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Ask AKC: Hounds Living with Hares

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: I have a pet rabbit in my house and I'm thinking of getting a Beagle puppy. Is there a problem keeping them both in the same house? The puppy would only be loose when someone is home. --Hound & Hare
Before considering adding a dog to your household you should research the breed to fit your lifestyle. And research the lifestyle of any existing pets in the house. If you were to look up the Beagle description on our web site you would find that "Beagles are scent hounds used primarily for hunting rabbits to larger hares."

Hmmm. Let's consider this for a moment. You have a rabbit and you want to add a breed that hunts them. A scent hound no less. If you read further into the tenacity of these small dogs you learn, "These dogs are snappy, tireless hunters full of energy and quickness." My guess is that your new Beagle will be looking for that rabbit all the time. It's his genetic make-up to find them.

Now this is not to say you can't safely keep both animals. For example, people keep small rodents, like Gerbils for example, in their homes while owning cats. However, the owners must always be on guard to ensure that no harm comes to their smaller pets. So they keep them in cages, out of the way, or behind closed doors. But your Beagle will always be sniffing around ever vigilant to find his prey and that will always put you on alert to keep the two pets apart. You can make sure the rabbit is in his hutch or the Beagle in his crate when you let the other loose for a romp.

More for your quality of life, I would consider getting a non-rabbit hunting dog. While all dogs will be interested in your small rabbit and he should be kept in a cage away from the dog when you are not home, at least some other breed won't be constantly driven to find what he was bred to hunt.

 

If you have a question, send it to Lisa at lxp@akc.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions she cannot offer individual responses.