Dachshund

Picture of a brown Dachshund

The delightful Dachshund is well-renowned for his lengthy, sausage-like body and his cheerful, jaunty little walk. A dog considered to be a scent hound, the Dachshund was originally intended to hunt such fierce creatures as badgers and also rabbits and foxes. The Dachshund has such a tenacious nature that he can even be put to work trailing wild boar.

However, the Dachshund is much more than just a happy, working dog. Today’s Dachshunds make for wonderful family pets and also excel at many different sporting activities and in the conformation ring.

A dog known by many affectionate nicknames, Dachshunds are sometimes referred to as Wiener Dogs, Sausage Dogs, and Doxies. For a fun-loving little dog that is up for any adventure you’ve got in mind, it’s hard to go wrong by adding a Dachshund to your family.

Read on to learn more about this feisty, comical breed.

Height:          Standards=8 to 9 inches

Miniatures=5 to 6 inches

Weight:         Standards=16 to 32 pounds

Miniatures=11 pounds and under 

Life Span:     12 to 16 years 

Best Suited To: First time dog owners 

Personality: Playful, smart, loving, active, tenacious, feisty, affectionate, comical 

Intelligence: Quite intelligent 

Shedding: Moderate shedding

Exercise: Moderate activity requirements 

Energy: Moderate 

Barking: Can be a barker 

Drooling: Not prone to drooling 

AKC/CKC Group: Hound group 

Colors: Black and cream, black and tan, blue and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, fawn, red, wheaten, wild boar, blue and cream, fawn (Isabella) and tan, fawn (Isabelle) and cream, chocolate and cream. Markings can be brindle, sable, piebald, dapple, double dapple, or brindle piebald.

Coat: Smooth or wire-haired; double coated.

Dachshund Overview

The Dachshund comes in two size variations: Standard and Miniature. In addition to this, there are three different varieties of this distinctive and dashing breed: smooth (shorthaired), longhaired, and wirehaired. The Standard Dachshund reaches a weight ranging from 16-32 pounds when fully grown while the Miniature should weigh no more than 11 pounds at the most. For Dachshunds that fall somewhere between these two weight categories, there is an unofficial classification reserved just for them: tweenies. Tweenies are Dachshunds whose weight falls anywhere between 11 and 16 pounds.

Some countries have different systems of classifying the sizes for this breed. In the Dachshund’s native Germany, Dachshunds are considered to be Standard, Miniature, or Kaninchenteckel. The determination of which classification each dog would fall into is made by a measuring of the chest when the dog reaches 15 months of age.

One of the most popular breeds today, the Dachshund makes a wonderful family companion whether you are looking for a pet or a show or performance dog. Spirited and adorable, the breed possesses a self-assuredness that is both charming and refreshing to behold.

The Dachshund is exceptionally courageous but can be very obstinate. A spirited breed that likes to chart its own course, training a Dachshund can be a very frustrating endeavor since the breed is not particularly interested in learning what you’ve got in mind.

A dog that loves to play, the Dachshund enjoys being near his family as often as possible. Comical and mischievous, it is not uncommon for this breed to try to “assist” you with your household chores. Spirited and feisty, the Dachshund loves to chase things, but care must be taken to not allow this breed to chase small family pets such as birds, cats, or other small dogs. The Doxie’s natural prey drive means any chasing games may end badly for the object of the dog’s attention.

The Dachshund has a deep bark that really resonates. Many people are surprised that such a small dog is capable of such a loud noise. The breed loves the sound of his own voice, barking as often as possible. This may become a point of contention between you and your neighbors.

Though Dachshunds love each member of their family, they often become very attached to one particular person in the household. The breed is prone to jealousy, and if not taught otherwise, the Doxie can snap if feeling ignored.

Dachshunds are highly adaptable, doing well in nearly any living situation. They are equally at home living in an apartment or in a house with a fully fenced yard. This dog breed should be taken for daily walks but can also easily expend his natural energy through play indoors. Because the Doxie has a very long back, care must be taken to not permit this breed to jump on and off furniture which can lead to serious injuries and even paralysis.

General Appearance

A dog with a lengthy, powerful body atop short but very muscular legs, the Dachshund moves with a jaunty step that communicates total confidence. With his lengthy muzzle and proudly held head, the Dachshund’s eyes are curious and filled with wisdom.

Though the Dachshund’s seemingly odd proportions always bring a smile, there is a very specific reason for this dog breed’s appearance. The Dachshund’s short legs allow him to dig and move through tunnels with ease, permitting him to corner prey animals. The breed also possesses a powerful and substantial chest that provides the bravado required for an intense fight against angry badgers and other prey.

The Smooth Dachshund is the variety in the highest demand in America today. A breed that sheds moderately, the Smooth Doxie’s coat is naturally short and has a beautiful sheen to it. Only minimal grooming is required to keep the Smooth Dachshund looking his best. However, Smooths do become cold quite easily, meaning a sweater is necessary when temperature starts to drop.

By comparison, the Longhaired Dachshund’s hair is flowing and somewhat wavy. Believed to be gentler by nature than the Smooth or the Wirehaired Dachshund, this breed requires regular brushing to keep the coat from becoming matted or knotted.

