Dachshund

Table of Contents

dachshund portrait
Welcome to the wonderful world of Dachshunds, where short legs meet big personality! These lovable "sausage dogs" are famous for their elongated bodies, playful nature, and unmatched loyalty.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

Dachshunds are a dream come true for those seeking a small dog with a big personality! They’re perfect for individuals or families who can offer plenty of playtime and snuggles. With their friendly nature and love for digging, they’ll surely keep garden enthusiasts entertained. Just be prepared for their stubborn streak!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEDachshund
OTHER NAMESWiener Dog, Badger Dog, Doxie, Sausage Dog
ORIGINGermany
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZESmall
HEIGHTStandard: 8-9 inches
Miniature: 5-6 inches
WEIGHTStandard: 16-32 lbs
Miniature: 8-11 lbs
LIFESPAN12-16 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSModerate
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYHigh
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELLow
POPULARITY RANK9th
miniature dachshund standing on a tree branch
Photo: NORRIE3699/Getty Images

Appearance

The Dachshund is a breed that’s as unique as it is adorable! These little hot dog-shaped pups come in two sizes: standard and miniature, but their charm and personality are always larger than life. Let’s dive into the delightful physical characteristics that make dachshunds stand out from the crowd!

In the height department, Standard Dachshunds typically measure around 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder, while their Miniature counterparts are even tinier, reaching a height of about 5 to 6 inches. When it comes to weight, Standards weigh around 16 to 32 pounds, while Miniatures are a feather-light 8 to 11 pounds.

Now, let’s talk about their unique body shape. Dachshunds boast a long, elongated body that stretches like a wiener in a bun. This body type is well-suited for their original purpose as fearless little hunters, adept at digging into burrows and flushing out game. But don’t let their short legs fool you – they’re swift and agile, ready to chase after anything that piques their curiosity!

At the tail end, Dachshunds sport a distinctive tail that tapers to a point. This tail may be carried slightly upward in a jaunty manner, showcasing their lively and confident disposition. And speaking of their heads, they’re shaped like an elongated cone, adding to their unique charm.

Their large, expressive eyes are a window to their soul, radiating intelligence, warmth, and an adorable plea for treats! Their almond-shaped eyes come in a variety of colors, ranging from deep brown to captivating blue, depending on their coat.

Let’s not forget about their iconic ears – long, floppy, and oh-so-cute! These ears serve a practical purpose, helping them catch scents and sounds while they’re out and about exploring the world. Their ears come in two variations – smooth (short-haired) and silky (long-haired) – both equally adorable!

As for their coat, Dachshunds boast three coat types: smooth, long, and wire-haired. Each coat has its unique appeal, from the sleek and shiny short-haired variety to the flowing and luxurious long-haired option, not forgetting the bristly and distinctive wire-haired coat.

With their bright, expressive eyes and charmingly elongated bodies, Dachshunds have an unmistakable expression – a mix of curiosity, intelligence, and a dash of mischievousness. Their expressive faces and wagging tails are sure to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face!

Overall, Dachshunds are a delightful blend of unique physical characteristics, making them a captivating breed loved by many. From their distinctive body shape to their expressive eyes and adorable ears, Dachshunds have a way of capturing our hearts with their quirky charm. Whether you choose a standard or miniature size, you’re sure to fall in love with these lovable little hot dogs!

wire, long, and short-haired dachshunds
Photo: DarioEgidi/Getty Images Signature

Temperament

Oh, the Dachshund! A breed brimming with personality and charm. These little dogs are known for their spunk, tenacity, and uncanny ability to steal hearts wherever they go. Let’s dive deeper into what makes Dachshund’s temperament so memorable.

Firstly, let’s talk about their confidence. Dachshunds are small in stature, but don’t let that fool you. They carry themselves with a boldness and self-assuredness that can rival dogs twice their size. This is a dog that knows its worth and isn’t afraid to show it!

