About the Breed - Dachshunds
Did You Know?
The Dachshund, meaning badger dog in German, is a hound, developed in Germany more than 300 years ago, for the purpose of hunting badgers. (Dachs = Badger, Hund = Dog.)
The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Dachshund in 1885. They are among the most popular dogs, ranking as one of the top 10 breeds in the United States.
Historical accounts of Dachshunds date back to the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, and are depicted in illustrations of small animals being hunted by dogs with long bodies, short legs and hound-like ears.
Dachshunds have traditionally been seen as a symbol of Germany. During World War I, U.S. popularity of the Dachshund plummeted because of the association with Germany. The association was revived again, but short-lived, during World War II.
Sausage, known as dachshund sausages, can be traced back to German immigrants in the 1800’s, who not only brought the sausage, but the Dachshund dog with them.
Some historians say the word “hot dog” came about in 1901 at the NY polo grounds when vendors shouted, “Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” A New York Journal sports cartoonist was said to have drawn a cartoon of a barking dachshund sausage in a roll and, not sure how to spell dachshund, simply wrote “hot dog” thus coining the term.
The typical Dachshund is long-bodied and muscular, has short legs and large paddle-shaped paws (for digging). The chest is deep and provides increased lung capacity for stamina when hunting prey underground, and the snout is long with an increased nose area allowing for his keen sense of smell.
There are three coat types: Smooth (short hair), long hair and wire-hair. The wirehair is the least common in the U.S., but the most common in Germany. Dachshund coat colors and patterns vary widely, ranging from cream to black, but have nothing to do with temperament.
Some of the most common Dachshund colors are red, black and tan, and tan. Single coat colors consist of red, chocolate, black, cream and wheaten (a light yellow color between red and cream). There also are coat colors that consist of two colors, such as black and tan, chocolate and tan, gray (blue) and tan, wild boar, and fawn (Isabella) and tan. And then there can be different patterns of color: dappled, double-dappled, piebald, brindle, sable.
There are three sizes of Dachshunds. Standard and miniature sizes are primarily recognized and considered as breed standard. The tweenie (an oversized miniature) is an increasingly common size for family pets and falls between the miniature and standard size, though not an official classification. The standard averages 16 pounds to 32 pounds at one year of age, and the miniature normally weighs less than 12 pounds at one year.
When choosing a dog, your choice should be based on what the dog is like, not on looks. Dachshunds are small in stature, but large in attitude and have a mind of their own. They make excellent companion dogs and are fun to live with if you understand the breed.
Dachsies are courageous to the point of rashness at times, and statistically they are more aggressive to both strangers and other dogs, but noted for their devotion and loyalty to their owners. They are lovable, playful companions—alert, courageous, clever, curious, and affectionate—who enjoy the company of their people. As a “hunting dog,” the Dachshund is known for his instinctive eagerness to chase small animals, birds and tennis balls with great determination and ferocity.
Dachshunds may not be the best choice for small children and may be aggressive or bite an unfamiliar child, especially one that moves too quickly or teases. Children should be given appropriate supervision and education and be mindful of the vulnerability of the Dachshund’s back.
Being left alone for hours on end will not result in a happy Dachshund, and can lead to unwanted housebreaking and behavioral issues. They can become possessive of their owner’s affection, so you’ll benefit from early socialization and obedience training. And over-indulged Dachshunds are known to become obstinate or nippy.
Dachshunds are independent to the point of being stubborn—an admirable trait for a badger hunter, but not always so much if you’re an impatient owner. And that independent attitude can also be a challenge when working on modifying behaviors, such as housebreaking.
A Dachshund is not for everyone. This dog requires a caring, loving owner who is willing to give time to his need for attention and entertainment. But, all in all, it’s hard not to fall in love with a Dachsie, and even harder to stay in a bad mood because of his upbeat, lovable and, sometimes, comical nature.
Dachshunds can be prone to weight gain and, in those instances, prone to related problems, such as diabetes, joint issues, decreased stamina or problems with the back. The risk of back injury also may occur from jumping, rough handling or activities that place greater strain on the vertebrae. Avoiding stairs and avoiding jumping on and off furniture are recommended for back health. In addition to back problems, Dachshunds also can be prone to patellar luxation—a dislodging of the kneecap. The average life span of a Dachshund is 12 to 16 years; however, up to 18 years is not unheard of.
Exercise & Diet
When your Dachsie isn’t cuddling with you or snuggling under a warm blanket, you’ll want to provide him with moderate exercise. Your Dachshund will appreciate having space in which he can run, dig, explore and chase critters. Remember, Dachsies are hounds by nature and enjoy doing hound-like things (hunting and barking). And, as with all dogs, a walking routine is a good practice and beneficial for good health.
Dachshunds seem to have little concept as to being “full” so you’ll need to resist over-feeding because he thinks he’s still hungry. And take note—your curious friend may eat something he shouldn’t “just because it was there.” Human food does not provide your dog with a balanced diet and can lead to begging and weight gain. Feed your Dachshund a food formula that will cater to his unique digestive needs through the various phases of his life. There are a number of breed-specific formulas for small breeds and the Dachshund is considered a small breed. Working with your veterinarian is a good way to determine what to feed your dog and how frequently, in order to maintain a healthy diet and weight.