Dachshunds, sometimes affectionately nicknamed “wiener dogs” or “Doxie” or (well, he’s a dog of many names), are famous for their long backs and little legs. But did you know that they are prone to back problems because of their unique build? And despite their small size, they are actually quite courageous.
If you don’t monitor them closely enough, you might catch them attempting to take on another animal bigger than it can handle.
They can also be pretty stubborn when they want to be.
Nonetheless, these dogs are sure to be a wonderful addition to the right household. Like many other dog breeds, they love to please their owners.
But it is important to familiarize yourself with this breed before making the final decision to purchase or adopt a Dachshund. So be sure to read up on their history, behavior, needs, and health requirements so that you are prepared to welcome one into your home.
The Dachshund originated hundreds of years ago in Germany where it was called the “Teckel”.
Some sources actually trace the breed’s origins all the way back to the 15th century. However, most scholars agree that the breed’s development officially began in the 17th century in Germany.
During this time, they would be used to hunt badgers, as their short legs and determined nature made them perfect for the job.
In German, Dachshund actually translates to “badger dog”.
As the breed continued to develop, two different sizes began to emerge throughout the years:
The “standard” size typically hunted badgers and wild boars while the “miniature” Dachshunds would hunt hare and foxes.
In Germany, there was actually a third size, which was considered a medium between the large and small sizes.
Their reputation took a hit during World War 1, as they were used in a lot of anti-German propaganda posters. But the Dachshund breed made a strong comeback after the war ended and significantly increased in popularity during the 1930s and 1940s. To this day, they are still one of the most popular breeds around.
Dachshund Fun Fact: You may think this pup got his name from the very tasty hot dog. But actually, it was the other way around! Hot dogs used to be called dachshund sausages. The phrase “hot dog” came later. But whatever the name, the pup still came before the roasted campfire delight!
Are Dachshunds Good Family Dogs?
Dachshunds are known to get along well with children. However, they do tend to bark at people and other animals that they are not familiar with. So families who want a quiet dog might want to think twice before purchasing or adopting a Dachshund.
Dachshunds also have trouble getting along with other dogs, especially ones that are larger than them.
Experts also advise against bringing Dachshunds into households with children under 5, as they may mishandle them or accidentally treat them too roughly and injure them.
That being said, families who are looking for a watchdog or who don’t currently have any other dogs at the moment may find the Dachshund to be the perfect addition to their household.
Dachshunds are intelligent, yet stubborn dogs. They are also extremely energetic and love to play outside with their owners. But…
Just with any other breed, considerable time and attention must be taken to properly raise and care for a Dachshund.
There are also breed-specific needs and quirks that should be taken into consideration in terms of their nutrition and exercise requirements. For instance:
You want to avoid having him climb up or downstairs due to his elongated back, and you should not let him jump on any items.
You need to carefully monitor their Dachshund’s weight. Extra pounds can put a significant strain on their already fragile backs and cause slipped or herniated disks.
Your veterinarian can help guide you toward figuring out the right amount of food you should be feeding your Dachshund every day. Food packages usually offer a guide to proper proportion sizes based upon your dog’s weight too. Dachshunds usually weight from 16 to 33 pounds.
A proper balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates should be in every Dachshund’s diet.
Vitamins and minerals are also necessary to allow proper absorption of fats and carbohydrates in the body. However, too much of one mineral could negatively affect another mineral’s ability to be absorbed in the body.
Too many carbohydrates can negatively affect your dog’s health as well. Luckily, most dry food brands come equipped with the proper proportion of nutrients, so you don’t have to worry about measuring them out yourself unless you decide to cook your dog homemade foods.
Your grooming schedule will depend on whether your Dachshund is short-haired, wire-haired, or long-haired:
- Short-haired Dachshunds, unsurprisingly, are the most low-maintenance out of the three. A soft bristle brush can be used to groom them regularly.
- Wirehaired Dachshunds need to be brushed more frequently with a short-napped wire-bristle brush. Extra sessions will need to be made after their bi-annual spring and fall molting in order to remove dead hair.
- Longhaired Dachshunds need to be brushed and combed, as they are prone to developing hair mats.
You will only need to bathe your Dachsund when absolutely needed, because bathing him too much will dry out his skin.
