ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Dachshund

Dachshund dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

It is quite easy to fall in love with the dachshund. Dog experts and veterinarians explained that dachshunds are one of the more popular dog breeds because of their unique appearance, which for some can be reminiscent of a hotdog. In fact, it is not surprising that hotdogs are actually named as «Dachshund Sausages» which was eventually shortened into simple «hot dogs». Dachshunds are extremely active and very comfortable with their pet parents. This is one of the reasons why it has been almost always in the list of most popular breeds in the United States.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityHigh
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessBelow Average
Exercise NeedsAbove Average

Dog Breed Group: Hounds
Height: 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder (Standard) and 5 to 6 inches at the shoulder (Miniature)
Weight: 16 to 32 pounds (Standard) and 8 to 12 pounds (Miniature)
Life Span: 13 to 17 Years
Main Highlights
  • Dachshunds are well-known from H. L. Mencken’s description as «a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long,”
  • Currently, it is one of the most popular breeds in the United States.
  • One of the easily recognizable dog breeds, thanks to its unique “hotdog” shape.
  • The key characteristics of this breed are courage and boldness.
  • Dachshunds are one of the extreme cases of breeding for specific form and functionality. They were bred as dogs with short legs to keep their nose closer to the ground where the scent trail is more prominent. Their webbed paws were developed to promote fast digging ability.
  • Dachshunds make good guard dogs. However, they have a high tendency to bark excessively so this might be a problem if you live in a compound as the excessive barking habit may disturb neighbors.
  • Due to their anatomical features, it is a great idea to have ramps or steps for them to access furniture. This prevents the Dachshund from hurting its back jumping on or off the sofa or bed.
  • The number one cause of injury for dachshunds is back injury. To protect the dachshund’s back, the pet parent must hold it properly by tucking one arm tucked beneath its hind end, and the other one supporting its front end at the chest area. This keeps the dachshunds body in a normal, horizontal position.
  • With an average life span of thirteen to seventeen years, the dachshund is one of the members of the hound family that can live a long life. In fact, there are several accounts where the dachshund lived up to twenty-five years old, which is equivalent to a whopping one hundred and seventy-five dog years. That is a truly remarkable achievement for this breed.
Breed History

Dachshund is quite an old breed that originated in Germany as early as the 15th century. Dachshunds, which mean «badger dogs» are bred specifically for hunting and came from several breeds to come up with a dog that is fast and can easily navigate tight holes and underground dens. It is one of the notable breeds that have been created to appear as it is to function well based on what its purpose is about. They are known to have a very keen sense of smell, making it very effective in following trails. This feature is from its hound heritage, and was retained to be one of its key characteristics even after breeding with other dogs. They have short but very powerful legs to keep them low to the ground where the scent is more prominent, and the narrow body enables itself to squeeze into burrows and tunnels. Aside from strong legs, dachshunds have webbed paws that are very efficient in digging and moving soil at a very fast rate.

Size

Standard dachshunds reach about 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder, while miniatures are about 5 to 6 inches at the shoulder. The standard variety weighs from sixteen to thirty-two pounds, while miniatures weigh about eight to twelve pounds.

Personality and Character

A very adaptable breed, dachshunds can blend in to homes with large lawns and even townhouses with limited space as long as they are getting daily walks and play routines. It is a dog that thrives generally well in families that live in the city. Dachshunds may require a little bit of patience because these courageous dogs are headstrong and prefer to do things their own way. This independence can be controlled when they are trained at an early age. Dachshunds are very affectionate dogs to their owner, but they have a high tendency to become very stubborn, which is one of the challenges for pet parents that would like their dachshunds to be well-behaved fur babies. For pet parents that have a spacious lawn with wonderful gardens, you may want to reorganize your garden because dachshunds might end up digging them off. This is also applicable with your furniture and flooring.

Dog experts recommend, whenever possible, for dachshund owners to keep them as a solitary pet, or with another dachshund. These territorial dogs do not blend well with other pets, especially cats and other dogs. Dachshunds will compete for attention and territory, and might end up having frequent fights with other pets in the house due to their domineering personality.

Care Features

Dog experts as one of the healthiest dog breeds consider dachshunds. Although these dogs can have musculoskeletal problems, especially in their spine due to their long and low body, there are no breed-specific illnesses to worry about. Dachshunds, even the longhaired ones, are considered as generally low-maintenance fur babies because their coat is not as fine as other breeds that require a lot of brushing and attention.

Feeding Schedule

For Dachshund puppies

Dachshund puppies and young dogs should be fed at the minimum frequency of three times daily. Because they are in the growing stage, they require considerably more nutrients and sustained nutrition compared to adult dachshunds. Puppies that are fed once or twice a day are prone to develop hypoglycemia or low glucose levels. Hypoglycemia involves low energy and can further branch out into other growth-related complications. As a pet parent, always remember to increase the amount of food that the dachshund consumes, because underfed dogs can become malnourished. The veterinarian can provide you with specific schedule and amount of dog food during one of your visits.

It is highly recommended for young dachshunds to consume puppy food as you slowly wean the puppies from formulated milk or softer food preparations. The gradual weaning will be advised by the veterinarian to make sure that the puppy is getting enough nutrition that is very essential for proper growth and development.

