A Quick Look at the Dachshund...

Dachshunds are a dog breed with very long bodies and short legs that are often called hotdogs or sausage dogs for their unique appearance. Their form was originally bred into the dog in order to help them to get into the dens and burrows of small game animals such as badgers, foxes, and rabbits. Today they are mostly used as companion animals and beloved family members.

Here are some fast facts about the Dachshund:

Dog Group:
Hound (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 20-26 lbs. (9-12 kg)
Bitches – 20-26 lbs. (9-12 kg)
Dogs - 14-18 in. (35-45 cm)
Bitches – 14-18 in. (35-45 cm)
Average litter size:
1 - 3 puppies
Life expectancy:
12 – 15 years (average of 12 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:

Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

Dachshunds found their start in Germany during the Fifteenth Century. The standard for the breed, though, did not come about until 1879. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, had the breed brought into Great Britain where they became very popular, spreading to the United States in the Nineteenth Century as well. The breed hit an all-time low in popular during World War I in Allied countries, but once World War II was over, the Dachshund became popular once more for both hunting and as a companion dog.

There are several types of Dachshund, including varying sizes and coat types. The oldest among them is the standard sized with the smooth coat. It is believed that the longer haired varieties came from crossbreeding with German spaniels. The wirehaired Dachshund may have been the result of crossing among any of many breeds, such as Schnauzers or Dandie Dinmont Terriers with the original smooth haired Dachshund standard.

Dachshund Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - Dachshunds have an extremely unique look that makes them very easy to spot even among individuals who don’t know very much about dog breeds. This singular appearance is a result of the very long body and short legs. The overall body is quite defined, muscular, and solid during puppyhood, but the chest deepens and becomes more sinewy as the dog develops, with more well-built forelegs. The Dachshund’s muzzle is long for a more fox-like face, but with dark eyes in an almond shape, a bright expression, and long, high-set floppy ears. There are three types of coat for the Dachshund: smooth (short) haired, long-haired, and wire-haired.

Typical Temperament - Though Dachshunds are very close to their own families, they tend to be very wary of strangers and may growl or bark in reaction to them. This is not a standard throughout the breed, though, as the temperament varies widely from individual dog to dog. While some are bubbly and happy, others are mellow and more aloof. Dachshunds are accomplished diggers, travel well, and have a tendency toward biting if they are not carefully trained out of it at a young age. These are very willful dogs. These dogs are smart and must be kept busy and occupied or they will turn to mischief and destruction. Socialization is very important with this breed because they need to become comfortable with other people around - especially strangers - lest it become a serious aggression problem. Though it is possible for some Dachshunds to be loving and loyal around children, overall, the breed is not recommended for families with kids and any children around them must be carefully supervised and taught how to behave calmly and gently around the dog.

Basic Dachshund Care Requirements

Grooming - The grooming requirements of a Dachshund depends on its coat type. Long- and wire-haired Dachshunds require a daily brushing, while the long-haired varieties may also need an additional combing. Wire-haired Dachshunds will need the occasional clipping, usually every six months. Smooth-haired Dachshunds need a gentle brushing around twice a week, but will require a rub-down with a clean damp cloth on a regular basis.

Exercise - Though these are dogs bred for hunting and are accomplished at digging and burrowing, they are generally happiest when they are indoor spending time with their human families. This breed should never be walked off-leash because even the most well trained individual has very strong hunting instincts which can kick in as a result of just about anything. From pursuing rodents such as squirrels to chasing a leaf blowing in the street, this can cause the owner to lose control of the dog, putting him or her in danger of traffic or simply getting lost. Dachshunds do require regular exercise, but because they have short legs, they don’t need to go very far. A half hour walk once or twice per day is enough. One walk can be replaced by some play in the house.

Approximate Food Cost - It should cost around $20 to feed a Dachshund every month, based on an average amount of standard dog food for a normally active, healthy adult of the breed.

General Health Information

Though Dachshunds are not necessarily prone to many different illnesses, there are some predispositions in the breed. This includes Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), where vertebrae of the spine can rupture, causing pain as there is pressure on the spinal cord.

Common Illnesses include: IVDD and skin problems such as: vitiligo (lack of skin pigment), pattern alopecia (baldness), and acanthosis nigricans (where the armpit has a thick dark patch).

Are You the Right Dachshund Owner?

Living conditions - Both houses and apartments are perfect for the Dachshund as long as he or she has at least one walk outside every day. Stairs are not recommended for Dachshunds because it can cause too much pressure on their long spines. Fencing in a yard should be sunken into the ground because they can not only slip under low fences, but they dig very well.

Training - training of Dachshunds should begin at an early age – especially in terms of socialization. Obedience training and dominance training should start as soon as the dog is brought home to prevent future problems such as aggression, begging, and chasing people or cars. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key with Dachshunds. Training should be performed in frequent short sessions as Dachshunds don’t respond well to long sessions.

Common Problems - Dachshunds are wary of strangers and are prone to aggression. Socialization and dominance training are key to developing a good personality and temperament in an adult Dachshund.

The bottom line...

Dachshunds are wonderful dogs for families without children or who have much older children (teens, for example) who know how to behave calmly and gently around dogs. Dachshunds are excellent watch dogs and will bark to alert the family whenever something is heard or seen.

Though some dogs are rather calm and reserved, others can be energetic. Without proper socialization, many can behave with hostility and aggression toward strangers.

With different sizes and coat-types of Dachshunds, when the temperament and exercise level are well matched to a family, so can the appearance be chosen depending on personal taste and the amount of grooming time that is desired.

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Filed Under: Dachshund Training


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