Decoding Body Language – What is Your Beagle Trying to Say?

As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to pay attention to the body language of our soft and adorable beagles. They use their posture to communicate with us, and it’s essential that we interpret their message correctly.

Understanding the language of our beagle dogs requires us to be attentive to their environment and subtle clues. As beloved members of our family, we often spoil them and treat them like our own children, and they learn from our behavior and attitudes.

While we may be able to interpret their barks and vocalizations, it’s equally important to understand their non-verbal language. This silent communication is how they convey their thoughts and feelings.

By paying attention to their body language, we can strengthen the bond we share with our furry friends. This will not only deepen our connection, but also ensure their happiness and well-being.

Individual components and the body as a whole

For example, a wagging tail may indicate happiness or excitement, but a tucked tail may mean fear or anxiety. Similarly, a relaxed and open mouth may indicate contentment, while a tightly closed mouth may suggest stress or discomfort.

It is essential to pay attention to our beagle’s body language to understand what they are trying to tell us. By doing this, we can respond appropriately to their needs and strengthen the bond we share with our furry friend.

Remember, our little beagles may not speak our language, but they communicate with us through their body language. So, let’s pay close attention to their non-verbal cues and respond with love and care!

Expressions of individual components of our Beagle

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Is it a happy puppy face or a sad puppy face?

Our beagles use their faces to communicate with us, just like we do with other humans. However, unlike us, they also use their tail to convey their emotions. It’s essential to understand how each of these components expresses their feelings.

The eyes of a beagle can express sadness, curiosity, excitement, and even fear. When they look at us with soft and relaxed eyes, it indicates that they trust and feel comfortable with us. On the other hand, staring eyes with wide pupils may indicate fear or anxiety.

Beagles also use their ears to express emotions. When their ears are perked up and facing forward, it can indicate excitement or curiosity. Conversely, when their ears are down and flat against their head, it may indicate fear or submission.

A beagle’s mouth can also express different emotions. A relaxed and slightly open mouth can indicate happiness and contentment. While a closed or tightly drawn mouth may indicate anxiety or aggression.

Lastly, the tail of a beagle is a crucial component in expressing emotions. A wagging tail can indicate happiness and excitement, while a tucked tail between their legs can indicate fear or submission.

Understanding these individual components, and how they work together, can help us interpret our beagle’s emotions more accurately. So, that, strengthens the bond between us.

Your beagle’s eyes

Beagles can have their eyes wide open, half closed, looking directly at you or looking away with determination. Their eyes can express an emotion:

Neutral: When they are pleasantly calm, their eyes are usually oval.

Submissive: They will look to one side, or look at you briefly and then look away. This could also mean they are nervous.

Assertive: When they are particularly aware of their surroundings, their eyes will be rounder and show quiet confidence.

Aggressive: It’s important to note that if your beagle is staring at you and holding that gaze, it can often be a sign of a threat. Their eyes may appear wide open and rounded, with more of the sclera (the white part of the eyes) showing. This is especially true for aggressive or possessive beagles, so it’s crucial to be aware of this behavior and take steps to de-escalate the situation before anyone, including your beagle, gets hurt.

Your beagle’s ears

As you may already know, beagles, besides having one of the softest ears in the world, are also quite droopy.

Yes, they are not as expressive as ‘erect ears’ (those that are naturally erect) as some breeds such as the German Shepherd, but they can still show emotion.

Confidence: The more forward and raised your ears are (again, don’t expect your ears to be erect), rather than flat and toward the back of your head, the more confident they are.

Your beagle’s mouth

Believe it or not, your furry friend’s mouth can tell you much more than you can imagine, that’s why you should be attentive to what your beagle wants to say:

Closed or slightly open during warm weather: They are generally in a relaxed and happy state.

Licking the lips, or the face of a person or another dog: Usually a submission game. It may also be indicative of being unsure of themselves.

Yawning: Of course, they may be tired. But it can also be an indicator of calm. They may be frustrated and need a mental break. If you are in the middle of a workout, you may want to vary the intensity or alter the focus.

Submissive smile: If your beagle dog lifts (just) their upper lip to show their teeth, they will have their ears back, head down, trying to look small. Don’t mistake this for a threatening, aggressive smile, as their body language will say the complete opposite.

Aggressive smile: If your beagle lifts their upper lip while pulling their lower lip down (resembling a mouthpiece used to hold the mouth open at the dentist’s office) and stands stiffly while growling or barking, it may be a sign of a potential bite, as this is a threatening gesture. In such situations, it is wise to give them some space and wait until they relax or feel more secure before approaching them.

