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Information about Dachshunds

Origin of the Name:
Dachshund is a German name, Literally meaning "badger dog", from Dachs (badger) and Hund (dog). There are lots of nicknames, like hot dog, wiener dog or sausage dog. And even though the name is of German origin, in Germany, they are referred to as "Dackel" or "Teckel" (used for ranking in hunting or tracking).
Origin of Breed:
schweisshundGerman PinscherSpaniel PuppiesWire-Haired Dachshund
The Dachshund, or Teckel/Dackel, has been known since the Middle Ages and thought to have evolved from dwarf mutations of taller hunting hounds, possibly the Schweisshund or the Bibarhund (German Pinscher), with possible crosses with terriers and/or spaniels (which would explain the variations in colors, such as chocolate or dappling) to obtain the wire and long coats.
The original Dachshund was much larger, weighing in between 20-40 lbs. As they became more popular as pets in Germany, a standardization was created, with the aim of producing a dog whose beauty is commensurate with his intelligence.
Classification of the Breed:
In the United States and Great Britain, the dachshund is classified in the hound or scent hound groups. However, according to the World Canine Federation, the dachshund actually belongs in a group all it's own. This is because it retains many varied traits from other breeds, and is the only breed certified to hunt both above and below ground.

Characteristics of a Dachshund


Because of the multiple breeds used in developing the dachshund breed, there are many variations in describing a dachshund. But, for the sake of simplicity, we'll give you the current version.

Dachshunds typically have a long body with stubby legs. Their paws are large and paddle-shaped, for efficient digging. It has skin that is loose enough, so that it does not tear while they chase their prey into burrows. They have a deep, barrel chest, to allow for enough air to fill their lungs, for extended hunting. Their snout is long, with a marginally longer nose area, to absorb odors more easily.

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The Dachshund actually comes in three sizes, based on their weights and classified hunting jobs; Although, only two are commonly recognized in the United States:

  • Standard: Average weight are from 15 - 28 lb
  • Miniature: Average weight are less than 11 lb
  • Kaninche (rabbit): Average weight between 8 - 10 lb

While there is a trend in acknowledging dachshunds that fall between the mini and standard, called tweenies, this is not a recognized size.

Coat & Color:


Dachshund have three types of coats: Smooth (short hair), Long Hair, and Wire Hair.

Smooth coat dachshunds are extremely gentle, loving and affectionate to their own family, but tend to be more reserved with strangers. If they grow up around children, then children are well-accepted. However, it can be difficult for an older dachshund to accept children, if never encountered, or encountered for the first time. In the home, they tend to be the boss, with the wife (female human) following in a close second place.

They are well muscled in appearance and, given the short hair, easier to maintain.

The Long haired dachshund has medium length, straight hair, with long feathering on the ears, back of their legs, bottom and front chest, and beautiful long hair (flag) on the tail. The colors are usually the same as with the shorthaired, however the red is typically a more deep, chestnut red. This coat is caused by crossing the dachshund with spaniels and Irish setters, which is what causes the chestnut red coloring. Broadly speaking, one can say that the long haired dachshund is the mildest of the three coats, in temperament. They tend to be good with kids and strangers.

The long haired coat should be brushed regularly to prevent tangles and matting.

The wire haired Dachshund has a prickly coat with a beard and eyebrows. Usually they are very colorful, but also come in black and tan, red and chocolate. The coat is caused by short haired dachshunds crossed with various terriers. The make great dogs for families with children.

This is also the preferred dachshund for hunting. They need to be trimmed, or plucked, at least twice a year. For daily maintenance, they should be well brushed with a stiff bristled brush and a tooth comb. Never use a brush with metal hooks or points, nor too fine, as in the dust comb, as this can harm the hair.

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Because of the variety of ancestry in breeds, the Dachshund comes in many colors and patterns. They can be a single-colored, single-colored with spots (dapple or merle), and single-colored with tan points plus any pattern. The dominant color is red, the most common along with the black with tan points.