Dachshunds are also incredibly loyal. Once a Dachshund has chosen you as their person, they’ll stick by your side like glue. They’re known for being particularly attached to one person in the family and can often be found following them around the house, waiting patiently by the bathroom door, or snuggling up close on the couch.

This loyalty extends to their protective nature. Dachshunds are surprisingly good watchdogs. They have a keen sense of hearing and are always alert. If they sense something out of the ordinary, they won’t hesitate to bark a warning. Rest assured, with a Dachshund in your home, you’ll always know if someone’s at the door!

Now, let’s talk about Dachshund’s playful side. These dogs love to have fun. They’re curious, adventurous, and always ready for a game. Whether it’s chasing a ball, playing with toys, or simply engaging in a lively game of tug-of-war, Dachshunds bring an infectious zest for life that’s hard to resist.

But Dachshunds aren’t just about play – they also have a softer, more sensitive side. They crave companionship and don’t do well when left alone for long periods. They thrive on interaction and love being part of the family’s activities. Their expressive eyes often seem to say, “Don’t forget about me!”

Despite their many endearing qualities, Dachshunds do have a stubborn streak. This independence can sometimes make them a bit challenging to handle, especially if they decide they’d rather do things their way. But with patience and understanding, this stubbornness can often be channeled into positive traits like perseverance and determination.

Dachshunds are also known for their sense of humor. They’re often described as “clowns” because of their knack for getting into mischief and making people laugh with their antics. Whether it’s getting stuck in a sweater sleeve or stealing your spot on the bed, a Dachshund knows how to keep things interesting.

In essence, the Dachshund is a paradox – a small dog with a big personality. They’re courageous yet affectionate, independent yet loyal, playful yet sensitive. They embody the best of both worlds – the fearlessness of a hunter and the tenderness of a companion.

miniature dachshund sitting among dandelions
Photo: Liliya Kulianionak/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Dachshunds are versatile little dogs, able to adapt to a variety of living situations. However, there are certain environments and circumstances where they truly thrive.

Ideal Owner

Let’s start with the human factor. Dachshunds are great companions for many types of people. They can be an excellent choice for singles, couples, or families with older children. They form strong bonds with their humans and love being part of the family’s activities.

That said, it’s important to remember that Dachshunds are not just lap dogs. They’re intelligent, active, and curious creatures who need mental stimulation and social interaction. A pet parent who can provide these, along with a healthy dose of love and attention, is a perfect match for a Dachshund.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Dachshunds generally get along well with other dogs, especially if they’ve been raised together. They can also coexist peacefully with cats, although their strong prey drive might kick in with smaller pets like hamsters or birds.

Physical Environment

As for the physical environment, Dachshunds can live happily in apartments or houses, as long as they’re not left alone for too long. They love exploring their surroundings, so a home with a secure yard where they can sniff and dig to their heart’s content would be ideal.

However, due to their long backs and short legs, homes with lots of stairs might pose a problem for Dachshunds. They can easily injure themselves by jumping off furniture or climbing stairs, so it’s best to limit their access to such areas.

Climate Adaptability

Regarding climate, Dachshunds are fairly adaptable. They can handle moderate cold thanks to their thick fur, but they’re not built for extreme cold conditions. In colder climates, they’ll appreciate a warm doggy sweater or a cozy blanket.

On the flip side, Dachshunds can also tolerate heat, but they should always have access to shade and fresh water, and should never be left in a hot car or exposed to intense sun for extended periods.

two dachshund standing on a rock
Photo: cynoclub/Getty Images

Grooming

Dachshunds, with their distinctive looks and charming personalities, are a joy to have around. But like any dog, they come with some grooming needs. Don’t worry, though – with a little time and the right tools, keeping your Dachshund looking dapper can be a breeze!

Coat Care

First off, let’s talk about their coat. Dachshunds come in three varieties: smooth, long-haired, and wire-haired, each with different grooming demands.

