Beagle vs German Shepherd – Which Dog Should You Get?

You’ve thought long and hard and you have decided to get a new addition to the family, and there are so many breeds to choose from.

Here we are going to compare two of the most popular, but very, very different, breeds to help you make an informed decision!


Beagle vs German Shepherd – History & Origins


The early history of the Beagle is unclear. What is known is that by the 16th century, English gentlemen used packs of larger hounds when they hunted deer, and smaller animals to help them track hares.

These smaller dogs were the ancestors of our Beagle. Often referred to as foot-hounds, they were popular because ladies and gentlemen could gather in parties to hunt on foot, rather than on horseback, and still keep up with their canine companions.


German Shepherd    (Alsatian, German Shepherd)

In the late 1800’s, Captain Max von Stephanitz, a German Cavalry officer, decide he wanted to breed the perfect herder. He, along with others, bred various existing breeds from across Germany until they had the ancestors of the German Shepherd we know and love today.

He promoted the breed and in the early 1900’s they became popular in the U.S. even claiming movie stardom. Over the years, this beautiful and versatile animal has gone from pasture to Police Academy, and from the movies to the Military.


Historical Similarities

Historical Differences

Working dogs Beagle is a scent hound, German Shepherd was a herder
Popular in the film industry


Beagle hasn’t changed much, German Shepherd was deliberately bred


Beagle vs German Shepherd – Comparison Chart






German Shepherd





Medium 33-40cm 9-11kg (19-25lbs)


Large 58-63cm 35-43kgs (77-95lbs) dependent upon sex





Short, smooth, water-repellent undercoat


Medium, thick, water-repellent undercoat





Curious, mischievous, sociable


Noble, loyal, protective





Energetic, merry, mischievous


Steady, intelligent, courageous


Tendency to Bark



Will bark and howl when alone


Very vocal


Biting Potential



Enthusiastic biters when pups


Fine if trained/socialised









Shedding Level



Lots but low maintenance


Lots, groom 3-4 times weekly


Exercise Needs



2x30min walks a day


2 walks/runs daily plus extra


Apartment Dog?



Not ideal




Health Issues


Ear infections, disc disease, genetic conditions Joint dysplasia, haemophilia, bloat

Life Expectancy



12-15 years


10 years


Size & Appearance

Well, you couldn’t get much more different than these two stunning animals.

The Beagle is medium sized with a short coat, long ears and waggy upright tail. They are often tri-coloured, with good areas of white.

The German Shepherd is a large dog, with a medium coat. Their colouring is usually black, tan, sable, grey, or mixtures thereof. They have shorter ears held erect from the head, and a long bushy tail.

They are however, both sturdy muscular dogs with thick double coats, and they both regard their owners with adoring brown eyes.




Thick double coat Beagle is medium sized, German Shepherd is large
Sturdy muscular dogs Beagle has short coat, German Shepherd has medium coat


Character & Personality

Both breeds are fantastic family dogs if socialised properly as puppies, even the German Shepherd, despite reports to the contrary.

But the families of both dogs will need to be active as these breeds are highly intelligent and have a lot of energy. They are great watchdogs as they will bark at most things.

The Beagle is a curious, mischievous dog, and plays well with scent games. They do need some periods of quiet time though, so will need a place to go to away from the family bustle.

But there is one thing to be aware of. A Beagle would give Houdini a run for his money! They will jump, climb, wriggle, squeeze and tunnel their way out of anything. So, make sure your home and garden are escape proof.

German Shepherd’s develop very strong, loyal bonds with their owners, and can be fiercely protective of their family. They make great guard dogs.

They can be highly strung but proper training and handling will help. These dogs tend to worry when alone.

If they have a doggy companion, they should be companions from pups, but it’s advisable not to pair them with another German Shepherd,

The German Shepherd has been described as a noble breed. It isn’t difficult to see why.




Vocal, energetic, tolerant Beagle is a watchdog, German Shepherd is a guard dog
Good with children and dogs, like company Beagles need time-out, German Shepherd are always active
Intelligent, easily trained German Shepherd need experienced owners


As Puppies

These are lively puppies, and both breeds will play with their teeth, on furniture, woodwork, other animals and humans.

But with the proper training and socialising they will quickly become well behaved.

A German Shepherd puppy will take longer to make friends, but friendships will be strong if proper introductions are made.

Puppies do calm down and you will start to notice a difference with your Beagle at age 1-2. However, a German Shepherd will retain its puppyish energy till about age 5.




Boundless energy. Play with their teeth, especially Beagles


Only 1 German Shepherd pup, more than 1 Beagle
Destructive Beagles calm age 1-2, German Shepherd age 5-7


Grooming & Maintenance

Although both breeds shed heavily, they require very different maintenance regimes.

A Beagle’s coat will only need brushing once a week. Nice and easy.

However, they are nosey animals, so any unsecured bin will be explored. They are particularly partial to rolling in some very smelly things (!).

Lots of dogs do it, but Beagles love it! Buy plenty of doggy shampoo.

German Shepherd’s will require grooming a few times a week, as their fur is longer. But limit your German Shepherd’s baths as their skin is sensitive to it.

You will also have to engage in teeth brushing, ear cleaning and claw maintenance, but these are a given for most animals.




