Temperament: friendly, brave, inquisitive
Height at the shoulder: 8-9 inches for the standard size, and 5-6 inches for the miniature
Weight: 16-32 lbs. for the standard, and up to 11 lbs. for the miniature
Life expectancy: 12-16 years
Breed group: Hound group
About the Dachshund
There is no way that you can ever mistake the famous silhouette of the dachshund for any other dog breed. These long-bodied small hounds are always alert, incredibly brave and with happy personalities. They come in standard and miniature sizes and can be with smooth, long or wired coats.
The standard sized Dachshund will grow to about 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder and weigh 16 to 21 lbs. while the miniature versions are about 5-6 inches high and weigh up to 11 lbs. In the US, dogs from this breed which weigh from 11 to 16 lbs. are referred to as “tweenies” which is somewhere in between.
In Germany, there are more sizes of Dachshunds recognized including a Kaninchen teckel size. In the hunting world and in Germany, the dogs from this breed are also referred to as Teckels.
These smart little dogs may not be suitable for long-distance running or swimming, but they are incredibly vigilant hounds and hunters and have the personalities and the barks of big dogs which make them excellent watchdogs.
Dachshunds we bred to hunt down tunneling animals and dangerous prey, so they can be a bit too brave in certain circumstances and can be a tad stubborn at times, but otherwise they are such charming little dogs and look so amazingly cute, that they have been winning the hearts of people all over the world for ages.
Dachs means badger in German and hund is dog, and it is no wonder these canines have such a name because they are brave and strong enough to take on badgers.
Today, Dachshunds are still used as scent hound dogs for small prey, but they are more popular as pets, show dogs and companion dogs ever since the 1950s. when they restored their popularity abroad following World War II.
The Dachshund Waldi was the mascot of the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, and its shape was used for the marathon track at the event, and it was then when the breed gained even more worldwide attention and popularity. The idea of the symbol was to represent what characteristics were expected by the Olympic athletes, including resistance, tenacity, and agility.
Through the years, these incredible dogs have always been in the top list of the most popular dog breeds around the world.
These beloved pups have numerous monikers including sausage dogs, wiener dogs, hot dogs, Dashie, Doxies and Teckels, Dachsels and Dachels.
They have also become one of the favorite dog breeds of artists, cartoonists and toy makers. But the truth is, their very special elongated bodies and short but strong legs were developed with a reason. They enable these dogs to dig through and maneuver easily in tunnels when searching for and tackling badgers or other tunnel animals. At the same time, their large chests allow them to successfully fight and kill the badgers. They are self-confident and brave hunters and can be quite stubborn especially when hunting.
At home, Dachshunds are loving and playful pets. They love being with their owners and helping them out with every single task. Smart by nature and stubborn, these dogs can have quite a hard time learning and accepting the rules imposed on them. They are not recommended for owners with no experience in training dogs. To train a dog of this breed, you need to be firm, patient and consistent.
The Dachshund will often establish a special bond with a single person at home, and if left untrained could become jealous of that favorite person and even become snappy.
Their expressive eyes and faces will make your heart melt. Their large sized chests hold big lungs which help them be stronger as well as give them their big dog barks.
These lively pups will enjoy chasing small animals and playing with toys. They are independent thinkers and are definitely not shy dogs.
The most common Dachshund type in the USA is the smooth-coated type which requires little grooming but may require a coat or sweater if you happen to live in a cold area. The most common colors of the Doxies are red, black and tan, cream, black and cream, blue and tan, chocolate and tan and fawn and tan. These dogs can also have patterns on their coats such as brindle, dapple, piebald or sable.
The long-haired dogs from this German breed can be in any of the colors listed but have long wavy and sleek hair. They require more grooming and daily brushing to prevent tangled and matted hair. Fanciers of the breed believe that the long-haired Dachshunds are more docile than the other types.
The wire-haired Dashies have short, thick, rough and wiry coats, paired with bushy beards and eyebrows. They are as mischievous as the smooth-coated dogs from this breed and also require regular brushing. This type does not necessarily require a coat for the winter. The coat color can be either of the colors of the other types, but in the US the most popular colors for wire-haired Dachshunds are black and tan, red or black brown and gray.