Smooth Dachshunds have a short, shiny coat that’s relatively low-maintenance. A weekly brush with a grooming mitt or a soft bristle brush should keep their coat looking sleek and glossy.

Long-haired Dachshunds, with their flowing locks, need a bit more attention. Daily brushing with a slicker brush can prevent tangles and matting, and keep their coat looking its best.

Wire-haired Dachshunds have a dense, wiry coat that requires regular brushing with a slicker or pin brush to remove loose hair and prevent matting. They also need their coat hand-stripped a couple of times a year to maintain its texture and color.

Regardless of the coat type, all Dachshunds benefit from a bath every 3-4 months, or whenever they get particularly dirty. Use a gentle dog shampoo to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny.

Dental Care

Now, let’s move on to their teeth. Dental care is crucial for Dachshunds as they’re prone to dental issues. Daily brushing with dog-specific toothpaste can help keep their pearly whites in top shape. Dental chews and regular vet check-ups are also a good idea.

Ear Care

Don’t forget their ears! Dachshunds have long, floppy ears that can trap dirt and moisture, making them prone to infections. Cleaning their ears weekly with a vet-recommended cleaner can help prevent these issues. Just be gentle and never insert anything into the ear canal.

Nail Trimming

Next up, their nails. Dachshunds have relatively fast-growing nails that need to be trimmed regularly, usually every 3-4 weeks. Use a pet nail clipper and be careful not to cut into the quick, as it can cause pain and bleeding.

Eye Care

Finally, there’s their eyes. Dachshunds have expressive, almond-shaped eyes that should be clear and bright. Regularly check for any signs of redness or discharge, and gently wipe the corners of their eyes with a soft, damp cloth to keep them clean.

dachshund standing in a park
Photo: OndrejVladyka/Getty Images

Exercise

Dachshunds may be small, but they’re certainly not lacking in energy! These lively little dogs have a surprising amount of stamina and a keen sense of adventure. To keep them happy and healthy, they need regular exercise that caters to both their body and mind.

Exercise Amount & Types

Don’t be fooled by their short legs; Dachshunds love a good walk. Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of walking every day, split into two or three shorter walks. This provides them with the physical exercise they need and also gives them a chance to explore their surroundings, which they absolutely love!

But walking isn’t the only form of exercise for these versatile dogs. Dachshunds were originally bred for hunting, so they have a strong instinct to dig and chase. Games that tap into these instincts, like fetch or hide-and-seek with toys, can provide great mental stimulation.

Dog Sports

If you’re interested in dog sports, Dachshunds can be great competitors. Their intelligence and agility make them excellent contenders in events like earthdog trials, where they tunnel through a course following a scent trail, or rally obedience, which involves performing a series of commands.

Exercise Precautions

Due to their long backs, Dachshunds are prone to spinal problems. So, it’s important to avoid exercises that put undue strain on their backs. Jumping off furniture or running up and down stairs can be harmful, so try to discourage these activities.

Despite their exercise needs, Dachshunds also appreciate some good old-fashioned relaxation. They love to snuggle up with their humans after a day of activity, so make sure to balance their exercise with plenty of downtime.

dachshund carrying a big stick in a park
Photo: geoleo/Getty Images

Training

Training a Dachshund can be an adventure, to say the least! These little dogs are intelligent, curious, and yes, a bit stubborn. But with patience, consistency, and a good sense of humor, you can successfully train your Dachshund.

Dachshunds are quick learners when they want to be. They’re capable of mastering commands, tricks, and even some dog sports. However, their independent nature can sometimes make them seem like they’re not interested in learning. Don’t worry, though – they’re just waiting to be convinced!

Positive reinforcement is key when training a Dachshund. They respond well to rewards like treats, toys, or praise. Stick to short, fun training sessions to keep them engaged and avoid overwhelming them.

Start with basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, “come”, and “leave it”. Once they’ve mastered these, you can move on to more advanced tricks or even agility training. Just remember to keep things light and fun – Dachshunds are more likely to participate if they’re having a good time.