Both shed lots German Shepherd shouldn’t be bathed often. Beagles get dirty quickly.


Education and Training

All puppies need to be trained and socialised properly. Both energetic young breeds will need to start their education at about 8 weeks.

They will both do well with any training that expends their energy, but reward-based training is always a good place to start.

Beagles are intelligent, but obstinate, head-strong dogs, and combined with their selective hearing, they tend to be much more difficult to train than other breeds.

But persevere and remember to give them their alone time when they need it.

German Shepherd’s will train, train, train. And more importantly they will learn quickly. Keep them active, train together and your bond will be unbreakable.

Remember to maintain obedience training as they are big, strong, agile dogs and often don’t know their own strength.



Train from 8 weeks German Shepherd Positive reinforcement training and obedience, Beagle relationship training
Task, agility training Beagles difficult to house-break


Exercise Needs

Daily exercise is a requirement for most canines, and as these are energetic dogs, expect to be taking two walks daily.

They will both need to be kept on the lead when in public park areas, but for very different reasons.

Once the Beagle has caught a scent, good luck getting it back on the lead. Single focussed and with that ‘selective’ hearing, they will lead you on a merry dance.

German Shepherds are aloof and unsure with unfamiliar humans and animals, even when well trained. Keep them on that lead, when in public.

However, both animals will need a space to be able to run free off-lead. Just ensure the area is Beagle proofed.





Regular walks, both need gardens German Shepherd needs lots of private space
Keep both on leads when in public areas Keep German Shepherd’s away from unfamiliar dogs


Health Problems

If well cared for, both breeds are generally healthy. But they can be prone to certain conditions.

Reputable breeders will have had the necessary tests carried out on the parents and will be able to supply you with copies.

Beagles can develop epilepsy, certain cancers, hypothyroidism, disc disease, ear infections. They can also develop genetic conditions, which is why screening of the parents is so important.

German Shepherd’s can suffer with joint and leg problems, anal ulcers, eye diseases, among other issues.

They can be born with haemophilia, so, make sure the parents are checked.

The Kennel Club classes the German Shepherd as Category 3. Being bred to look a certain way has caused issues, particularly in their legs.



Wide variety of conditions Beagles prone to genetic conditions


Beagle vs German Shepherd – Cost

The upkeep of any animal can never be underestimated as we like to be able to keep our companions, healthy and well-cared for, and there are always unexpected costs.

However, when you purchase your pet, the price will depend a lot upon their age and where you get them from.

The average purchase price for a Beagle is approximately £900, and you can expect an average monthly expenditure of £80.

For a German Shepherd, expect to pay £1050-£1200, and spend £105pcm.


Beagle vs German Shepherd FAQ’s

Do German Shepherds get along with Beagles?

If a Beagle and a German Shepherd have grown up together then they should become firm companions.

You would just have to be aware that the German Shepherd behaves as a puppy for a lot longer, and the Beagle will need some regular breathing space, especially as the German Shepherd can become bossy as they age.

But as company for one another from puppyhood, they are well suited, and you will have both a watchdog and a guard-dog to protect you and your family.


Beagle vs German Shepherd Smell

Let’s face it, most dogs have their own doggy smell. Keeping your pet healthy and clean, and maintaining a clean home environment will help reduce this.

But, being a hound, the Beagle may have a more distinctive smell. When scent hounds hunt, they need to be able to differentiate their prey from their pack, and from a distance, hence a stronger odour.

But with any animal, if their odour becomes more intense, get a vet to check them out, as it could be a sign that something is wrong.


Main Similarities

They are both good family dogs, and very good if the family that takes them in likes to keep active. They thrive on company and don’t like being alone.

They are both very vocal dogs, so your neighbours also won’t like it if your dogs are left alone.

Both breeds are highly intelligent and do very well being involved with your own activities, as well as any activity-based training.

Beagles are better for a first-time owner, but both dogs would be better suited to experienced owners.


Main Differences

Take your pick. These are very different breeds of dog.

The most evident would be the difference in size, but they are also different in temperament, personality, sociality, ease of training, grooming requirements, health issues and life expectancy, as outlined and discussed above.


Which Dog Is Better?

The Beagle and the German Shepherd are popular breeds, there is no denying it.

The American Kennel Club rates the Beagle as the 6th most popular breed, out of their 196 recognised breeds.

The German Shepherd is ranked 2nd most popular breed. So there isn’t much in it!

But they are very different, and if we were to opt for one it would only be down to our own preference.

Which dog is better is more down to which breed is better for YOU? Which dog is a better fit for your family, and would live well in your home environment?



We have outlined some key points about each breed, but the decision to introduce any animal into your life and home should not be taken lightly. Do your research, speak to your local vet. Consider all your options.

The Beagle and the German Shepherd are both wonderful breeds. You only have to look into their beautiful eyes to be hooked.

They both have endearing qualities and personalities, but whichever breed you decide upon, you can guarantee the love, attention and care they receive from you will be returned tenfold.

Linda Rice

Linda is an expert in everything pet related from owning dogs such as Labradors to Doberman Pinchsers. She has also owned a horse, an iguana and some geckos and of course some cats. She once worked in a pet store and has a fishtank of both fresh and saltwater fish. She is also considering a new dog for her house at the moment!

Recent Content