Dachshund Dog Breed Information: Their Breed, Personality, Health and Characteristics

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Everyone loves a Dachshund, and with good reason. These long-backed, long-nosed dogs are canine comedians that take themselves incredibly seriously. They love food, mischief, and the people they live with, though not necessarily in that order. 

Breed Overview

There are four types of Dachshund: 

  • Standard 
  • Miniature 
  • Wirehair 
  • Long-haired 

Wirehair and long-haired are descriptive of coat types. While Standard and Miniature reflect a difference in Dachshund sizes. The standard doxie weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, while a miniature average between eight to 10lbs.

The affectionately nicknamed ‘tweenie’ falls between the standard and miniature Dachshund. But it is not accepted by kennel clubs as an official size.

Weight determines a Dachshund’s size rather than parentage or pedigree. A 16lb doxie born to miniature parents is still a standard Dachshund.

Most Dachshund characteristics are universal despite some discrepancies between the breed types. So, what makes a Dachshund a Dachshund, and why are they so popular?

Characteristics of the Dachshund

The most unique aspect of the Dachshund is its elongated back. It enables Dachshunds to fit into tight spaces, like badger sets. It also gives them their distinctive body shape.

Another classic Dachshund characteristic is their prominent sternum. It can make doxies look barrel-chested. This is normal and has to do with the infamous Dachshund bark. 

For such a small dog to produce such a loud and persistent sound, they need larger lungs than you typically see in small dogs. The barrel chest and the pronounced sternum make that possible.

The other notable feature of Dachshunds is their short legs. These can move quickly but make surprisingly effective anchors for the dashie that wants to stay put.

Breed Appearance

The most unique aspect of the Dachshund is its elongated back. It enables them to fit into tight spaces, like badger sets. It also gives them their distinctive body shape.

Another classic Dachshund characteristic is their prominent sternum. It can make doxies look barrel-chested. This is normal and has to do with the infamous Dachshund bark. 

For such a small dog to produce such a vociferous and persistent sound, they need larger lungs than you typically see in small dogs. The barrel chest and the pronounced sternum make that possible. 

The other notable feature of Dachshunds is their short legs. These can move quickly but make surprisingly effective anchors for the dashie that wants to stay put. 

Doxie Temperament

Because of their origin as badger-hunters, Dachshunds are intrepid wee souls. Like many hunting dogs, they are clever. And this pairs badly with the kind of tenacity you expect from a dog meant to bark a badger into submission.

So, doxies can be opinionated, and you will hear those opinions. They bark at everything from squirrels to children and passing cars.

Interestingly, temperament varies by breed. Standard and long-haired Dachshunds bark much less than their Miniature Dachshund friends.

The other important thing to know about Dachshunds’ temperaments is that they can be neurotic. This may manifest in anxiety around:

  • Thunderstorms 
  • Strangers/children 
  • Loud noises 

Ensure you know what distresses your Dachshund. And don’t underestimate the value of a safe space to keep your doxie calm. Crates are an excellent way to keep your doxie calm. Far from being cruel, they give them a comforting, enclosed space to decompress. 

Dashie Personality

Besides being stubborn and strong-minded, the Dachshund is an affectionate dog. They may not be the calmest dog breed, but they are devoted to their humans.

That said, they aren’t the ideal dog for children. Dachshunds respond best to an established hierarchy. This hierarchy is hard to maintain with children. They also react badly to the rough, rambunctious handling of children unfamiliar with dogs.

But, every rule has an exception. And doxies that encounter kids as puppies handle them better than mature Dachshunds with no child experience.

Dachshund Living Needs

Dachshunds don’t have many living needs, but the few they have are important.

Routine exercise is a must, especially if you want your Dachshund to live a long, happy doxie life.

Stairs are another important consideration for your doxie. Dachshunds’ atypical spines are fragile. And going up and down stairs stresses that spine. So does jumping on furniture.

Integrating stairs into your home mitigates that stress. And it promotes a healthier life for your Dachshund. It also reduces the risk of IVDD.

Dachshund Life Expectancy

Like other small dogs, Dachshunds have a longer life expectancy than some of their bigger contemporaries. You can expect your doxie to live from 12-to 14 years, though this may vary.

There will always be dogs that die younger. Often because of health complications. And some outliers exceed their 14 years.

The best way to ensure your Dachshund is the exception to the rule is to take good care of them and their back health.

Caring for Your Dachshund 

In light of the various health conditions, how can you care for your Dachshund to ensure they have the best life possible? 

Training Your Dachshund 

There’s a popular misconception that Dachshunds are unintelligent. This is because Dachshunds are harder to train than many of their fellow hounds. But Dachshunds are quite intelligent and equally stubborn.

The problem with training your Dachshund is never that they don’t understand what you want them to do. It’s that they think they know better.

So, how do you train your wee, opinionated doxie?

Most dashies are food-motivated. Which makes it easy to bribe them into cooperation by careful application of treats.

