Dachshund

Though they are now popular companion breeds because of their affectionate nature and adorable enthusiasm for life in general, Dachshunds were once used for hunting dogs. The Standard Dachshund was used to scent and flush out badgers, while the Miniature Dachshund hunted smaller prey like rabbits. Their history as hunting dogs shows up in their personality today and Dachshunds are known for being courageous little dogs with a sense of adventure. Though they are certainly content to snuggle on the sofa with their favorite human, they also welcome time to romp and play outdoors, especially if it involves digging in the earth and "hunting" their prey.

Though they make delightful pets, Dachshunds are not pushovers. Their stubborn nature is well-known and training a Dachshund can be quite a challenge. They show tenacity in all of their activities whether it's hunting, chasing a ball, begging for a snack, or defying your carefully constructed behavioral boundaries. Keep in mind that life with your Dachshund may require a bit of compromise. However, they will make it worth your while when they shower you with devotion and affection, especially if you are their "chosen" person. They may not take well strangers, and like all dogs, proper and early socialization is important. As burrowing dogs, a sleepy or bored Dachshund will burrow into blankets around the house. Chances are, if you choose one of these dogs as your companion, they will burrow their way into your heart.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Dachshund breed is also commonly known by the names Teckel,Tekkel,Tekkel Doxie,Weenie Dog,Sausage Dog,Bassotto,Worshond.

Popularity: Very popular

Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years

Breed group: Hound Dogs (AKC), Hound Dogs (KC), Dachshunds Dogs (FCI)

Size: Tiny

Male Female
Height 8 - 11 in 8 - 11 in
Weight 13 - 29 lbs 13 - 29 lbs

Coat: Short, Medium, Long

Colors: Black, Black and Tan, Red, Silver, Brown, White, Blue

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Average shedder

Grooming requirements: Medium

Good with children: Definitely

Good with other pets: Average

Intelligence / Trainability: High

Exercise needs: Average

Tolerates being alone: Average

Hunting drive: Very high

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Very sensitive

Good for novice owners: Yes

Hypoallergenic breed: No

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Very frequent

General health: Below average

Cost to keep: Average

History

There are engravings featuring short-legged hunting dogs that date back to ancient Egypt, so it is thought that Dachshund-like dogs were in existence even then. The American University in Cairo has discovered mummified Dachshund-like dogs that date back to this time period, as well.

It's a giant leap in time from ancient Egypt to modern times, but the first records of today's modern Dachshund appeared in the early 1700s. References to the "Dachs Kriecher ("badger crawler") or "Dachs Krieger" ("badger warrior") appeared at this time and most likely describe a specific breed, rather that previous, more general references to "badger dogs" and "hole dogs". The original German Dachshunds were larger than today's Dachshunds and were used for badger hunting and badger-baiting, as well tracking deer and even hunting dangerous game like wolverines in a pack.

The exact origins of the modern Dachshund are unknown and a source of debate. The American Kennel Club states the dachshund was bred in the 15th century, while the Dachshund Club of America states that foresters bred the dogs in the 18th or 19th century. Some believe it is the cross between a German Shorthaired Pointer, a Pinscher, and a type of Bloodhound while others believe it is the result of a cross between a Pinscher and a miniature French pointer. To add to the confusion, some believe they are descended from Bassett Hounds. The only point of agreement is that the smooth-coated variety came before the long-haired and wirehaired varieties.

Appearance

At first glance, you will notice the Dachshunds small size, but they make up for it with a big, lively, and courageous personality.
Typical characteristics are:


  • A tapered head, dark, dark, almond-shaped eyes, rounded ears, and a black nose.

  • Low to ground with a long body and short legs.

  • A straight tail carried even with the body.

  • Three coat varieties: smooth, long-haired, and wirehaired.

  • A variety of colors including: red, cream, dappled, brindle, and merle for the smooth and longhaired dachshunds. Wirehaired Dachshunds also come in wild boar, black and tan, and various shades of red.