When washing him, simply lather on a mild shampoo onto his fur before rinsing it off thoroughly.
Short-haired Dachshunds can be towel-dried while long-haired and wire-haired should be blow-dried.
Make sure you also brush your dog’s teeth with dog toothpaste and toothbrush designed for dogs. It may take a few brushing sessions before your Dachshund becomes accustomed to it.
Dachshunds need a healthy dose of both physical and mental exercise. Lack of exercise can lead to unwanted weight gain and boredom:
A bored Dachshund is prone to wreak havoc on your household, and an overweight one will likely experience back problems.
A short walk every day, as well as some challenging mental games, can do wonders for their physical and mental health.
That being said, it is important to avoid over-exercising your Dachshund. Too much exercise as a puppy may cause out-turned feet, poor toplines, and poor body development.
Dachshunds are known to be quite stubborn and defensive with their “my way or the highway” mentality.
As a result, Dachshunds are one of the most difficult dog breeds to train. But…
That doesn’t mean that they are completely untrainable.
They do enjoy pleasing their owners. With the right techniques, you can successfully develop their social skills, complete crate training, and teach them fun tricks.
Lots of treats and praise can go a long way.
Dachshund Health Issues
Because of their unique structure, Dachshunds are prone to a plethora of skeletal and genetic conditions. Unfortunately, skeletal conditions are incredibly hard to treat and can then lead to further health complications.
The most common health issues that plague Dachshunds include:
- Intervertebral Disk Disease, which involves herniated disks in the lower back
- Hypothyroidism, which occurs when there are not enough thyroid hormones being produced
- Cataracts, a condition where a dog’s eyes become clouded and opaque
- Acanthosis Nigricans, which is observed by dark, thin skin surrounding a dog’s armpit or groin area
Things to Know About Dachshunds
1. The Number One Thing to Know: They Are Notoriously Stubborn
If there is one thing to know for sure about Dachshunds, is that they have a mind of their own. Because of their history as hunters, they were bred to never back down from a fight and to think for themselves without human help. Dachshund owners can all agree that the modern descendants of these hunters have definitely inherited these traits. Unfortunately, this means that Dachshunds aren’t always the easiest dogs to work with. They will often find ways to get into trouble, such as sneaking food off of your plate when you aren’t looking or tearing up toilet paper.
2. The Phrase “Dachshunds Train You” Are Often Said by Both Fans and Owners Alike
When a Dachshund wants something, he will find a way to get it no matter what. Their strong-wills and sharp intelligence require someone with a lot of patience to be able to handle them. The secret to finding a place to meet in the middle with them? Using their favorite toy or treat as a reward when training them.
3. They Sometimes Suffer From Wet Belly Syndrome
Due to their short legs, Dachshunds often have to contend with water splashing their stomachs when it rains. Unsurprisingly, they don’t enjoy walking when it is raining or snowing outside. However, you can purchase a waterproof jacket to help make rainy walks more comfortable for them. Make sure that the jacket is designed to fit a Dachshund, as their unique bodies make it hard for them to fit into regular dog jackets.
4. They Are Difficult to House Train
Dachshunds are notoriously difficult to housetrain. In fact, they made it to the list of top 20 breeds that are considered to be the hardest to housebreak. It’s going to take a lot of time and patience to housebreak your dog. Some Dachshunds may never even become completely housetrained. While it might be tempting to snap or scold at him for having accidents in the house, doing so will only impede your training. Positive reinforcement is key to successfully housetraining your Dachshund.
5. They Don’t Do Well With Stairs
For Dachshunds, the stairs can be a daunting endeavor. A single step usually reaches the top of its shoulders. Making this more difficult are their short legs and long back. A lot of stretching and jumping goes into climbing just a few steps. As a result, they usually develop back and neck problems. When possible, try to carry your dachshund up and down the stairs.
6. Their Body Shape Makes it Hard to Find Harnesses and Jackets For
Because of their unique structure, Dachshunds can be a little hard to shop for. A jacket that fits their deep chest might not be long enough to cover their entire back. A harness that reaches across its back might end up being too long around their neck and chest area. Dachshunds are usually built with prominent breast bones, which can cause the chest strap to slide off to the left or right. Luckily, there are Dachshund-specialized harness and jackets that you can pick from.