Other colors include Isabelle (silver/gray), Cream, Chocolate, Sable, Piebald (white pattern on primary color), and Brindle (dark stripes over solid primary color). Because of the vast potential of colors that come from breeding different colors and marked dachshunds, the combinations are vast.

However, if a dachshund has even a single spot of dappling, it is considered a "dapple."


Short list: Playful, loving, devoted, loyal, tenacious, willful, curious, mischievous, intelligent (to a fault), energetic, independent, proud, fearless, bold and clownish (not in any particular order of importance).

Activity Level: Moderate, meaning they adapt well to most living environments, to include apartment living. Although, some dachshunds, especially smooth coats, may bark more than you're neighbors will appreciate.

Learning Level: Average to High. It's entirely up to your dachshund to let you know what level he/she is up to that day.

Guard Dog Level: Low. However, the dachshund believes that to be High, which could get you in trouble if your dachshund is not properly socialized.

Watch-Dog Level: Very High. Just let the door bell ring (even on tv), the dachshund will let you know about it, along with the leaves that blow, the squirrels and rabbits that pass along the high wires, the neighbors moving about, or cars driving by. yep, unless you train your dachshund to only alert when appropriate, you will be alerted on a regular basis.

The long list could actually be written in a book, as there are so many variations of good and bad qualities, and even humorous tendencies, that it is impossible to list them all. Every dachshund is different, depending on the environment and human companionship that they are homed in/with. So, let's start with the basics:

Children: Generally speaking, Longhaired Dachshunds are very good with children, Wirehairs are good, and Smooths are fairly good. This is obviously a generalization, but Longhaired Dachshunds tend to be a bit more laid back; the Wires are more playful and ready to go; and the Smooths are more aloof. Of course, each type depends a great deal on the environment from which he/she is raised. Older dachshunds, unless raised with children, may not be the best choice for a family with young children.

Although there are slight differences in temperament among the three coats, and even from dog to dog, generally speaking the Dachshund is a lively dog who is "courageous to the point of rashness." This can get him into trouble, as he will not hesitate to confront dogs much larger than he is, but it also makes them a great watchdog.

The official standard for the Dachshund describes the breed as having a "hunting spirit" and "persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well developed." This is why a fenced yard is essential. If the Dachshund picks up the scent of a rabbit or squirrel, he's going to follow that scent, and he's not going to be paying attention to the oncoming traffic if that trail should happen to cross a busy road.

While Dachshund are hunting dogs, happy to follow a trail, they are also very much "People" dogs. the need to be a part of the family, not shut away in a crate or left outside in the yard!

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The dachshund is very smart and resourceful, and very affectionate toward their owner. They are extremely watchful and have a brave, curious character. Unlike most breeds, the dachshund will consciously seek eye contact, as they measure up the person or sense moods and motives. This is believed to be the foundation of why such a deep and special bond is created with their owner. This is also a reason that many dachshunds experience separation anxieties. AND, it is also a cause for many humans that get nipped at or bit, as the Dachshund does not take the same intensity of observation, lightly.

The dachshund-to-human bond, once established, is one of life-long commitment and devotion, for the dachshund. The dachshund would give its life, for the sake of their owner/family/pack, taking on animals (including humans) without regard to size, in the absolute goal of protection-to-the-death. Without socialization beyond the family, family home, and immediate contacts, the dachshund is less likely to do well in a public setting; often showing teeth or growling at strangers and other animals.

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Obedience is not something that comes easy with the dachshund. They will resist, at their whim, as though they insist on having the "last word" in how things are going to be. However, it is not impossible to train a dachshund, you just have to have more patience, and appeal to their sense of what is fair, right and acceptable. Common ground with a dachshund is determined by the dachshund, but you can gain ground by understanding that what works well, or quickly, with other breeds, takes a little more time with the tenacious, willful dachshund.

