How happy you're going to be with a beagle depends on whether you can meet its needs and not be driven crazy by the normal breed characteristics. Beagles are LOUD--often hysterically loud--they dig a ton, they can never be trusted off-leash, and if they ever get loose they're GONE. They tend to be friendly, charming dogs, but they are rabbit hunters. They've been bred for centuries to go all day after rabbits, and they've got just as much hunting drive as their large hound cousins. So they need a lot of exercise and stimulation (I would say a minimum of an hour a day of running would be appropriate), and the ideal beagle home would be one that would at least investigate getting involved in field trials where the genius of their dog can shine through. Beagles are smart dogs, but they're stubborn and they housebreak slowly. MANY of the poorly bred ones are neurotic and shy, which is totally unlike the way the beagle temperament should be, so screening them carefully for suitability to kids is absolutely vital.