Are you wondering if a Dachshund might be a good pet to bring into your home? If you love small dogs and are looking for a loyal, loving canine companion, you just might find that a Dachshund is the ideal canine companion for you. Find out more about this breed and make an informed decision about whether or not you should bring one into your life.
Origin and History
According to the breed history as recorded by the American Kennel Club, accounts of dogs that fit this breed's description appeared as early as the 15th century. They were bred to have the temperament and tenacity of a terrier as well as the scenting and tracking ability of a hound.
Originally developed in Germany, this hound's duty was to hunt down badgers, and so the breed evolved to be long and low to the ground, the perfect shape to dive down a badger hole. "Dachs" is actually the German word for badger, so the breed's name literally means "badger dog." It's not surprising that these dogs have a natural instinct to dig.
The breed received official AKC recognition in 1885 as part of the Hound Group. Other clubs that recognize this breed include:
Characteristics of the Breed
The Dachshund, often referred to as the weiner dog, is a highly recognizable hound breed, best known for their short legs, incredible length of back, and very deep chest.
This breed comes in three size varieties:
- Standard: Approximately 24 pounds and standing 14 to 18 inches high at the shoulder.
- Miniature: About 10 pounds and standing up to 14 inches high at the shoulder.
- Toy: Up to 8 pounds and standing up to 12 inches high at the shoulder.
According to the AKC breed standard, each variety comes in one of three coat types:
- Long haired: Thick coat that is long, somewhat wavy, and soft.
- Short haired: Thick coat that is short and smooth.
- Wire haired: Thick coat that is short and wiry paired with a longer undercoat.
Their colors range significantly. They can be single colored, with or without shading of darker hairs. Single-color coat types include:
Two colors, with tan or cream markings over the eye, on each side of the jaw as well as under it, and also on various parts of the body and legs. These include:
- Wild boar
Other color patterns include:
The weiner dog is a bold little character, both feisty and affectionate. They can do well as a family pet, but should always be supervised with small children because they are more likely to be accidentally stepped on than larger, more visible breeds. Dachshunds tend to be a little headstrong, so it's important to be loving but firm with them or else your little canine will have you wagging your tail for them. These short-legged hounds are also known for being a little unpredictable. The sight of a squirrel may propel your dog into a chase without so much as a "How do you do?", so be sure to keep them on leash when you're out and about.
Dachshunds frequently form strong bonds with a single individual. They may even become envious of their owner's attention and become irritable if not properly trained and socialized. On the other end of the spectrum, some dogs of this breed can actually be quite laid back. These are the ones to watch for excessive weight gain, which puts too much stress on those long backs and can lead to spinal disc problems.
The Dachshund has a strong personality and ideas of their own, which can make training a challenge. Potty training requires persistence and is best carried out when puppies are young. It is difficult to house break an adult Dachshund who never received training as a pup.
Since training can be difficult, that's all the more reason to pursue it early. Obedience training is highly recommended in order to gain a measure of control over your pet. Even if your pet doesn't go on to become a top winner in the obedience ring, you'll both still benefit from comprehensive obedience training.
It's important to remember that every dog is an individual. With proper socialization when young, some weiner dogs are quite capable of learning anything you care to teach them.
Not surprisingly, back injuries are the most prevalent health concern for this breed. You can help your pet avoid injury by always supporting them properly when held, discouraging jumping up and down from the furniture, and taking care not to over feed them. Here are other major health concerns for this breed:
- Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease (IVDD): A degenerative disc disease that can immobilize your dog and cause pain, this condition can be managed with anti-inflammatories in mild or moderate cases.
- Epilepsy: A condition that results in mild to severe seizures.
- Canine diabetes: This disease can often be managed with insulin and an appropriate diet.
- Hypothyroidism: This condition can lead to obesity, skin problems, and heart problems.
The average life expectancy for these dogs ranges between 10 and 15 years.
Facts About the Dachshund to Help with Grooming
Grooming your weiner dog will depend on which type of coat they have.
- Long-haired Dachshunds need regular brushing to remove tangles and debris picked up from the ground or field.
- A short-haired dog is less demanding, only requiring a wipe with a damp cloth in most cases to freshen them up and make their coat shine.
- The wire-haired Dachshund presents the biggest challenge to keep them looking their best. Show specimens require hand stripping to remove excess coat and give a cleaner, more tailored appearance. Pet wire-haired Dachshunds are most easily maintained with two to three visits to a professional groomer each year.
Dogs of all three coat types will benefit from a monthly bath. Additionally:
- The nails should be clipped at least twice a month or as needed.
- Likewise, clean the ears twice a month with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol. This will keep your pet from developing an ear infection.
- Brush this dog's teeth at least two to three times a week to remove tartar and promote healthy gums.
Purchasing or Adopting a Dachshund
Are you thinking that a Dachshund will make a wonderful addition to your household? Learn more about the breed and look for a reputable breeder at the Dachshund Club of America. Expect to pay between $500 to $1,000, although higher-end show dogs can cost as much as $3,500.
Adopting a Dachshund from a Rescue
If you like the idea of adopting a rescue dog rather than purchasing a new puppy, search the PetFinder directory and Save-a-Rescue. If you don't find any that suit what you're looking for, you can review the following rescue organizations:
- Dachshund Rescue of North America is a non-profit organization that serves the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and southeast regions of the United States.
- All Texas Dachshund Rescue is a non-profit rescue that only adopts to those living in the state of Texas to ensure all homes can be visited and reviewed.
- Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue is located in Pennsylvania and allows prospective adopters to bring their dog home following application approval.
- Dachshund Rescue of Northern California is a foster-run rescue organization where dogs are placed in foster homes until a forever home is found.
- Dream Rescue has both purebred and mixed Dachshunds available and is located in Marietta, Georgia.
Is this the Right Breed for You?
If you're searching for a small breed with a lively, loving yet sometimes stubborn attitude, this could be the breed for you. Keep in mind, if you have small children, these dogs can be harmed easily, so they are best suited to homes with older children. You should also be prepared to provide the dog you choose with an adequate amount of socialization.