There are more types of mixed breed dogs in the world than you can possibly imagine. There are great mixes, cute mixes, smart mixes, unbelievable mixes, and there are beautiful mixes.
The German Shepherd Beagle mix might be a bit of several of these categories. You take the hound nose and mix it with the herding and guarding instincts of the GSD and you’ve got quite an interesting mix, not to mention that difference in size and appearance between the two breeds couldn’t be more black and white – a complete stark contrast to each other.
Their coats are different as well and we’ll go over all of the points of each breed separately so that you’ll have a firm grasp on the possible hereditary things you’ll potentially see in your pup. Once you’ve got a good idea of what is a Beagle trait or a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) trait, then you’ll understand where your puppy is coming from and why he or she may do the things that they do.
Knowing the source is the best way to have an idea of how to be prepared for anything that could come up, from herding and nipping behaviors to taking off after rabbits.
You will be totally prepared if you know all about mom and dad. A mix of the two breeds will also have some unique characteristics all their own and we’ll fill you in on all of those details as well. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s a great mix.
First Up: The German Shepherd Dog
Considered to be the most recognizable breed in the world, the GSD is a noble-looking animal with an outstanding work ethic. His size and his temperament have led him to be one of the most prized working breeds in the entire world.
The GSD has found a home as a seeing-eye dog for the blind and visually impaired, a service dog, emotional support dog, drug scent detection, bomb detection, arson detection, tracking dog, a cadaver dog, search and rescue dog, guard dog, war dog, police dog, and more.
The GSD is a very intelligent dog and often selected for police and service work due to their cognitive abilities. They can think and reason better than many other breeds. The GSD is capable of making decisions based on his training and thinking things through to the possible outcomes.
Duke University has done a great deal of research on dog emotions and cognitive function. They are proving that dogs are far more capable than we had ever thought before of reasoning skills. The German Shepherd leads the pack, along with other breeds such as the Border Collie.
German Shepherds have been used as war dogs for generations and were possibly most prominently seen as such during the Vietnam War. Sadly, when we brought our troops home, many of these dogs were left behind after having fought valiantly alongside our soldiers and helping to detect bombs and saving many lives.
Laws have been changed since those times and we no longer leave our war dogs behind.
History of the Breed
The German Shepherd, as the name implies, is a breed that originated in Germany. Many fantastic breeds have come from German origins, including the Dachshund, the Rottweiler, and the Boxer.
The breed can trace its roots back to one dog:
A man named Max Von Stephanitz believed that all dogs should be bred to be working dogs, not necessarily for looks. This put him at odds with others at that time in the mid to late 1800s when dogs were first being bred in a standardized way, to develop specific breeds. Some felt that the dogs should be bred for looks, he felt that they should strictly be bred for working attributes.
In 1899 he was at a dog show when he spotted a dog that caught his eye. He immediately knew that this dog was perfect. He felt that this dog named Hektor Linksrhein, was the perfect working dog because he had the right size, strength, intelligence, and loyalty. Hektor, he was told, was the product of several different selective breedings by the owner at that time.
Von Stephanitz purchased the dog and renamed him to Horand von Grafath and then he went on to found the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde. This translates to Society for the German Shepherd Dog and Horand was named the very first German Shepherd Dog and added to the society’s breed registry.
Horand was successfully bred to many other females who had traits that would further the breed. He fathered many pups but it was his son, Beowulf, who went on to sire 84 puppies that would solidify the breed in looks and size. In those early days, in the original studbooks kept, there were a total of four wolf-crosses.
Beowulf was the product of inbreeding, common to produce specific traits. His offspring were also inbred to solidify the breed and all German Shepherds today can trace their roots back to those offspring of Beowulf.
In WW I, the GSD found work as a war dog for the first time. Soldiers fell in love with the wonderful breed and it was from this popularity that Rin Tin Tin became a popular early television star. Thanks to that television star, all of America became acquainted with the breed and felt highly of them.
The breed has a huge spike in popularity until after the Second World War, when Americans weren’t interested in anything German, including the dog. Gradually, sentiment changed and through some ups and downs, the breed became the third most popular dog in the United States by 1993. As of 2009, the GSD was the second most popular dog in the United States.
Today, with so many other dog breeds and designer dog breeds, they have fallen slightly but still remain in the top 10 most popular dog breeds in America, coming in at number 7 on most lists compiled.
The modern German Shepherd is often criticized for being bred away from Von Stephanitz’s original ideal of the breed. Indeed, if you take a look at photos of Horand and compare them to a modern German Shepherd, there are many differences. Namely, the angle of the hips is changed drastically and the modern GSD doesn’t have a straight line down his back because of this selective breeding.