Wirehaired Doxies have coats that are short, but that are wiry to the touch and marked by plush furnishings, fluffy eyebrows, and an impressive beard. This breed more easily retains heat through its natural double coat; however, regular grooming is required to keep this dog in good condition.

Personality Traits

Dachshunds may be small of size, but they are well-renowned for their immensely courageous hearts. Their bravery often propels them to challenge animals that are far bigger than they are which can lead to severe injury. Some Dachshunds do not like strangers and may react aggressively if approached by them. This can also be the case for some Dachshunds who are greeted by unfamiliar dogs.

The Dachshund is a very devoted family dog that takes watching over his family very seriously. They will alert bark at the presence of strangers or at unusual noises. The breed enjoys the company of children so long as the kids treat the dog with respect and gentleness.

Aficionados of the breed relate that they feel the different varieties also exhibit slightly different personality traits. It is believed that the Longhaired Dachshund has a softer, more laidback temperament while the Wirehaired Doxie is a natural comedian and true lover of people.

One characteristic that is true of all Doxies regardless of their variety is their tendency to dig. Digging is an important part of this dog breed’s role as a hunting dog. A large part of their genetic makeup, you can expect the Doxie to do some digging in your backyard. In addition to this, the breed loves to bark and can be destructive.

Living Requirements

Dachshunds have exceptionally long backs, making them predisposed to back issues and disc problems. With this in mind, a Doxie is best suited to a home that does not have a lot of stairs. To help prevent any injuries to the dog’s back, it is best to prevent the Dachshund from jumping on or off furniture. It is also important to make sure this dog breed stays at a healthy weight to prevent strain on his joints.

Care

The different varieties of Dachshund require different types of grooming. The Smooth Dachshund requires the least amount of work. A simple brushing and the occasional wiping down of the coat is all that is necessary. Bathing should take place on an as needed basis to keep the Doxie looking and smelling his best.

The Longhaired Dachshund should be brushed or combed on a daily basis. This fellow requires a bath whenever his coat or skin begins to smell.

The Wirehaired Dachshund has the highest grooming requirements of the three Doxie varieties. To maintain the coat’s wiry texture, this breed should be hand stripped twice yearly. This is a skill you can learn to do on your own, or you can hire a professional groomer to handle it for you. Bath this fellow only when needed.

Nails should be trimmed once per week. To keep your Dachshund’s teeth in tip top condition and to prevent periodontal disease, you should brush your Dachshund’s teeth several times weekly. 

Health

All dog breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. Thankfully, through careful health testing of breeding dogs, it is possible to limit and even possibly eliminate the transmission of some of the most commonly seen problems in some breeds. The main problems that can affect the Dachshund include:

Reputable breeders conduct the appropriate physical and DNA tests on their dogs prior to any matings to ensure genetic illness is not knowingly passed from generation to generation. 

History

The Dachshund traces his roots to Germany several hundred years ago. His original purpose was to accompany his owners on hunts for badgers and other types of small game. The Dachshund’s name breaks into two unique parts: “Dach” meaning badger and “hund” meaning dog. History relates that the three different varieties developed over time with the Smooth being the first of the three to emerge. It is believed that the Smooth was developed by breeding together miniature French pointers and pinschers. The original size for all Dachshunds was Standard.

The Dachshund’s stubby, powerful legs play an important role when on hunts, allowing him to dig with ease and chase prey inside their dens. Dachshunds of a more substantial size also hunted for deer and fox while smaller specimens were used to chase hares and ferrets.

Still very much a hunting breed in his native land and throughout Europe; in North America, the Doxie is largely a beloved family companion alone. Today, the Dachshund, and its many varieties, is one of the most beloved and frequently purchased breeds in the American Kennel Club. 

Fun Facts About the Dachshund

  • The Dachshund was a prominent figure in German propaganda in World War I.

Since the Dachshund was commonly featured in German propaganda during World War I and Kaiser Wilhelm II was particularly fond of the breed, the Doxie soon fell out of vogue in the United States when the war was over. To help remedy this situation, the American Kennel Club briefly tried to rebrand the breed by removing their given German name and instead referring to them as badger dogs or liberty pups.

  • The original Olympic mascot was a Doxie.

In 1972, the Munich Olympic Games unveiled a mascot, a beautiful Dachshund by the name of Waldi. This marked the first year a mascot was associated with the Olympic games. To pay homage to their new mascot, the marathon held at the event that year was designed to resemble the outline of the Dachshund’s body.

  • Australia hosts Dachshund races.

Dachshund races were first launched in Australia in the 1970s. Today, this sport is immensely popular in countries all across the globe. Southern California hosts its Wienerschnitzel Weiner Nationals annually, an event that first started in 1995. 

  • Dachshunds obtained the title for the World’s Oldest Dog…twice.

There are 23 dogs listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as the world’s oldest dogs. Two of them were Dachshunds and a third was a Doxie cross. Chanel, a female Doxie, lived to the ripe old age of 21, while Scolly, a male, lived to be 20. The Doxie mix, a dog named Otto, passed away at age 20. 

  • A Dachshund was the first cloned dog in the UK.

Winnie the Dachshund was the first dog to be cloned in the UK.

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