Dachshund Breed Guide

Dachshunds are small dogs and are available in both standard and miniature sizes. Miniatures are not a separate classification, but the two sizes are shown separately. Both sizes have a long and low body and dark, almond-shaped eyes. Standard Dachshunds weigh 16 to 32 pounds, while miniature versions of the breed weigh no more than 11 pounds.

Dachshunds are clever, lively, friendly, and courageous dogs that love adventure. They are natural hunters and tend to be independent, but they happily join in their family's activities whenever possible.

The breed is available in three different coat varieties: Smooth, Longhaired, and Wirehaired. Smooth dogs have a short, smooth, and shiny coat. Coat colorations are numerous, and these Dachshunds come in one and two-colored coats and in patterns such as merle, brindle, and sable. Wirehaired dogs have a rough, hard, thick, and tight outer coat and a soft and fine undercoat. This variety has a beard and eyebrows and is available in numerous colorations. The Longhaired Dachshund has a sleek, slightly wavy, and longer coat than the other breed varieties and is also available in numerous colorations.

These friendly little dogs make loving, playful companions and are great pets for homes with children. They are highly adaptable and thrive in most living situations, including city apartments. However, they do require a moderate level of exercise and regular grooming and may not be suitable for families who are away from home for long periods each day.

Dachshunds are clever, lively, friendly, and courageous dogs that love adventure. They are natural hunters and tend to be independent, but they happily join in their family's activities whenever possible. These dogs are good with children when raised with them. If left alone for long periods, this breed tends to become bored and may chew or otherwise destroy things as a form of amusement.

Each type of Dachshund has distinct personality characteristics. For example, miniature dogs are more likely to be timid than standard-sized dogs. Wirehaired Dachshunds tend to have a clownish personality and a propensity for mischief, while Longhaired dogs tend to be quieter, softer, and more biddable. Smooth Dachshunds fall somewhere in the middle.

Although this is an active breed, the Dachshund's exercise requirements are easily met with daily walks and playtime in the yard. These dogs thrive in urban, suburban, and rural areas, but they need some time outdoors for frolicking and digging. Provided they are offered plenty of love, attention, and mental and physical stimulation, Dachshunds are happy and will thrive anywhere.

Dachshunds are prone to developing certain health conditions that are less common in other breeds, including keratoconjunctivitis sicca, diabetes, deafness, epilepsy, patellar luxation, gastric torsion, and some eye conditions. Additionally, these dogs are at high risk for intervertebral disc disease and back problems due to their short rib cage and long spine. Because of this, it's important to hold and lift them carefully and to report pain, lameness, and other signs of back problems to a veterinarian right away.

Obesity is also a significant problem for Dachshunds. These dogs tend to overeat and gain weight rapidly. In addition to predisposing them to back problems, being obese increases their risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, certain cancers, and other disorders. Portion control and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of obesity.

Routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, and attention to weight management help ensure Dachshunds live a full life of 12 to 15 years.

Dachshunds are proud, feisty, and willful, which can make them difficult to train and may make them a poor choice for some families with small children. With training and socialization, however, they can be loving, dependable, and gentle pets. Training these dogs requires a lot of consistency and plenty of patience, though.

Wary of strangers, Dachshunds tend to bark loudly whenever anyone approaches their home or yard. They also tend to bark when no one is near, or when they think they've heard a strange noise, or when the wind blows. This tendency to bark without provocation must be dealt with in training if they are to be left alone outdoors or housed in an apartment building.

It's also important to devote training time to a few other behaviors. Digging, for example, can quickly get out of control if limits are not set. Giving the Dachshund a safe digging spot in the backyard can reduce digging in flowerbeds and other inappropriate locations. Additionally, these dogs will eat until they are sick if food is not carefully rationed. This behavior can lead to obesity and other health problems. Firm and consistent training can minimize these behaviors.

Smooth-coated Dachshunds require minimal grooming. Brushing them weekly is generally sufficient to maintain the health and appearance of their coat. Longhaired dogs need combing or brushing every few days to keep tangles away, and they may need a few stray hairs trimmed on occasion. Wirehaired Dachshunds need the same level of brushing as longhaired dogs, but they also require coat stripping twice every year and need their beard and eyebrows trimmed regularly. This can be done at home or by a professional groomer. Trimming excess hair from between the paw pads is necessary on Longhaired and Wirehaired Dachshunds.

Dogs that live mostly indoors may only need bathing every month or two, but dogs allowed significant playtime outdoors might require bathing more frequently. This is because these dogs love to roll around in sticky and stinky things, and they have a special talent for finding such substances. A pH-balanced canine shampoo will clean the coat without drying the skin.

The teeth should be brushed regularly to keep gum disease and cavities away, and the nails need trimming every few weeks. The ears should be checked weekly for redness, odor, pain, discharge, and other signs of infection, and excess ear wax is removable with an over-the-counter canine ear cleansing solution.

First bred in Germany in the early 1600s, Dachshunds were created to be fearless, elongated dogs that could dig away the earth from badger burrows and then fight the pests to the death. Breeds that likely contributed to the development of the Dachshund include Basset Hounds, Beagles, and certain Bloodhounds and pointer-type dogs. Dachshund means "badger dog" in German.

Imported to hunt wild rabbits, Dachshunds first arrived in the United States in 1870. During World War I, however, the breed's popularity plummeted because of its German ancestry. It was not until a couple of decades later that the Dachshund regained acceptance in America.

In the years since, this breed has become a beloved family pet in the United States and is now one of the most popular breeds in the country, according to AKC Registration Statistics.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Dachshund in 1885.