Birth Defects Found in Beagle Dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

Beagles are a very popular breed of dog. Like any breed, however, beagles can be afflicted with birth defects, some of which are evident at birth. Conditions range from those requiring that the puppies be put down to others that are manageable with ongoing medical care.


This condition is often noticeable at birth, is hereditary and often occurs in tandem with other inherited birth defects. The condition can be painful, and sometimes the puppy must be put down. MLS affects the structure and development of connective tissue and it involves many organs, including the heart, bones, muscles and skin.

When a beagle has this condition, it has stiff legs, slanted eyes, a head that is broader than normal, undersized outer digits and walks with a hop-like gait, according to A puppy with MLS walks upright on his front feet and his skin is tighter than normal. The dog will not have much scruff and its body will feel hard because the tendons, muscles and skin are all tight. The puppy will look quite muscular. This condition is evident as early as two weeks of age and gets worse for the next year. At 1 year of age, says the dog's condition, notes There is no treatment for this syndrome.

Other Defects

Beagles are sometimes born with missing toes, an umbilical hernia, a broken tail or a cleft palate. They may also suffer from cataracts, glaucoma, ectasia syndrome and haemophilia A. Estacia syndrome refers to fibrocystic diseases, or benign breast cancer. Haemophilia A is an inherited bleeding disorder. The dog's blood does not clot correctly, which causes excessive bleeding.

Potential Problems

When a beagle is born with a stubby tail this is called brachuary. Some beagles are born deaf and some suffer from alopecia universialis, where most, if not all, of the dog's hair falls out. Sometimes a beagle is afflicted with micropthalmos, which means his eyes are too small for his eye sockets.

AKC Standards

If you are going to show your beagle, the American Kennel Club considers defects to be a skull that is narrow and flat with an excessive dome and terrier-like eyes that are either small and sharp or protruding and prominent. An upturned, or Roman, nose is not standard and ears that rise above the point of origin and are short are not desired. A very long or short muzzle is also not desirable.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.