You’ve seen them around everywhere, but how much do you know about the star of this Dog Breed Corner: the Dachshund? Learn more about the history, one-of-a-kind personality, and exercise needs of the Dachshund. If you need a Pet Sitter experienced with Dachshunds, we’ve got what you need!
Quick Facts ✔
Height – 18 – 23cm (13 to 15cm for the miniature breed)
Lifespan – 12 – 16 years
Country of origin – Germany
Breed type – Scent Hound
- Families with older children
- Apartment living
- Homes with other pets (especially other Dachshunds!)
- Owners committed to training
Dachshund Breed History ♜
The Dachshund may be a little doggo, but don’t let their short stature fool you. This was never a lap dog! As early as the 15th century, these little guys were being bred to protect the farm’s chickens and lambs against one aggressive and persistent foe: the badger. In German, Dachshund means “badger hound,” and this dog lived up to its name.
With their great sense of smell, short legs, long flexible body, and large heart and lungs, Dachshunds were specially designed to sniff out and dig up badger holes. They also needed a big heap of courage to confront badgers, which were known to be fierce and strong.
As soon as German breeders realised what a special dog they had on their hands, they went about breeding different sizes. Smaller Dachshunds could be used to sniff out rabbits and other small prey. And larger Dachshunds could be used to chase down wild boar! Despite the size differences, breeders were looking for a dog with an independent and confident demeanour. Because no matter if this little doggie was diving snout first into the dwelling of an unknown animal or bounding through the brush after a pack of huge wild boars, the dog had to be fearless.
Over the next few centuries, Dachshunds popped up all over the world with a variety of different colours and fur lengths. Today, there is an incredible diversity when it comes to the breed, from the smooth-haired to the wire-haired, two-toned black and red to dapple to piebald. In Germany, there are still three size variations within the breed: standard, miniature, and rabbit. The rabbit is the smallest – and dare we say, most adorable? – but kennel clubs don’t recognise it.
Dachshunds aren’t used in hunting anymore. Instead, they’ve become one of the most popular dog breeds around the world. And they haven’t let go of that confident attitude that makes them so unique!
Dachshund Personality Traits
In addition to their confidence, there are quite a few other loveable personality traits that have survived over the years.
Dachshunds are smart, fearless, and a bit relentless. Owners should be prepared for a somewhat long training process, because these pups have a stubborn streak. That said, you’ll fall in love with their big personality. Dachshunds do well with other dogs and older children, and will assume the role of adorable “leader-of-the-pack” in no time.
One new trait that you can find in your Dachshund is their affinity for cuddling. These pups started out as farm dogs, free to roam and protect the grounds from unwanted pests and predators. But as soon as they were invited inside, these doggos became big cuddlers. They’ll even curl up in bed with you if you let them.
You can make your Dachshund extra happy by giving them opportunities to burrow and snuggle into blankets, which will allow them to satisfy their persistent need to dig and explore. In fact, you’ll often find your Dachshund trying to weasel their way into the legs and arms of any clothing lying around, which is hilarious as long as you don’t mind a stretched-out sweater.
Exercise Needs & Trainability ★
Dachshunds benefit from rigorous mental stimulation and play, and Owners should strive to give them an hour or two of outdoor activity every day. While they’re not built for long-distance running, they still have plenty of energy that they need to use up so that they don’t take to destructive digging behaviours at home. If you can’t take your Dachshund for daily Dog Walks, you might call up a local Dog Walker to give them some fresh air.
Another great way to give your Dachshund enough exercise is to provide consistent training. Dachshunds have a reputation for stubbornness and independence, but once you’ve set up a good training relationship, they’ll love the mental challenge of learning new tricks and solving puzzles.
One thing that tends to work swimmingly with Dachshunds is to incorporate their drive for digging and tracking. You might hide small toys around the house or the backyard and have your Dachshund retrieve them in exchange for their favourite treats or a good scratch behind the ears.
Another option could be to set up a mini agility course inside or outside to stimulate your Dachshund’s drive for chasing. They’ll love running through tunnels, jumping over barriers and logs, and weaving in and out of poles or trees.
Not only will these exercises help your Dachshund to blow off some energy, but it will also make it much easier to work on other training areas as well. Because once your pup knows how fun it is to work with you, they’ll be much more open to learning commands like sit, stay, and come. Your Dachshund may still be a bit stubborn, but they’ll be much more eager to learn new things.
For other fun activities, check out our article on How to Exercise Your Dog Indoors.
Dachshunds are small doggos, so they can be perfectly happy in a variety of household sizes. No matter where you live, there are a few considerations when introducing a Dachshund into your home.
First, keep in mind that Dachshunds are master sniffers and diggers. If there’s something edible or interesting to find, that powerful nose and those powerful burrowing paws are going to find it. So, before you bring home a Dachshund, make sure to safely store items that could be dangerous (think cleaning supplies and chocolates) or that you simply don’t want to become a chew toy (like your favourite socks.) You’ll also want to remind your trusted Pet Sitter to keep valuables away from your Dachshund when you’re away.