The light colored Doxies can be light hazel or gray colored and often have blue or green eyes. In some cases, they can have eyes of different colors, such as one blue and one brown eye.
The dogs from this breed can thrive well in apartments without backyards and in the city because they are small and require little maintenance. They are active dogs but can do well with a couple of walks a day. Because of their long backs and unique structure, it is essential to keep Doxies from becoming overweight or obese. Extra weight on their bodies can cause slipped or herniated disks causing partial and even complete paralysis.
Also, keep in mind that they not only have big dog barks, but they do love to bark, which is something to consider if you live in a building with other people.
These German hounds are often shown in various dog sports and competitions such as field trials, obedience, conformation and earth dog trials. They are also excellent therapy dogs. Many owners enter their Doxies in specialized Dachshund events and races, such as the Wiener Nationals. The Dachshund Club of America has been opposing these Wiener races, due to the danger of the dogs from the breed inuring their backs.
The Dachshund is an intelligent, brave and lively dog which was bred to persevere when hunting down and tackling badgers. This means that they can be courageous to a point of recklessness and quite stubborn.
At the same time, they are playful and loving pups that love to cuddle up and spend time with their favorite humans. They usually bond to a single person and will follow them everywhere.
There are some differences in the temperament of the Doxies with different hair types. Due to the fact, that the wire-haired dogs from this breed have some terrier in them – they can be quite mischievous, while the long-haired ones are much calmer and quieter. The most common smooth coated type is somewhere in the middle of the two other types when it comes to personality.
Of course, the temperament of every dog depends on a number of different factors including its heritage, and its training and socialization.
Shyness and nervousness are not acceptable characteristics of this breed, so if you come upon a puppy displaying such behaviors, avoid choosing it. Opt for a puppy which is willing to come to you and to allow you to hold it and play with it.
Always make sure you meet at least one of the parents of your puppy to make sure that it will have a temperament which you are expecting when it grows up.
Just like any other dog, the Dachshund needs to be socialized at an early age. You should enroll it to puppy kindergarten or make sure that your dog meets a lot of people, goes to a lot of different places and meets other dogs if you want it to have well-established social skills later on in life.
While it is recommended that all dogs stay in shape and should not be allowed to become overweight, this is especially important for Dachshunds due to the vulnerability of their long backs. Extra weight on their bodies can cause the disks of the spine to slip and even herniate which can lead to paralysis.
This is why, you should ignore those expressive pleading eyes and refrain from overfeeding your Doxie, especially with treats and scraps which are high in calories and fat.
Keep the dog and the human food out of reach, because these dogs have excellent noses and are pretty stubborn and can easily get into the food to overindulge.
Always use a cup or other measure when feeding your Dachshund. The recommended amount of good quality home prepared or commercial dog food is about ½ to 1 ½ cups a day. Make sure you feed your dog with age-appropriate food, and also in accordance with its health, activity level and metabolism.
You should transition to adult food when the Doxie is 1 year old.
If you want to give your pup treats but also keep in healthy and safe, then pick dietary commercial treats or simply use sliced carrots or other fresh veggies instead.
Also, do not leave food out in a bowl all day long. Instead, measure out the dog food and serve it to your dog divided into two meals – in the morning and in the afternoon.
As mentioned earlier on, the coats of the different types of Dachshunds vary, and so do the grooming and maintenance required for each type.
The smooth-haired Doxies have shiny, smooth and short coats which do not require too much maintenance.
The wire-haired dogs from this breed have an entirely different type of coat which does require more brushing to avoid matting and tangling. Their double coats have thick, rough topcoats and soft undercoats. This hard topcoat covers the entire body without the eyebrows, beard and the ears. The most common color for wirehaired Dachshunds is wild boar. Their coats need to be stripped two or three times a year. An experienced groomer should be able to show you how to perform the stripping yourself. Their bushy eyebrows and beard should be combed regularly and can be trimmed once or twice a year for a better appearance.
The long-haired Dachshunds are the ones which require the most grooming. Their wavy and silky long hair needs to be brushed on a daily basis to keep it looking beautiful and to avoid any tangles or matting.