Because the dachshund has been a hunting dog for many centuries, which takes a huge amount of courage, perseverance and ingenuity, many times what is, by their nature, a strong independence, is often mistaken for being stubborn. This hunting instinct can often pose a problem for owners. Hunting is a natural instinct, bred into the dachshund, and they have a great passion for the hunt. Because of this, the Dachshund may well disappear for hours, without a trace, and only come home when it pleases the dachshund to do so. Punishment for this is pointless, as the instinct to hunt is stronger than the fear of punishment or angry words for the same.

Keep in mind, this is one of biggest reason that you should have a securely fenced yard; or a lead that provides absolute control, when your dachshund is outside. They aren't necessarily trying to run away from home, it's their nature to run, to hunt, to instinctively and independently follow their nose to the end of it's peeked curiosity and scenting.

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The dachshund can live to be between 12-16 years, and in some rare instances, up to 19-20 years. However, due to the nature of the dachshund's long body, safeguards must be made to ensure that they have a happy and healthy life.

The number one health risk for dachshunds is Intervertrebal Disk Disease (IVDD) which is common in dachshunds and dogs with elongated bodies and short rib cage. This disease can be worsened and lead to an inability to walk, and loss of bladder/bowel control. Preventive measure include, but are not limited to: maintaining appropriate weight, limit jumping, rough housing, or intense exercise, which place great strain on the vertebrae. It is also recommended that you do not allow children to pick a dachshund up, like a doll, or anyone, that is not familiar with the proper handling of a dachshund.

In addition, though easier to keep clean, if all of your floors are slick, made of tile, laminate or polished wood, your dachshund's risk of injury is greatly increased. Simply jumping on or off the furniture, or trying to hop from throw rug to throw rug is extremely dangerous. Dachshunds require traction, as they tend to leap-walk. All it takes is the wrong landing and you set your dachshund up for spinal bruising or ruptured discs. Invest in a good cleansing product and keep the carpet!

Other health concerns, common to the dachshund are:

Patellar luxation (kneecap becomes dislodged). This is more common with the bow-legged variation than with the straight legged.

Double Dapples (genetic pairing of Dapple to Dapple) can cause varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, and micro eye (reduced or absence of eye). This pairing can also cause malformed ears and other congenital malformations. The issues are derived rom the genetic dilution of certain genes. The dapple, being the dominant gene, carries with it a random dilution of color, which what some irresponsible breeders aim for. The ultimate mutation sought is a greater absence of color pigmentation (or white), which is considered "lethal white" and almost always presents hearing or vision issues, or both, in one or more offspring. It is totally random, and cannot be genetically prevented, tested for, or guaranteed to NOT happen, by any breeder.

Other hereditary issues: epilepsy, granulomatous meningeoncephalitis (inflammation of the central nervous system), dental issues, Cushing's syndrome, thyroid problems, allergies, various eye issues (glaucoma, cherry eye, retinal degeneration, cataracts). Dachshunds are also nearly 3 times more likely than other breeds to develop: heart murmurs and other heart defects that can lead to congestive heart failure. Dilute color dogs, such as Blue, Isabella and Creams are susceptible to skin conditions, such as partial or complete hair loss and a high sensitivity to the sun.

Reputable and responsible breeders are working to eliminate these issues, by not breeding dogs with them. However, there are more back yard breeders and puppy mill operations that don't care, than there are responsible breeders that do care.

Understand that just because a breeder sells you a dachshund with papers, does NOT guarantee that your dachshund does not have a genetic history without issue.

Be informed * Be responsible * Be prepared

Don't Shop - Adopt!

Consider the cost of care when choosing a Dachshund for your family!

Basic maintenance can cost upwards of $500 per year, and that is if you purchase a fair quality food and have no medical issues other than vaccinations and heart worm testing.

Download the helpful guide and checklist below
to help you ensure that you've got everything ready! It's full of helpful
information to help you select the right dog, if you live in the city.

Download Checklist Brochure (pdf)

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