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› Dachshund

Dachshund

A feisty, comical little companion with personality by the bucketload.

Dachshund

Picture of Toby the smooth coated dachshund courtesy of Jenny Bingham

Personality And Temperament

Probably one of the most recognised breeds in the world, the Dachshund comes in six varieties - Long Haired, Short Haired and Wire Haired and all three of these varieties come in Standard size and Miniature size. (There is also a third size - "Rabbit", which is not recognised by the US or UK Kennel Cubs but is recognised by the other 83 countries in the World Canine Federation)

The Dachshund, At A Glance

TraitsRating
Playfulness
Affection Level f
Friendliness Towards Strangers
Good with Children
Good with Other Dogs
Exercise Needed
Ease of Training
Watch Dog Ability
Grooming
Shedding
Cold Tolerant
Heat Tolerant

Understanding the Breeds at a Glance
Dog Breed Ratings Got You a Little Confused?

Here's a little help in understanding them

  • Playfulness:   Most Playful = 5    Least Playful = 1
  • Affection:  Most Affectionate = 5   Least Affectionate = 1
  • Friendliness Towards Strangers: Most Friendly = 5  Least = 1
  • Good With Children:  Great= 5    Not Good = 1
  • Good With Dogs:  Great = 5   Not Good Around Dogs = 1
  • Exercise Required:  Extensive Daily Exercise = 1  Minimal = 1
  • Ease of Training:  Very Easy = 5     Difficult = 1
  • Watch Dog:  Excellent Watch Dog = 5  Minimal = 1
  • Grooming:  Time Consuming = 5   Minimal = 1
  • Shedding:  Heavy Shedder = 5     Minimal = 1
  • Cold Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5   Poor Tolerance = 1
  • Heat Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5  Poor Tolerance = 1

Despite their tiny size, Dachshunds are brave, alert and playful little companions  They are great watchdogs but also great  for getting cuddles and having fun with.

The different coat varieties have very similar personalities although the long haired tends to be slightly more relaxed and laid back and the wire haired a little more clownish and fun.

Although they were bred for life in the country, life in the town seems to fit them well also as they are very adaptable. The miniature versions especially can be apartment dogs as long as they can be taken out for walks daily.

They can be a little feisty and stubborn so make sure you stand your ground with them otherwise they'll be walking all over you!

Smooth Coated Dachshund
Long Haired Dachshund

flickr images courtesy of Howard O. Young

They are friendly to other dogs and love socialising with them however they also have a strong prey drive so need to be taught that any other household pets such as cats or rabbits are not to be chased.

These little "Sausage Dogs" get on well with children too although children need to be shown the correct way to lift a dachshund so as not to hurt its back. For this reason, slightly older children are recommended. Jealous or frightened dogs have been known to nip so care is needed not to let children tease or move too quickly around them.

Dachshunds should be discouraged from jumping and from over-exerting themselves as they may well damage their long back in the process. And they love to dig so make sure your back yard is well secure and that they have a nice cosy blanket to burrow into at night.

They dislike being left alone for long periods of time and may whine until they get some company. They have even been known to suffer from Separation Anxiety.

I love this video of Madeline, a Dachshund pup having a great time playing with a crab on the beach.

Not sure the crab is having such a good time though!

Her little face at the end when the crab scurries off into the sea - she looks so disappointed that her fun is over, poor wee soul.

Breed History

The Dachshund's origins are German and literally means "Badger Dog". The Standard variety was bred to hunt and dig out badgers and the miniature variety was used for rabbits, stoats and rodents.

They were very popular with Royalty and even got the Royal stamp of approval from Queen Victoria!

The first of the three varieties was the smooth haired dachshund. From this came the other two varieties.

You can find out what life with a Dachshund is really like by reading our interview with Jenny about living with her smooth coated Dachshund, Toby. He has some funny little quirks!

There are two theories on how the long haired version came about: 

  1. Dogs had puppies which had slightly longer hair and these were bred to eventually produce a long haired version of the dog.
  2. The smooth haired dachshund was crossed with various breeds of spaniels.

The wire haired version came about in the late 19th century and is probably the result of a crossing between the smooth coated version and a few wire or hard haired terriers.

No longer used for hunting, these little fellows have transited smoothly into the role of a companion dog.

Long Haired Dachshund

flickr image courtesy of slwilson1984

Vital Statistics

  • Height (Standard): 20 - 25 cm (8 - 10 inches)
  • Height (Miniature): 13 - 15 cm (5 - 6 inches)
  • Weight (Standard): 7 - 16  kg ( 15  - 35lb)
  • Weight (Miniature):  4 - 5kg ( 9 - 11lb)
  • Life Expectancy: 14 - 16 yrs
  • Available in Smooth Coat, Wire Coat and Long Haired and all three different coat types are available in miniature versions.

Colours:

  • Red
  • Black and Tan
  • Chocolate and Tan
  • Cream
  • Dapple (merle in other breeds)
  • Brindle
  • Piebald
  • Isabella (silver/grey)
Smooth Coated Dachshund

image courtesy of 3doxies.com

Ease Of Training

Dachshund have a reputation of being slightly difficult to house-break. This can be helped with patient training and using positive methods to reward your dog when he gets it right.

He's never going to win first prize in formal obedience trials but he can be trained to a perfectly acceptable level provided you are kind, firm and consistent. Don't let him walk all over you!

They can be slightly aggressive towards strangers so they need to be properly socialised to nip this in the bud.

Long Haired Dachshund

flickr image thanks to Soggydan

Protection

Sausage dogs are excessive barkers who's bark is surprisingly big for their size. Although, the miniature versions can be particularly shrill at times.

All versions will alert you to any strangers approaching your property and will more than likely try to take on the intruder as they have no concept of their size.

 Dachshunds

Long-haired, wire-haired and smooth coated dachshunds courtesy of Tobyotter on flickr

Grooming

Smooth haired varieties need very little maintenance - a weekly brush to remove dead hairs is all he needs.

His longer haired counterpart requires brushing every two or three days to stay on top of any matting, tangling, mud or twigs brought in from the garden.

And the wire haired dogs need brushing a few times a week plus hand stripping twice a year to keep their coat looking respectable.

Smooth Coated Dachshund

flickr image from chloeodiemolly

Health Considerations

Spinal injuries and back problems are an obvious hazard for this little fellow. He has also been known to suffer from:

  • Elbow Malformation
  • Kneecap dislocation
  • Catatracts
  • Epilepsy
  • Retinal Atrophy
  • Diabetes
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease
  • Double Dapple coloured dogs have a high risk of eye and hearing problems
  • Cushing's Syndrome
  • Color Dilution Alopecia
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Dental Issues

Famous Dachshunds

Lump (pron. "Loomp" German for "Rascal") - Picasso's dog

Archie And Amos - Andy Warhol's dogs

Obie - the infamous 77lb (35kg) obese sausage dog


You could find out about other Dog Breeds in the A To Z List with photos or perhaps you'd like to check out the other 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds? (the Dachshund is in there but I'm not telling you which number!)


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