Don't assume beagles are like any other dog you've ever had (including other beagles!)...they're not.

Don't assume beagles are like you read in the books...they're not.

Do have a TON of patience...you'll need it.

Do have a TON of love...you'll need it.

Do expect to laugh...they are total clowns.

Do expect to be loved in return more than 100-fold the investment you put into the dog. They are pack oriented and once you have established you are the pack leader they will love you and worship you until their last breath.

Raising beagles is like raising children...every experience is unique and frustrating and exasperating and loving and wonderful. 

We have three beagles and they're each the same, but at the same time not a one of them is like the others.  What works for one falls on deaf ears with another.  Our three are all highly food-motivated, though we've heard from other owners whose beagles are not.  And even these three aren't necessarily motivated by the same food. 

Some beagles are highly active (we couldn't pin Sammi down if we tried) and some are true couch potatoes (Mandi moves only if she HAS to and even then it's with great reluctance).  We've heard from some beagle owners whose beagles never wander from home, while others are quite adept at escaping and will run at the first chance they get (even within the same household)!  We've heard from some beagle owners who have to bungee cord and lock their refrigerators because their beagles have figured out how  to open them. 

Some beagles are highly acrobatic -- we call ours "monkeys in beagle suits" (we're still looking for the zippers). 

Some of us have a terrible time training our beagles even the simplest commands (though in my particular case I would bet it's more the trainer than the trainee).  Others excel in show, obedience and agility. 

I guess if I had to pick one "rule of thumb" for beagles:  there is no rule of thumb!  Every beagle is it's own unique individual.  They are as varied in temperament and personality as human children.  There are some general things (like patience and love) that work for all beagles and there are other things (like training techniques, specific strengths and weaknesses) that are different for every dog.

But the one thing all beagles have in common is the complete and unconditional love they provide.

                                                             MHArrooo 2002
I was once asked for a list of "do's and don'ts" on raising a beagle.  While I'm hardly an expert, I do have three of the little monsters, er, angels, so I took a stab at answering.  Here is my explanation of "Owning a Beagle":
Owning a Beagle
For a more "official" view on owning beagles, see Beagles on the Web