Hydration is also very important for growing puppies. Because their digestive systems are still in the development process while they are growing, it is very important that they have constant supply of clean water. A large amount of microorganisms, such as parasites and pathogens, can be found in contaminated water and may lead to serious illnesses or infestations. Make sure that your water supply is clean to avoid such complications.

For adult Dachshunds

In general, there are three primary factors to consider when planning a feeding schedule. These are the eating habits, age of the dachshund, and activity level. These factors are very important because a definite assessment from these factors can help you prepare a good feeding schedule and measurement. Like their pet parents, the amount of calories, as well as the needed nutrients completely depend on how much energy is required to help the dog with its daily activities. This means that if the dachshund is not very active, it will definitely require fewer calories than the dog that participates in sports or field trials. This simply means that a couch potato that will receive more calories than what its body requires will be highly likely to become obese. Obesity is one of the most common causes of systemic illnesses in dachshunds because pet parents tend to overshoot their dog’s calorie requirement, and all those excess calories are stored in the body to become fat. Stored fat is a bit difficult to address, especially when the dog is used to being a couch potato.

The dog’s age is also one of the most important considerations in the diet plan. As dogs grow older, their need for protein and calories decreases because they are no longer as active as they used to be. Older dogs also have slower metabolism, and their digestive systems digest food as a slower rate. Dachshunds, just like any other dog, have eating habits that depend on how and where they grew up. A dachshund that does not thrive is a very rare instance on a free fed diet. However, if the dachshund overeats, you might want to reconsider and measure the amount of food you provide for your dog. Meals can be divided from large meals, into smaller but more frequent ones. Small, frequent feedings allow proper nourishment while preventing the dog from gaining additional weight. It is very important for dog owners to determine what type of food preparation the dachshund consumes better. In general, there is a certain dog food brand or preparation that your dog will like better, so it is best not to just follow the common trend. Allow the dachshund to try different choices and observe which type and variety suits its taste. This is one of the unique features of any type of dog that is why it is very important to evaluate your dog’s nourishment and overall health every now and then. Usually, standard dachshunds can consume up to two and a half cup of dog food per day, while miniature dachshunds can consume about half to three-fourth cups each day.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Dachshunds come in three coat types, which are smooth, wired, or long-haired, as well as two recognized sizes which are standard and miniature. These choices expand the selection for pet parents that may have problems with longhaired dogs or very large breeds. Due to the nature of how a dachshund was bred, it is very important to remember that they are highly likely to dig stuff. That digging habit is not limited to your yard or potted plants, as they can also dig furniture, and even the carpet. This habit causes the dog to be more prone to dirt and even external parasites. In general, dachshunds have minimal to moderate grooming requirements depending on the coat type of the dog that you are having. It is recommended for these dogs to have a quick but vigorous bath once or twice a week. During the colder months, wiping the coat with a warm and moist towel can clean the superficial dirt and accumulated oil. Another important part of grooming is the paws and nails, due to their unique webbed appearance, the paws are a bit prone to harbor dirt, which may contain microorganisms. Ears should also be cleaned regularly, especially the longhaired ones because moisture can turn the accumulated earwax into a breeding ground for infectious agents.

Pet parents are in for a treat when selecting their preferred coat and color, as the Dachshund’s coat comes in a lot of patterns and unique colors. The most popular color is solid red, although you will also find other common colors such as chocolate, brindle, cream, black, and dapple, which is a combination of light-colored areas, combined with a darker color. Regardless of color or coat type, dachshunds share similar care requirements and does not significantly affect their needs whether you are leaning towards the smooth coat or the longhair coat.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Dachshund is a breed that is more compatible to families with older children. Homes with younger children are not quite suitable with dachshunds because this dog breed is quite irritable. There are also cases that the breed is a bit of a challenge when it comes to housebreaking. Dachshunds are territorial, and this is not a very good combination with their moderate irritability. They do not go to well with other dogs, especially if the other dog is smaller or considerably bigger than they are. As much as possible, it is recommended for the dachshund to be alone, with another dachshund, or with another dog that also comes from the hound family.

Owning a dachshund is both a joy and a challenge. Being considered as one of the most devoted dogs, it has its little drawbacks such as moderate training difficulties and excessive barking habits. However, if you can live with these issues, you are in for a treat of having a dog that is active, vivacious, and will keep you company for years to come.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • CyndyPrinceton

    My friend’s dachshund has trouble losing weight. Sure it looks pretty cute but it’s not good for the dog’s health. My dog has already changed his dog food and is contemplating on a raw food diet. Any ideas what more can be done for the pooch? They also walk a lot so we’re wondering if the dog has other health issues.

    • It would be better to have your friend’s dog checked by the veterinarian. Just ensure that every information will be truthfully disclosed to determine the root cause of the problem.

  • Robin James

    As a hunter, I should say that this breed by nature aggressive, active, energetic, loyal. A tireless hunting dog with an excellent nose.
    The Dachshund works on the badger, the fox, the raccoon, a blood trail, if necessary, will get a duck from the pond, warn about the boar and the bear. It’s a dog with a loud voice, with security qualities, brave, serious, purposeful and independent.

  • The Dachshund is one of the most extreme cases of closest to purpose breeding. How it looks like is based on what its job requires, strong claws for chasing and digging burrows, short legs to keep its nose close to the scene source, and long streamlined body for chasing rodents and small game.

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