Loyal and full of spunk, here's what you should know about Dachshunds if you're thinking of adding one to your pack.
Dachshunds, or more famously “hot dogs” or “sausage hounds,” are energetic, loyal companions that make fantastic family pets. With their distinct long and low silhouette, these spunky dogs have made their mark on the dog world. Their bold personality, curious eyes, and independence make Dachshunds striking dogs sure to charm their way into your heart.
What are Dachshunds?
Dachshunds were bred as independent hunters in Germany hundreds of years ago with a demanding job: badger hunting. Badgers are a huge adversary for just about any dog. Still, the Dachshund’s cleverness, tenacity, and courage make them ideal for chasing badgers underground — even their loud, hound-like bark was perfect for alerting their human hunting partner where they were underground.
Today, Dachshunds are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. They have a lapdog reputation but still, maintain a watchful eye on their loved ones. The American Kennel Club recognizes two types of Dachshunds: the standard and the miniature-sized Dachshund. However, there are many variations regarding their coat length, coloring, and markings.
Standard Dachshunds come in three coat types: smooth, wirehaired, or longhaired. Their coats come in many color combinations, including black and cream, blue and tan, fawn and tan, wheaten, red, wild boar, black and tan, and much more. They also have distinct markings, including brindle, sable, piebald, or dapple.
Standard Dachshunds stand between eight and nine inches at the shoulder and weigh between 16 and 32 pounds.
Like their larger counterparts, miniature Dachshunds come in many different colors and coat lengths and can have a variety of markings. They are classified as hounds and have low grooming needs, especially if you choose a shorthaired Dachshund. Their long back and face, naturally floppy ears, and short bowed legs are key physical traits.
Miniature Dachshunds stand up to six inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds. Like Standard Dachshunds, they have an estimated life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.
Dachshund Behavioral Traits
Since Dachshunds were bred to be independent hunters, they can be prone to wandering, digging, and exploring, making it critical for pet parents to keep a watchful eye on their “Doxies.”
Another common trait is vocalization. Dachshunds have a loud, hound-like bark, and some may be prone to barking excessively or at anyone who comes to the door because of their vigilant nature.
You’ll also want to start obedience training immediately with your Dachshund. They are known for having a stubborn streak and can become overly suspicious or vigilant if not reined in.
Their high intelligence makes them quick learners, but this stubbornness can get in the way of their training. The Veterinary Centers of America recommends reward-based training with food for Dachshunds to overcome this stubbornness.
Dachshund Health Issues
While Dachshunds are generally healthy, they are more susceptible to some health issues based on their breeding, size, and build.
Dachshunds have long backs and short legs, which puts them at a high risk of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IDD). This recognized clinical health problem within the breed causes severe back pain and even paralysis. Miniature Dachshunds were found to have the highest rate of IDD among all dog breeds, with estimates ranging from 19% to 36% when looking at the prevalence of IDD in all Dachshunds.
In addition, Dachshunds are known to put on weight quickly, so closely monitoring your pup’s food intake and extra treats or scraps they get is crucial to supporting their overall health.
Most Dachshunds have short, glossy, and soft coats which only require weekly brushing to remove dead hair. If you have a short-haired “Doxie,” you can look forward to below-average shedding.
Wire-coat Dachshunds should be “stripped” twice a year to maintain their lovely coats.
“Hand stripping” is the manual process of removing dead hairs from your dog’s coat to preserve the wiry look of the top coat. If done regularly, it can even lead to slower hair regrowth which minimizes shedding and how much grooming your dog needs.
If you have a long-haired Dachshund, you’ll want to brush your pup’s beautiful hair daily to keep it free of knots, tangles, and excess hair.
One of the biggest health problems Dachsunds face is Intervertebral Disc Disease (IDD). However, pet parents can minimize their dog’s risk of IDD by teaching them not to jump on and off furniture, avoiding large numbers of stairs, and keeping their dogs at a healthy weight to avoid extra strain on their backs. Consider investing in a dog ramp to give your “Doxie” an easy way to get onto your bed if they continue to jump on and off furniture stubbornly.
Dachshunds with smooth coats lose body heat rapidly due to their tiny size and short coat. Provide your smooth Dachshund with a dog sweater during cooler months to keep them comfortable on your walks.
Dachshunds have moderate exercise requirements that can be satisfied with daily playtime in a backyard or indoor games.
However, the mental stimulation that exploring their surroundings on a walk provides is also critical. Remember, Dachshunds originated as independent, crafty hunters and love exploring and sniffing their surroundings on walks. Consider taking your Dachshund on a short walk twice daily to keep them mentally stimulated on top of regular potty breaks.
Generally speaking, many Dachshunds don’t prefer exercising in a dog park. Dachshunds are naturally vigilant dogs that can be wary of other dogs, so avoid dog parks, especially if they don’t separate small and large dogs from each other.
Dachshunds are prone to becoming obese, which strains their short legs and back, putting them at a greater risk of developing Intervertebral Disc Disease, arthritis, and more. As a result, Dachshund parents should closely monitor their dog’s weight and feed them a healthy, balanced diet that will support their high energy levels.
Sundays gently air-dried food is veterinarian developed and crafted from the highest quality ingredients to support your Dachshund’s energy levels, healthy weight, and shiny coat. It’s an alternative to kibble that’s tastier and healthier but just as easy to serve.