Temperament

Intelligence/Trainability

Dachshunds are clever, intelligent dogs, and can quickly grasp basic commands. However, they are moderately difficult to train. They tend to have a stubborn streak and will require a firm, consistent hand. Dachshunds are especially difficult to housetrain, and crate training may help to make this an easier process. But, because of their size and generally affectionate nature, they are acceptable dogs for first-time dog owners. However, outside assistance is recommended and proper training and socialization from an early age are extremely important.

As intelligent dogs, Dachshunds will need an outlet for their intelligence and energy. Playtime and walks will help prevent your dog from acting out in undesirable ways like chewing, barking, etc.

Activity

Dachshunds are moderately active dogs. It doesn't require a ton of daily exercise to tire them out. A walk around the block twice a day or a game of fetch is generally enough. They do enjoy the opportunity to run, play, and dig. Dachshunds are prone to obesity and regular exercise will help to keep their weight under control.

Young Dachshunds activities require a few special considerations. Because of their long back, they are prone to back issues. They should never be allowed to jump on and off furniture and you should take care to support their back when holding them.

Independence

Dachshunds tend to be one person dogs and will bond closely with a single person in the household. They will want to be near this person most of the time and will not appreciate being left alone for long periods.

Protective

Due to their size, Dachshunds do not make great protectors. However, the are suspicious of strangers and will definitely bark, so they can serve as an alert dog if something is amiss.

Living Conditions

Because of their size and the fact that they don't require a lot of exercise, Dachshunds are suited to a variety of living situations. They do well as apartment dogs, but it is important to remember that they do bark and may not be friendly with neighbors. Early socialization is important so that they become used to meeting new people and animals.

Dachshunds have a short, tight coat and do not tolerate the cold well. For walks and outdoor activities in cold weather they may need protective outerwear to stay warm and of course, a warm, inside place out of the cold weather.

Children and Other Pets

Dachshunds do well with familiar children as long as they are raised with them, They may not interact with strange children and supervision is important. Unlike tinier dogs, it is safe to have them in a home with toddlers and small children. However, children should never be allowed to pick up a Dachshund and they should be taught to handle them gently to prevent back injuries.

That said, extra care should be taken, especially with young children (under the age of 6).


  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

No dog, regardless of breed, should be left unattended with young children.

Dachshunds generally get along well with other pets, as long as they are properly socialized from a young age. They will often be the dominant personality in a group. Special care needs to be taken when introducing a new puppy to your other pets. It needs to be done slowly and very careful to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that it is a calm, positive experience for the puppy.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Dachshund is between 12 - 14 years. Like all breeds, the Dachshund is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Dachshund is prone to these diseases:
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) (hereditary)
  • Epilepsy (hereditary)
  • Canine Diabetes Mellitus (DM) (hereditary)
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) (hereditary)
  • Hereditary deafness (hereditary)
  • Cushings Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism) (hereditary)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (hereditary) : Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of inherited degenerative eye disorders, which lead to loss of vision. PRA affects both eyes simultaneously and is not painful More info»

Grooming

Dachshunds have a short, shiny, and smooth coat. They are generally low maintenance as far as grooming. They need to be brushed once a week, to keep any shedding under control; with their short coat, it's very easy.

Wirehaired Dachshunds require a little bit more maintenance that includes regular brushing and having their coats stripped two to three times per year.

They don’t really need a bath too often, once a month should suffice. When you bathe them, make sure to use a dog-specific shampoo that maintains the skin's natural PH balance.

Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs. Dachshunds don't usually wear their nails down on their own. Long nails will require regular clipping and all puppies should be introduced to nail clipping early on so that it will be easier when they are older.

Consider brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste two or three times a week. Daily is even better. All puppies should become accustomed to having their mouths and teeth checked regularly.

Feeding

1/2 to 1 1/2 cups of high-quality, dry dog food fed in two daily meals is a good starting point, but other factors need to be taken into consideration. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less. Dachshunds are prone to obesity, so special attention should be paid to ensure that your dog doesn't become overweight, which can cause health issues in both the short and long-term.

Special attention is needed when feeding puppies. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a burden but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.