The tail of your beagle

The sensor of happiness, sadness, anger, distrust and all those emotions is that soft, furry limb; the tail. This is how you should interpret what your beagle is trying to convey:

Neutral: If your beagle’s tail is held naturally, level or lower than their bodies; that equates to them being relaxed and calm.

Happy: If your beagle’s tail is held naturally, level or lower than their body, and wags slowly or enthusiastically, they are excited and happy.

Submissive: If your beagle’s tail is tucked between their legs or very low; they are afraid or nervous.

Aggressive: If their tail is held high in the air, while not wagging at all, or if it wags from side to side slowly and determinedly; they show dominant, aggressive or threatening behavior.

Of course, it is always a good idea to try to get a complete picture. For example, your beagle is a hunting breed by default, so maybe he’s just on the scent of an animal. It is advisable to consider his posture and the situation. That said, don’t always assume that a tail wagging dog is a happy dog.

Deciphering your Beagle’s emotions from body language

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What was that, a rabbit?

Now that we have addressed the individual components, it is time to delve into the body language of a beagle dog, looking at its body as a whole.

As a general rule, your beagle can do 3 different things with his body to show his general emotions:

  1. Remain naturally, in a relaxed and calm state.
  2. Become smaller and less threatening.
  3. Become larger and more threatening.


If your beagle is happy, they will look relaxed and “natural”. They will stay balanced with their weight centered on four legs. Their eyes, ears, mouth, and tail are naturally supported, and if their tail is wagging, it will be at body level or lower. This means he is in complete confidence.


If your beagle is excited, they will look a little less relaxed, more alert and tense; but they are still happy. I love beagles that get so excited that when they wag their tail, their whole hind end wags with their tail as if they are dancing. it’s a beautiful thing!

A beagle will occasionally stare intently at anything that has caught their attention, unless, of course, it is actually within reach. In that case, they will be excited. You may even notice your beagle emitting short, high-pitched barks. (This was evident with my beagle, Marco, who emitted short, high-pitched barks at the sight of some rabbits in the backyard).

Playing Time

We’ve all seen it in our beagles: the universal ‘play bow’. The play bow is when your beagle falls into a position where his front legs are extended down in front of him. His chest low and his hind end high in the air. They often have their mouth open, eyes wide open and ears forward and up. This usually occurs along with high-pitched, excited sounding barks.

Ready and alert

An alert beagle will stand upright, with all his weight centered on four legs, looking at whatever has caught his attention with his ears up and forward. His tail will generally be held still and at body level or higher, his eyes will be somewhere between normal or wide open. An alert beagle will look slightly intense, but, highly focused.

Frightened and fearful

It’s important to understand that a frightened or fearful beagle is in a vulnerable state and needs reassurance and comfort. As responsible pet owners, we must approach them gently and calmly, avoid making sudden movements or loud noises, and give them space to feel safe.

In addition, it’s crucial to identify and remove any potential sources of fear or stress from their environment. This could include loud noises, unfamiliar objects or people, or other pets. Creating a safe and comfortable environment for our furry friends can go a long way in helping them feel calm and relaxed.

Remember, our beagles rely on us for their well-being, and understanding their body language is key to building a strong and positive relationship with them.

Insecure, but curious

Ready to pounce instantly’s notice, a curious beagle will have most of its weight on its hind legs.

He will begin the ‘stutter walk’. A few steps forward, a few backs; pushing his neck and head forward or perhaps a paw, making a slow progression toward whatever has caught his curiosity.

You have probably also seen the ‘curiosity tilt’; when they tilt their head from side to side trying to understand what they see or hear.


A submissive beagle will make himself smaller by keeping his body low, along with his tail (which may be wagging), and his muzzle may point toward the ground. It is showing absolute passivity and does not pose a threat.

They may show other behaviors, such as licking lips or licking the person or other animals. The most recognizable signs that may be evident are when your beagle lies on its back, waiting for you to rub its tummy, which shows submissive trust.


Knowing and learning our beagle’s body language is crucial to understand how they feel and what they are thinking at any given moment.

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How about playing rabbit hunting?

It’s essential to remember that understanding our beagle’s body language is key to building a strong bond and ensuring their happiness and well-being. By paying attention to their eyes, ears, mouth, and tail, we can decipher their emotions and respond accordingly. Whether they’re feeling excited, anxious, or even aggressive, knowing how to read their body language can help us interact with them in the best way possible.

So next time you’re spending time with your furry friend, keep these tips in mind and enjoy the special connection you have with your beagle. And don’t forget to share this valuable information with other beagle owners!

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