The smooth coated dogs do not require daily brushing and can be cleaned with a damp cloth in between baths to keep them clean. They do need a sweater or coats for the cold winter days though.
The dogs from this breed are moderate shedders and do not have a strong doggy odor.
Dachshunds do not need to be bathed frequently. In fact, unless they have rolled in something foul smelling, you can simply wipe them clean with a damp cloth in between the infrequent baths. Long-coated Doxies need more frequent baths to look their best. Blow-dry their hair after bath for the best results.
Since Dachshunds have droopy ears, they are prone to ear infections. This is why you should examine and clean the ears once a week. Look for worrying signs such as redness or foul smell. Clean the inside part of the ear flap gently with dog ear cleaner, and never stick cotton swabs deep inside the ear canal.
The dogs from this breed are also susceptible to tartar build-up on their teeth, so teach your pup that it is normal practice to brush its teeth twice or three times per week, to keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy.
You should also get your dog used to regular nail trimming. The nails need to be trimmed once or twice per month. Teach the dog to tolerate the grooming procedure from an early age in order to make the task easier on you and on the dog later on.
Apart from regular inspections of the dog’s ears, you should also examine its skin for rashes, redness, sores or tenderness. Also, pay attention to the dog’s eyes, feet, nose, and mouth. Noticing symptoms of potential infections or other health problems early on will help prevent more serious health issues.
Don’t let the small size of the Dachshund fool you. These lively dogs do require regular exercise in order to stay fit and also to build a strong muscle system which will keep their spines supported and healthy.
Two moderate walks of about half a mile each per day are sufficient, with some play time indoors or outside.
Make sure you prevent your Dachshund from running up or down the stairs and from jumping off and on high furniture because this can cause the slipping or herniation of one or more discs of its spine. Get your pup a ramp or step for getting on and off the bed or the sofa. If you lift your Dachshund, make sure you hold it properly and support its chest and rear at the same time, to keep the spine safe from injury.
These dogs prefer to spend their time with humans, so they will not thrive well kenneled or crated outdoors.
They are pretty energetic canines which will love walking, playing with other dogs, following scents and digging.
Doxies can thrive well even in small houses and apartments as long as they get their recommended moderate walks and exercise every day.
Dachshunds are very intelligent dogs and if properly motivated, can learn pretty quickly. Use positive reinforcement such as treats, vocal praises or their favorite toy to keep them interested and motivated. Do not attempt to repeat the same exercises over and over again, because these pups can get bored very interesting. Instead, make the obedience training sessions feel like fun games, which both you and your dog will enjoy.
They can be pretty stubborn and independent too, so you will need to be consistent, patient and firm when training your puppy.
Housetraining a Dachshund may not be as easy and fast as with other dogs. You will need to be consistent and patient when potty training your Doxie. Teaching it to relax and sleep in a crate when you are gone can also help resolve this issue.
Of course, do not keep the dog crated all day long, or for long hours. Instead, place it in its crate when it is time for resting or sleep, after a walk or after playtime.
A crate is not a prison, but rather a safe place for the dog, so make sure you don’t make the dog detest and resist it.
The dogs from this breed love being with their favorite people, so never keep the dog locked up in a kennel or crate inside or outdoors all day or all night long.
Overall, Doxies are excellent watchdogs with loud big dog barks, but they are pretty loud, which is something you should work on curbing especially if your neighbors are not too keen on living next to a loud and barking dog.
Like most dogs, Dachshunds do not respond well to punishments or harsh commands, so make sure you use positive reinforcement instead, and at the same time be firm and consistent with your training.
Dachshunds are good with children as long as they are socialized from an early age. Always supervise the interaction between your dog and children to avoid injuries of either the dog or the kids. Because of their long and vulnerable spines, Dachshunds are prone to injuries, which is why you should teach your children to never lift or play with the dog unless they are all sitting on the floor. Also, make sure your kids understand the basic rules of handling and approaching the dog, such as never attempting to take its food away or touching and handling them when it is sleeping.
These dogs can also get along with other dogs in the house, as long as they have been introduced to them from puppyhood.
Some of the dogs of this breed can get overly attached to their favorite person in the household which can lead to bouts of jealousy towards other dogs and pets.