7. There’s a Proper Way to Pick up a Dachshund
Special care must be taken when handling a Dachshund. When you hold them, you will want to make sure you support their chests and rear-ends in order to relieve pressure from their spines. Experts advise against letting children under the age of 5 handle a Dachshund as they may have trouble holding them properly and may accidentally treat them roughly.
8. They Love to Hunt
Since their humble origins in Germany, hunting has been in their blood. Depending on their size, Dachshunds in the past have sniffed out badgers, boars, foxes, and rabbits. While you don’t need to take your own Dachshund hunting every weekend to fulfill its natural desire to sniff out small game, you can create fun activities to replicate the feeling for them. You can keep it simple by hiding treats in different places, or you can even purchase a snuffle mat for your home. Snuffle mats are perfect for stimulating your Dachshund’s foraging instinct, as you can hide your dog’s favorite toys and snacks within the mats.
9. They Used to Have a Bad Reputation During WW1
Dachshunds were drawn in a large number of anti-German propaganda during World War 1. As a result, many people began to associate the breed with the hated Germans. This negative sentiment grew so great that some English citizens would kick or stone Dachshunds they encountered in the street. Owners of the breed risked being accused of German sympathizers. According to one story, a breeder in Chicago shot all of his Dachshunds dead after being accused of working for Germany. In 1919, there were no Dachshunds registered in Britain. Only 12 survived in the United States.
10. They Named the Hot Dog After the Dachshund
Hot dogs were invented in 1852 by a German butcher who was known for his Daschund. People then began to refer to his frankfurters as Dachshund sausages. It wasn’t until 1895 when the term hot dog was first used in the Yale Record. Almost a decade later, vendors would encourage patrons to purchase their “Dachshund sausages while they’re red hot.” The term hot dog didn’t officially stick until a sports cartoonist named Tad Dorgan drew a cartoon frankfurter with a head, legs, and tail and captioned it “hot dog!”
11. Britain’s First Cloned Dog was a Dachshund
A Daschund named Winnie became the first British dog to be cloned after her owner won a contest in South Korea. Normally, this procedure would have cost over $60,000. After taking a skin sample from Winnie, scientists successfully created Mini-Winnie. In January 2018, it was announced that Mini-Winnie was expecting her first litter.
12. They Love Burrowing
In the past, Dachshunds had to burrow underground to flush out animals, such as badgers, out of their dens. This behavior can still be observed whenever they burrow themselves into blankets and pillows. They’ll sometimes even attempt to burrow in your clothes!
13. They Come in Many Different Sizes and Colors
There are over a dozen colors and patterns officially recognized for the breed.
- Black and tan
- Black and cream
- Blue and cream
- Chocolate and tan
- Chocolate and cream
- Blue and tan
- Fawn and tan
- Fawn and cream
- Wheaton and Wild boar
Brown Daschunds do not exist. They may appear to be brown but are actually a shade of red.
There are also a variety of patterns that Dachshunds may have.
- Double dapple, which is not recommended for breeding as a variety of genetic abnormalities, such as blindness or deafness, often occur when dappled Dachshunds are bred together
14. Some Dachshunds Need to Use Ramps
Dachshunds who are overweight or old will have trouble walking up and down the stairs. Overweight Dachshunds have to contend with added strain on their backs. Older Dachshunds sometimes just can’t simply handle the same amount of activity they could when they were younger. If you know that your Dachshund is genetically predisposed to developing back problems, you might want to look into investing in a ramp as well.
15. They Live a Really Long Time
The average Dachshund lifespan in 12 to 16 years. While some Dachshunds only make it to 11 or 12, some have been recorded to live to 18 years old. A famous Dachshund named Rocky actually lived to be 25.
16. People Hold Dachshund Races
Daschund races were first held during the 1970s in Australia. Since then, Dachshund races have been held around the world. For instance, the Wienerschnitzel Weiner Nationals are held every year in Southern California. It should be noted that these races are not taken seriously, as Dachshunds were never bred to be racing dogs.
17. The First Olympic Mascot was a Dachshund
A colorful Dachshund named Waldi was appointed the official mascot for the 1972 Munich games. This was actually the first time a mascot was named for the games. The marathon route for that year was even plotted in the shape of a Dachshund.