The modern dog stats:
Height – 22 to 26 inches tall at the withers (shoulders)
Weight – 66-88 pounds for males, 49-71 pounds for females
They have a domed, long forehead with a long mouth and scissor bite. They should always have a black muzzle. Their ears are tall, erect and should stand parallel to each other.
They have a long, thick and bushy tail. Their neck is relatively long. Their coat is very thick and tends to be a double coat, with a short undercoat that is downy and keeps them insulated in cold weather.
The longer hair of the topcoat is their water-shedding hair. The elements, dirt, debris, and mud will remain on the outer hairs and brush out easily, but this breed needs a lot of brushing to keep it clean.
The undercoat only sheds after the weather warms in spring and becomes very thin in warm weather. The outer coat will shed year-round and you should be prepared for this if you are going to have a GSD in your home. They may have a medium or a long coat. The long coat is a recessive gene and not as common.
Coming in only behind Border Collies and Standard Poodles, the German Shepherd has been selectively bred for his intelligence over many generations. This is what has made them such a desirable choice for police work and service duties. He is a big dog, with tremendous athletic ability who also has a brain.
Border Collies and Poodles do not make good police dogs, because they are not built for that type of work, physically. Neither is intimidating either, whereas the GSD is a formidable dog that can cause grown men to wet themselves when a GSD police dog is bearing down on them in pursuit.
The GSD is often trained in Schutzhund, which means protection in German and was developed in Germany. It is a dog sport that is centered around the skills that would make a dog a highly trained protection dog.
It is focused on three areas: tracking, obedience, and protection work. Schutzhund measures their mental stability, physical endurance and ability to climb, run, and follow a scent. It was developed for the German Shepherd Dog exclusively, even though other breeds now compete.
The GSD is a well-rounded animal who should be wary of strangers without being aggressive overtly. He is a wonderful and protective family pet, known to be extremely intelligent.
The Beagle Is A Different Animal
The Beagle is represented by Snoopy, companion of Charlie Brown. Everything about his personality is happy-go-lucky and friendly. He won’t guard your house and while he may bark, it will only be in hopes of having some fun.
He’s energetic and bred for hunting. The beagle was known as the poor man’s hound. Being a smaller dog, a hunter can keep up with him on foot. The nobility had bigger hounds that they could follow behind on horseback. The poorer, working-class could not typically afford a horse so the beagle was his hunting dog of choice.
Te beagle nose is incredible, thanks to the hound in him. He will run for hours when he is chasing game such as rabbits.
He’ll pick up a scent trail and follow it until he flushes game. They are adept at flushing small game such as rabbits but will also chase deer and have found work as scenting hounds at airports, where they can detect contraband in luggage.
Beagles are a favorite dog of children due to their loving personality, therefore used as emotional support dogs, search and rescue dogs, narcotics detection, cancer scenting to help diagnose cancer, and in any way that their noses can be of assistance.
Some beagles will even alert their diabetic owners to drops in or highs in blood sugar without any training at all. Beagles have been taught to be reading assistance dogs to help keep children focused in the classroom as well.
Snoopy captures the spirit of the beagle very well. They love their owners without pause, can bond to many people and are very affectionate animals. They love to be warm and comfortable and can prove to be lazy house pets but will go from zero to a hundred miles per hour when they step into the back yard.
Most beagles don’t have a mean bone in their body and will not guard your home. In fact, they may lick the burglar on the way out the door. With brown eyes that are round and childlike, they are not the least bit intimidating either.
As a watchdog, a beagle can do a decent job because they will bark, however, they might be barking at the sound of the wind in the trees. They have a very different sound when they are on a scent trail, however.
They bray loudly in a ‘ba-roo’ sound that is distinct. Beagles can be very bad barkers so they don’t always make great apartment dogs unless you are willing to work with them a lot and train them to not bark at every little thing.
Beagles are social by nature. They are bred to hunt in packs. Most hunters have multiple beagles that hunt together in a pack. Because of their pack mentality, they typically get along well with all other animals within the home, including cats. Outside, they’ll chase every squirrel that they see. They may sit under the tree and howl as well.
History of the Beagle
The Beagle is believed to trace back to the 5th century in Greece. Small hunting dogs were popular in ancient Athens.
By the 8th century, there as a dog that was referred to as the St Hubert hound which was used to create a new hound that was named the Talbot Hound. This dog had a very deep bark and was mostly white. It was not a great hunting dog though, because it was a slow runner.
In the 11th Century, William the Conqueror brought the Talbot Hound back to England and it is said that they were bred to the Greyhound at this point in time. This was a plan hatched to give the breed more speed.
The breed created from the Greyhound/Talbot Hound cross was eventually named the Southern Hound and that dog is believed to have been the creation of the Beagle in history.
In medieval times, any small hound was referred to as a beagle and there was a breed referred to as the Pocket Beagle, which was a tiny hound that could honestly fit in the pockets of hunters.