Another thing to think about is whether the surfaces of your home are Dachshund friendly. These doggos are adorably bold and energetic – and they’re fast. It’s a combination that makes them fun to watch, but can be a risk if you have smooth flooring where they can slip. Especially if you have hardwood stairs in your home, take extra precautions like puppy gates or carpeting to prevent falls. We talk more about doggie flooring in our article on why dogs struggle to walk on some surfaces.
As Dachshunds get older, you’ll also need to make some changes to their living conditions. These short-legged senior pups have more of a need for ramps and other accommodations than larger breeds.
Finally, let’s talk family. When farmers and hunters started breeding Dachshunds, these pooches were accustomed to living in groups. And that makes them great family doggos. They love to be around people and they’ll get along well with other dogs too. Their favourite companions seem to be other Dachshunds, but they’ll get along with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Of course, every dog is different, and some Dachshunds can become jealous and possessive with the introduction of other animals into the home. If that’s the case, take some time to work on the behaviour so that all animals in the house can be comfortable and happy.
Dachshund Health +
When it comes to health, the most important thing to keep in mind is a Dachshund’s fragile spine. Although some problems are related to genetic disorders, such as intervertebral disk disease, you can do your part to protect their back by preventing your dog from becoming overweight. Also, make sure you always handle your pup with care. Because these dogs never back down, rough play, especially with children, can be very dangerous to a Dachshund.
Some other health issues that may pop up are hip dysplasia and patella luxation (a knee disorder), two joint-related disorders that may be the result of the Dachshund’s short stature. You can help to prevent them through highly nutritious foods during your puppy’s early months. Also, make sure your pup regularly exercises, but avoids exercise that puts undue stress on the hip joints, like jumping.
Finally, Dachshunds sometimes experience eye problems, especially in older dogs. To offset this, make sure to take regular trips to the vet.
Dachshund Grooming ✄
Just like there are various sizes of Dachshund, there are also various coat types. You might find yourself with a short-haired, wire-haired, or long-haired Dachshund. And each one will require a slightly different grooming routine.
Let’s start with the long haired Dachshund, which has a soft and fine fur type. With this longer coat, you’ll need to make brushing, bathing, and trimming a regular routine. Brushing should be done daily to prevent tangles and matting, especially the tail and behind the ears. Bathing doesn’t have to be too frequent – about once every few months is fine.
When it comes to haircuts, you’ll want to have your long haired Dachshund trimmed pretty regularly to prevent them from tripping over their own fur. This is something that you could do at home, although many Owners opt to take their Dachshund to a professional groomer.
For the wire haired Dachshund, grooming is about the same, but there’s an additional step: stripping. Stripping is a plucking technique for wire haired dogs that removes dry fur before bathing. It can be done by hand or with a special tool, and it should be done about two or three times per year. It’s not an altogether pleasant process, so many Owners rely on an experienced groomer to do it as efficiently as possible.
The easiest Dachshund to groom by far is the short haired pup. Simply brush their coat once or twice per week, give them a bath when they’ve rolled around in some mud, and that’s about it!
With all coat variations, there are a few other grooming tips that will make your Dachshund happy and healthy. First, ear care. Doggos with floppy ears are prone to ear infections, so keep them clean and watch out for any redness or bad odour.
Also, nail trimming. You can keep your home safe from the digging drive by trimming your Dachshund’s nails regularly. Your sheets and couch cushions will thank you.
Fun Fact About the Dachshund ♥
Dachshunds made history by becoming the first official canine mascot of the Olympics in 1972. All over Munich, and the rest of the world, Waldi the Dachshund inspired many to run faster, jump higher, and go for gold. Organisers even held the Olympic Marathon in the shape of a Dachshund!
But that’s not the only fun fact we have for you! If you can believe it, these doggos like to be in the arena, too! All over the world, Dachshund Owners get together for fun, non-competitive Dachshund races, or Doxie Derbies, as they’re sometimes called. These short races are a perfect snapshot of the breed: some Dachshunds will veer off the track. Some will run around in circles. Some will show off just how fast those little legs can go. Watch a clip and try not to crack a smile.
Final Thoughts on the Dachshund
There’s a lot to love about these wiggly little doggies. Not only are they adorable, but they’ll make your heart melt with their bravado and bold attitude.
Something to keep in mind with this pup is that they were bred to track and dig. Coupled with their high energy needs, this dog can become destructive when they don’t get their daily exercise and playtime. Make sure that training and play is a part of their everyday lives, and also take extra care to hide things that could be dangerous or sorely missed.
It’s also important to protect your Dachshund from situations that could be dangerous for their spine. Limit your Dachshund’s exposure to rough play and slippery surfaces. In general, these doggos are pretty flexible, but they’re also fearless and may not know their own limits.
Overall, a Dachshund is a wonderful addition to any household. They get along well with everyone. They love a good cuddle. And they’re always ready to play and explore with you. If you’re looking for a pup with the personality of a big dog in a small dog package, the Dachshund is the breed for you!