If you plan on getting a Beagle but have never personally owned one I’d like to note these things.
Keep in mind that there is always an exception but with Beagles these are some of the things you can/will encounter.
1) Beagles LOVE to eat. Actually that’s an understatement. Beagles LIVE to eat. There is nothing in a Beagle’s head that says, “Hmmm I’m not hungry anymore, I should stop eating.” They eat, then explode. Because of this tendency to overeat it’s VERY important to regulate their food and exercise. A high quality, grain free diet(or preferably raw diet) with very regular exercise will help keep your Beagle trim. Nothing will keep you in a vet’s office more than a fat Beagle.
2) Beagles are loud. Sure there are some that bark but don’t howl and there are some that howl but don’t bark. There are even some that don’t vocalize much at all but this is NOT the norm. They were bred to be vocal and boy do they enjoy it. This is something to consider because neighbors don’t often enjoy an endlessly howling/barking Beagle and just because the dog is in the house that doesn’t mean can’t sometimes be heard.
3) They follow their nose. This is their benefit and detriment. This makes them expert trackers but it also makes them harder to train because they are easily distracted. Even if you get an older Beagle, training and socialization are very important. In order to see more success during training I refer you back to point #1 Beagles LOVE food. The best way to train a Beagle is the appeal to the hungry beast. With food you can train them to compose a symphony or write a great sonnet.
This also means you are unlikely to have a Beagle who can be trusted off leash. Once they catch a scent they are on the move and unlikely to hear you calling for them.
4) Beagles are pack animals. This is great but it also means they are far more prone to seperation anxiety. It’s just not normal for them to be away from all the members of their pack for long periods of time. Every Beagle I have ever owned has had some sort of seperation anxiety. The mild cases have included chewing on furniture while the more extreme cases have included chewing their paw pads off, pulling hair out,and diving through glass windows in an attempt to get to me faster. Each of these situations required a different level of retraining.This can also be helped by long walks with one or all of the family members everyday. A tired Beagle is a happy Beagle.
5) Beagles will become quite lazy if you let them. They are quite nosey but if you let them they will sleep most of the day. It’s important to keep an active Beagle active. Lazy Beagles will pack out weight no matter how much or little you feed them and once a lazy Beagle becomes a lazy Beagle it’s hard to get them active again.
6) They enjoy digging. Even a small hole in the backyard can be a potential risk. Be aware that most Beagles will dig and you will most likely fall in a hole or two.
I’ve sprained my ankle twice by falling in Beagle holes.
Despite all of that a properly raised and cared for Beagle is even tempered and has a very joyful personality. Their pack orientation generally makes them very good family pets. They are playful, goofy, cuddly, and absolutely adorable.
I’ve had a variety of breeds and have never experienced things I’ve experienced with my Beagles. They will push your buttons, drive you crazy, make you laugh and snuggle with you when you need it most. They make excellent foot wamers, pillows, and heated blankets. They love people and are one of the easier dogs I’ve had to deal with when it comes to socialization with other animals. They are hardy dogs and while they are prone to certain disease/defects(cheery eye, seizures, diabetes) they aren’t a sickly breed.
It sounds to me like you guys would be able to provide a wonderful home and I wish I could hug you for considering an older dog. Puppies are cute but they are so easy to place. Everyone wants something cute, cuddly, and little. But there is something special and important to be said about an older dog who has an established personality.
Good luck and hope you find the right dog for your home.