House-training a Dachshund can sometimes be a challenge. Consistency is crucial here. Establish a routine, take them out frequently, and reward them when they do their business outside. Accidents will happen, especially in the early stages, but don’t lose your patience. With time, they’ll get the hang of it.

Socialization is another important aspect of training. Expose your Dachshund to different people, environments, and other animals from a young age to help them grow into a well-rounded dog.

Lastly, remember that Dachshunds are diggers by nature. It’s a hard-wired instinct that can be difficult to train out of them completely. Instead, consider providing them with a designated digging area where they can satisfy this urge without ruining your garden.

dachshund running in the backyard
Photo: Garosha/Getty Images Pro

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Dachshund is more than just filling a bowl with kibble. These spirited little dogs have specific dietary needs that need to be met to keep them healthy and happy. Here’s a quick guide on what, when, and how much to feed your Dachshund.

What to Feed & How Much

When it comes to what to feed, quality is key. Look for high-quality dog food that follows the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. This ensures that the food contains all the necessary nutrients. Dry food, wet food, or a combination of both can work well for a Dachshund. Some owners also choose to feed a raw diet, but it’s important to consult with a vet before making this switch.

Now, let’s talk about how much to feed. This depends on their age, size, activity level, and overall health. Puppies usually need three to four small meals a day, while adult Dachshunds can be fed two meals a day. A general guideline is to feed ½ to 1 ½ cups of food per day, divided into two meals, but always check the feeding instructions on the food package and consult with your vet.

Dachshunds are prone to obesity, which can put extra strain on their long backs. Regularly monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly. If you can feel but not see their ribs, they’re likely at a good weight.

Treats

Treats are a great tool for training, but remember, they should make up no more than 10% of your Dachshund’s daily calorie intake. Always opt for healthy treats and avoid feeding them table scraps, no matter how pleading their eyes might be!

Water

Water is another crucial part of their diet. Ensure your Dachshund has access to fresh, clean water at all times, especially during the summer months or after exercise.

wire-haired dachshund sitting in a park
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Health

Dachshunds, with their lively personalities and heart-melting eyes, are a breed that’s easy to fall in love with. But like all breeds, they come with their own set of health considerations. Let’s delve into the world of Dachshund health.

On average, Dachshunds have a life expectancy of 12-16 years. That’s a lot of years filled with walks, snuggles, and joyful moments! However, there are certain health issues Dachshunds are more prone to. Here’s a brief rundown:

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Due to their long backs and short legs, Dachshunds are particularly susceptible to this spinal condition resulting in pain, nerve damage, and in severe cases, paralysis.

Obesity: Dachshunds love their food, but their propensity for weight gain can lead to numerous health problems, including diabetes and joint issues.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This inherited eye condition can lead to vision loss in Dachshunds.

Epilepsy: Some Dachshunds may suffer from seizures, which can be managed with medication.

Dental issues: Dachshunds are prone to dental diseases, so regular oral care is crucial.

Now, the question is – how do we keep our Dachshunds as healthy as possible?

Firstly, diet plays a significant role. Feeding them high-quality, balanced dog food in the right portions can prevent obesity and contribute to overall health. Remember, treats are great, but they should be given sparingly!

Regular exercise is also important. It helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps their joints flexible. Just remember to avoid activities that strain their back.

Routine veterinary checks are essential. Regular check-ups allow early detection of potential health problems and ensure your Dachshund is up-to-date with vaccinations.

Lastly, don’t forget about dental care. Regular brushing and dental chews can help keep dental diseases at bay.

long-haired dachshund walking on the beach
Photo: SashaFoxWalters/Getty Images Signature

History

Dachshunds are hard to forget. But have you ever wondered about the history of these charming dogs? Let’s take a trip back in time and explore the origins of the Dachshund.

The Dachshund breed has a rich history that dates back several centuries. Originating in Germany, the name “Dachshund” literally translates to “badger dog”, which gives us a clue about their original purpose.

