Beagles – Born to hunt hares and rabbits.

In the latest episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 23, I introduced a new segment, that will help you know what jobs certain breeds were designed to do. Every breed was developed to do a job – even if the job was to sit on a person’s lap and look cute. Of course, a great majority of the  dogs were bred to help humans, by hunting, retrieving, or herding, etc.  These behaviors are instinctual for a dog. They can’t be trained away –  yet you can manage some,  and provide outlets for your dog “to do their thing” in a positive way.

The point is, if you know what your dog was bred to do, the job it was born to perform, it will,  first, explain a lot of their behaviors to you, very valuable when you’re getting frustrated, cursing and scratching your head, wondering, “why does my dog keep doing that” and second, you’ll be able to figure out how to provide constructive outlets for your dog’s built in strengths.  Knowing this kind of information is also super helpful when considering getting a particular dog.

I’ll be highlighting different breeds in the podcast episodes – telling you their story – what they were originally bred to do, describe some of their characteristics and the common behaviors you’ll see while living with this type of dog.

The latest show, (episode 23) is about the Beagle.



Beagles also use their excellent hunting skills to hunt for food of a different sort, at airports. Have you ever heard of the Beagle Brigade?

The Beagle Brigade, sniffs out restricted meats, fruits and vegetables that are brought into the country by travelers.  Most people innocently, want to bring home in their luggage, some of the foods they enjoyed while traveling and visiting other places, yet don’t realize that certain foods can hold harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases that can be introduced into our country’s agriculture and then those insects and germs can wreck havoc in our food supply. This is why these foods are restricted. 

Out of all the breeds, beagles have one of the best developed senses of smell of any dogBecause of this, as well as having a good temperament, a non-threatening size, a high food drive, and gentle disposition with the public, beagles and beagle mixes are the preferred breed of dog to do the job at airports, land borders and ports in the United States as well as in a number of other countries around the world. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and the People’s Republic of China, also employ beagles to keep their country’s agriculture safe.


A Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist with a member of the “Beagle Brigade” sniffs out possible agricultural contraband.


Here’s a video about the Beagle Brigade.

The United States, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS)  airport inspection program was begun in 1984 at Los Angeles International Airport.  The canine members of the Beagle Brigade have either been donated by private owners and breeders, or rescued from animal shelters and all receive training.  The dogs are evaluated for appropriateness, such as friendliness and intelligence. The beagles coming from the shelters that are not selected for the program are then placed in adoptive homes and none are returned to animal shelters.

Before the selected beagles can start their specialized work, they have to be trained at the USDA National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia.  All Customs Border Patrol (CBP) agriculture canine officers and their canine partners complete the initial 10-13 week CBP Agriculture Specialist Canine Training at the training center.  Depending on where the teams are going to be working, the dogs are trained to give either a passive/sitting response or an active response by pawing to indicate the presence of an agricultural product.  Regardless of the behavioral response, food (dog treats) and  positive praise from their  handler is the reward that increases their proficiency.

A beagle’s career with the Beagle Brigade usually lasts between six and ten years. When they retire, they are usually adopted by their handlers (handlers and dogs are paired throughout the beagle’s career). Otherwise, they are placed in adoptive homes.

In Episode 23, I also talked about how a dog’s remarkable sense of smell can make a huge difference in diagnosing disease.

Currently there are two programs going on, one in the U.K. and the other in the U.S. to train dogs to sniff out Parkinson’s disease. This is an illness that is very hard to diagnose early on. If dogs can detect it before doctors can, the health benefits would be tremendous.

Watch this video entitled, Dogs Train to Sniff Out Parkinson’s Disease.

Here are more of the Parkinson Alert Dogs in training, alerting the human, when they find the container that holds the sample with the odor of the disease.

Show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast, Episode 23.

Title: Leash Techniques to Stop Your Lunging, Barking dog & Canines Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease. 

Show description: 

You may be inadvertently causing your dog to react aggressively towards other dogs by how you are handling the leash. In this episode find out why this happens and how to easily correct it.

Knowing the job a particular dog was bred to do, not only explains some of the behaviors, but offers you the key to providing positive outlets for your dog’s instinctive behaviors. Also good information to have when choosing to live with a certain breed.  In this episode, I’ll feature one of the most popular breeds in America, the Beagle and you’ll hear about the special role some of them have, working at airports as part of the Beagle Brigade. 

The world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy.
Editorial credit: catwalker /

Currently, there is no definitive medical screening test for Parkinson’s disease that offers an early diagnosis. Canines, may be the answer for detecting it years before symptoms develop. Hear about the projects that are training dogs to sniff out the disease.

 Resources for the episode: 

Medical Detection Dogs Project Website.

Parkinson’s Canine Detection Project Facebook page.

An article about Joy Milne, the woman who could smell Parkinson’s.

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