With proper care, Dachshunds live for 12 to 16 years and even more. They are healthy dogs but have long backs which are vulnerable to injuries, especially if the dog is overweight, or doesn’t have a strong muscular system to keep the spine supported.
Also, drop ears are prone to infections and need to be kept clean and monitored regularly.
But just like with all other dog breeds, Dachshunds are susceptible to certain genetic and other health issues and diseases.
Here are the main health problems to look for in a Dachshund:
Intervertebral Disc Disease
As mentioned previously, due to the elongated backs of these dogs, they are prone to back problems and injuries. These can be hereditary problems, but can also be caused by making wrong moves, falling off of furniture or getting dropped.
The symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease can include the inability to get up on all four legs, loss of bladder and bowel control and paralysis.
Always handle your Doxie carefully and support both its front and rear if you are lifting it up.
Also, get your dog steps or ramps for getting on and off high furniture, and do not allow it to run up or down the stairs.
The treatment of IVDD can include confinement in a crate, anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery to remove the problematic discs. In some cases, your dog may be confined to a doggy wheelchair in order to move around.
Some owners have found that acupuncture, canine rehab therapists and chiropractors can help with this problem too.
Epilepsy in Dachshunds can be hereditary or cause by an injury of the dog’s head. It can cause different types of seizures, and while it is not curable, it can be managed with the appropriate medicine and care. In most cases, epilepsy is not a dangerous condition and your dog can live with it for long years as long as the proper care is taken to manage it.
Progressive retinal atrophy
This is a degenerative condition which causes the gradual atrophy of one or both retinas of the eyes of the dog. It can be detected early on and can be prevented if dogs with the condition are not bred. Over time, the dog will eventually lose its eyesight, but this shouldn’t be a huge problem, because canines have been found to adapt to partial or complete blindness pretty well, as long as their surroundings stay the same and you don’t move the furniture around.
Reputable Dachshund breeders get their dog’s eyes certified by ophthalmologists annually and do not breed dogs with Progressive retinal atrophy.
There are some DNA tests available for this condition as well.
Bloat (Gastric dilation-volvulus)
Unfortunately, due to their large and deep chests, Dachshunds are prone to bloat, which is a life-threatening condition. It can occur due to the dog eating a large meal too fast, or being active and drinking a lot of water right after eating. Air gets stuck in the dog’s stomach causing it to twist and shut off the blood circulation.
The affected dog will start retching and attempting to vomit in order to get the air out of its body, but without success. The blood pressure of the dog suffering from bloat will drop, and the dog can become lethargic, depressed or restless and with a distended abdomen. Other symptoms of gastric dilation-volvulus are excess salivating, a rapid heart rate and others.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you should rush the pup to the vet as soon as possible, because the results can be fatal if left untreated.
The condition is resolved through surgery, but timing is essential.
To lower the risk of bloat, divide the food of your pup into two smaller meals, and prevent it from running around or playing right after eating. Also, limit the amount of water it has right after a meal.
Some believe that bloat could be inherited but there is no clear scientific proof of this. Larger dogs and dogs with larger chests are more prone to suffering from it.
This disease is due to the dog’s body producing more cortisol than normal. This can be caused by an imbalance in the adrenal or pituitary glands, as well as if the dog has received too much cortisol.
Signs of Cushing’s disease include increased thirst and water drinking, as well as excess urination. The treatment for the disease can include prescription medications or surgical removal of the affected gland.
Canine Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes affects some Dachshunds especially the ones which are overweight. Diabetes can be treated with insulin injection and a diet. Some of the signs of canine diabetes are excessive thirst and urination, as well as the loss of weight even with a big appetite.
Deafness can occur in double dapple dogs from this breed. Make sure you ask the breeder whether the puppy’s parents and the puppy itself have been tested with a BAER test for hearing loss. The test can be done as soon as the puppy turns 5 weeks of age.
Overall, when buying or adopting a Dachshund puppy, always ask the breeder for health clearances for both of its parents. The clearances which they should have include checkups of eye health by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
With Dachshunds, the health clearances are not issued before the dog turns 2 years old when it reaches full maturity. It is recommended that Dachshunds are not bred until they are at least 2-3 years old.
