Breed Basics: Dachshunds


dachshundThe dachshund is recognized around the world by his distinctive shape and nickname, the wiener dog. They come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) and three different coat types (smooth/short, longhaired, and wirehaired). The basic physical characteristics are the same for all varieties. There are some who claim the longhair is gentler and the wirehair the most terrier-like but there is a lot of variation between individuals and lines. The dachshund was originally bred to go to ground, chasing down badger and other rodents.


Dachshunds are fun loving, active little dogs. They are quite popular as pets. Their trademark long back does make them more vulnerable to injury and can also cause health problems. Typical small dogs, they need guidance and leadership from their owners or they will take over the home and can become territorial and display guarding behaviors. Bred to go to ground, they instinctively like to dig.


Dachshunds are hounds which are generally more stubborn and difficult to train than many other breeds. They are bred to work independently and make their own decisions when in the hole going after a badger. This means you need to adapt your training to what motivates them and be more patient then you would have with some other breeds.


Dachshunds are best with older children. Their long back makes them quite vulnerable to injuries if mishandled or dropped. They should not be encouraged to jump. Small children may not understand this, putting the dog at risk of being injured while playing. If not shown proper leadership from their owners they can be nippy and territorial which can lead to problems with young children.


The long back of the dachshund is a trademark characteristic of the breed but it also makes them prone to a number of spinal issues including Dachshund paralysis. They are also prone to heart disease, diabetes, and urinary tract problems.


The dachshund’s small stature makes him an ideal choice for apartment dwellers. He does need regular exercise including daily walks. The dachshund is prone to obesity and it is important that they are kept at a healthy weight since being overweight adds stress to their vulnerable spine. They are also at risk of diabetes which can be aggravated by a poor diet. Longhaired dachshunds do need regular brushing to avoid mats in the coat.