But if you try a food-motivated technique, you should pay attention to your Dachshund’s weight. Doxies can easily become overweight, which puts extra strain on their back.

The other thing to understand is that Dachshunds are as neurotic as they are clever. They become anxious easily. And that means that a standard negative-reinforcement training strategy, while effective, could damage your relationship with your dog.

If you belong to the one Dachshund indifferent to food and nothing else is working, it might be time to call a professional trainer.

Exercising Your Dachshund 

Another misconception about Dachshunds is that because they are small, they are low-energy dogs.

While dashies are small enough to fit comfortably in your apartment, low-energy they are not.

Dachshunds are hunting dogs by instinct. Given the opportunity, they love an intensive play session or a walk full of interesting smells.

Encouraging this is a good idea because it will keep your Dachshund at a healthy weight.

But choose your activity carefully. Avoid anything that can unduly stress their back, like:

  • Stairs 
  • Jumping 

And don’t forget to take the personality of your dashie into account. No two are the same. And just because many are instinctual hunters doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally meet a Dachshund that would rather curl up in a sunspot. Know your doxie’s preferred level of activity and cater to it.

Socializing Dachshunds 

As discussed, Dachshunds are barkers by instinct. An under-socialized Dachshund translates that instinct into aggression. That usually happens to compensate for the nervousness also inherent in Dachshunds. 

Since they have an acute sense of being prey and predator, they bark or snap to protect themselves.

This makes it imperative that you socialize your doxie from puppyhood onwards. Carefully introduce them to other dogs, strangers, and even children. This helps them adjust to people, places, and scenarios outside your home.

Dog parks are an excellent way to do this. Your doxie gets the exercise they need. And you can keep your dashie leashed until they become confident and social enough to have some freedom.

Grooming

Unless you adopt a long-haired Dachshund, most have minimal grooming needs. Miniature and Standard Dachshunds have short coats that don’t need regular grooming.

But, the smooth Miniature Dachshund sheds more than other doxies.

Long-haired dashies need daily brushing. But there’s rarely a need to involve a professional groomer. It’s enough for you to pick a convenient time and brush your long-haired Dachshund yourself.

The other thing to remember is that while standard and smooth miniature dashies don’t need grooming, they love rolling in a good smell. For that reason, regular bathing is a must.

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What You Need to Know about Dachshund Health

There are various health conditions prevalent in dashies, and the most prevalent are:

The great love of many doxie lives is food, and they will eat anything with gusto. Even inedible things like slippers. This puts them at higher risk for diabetes

Now, it’s an incontrovertible fact that nothing on earth looks sadder than the sad eyes of a forlorn Dachshund next to the dinner table. But because they put on weight easily, you must resist. 

It reduces the risk of diabetes and lessens the chances of IVDD developing since an overweight Dachshund puts more strain on its delicate spine than a healthy Dachshund does. 

Diet and Nutrition

But doxies still love their food. So, if not people food, what can you feed them in good conscience?

The best thing you can do is stick to high-quality dog food. The occasional bit of cheese in a kong toy or boiled chicken when you want to be indulgent is fine. But it should be the exception, not the rule.

How much you feed your dashie depends on their size and activity level. On paper, it’s easy to say that a standard Dachshund eats more than a miniature Dachshund.

But activity level also affects how much you feed your dogs. More active Dachshunds need more food to sustain their energy levels. While inactive ones can get by with less.

History of the Dachshund

Dachshunds came about because Germany had more badgers than it knew what to do with.

To solve the badger problem, they needed a dog that could enter a badger set, corner the badger, and bark furiously until someone appeared to cull the badger.

This explains many of Dachshunds’ notorious characteristics. Their long backs and short legs allow them to run exceptionally fast, low to the ground and fit into tight spaces.

The long association with badgers gave rise to the name ‘Dachshund,’ which translates as ‘Badger Dog.’

But the name didn’t always stick. While always a popular dog, Dachshunds fell out of favor during the World Wars.

To combat the dip in popularity, the American Kennel Club tried to rebrand the wiener dog as the Liberty Hound. The hope was that the new name would disassociate everyone’s favorite Doxie from the enemy they were fighting. It didn’t work out, and when peace returned, the dashie reverted to its old name.

As of 2021, Dachshunds ranked among the American Kennel Club’s 10 most popular dogs.

FAQ

Finally, here are some questions other doxie-lovers have about these funny, affectionate dogs. 

Are Dachshunds good pets? 

Dachshunds are excellent pets. They are sweet, sometimes anxious, and loyal. But, it’s important to remember that despite their size they still need exercise. 

Why are Dachshunds clingy? 

By nature, Dachshunds are pack animals. Expect them to follow you around the house. This is normal behavior. They want to do whatever you’re doing and have no sense of boundaries. 

Do Dachshunds bark a lot? 

Dachshunds bark at anything and everything. This goes back to their origin as hunting dogs. They had to bark until someone came to kill their prey.

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