The Dachshund breed was developed in Germany back in the 15th century when the locals were faced with an overpopulation of badgers. Dachs means badger, and Hund means dog. There are illustrations dated back to the 15th and 16th century from the area which depict dogs which resemble today’s Dachshunds. Documents also mention certain badger creepers, dachels and earth dogs which resemble today’s Dachshund breed.
Dachshunds were not only used for hunting down and killing badgers, but also for other small animals which live in tunnels and dens like foxes. They were even used for hunting wild boar.
The early dogs from this breed varied quite a bit in size. Those used for badgers would weigh 30-35 lbs. while the other used for deer and foxes were smaller (16-22 lbs.). The smallest dogs of the breed weighing up to 12 lbs. were used for hunting weasels or hares. In the early 20th century, tiny 5 lb. Doxies were used for bolting cottontail rabbits too.
The breed is called Teckel in Germany and has been refined over the ages. The German foresters and breeders of the 18th and 19th century had a goal of creating the perfect long and fearless dog which could dig in and go through the burrows of the badgers, catch them and fight them to death when needed.
The original type developed was the smooth coated Dachshunds, which were created by crossing Pinschers with the French Braque. There are records which show that Basset Hounds too could have played a role in the development of the breed.
The long-coated Doxies were most probably developed via crossing the dogs with spaniels, while the wirehaired type most probably was created by crossing them with small terriers.
Today, the Dachshund is the only dog breed recognized by the AKC which hunts both below and above ground. The breed is in the hound group.
Every single body part and little detail about these dogs have been carefully selected and perfected to make Dachshunds the perfect dogs for underground hunting.
The short and powerful legs with paddle-shaped paws of these dogs allow them to dig deep into the tunnels, and their elongated bodies allow them to go through the tunnels and maneuver inside them easily. The straight tails of the Dachshund were for pulling the dogs out of the tunnels or burrows by the hunters. Thanks to their loose skin, they would stay safe from skin tears even in the tight burrows. The deep chests of these canines provide the lung capacity they need to keep digging, hunting and fighting even under the ground.
Thanks to their long noses, Doxies are excellent scent hounds. They have deep and loud barks of large dogs which makes it much easier for the forester or hunter to find the dog no matter how deep in the burrow it has gone.
Also, these dogs are known for their tenaciousness and boldness, and they are still fearless no matter how small they are. You can see its natural instincts to hunt and kill the prey by presenting your Dachshund with a squeaky dog toy, which it will destroy in a matter of minutes. They were developed after all not only to hunt down the prey but to tackle and kill it as well.
In the 1800s, Dachshunds began being bred more as companion dogs than as hunters, especially in England. They became the favorite dog breed of many people throughout Europe as well as of Queen Victoria.
Due to this trend, the size of the modern Dachshunds has decreased significantly over the years, and today’s Doxies weigh about 10 lbs. less than their ancestors.
Now, there is even a smaller version of these superb canines – the miniature Dachshunds.
The original breed standard was written in Germany in 1879, and in 1888 the German Dachshund Club was founded.
By 1885, several Dachshunds had made it to America, and the first 11 were registered with the AKC in the same year. The first officially registered Dachshund by the American Kennel Club was named Dash. In 1895, 10 years later the American Dachshund Club was founded.
In the 1900s these dogs from this breed became very popular, and by 1914, they were among the top 10 most popular entries at the Westminster Kennel Club Show.
Unfortunately, when World War I erupted, the popularity of the breed shrunk abruptly due to its association with Germany. There are stories of owners of Dachshunds who were called traitors and their dogs were stoned or killed during the war. Following the war, US breeders began importing Dachshunds to America once again and thus the popularity of the breed was reborn once again. Even though another and even bigger war began, the severity of the decreasing popularity of the breed was much lower during World War II.
After the war ended the Dachshund become one of the most popular companion dogs and family dogs in the US once again.
In 1972 during the Olympic Games in Munich, the Dachshund became the official mascot of the games, and even the marathon track created by the hosts was designed to resemble the silhouette of this amazing small dog.
Today, Dachshunds are rarely used for hunting in the USA or Britain, they are still used as hunters in France and in other European countries.
The Dachshund is currently the 6th most popular breed recognized by the AKC.