This enabled the hunters to have bigger dogs locate and chase the game into the brush and the pocket beagles were then turned loose because they could follow rabbits and small game into briars and bushes that the bigger dogs could not get through. King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I were both avid lovers of this breed. Sadly, the Pocket Beagle became extinct and there is no genetic ancestor alive.
By the 1700s, the Southern Hound and Northern Hound both existed for hunting rabbits. The Southern Hound was taller and weighed more than the Beagles of today but they did lend the modern-day Beagle his soft, velvety ears.
There is not anything written but it seems that from these two aforementioned dogs, a new breed was developed that still wasn’t quite the dog we have today. It was called the Honeywell’s Beagle and it was mostly white. They were also still smaller than today’s Beagles.
There were other variations of the Beagle, even two different types of coats – rough coat and smooth coated. It was not until 1890 that a breed club was developed and a breed standard ensued at that point. There were very few packs of Beagles left and they were determined to take control and make sure that the hound would not become extinct as many of his predecessors had.
General Richard Rowett, from Illinois, imported Beagles to America for the first time and in doing so, his dogs were the ones who set the breed standard. In 1884, the AKC admitted the Beagle into its registry for the very first time. Today, the Beagle is one of the most popular dogs in the world.
Today’s Beagle comes in two varieties, the 13-inch version, and the 15-inch version. This refers to their height at the withers (shoulders). The smaller of the two will be no more than 13-inches tall, while the larger will be between 13 and 15 inches tall.
The Beagle will weigh between 15 and 30 pounds, depending on their height. While they are not a large dog, they’ll be sturdy and should not be ‘fine-boned’ or slight in build. They are rugged and ready to run.
Today’s Beagles are pretty quick on their feet and have incredible stamina. You won’t want a beagle unless you have a way to get them plenty of exercise. His eyes will be brown to hazel in color. Some shades me lean toward amber.
Their fur is a medium length, thick and full. It will not be a double coat. They are typically lemon and white in color, black and white, or tri-colored. They may have many pattern variations in their coat. Some Beagles also have a ticking in their coat, which refers to a speckled pattern of spotting in their white patches.
Beagle Intelligence and Personality
As we said before, Beagles tend to be very happy and enthusiastic dogs. A Beagle puppy can have you laughing all of the time. They are very loving, sweet, and gentle.
While this has made them excellent family pets because they are great with children and accepting of most anything, this has also led them to be used for laboratory experimentation as well, sadly.
One group exists solely to fight this practice and rescue Beagles from labs around the country. They are known as the Beagle Freedom Project.
The Beagle is a very intelligent dog but due to being bred for following their nose, they can prove to be challenging to train. It’s important to start early with them and understand that they are easily distracted by a scent and can become obsessed with following their nose, regardless of what you were in the midst of doing at the time.
Some people think Beagles are stubborn but they are really just very single-minded and they are distracted by their sense of smell at all times. They are cuddlers and are always ready to snooze with you under a blanket, get warm in the winter or snore on the sofa. Despite being very active outdoors, they can be pretty lazy indoors.
Beagles can be a very challenging puppy, prone to some hyperactivity and constantly following their nose into trouble. You cannot find a place to hide food from a beagle. They will find it and they can learn to climb. Many people find their Beagle in a tree, trying to go up after squirrels.
A German Shepherd Beagle Mix
Now that you know a lot about your pup’s parent breeds, you’ll know about some of the behaviors that you might see. There is a very high likelihood that your puppy will have a set of pipes that the neighbors can hear. In other words, he’ll probably howl and bray.
Most Beagle/GSD mixes are the color of the GSD with the features of the Beagle but there is always the possibility that your pup will look differently. Usually, this mix will have the Beagle coat but your dog could potentially have the GSD double-coat.
Given all of the information, you should be able to assume that this dog is going to be active and need a lot of exercise. Don’t plan on a couch potato dog because that isn’t going to happen.
Your dog will most likely have the sweeter disposition of the Beagle and love everyone but he could just as easily be more wary of strangers so don’t skip early socializing and training with your pup. It’s very important to make sure he is exposed to as much as you can introduce him to at a young age.
You’ll find that in most cases, your mix will have the best traits of both breeds and be very hardy and healthy. Having all those extra genes to choose from means that the very strong genes are the ones that are passed along in most cases. For this reason, it is typically the case that mixed breeds are healthier than the pure breeds from which they come from.
Both breeds are loyal and loving with their families so you’ll be sure to have a wonderful addition to your family for many years. Beagles can live as long as 16 years and GSDs have an average age of 12 to 14 years so you will most likely have 12 to 16 years with your new family member, should he steer clear of any unexpected health concerns.
“I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross, and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.”
– Mark Haddon
Featured Image Credit: doggypedia