles can hear high-pitched whistles and other frequencies that humans can’t detect. Their ears amplify quiet sounds far better than ours. Plus, beagles have up to 18 muscles in each ear, allowing them to orient their ears independently. This helps them pinpoint the source of sounds much more accurately.
So while a beagle’s #1 sense is smell, their #2 sense of hearing is also top-notch.
Are Beagles Prone To Ear Problems?
With their long, floppy ears, beagles are more vulnerable to some ear problems compared to dogs with upright ears. Ear issues are one of the common health problems with beagles.
Their ears are more likely to flop over and cover the ear canal, blocking air flow and ventilation. This warm, moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for infection.
Ear infections are common in beagles because their ears don’t “breathe” as well. Bacteria and yeast can multiply inside their ears and cause painful infections. Beagles with hairy inner ears are even more prone to this.
Allergies are another issue, as beagles with allergies tend to get itchy ears. As they scratch, it further irritates the ear and leads to “hot spots.” The constant scratching can even cause blood vessels in the ear flap to break.
Without proper care, beagles’ long ears are also prone to hematomas. This is when the ear flap fills with blood, causing it to thicken and droop. Surgery may be needed to drain the blood and stitch the ear back into proper shape.
To prevent problems, beagles need their ears gently cleaned weekly to remove debris and dead hair. Ear infections should be treated promptly by a vet. So while we love beagles’ adorable floppy ears, they do require some extra TLC!
How To Keep A Beagle’s Ears Clean?
Here is a step-by-step guide for grooming your beagle’s ears:
- Cotton balls or gauze pads
- Ear cleaning solution – get a gentle, non-irritating dog ear wash from your vet
Tips Before Starting:
- Handle your beagle’s ears gently and carefully to avoid hurting them
- Never use cotton swabs inside the ear canal as they can damage the delicate skin
- Make ear cleaning a positive experience by praising your beagle and giving treats
Step By Step Guide To Cleaning A Beagle’s Ears
Step 1: Situate Your Beagle Have your beagle either sit or lay down in front of you. Keep them calm and relaxed. Gently massage their ears to acclimate them to having their ears handled.
Step 2: Inspect the Ear Look inside the ear canal and on the inner flap. Check for any debris, waxy build up, redness or foul odors which could indicate an infection. Contact your vet if you see any signs of irritation or infection.
Step 3: Wet a Cotton Ball
Wet a cotton ball or gauze pad with the ear cleaning solution. The solution should just lightly dampen the cotton, not soak it.
Step 4: Clean the Outer Ear Use the cotton ball to gently wipe away any dirt or wax on the outside of the ear flap and just inside the opening of the canal. Never insert deeper into the canal.
Step 5: Dry the Ear Use a clean, dry cotton ball to gently dry the ear flap and outer canal. Make sure no liquid stays trapped inside.
Step 6: Praise and Reward Immediately praise your beagle and give them a treat for being patient. Repeat the process for the other ear. Offer treats and affection throughout.
Aim to clean your beagle’s ears weekly to keep them happy and infection-free. Contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns.
Summary Of Why Beagles Have A Great Sense Of Smell
Beagles have excellent hearing thanks to their large, floppy ears which funnel sound into the ear canal. Their ears also amplify quiet noises and help them pinpoint sound sources accurately. Additionally, beagles can hear very high frequencies up to 45kHz, far beyond a human’s range of 20kHz. This aids their hunting abilities.