These dogs were bred to be fearless hunters, capable of pursuing badgers into their burrows. Their long bodies and short legs were perfect for this task, allowing them to navigate through narrow tunnels with ease.

Over time, Dachshunds were bred in different sizes to hunt different prey. The larger Dachshunds took on badgers and wild boar, while the smaller ones, which we’re more familiar with today, were used to hunt smaller game like rabbits.

The breed was first introduced to the United States in the mid-19th century. They quickly gained popularity, not just as hunting dogs, but also as companions. In 1885, the Dachshund was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), marking an important milestone in the breed’s history.

In popular culture, Dachshunds have made quite a name for themselves. One of the most famous Dachshunds is probably “Slinky Dog” from the Toy Story franchise, whose character design was clearly inspired by the Dachshund’s unique shape. Dachshunds have also been featured in various other films and TV shows, and have even been the mascots for several sporting events.

Despite their fame, the world wars were a challenging time for Dachshunds. Due to their association with Germany, their popularity declined significantly during these periods. However, the breed managed to bounce back and regain its popularity in the post-war years.

Today, Dachshunds are cherished for their fearless nature, their intelligence, and their unwavering loyalty. They’re often seen participating in dog sports, from obedience and agility to earthdog trials that tap into their natural hunting instincts.

But more than anything, Dachshunds are loved as companions. Whether they’re snuggling up on the couch, playing fetch in the park, or simply following their humans around the house, Dachshunds have a way of making everyday life a little bit more joyful.

Parent Club

The official parent club for Dachshunds in the United States is the Dachshund Club of America (DCA). Founded in 1895, the DCA is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Dachshund breed.

The club offers a wealth of resources for Dachshund owners, including information on breed standards, health issues, events, and more. You can visit their website for more information.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Dachshund’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

dachshund puppies sitting on the bed
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Acquiring

Bringing a Dachshund into your life is an exciting journey! Before getting one, prepare your home with essentials like food and water bowls, a comfortable bed, toys, and puppy-proofing items for their safety.

If you choose to buy a Dachshund, ensure you purchase from reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. They should provide health clearances and be open about the puppy’s parents and living conditions.

However, consider rescuing a Dachshund in need of a loving home. There are many wonderful Dachshunds in shelters waiting for their forever families. Organizations like the American Kennel Club and the Dachshund Club of America can assist with rescue efforts.

Whether you choose to buy or rescue, remember you’re making a long-term commitment. A Dachshund will fill your life with joy, companionship, and a whole lot of love!

FAQs

Is a Dachshund a good family dog?

Absolutely! Dachshunds are known for their loyal and affectionate nature. They can be great with kids and can get along well with other pets if properly socialized. However, due to their small size, it’s important to teach children to handle them gently to avoid injury.

What makes Dachshunds so special?

Their unique physique, coupled with a brave and spirited personality, makes Dachshunds stand out. They’re intelligent, playful, and have a surprising amount of energy for their size. Plus, they’re incredibly loyal to their families.

Do Dachshunds bark a lot?

Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt, which involved alerting their human handlers with their bark. So yes, they can be quite vocal. However, with proper training and socialization, excessive barking can be managed.

Why are Dachshunds so expensive?

The price of a Dachshund puppy can vary greatly, depending on factors like pedigree, breeder reputation, and location. Responsible breeders invest a lot in the health and well-being of their dogs, which can contribute to the cost.

How much exercise does a Dachshund need?

Despite their small size, Dachshunds are quite active and require at least 30 minutes of regular exercise to keep them fit and healthy. A couple of short to moderate walks each day, along with some playtime, should suffice.

Are Dachshunds easy to train?

Dachshunds are intelligent and capable learners, but their independent streak can sometimes make training a challenge. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

Do Dachshunds shed a lot?

Dachshunds are moderate shedders. Regular brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy. The amount of shedding can also depend on the type of coat (smooth, longhaired, or wirehaired) your Dachshund has.

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