1. What are a beagle’s best characteristics?
Beagles make wonderful family pets, generally getting along with other dogs and people of all sizes. They are a hardy breed with few health issues and a relatively long life span (12-15 years). Most beagles are happy, active and playful. They’re sweet, cuddly, merry hounds who are just as happy to take a walk with you, chase squirrels through their yard, curl up on the sofa to watch TV, or fall asleep in the warm sunshine.
2. No breed is perfect. What are some drawbacks to owning a beagle?
Depending on the dog, they can be very vocal as they have been bred for hundreds of years to hunt and sound off when they find their quarry. As scent hounds, they’re also slaves to their noses and can never be trusted off-leash. Beagle owners must have secure fencing and take care when opening doors and gates. Some beagles like to dig. They are smart for what they were bred to do (track by scent) but not necessarily as trainable as other breeds. Some (especially the females) may be difficult to housetrain. Because they’re pack dogs, they do best with another dog around.
3. What do you think of electric/underground/invisible fencing for beagles?
We do not recommend this type of fencing for a number of reasons. Being scent hounds, beagles are slaves to their noses, and some beagles would “take a hit” or electric shock to chase a rabbit running through their yard. Electric fences are not reliable for containing beagles. Secondly, an underground or invisible fence makes a dog easy prey for anyone wanting to steal him, and beagles are very popular in research labs. Lastly, and probably most importantly, invisible fencing may keep your dog IN, but it won’t keep other dogs OUT of your yard. This can result in tragedy.
4. What’s the difference between “pet” and “show” quality puppies? If I buy a “pet,” does that mean my beagle won’t be as pretty as the others?
There is VERY little difference between pet and show puppies. Some of these differences are specific to dog show requirements and would not be noticeable to anyone outside of the dog show world. For example, a puppy may have a softer personality that would make it less suited for the demands of dog shows. A male puppy may not have both testicles descended. Or a puppy may have a lighter eye than the breeder is seeking. Then too, a puppy may have all the requirements to be a champion show dog, but a wonderful pet home came along and the breeder decided it was more important to give her a good home where she’d be loved and spoiled.
5. How much do your puppies cost?
Ironwood puppies are $1,500 in keeping with the average rate for purebred beagle puppies in the Midwest. There is no difference in cost whether male or female.
6. Why are your puppies so expensive? I see beagles advertised for sale for half the price!
The honest answer is: because our puppies are worth it. We breed from champion parents who have been selected at AKC dog shows as being good representatives of the American Kennel Club breed standard. The parents are screened for genetic health issues. If we don’t own the sire, often the dam must be flown to the stud dog for the breeding, and a stud fee (usually the price of one puppy) paid. The dam has excellent prenatal care and sometimes requires a Cesarean section to deliver her pups. Sometimes, after all that, we may end up with a litter of just one or two puppies. The pups have two sets of shots, dewclaws removed, worming, socialization, and top notch care for the 8-10 weeks they are at our kennel. Much more expense goes into breeding a litter than is ever gained from sale of the puppies. So why do we do it? Because we love the breed and enjoy trying to improve on our dogs, using the AKC standard as our guide. This takes years of hard work and dedication. However, we realize that not everyone needs or wants to spend that amount of money on a puppy. We’re always willing to suggest lower-cost alternatives, such as rescues.
7. Do you ship puppies?
We prefer not to ship puppies by air. If a puppy buyer lives out of state, we try to arrange ground transportation with other dog breeders or handlers going in that direction. We expect the buyer to try to meet the puppy part-way. Buyers are always welcome to make the trip to Indiana to pick up their puppy in person (and this is our preference). The latter also allows buyers to meet the dam, see littermates and see some of our other dogs.
8. Do you take deposits on your puppies?
At Ironwood, we want our puppy buyers to be absolutely sure they want their new puppy and never feel stuck because of a non-refundable deposit. We would rather have someone change their mind at the very last minute than take a puppy they don’t want one-hundred percent. Because of this, we prefer to NOT take deposits. Occasionally, however, a litter is in such demand that there comes a time when we need to sort out the truly serious buyers by asking for a small deposit, which is then deducted from the final purchase price. Puppies are always reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, provided the home has passed our initial screening.
9. I’d like to be considered for an available puppy. How do I get started?
Contact us for our puppy buyer questionnaire and information about puppies currently available or upcoming litters. We don’t breed very often, so you may have to wait for your puppy. But he or she will be worth the wait!