🦴 Updated on January 12th, 2023
Coming in two sizes, Dachshunds are an excellent choice for all dog owners, from city dwellers with limited space to rural dwellers with ample acreage.
Is there a difference between Miniature Dachshund vs. Standard Dachshund? The only notable difference to consider is the size. The larger standard Dachshund stands taller and weighs more, meaning it will consume more food.
Short Legs and A Lotta Heart: Dachshunds
“If a dog has short legs, we have found that the body is almost invariably close to the ground.” In his uproarious novel, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, Alexander McCall Smith takes as his starting point the Dachshund. Something is fascinating, he seems to suggest, about this exuberant, uniquely-shaped hound.
And McCall Smith isn’t alone in being fascinated by the sausage dog. In homes all over the world, Dachshunds are held up for their temperament, their size, and, indeed, their shape.
Outside of the home, Dachshunds have also enjoyed widespread publicity. The first Olympic games to ever have a mascot, the 1972 Olympic games, featured the Dachshund Waldi. In Poland, a sausage dog parade has occurred in the city of Krakow every September since 1994, a celebration of “Poland’s Favorite Dog.”
In America, too, Dachshunds are incredibly popular, taking their place among the top 10 most popular breeds in America.
Origins of the Dachshund
The Dachshund is, in the words of the AKC (American Kennel Club), an icon of purebred beauty. The elegant lap dogs many Americans keep in their home began, like many European breeds, as hunting dogs.
Dachshunds were developed by German breeders some 300 to 600 years ago to hunt badgers. This is what gives them their name: Dachs in German translates to “badger,” while Hund translates to “dog.”
The Dachshund has its distinctive shape because these bold, brave dogs would hunt for badger holes and, taking advantage of their size, make their way straight into the den to face and dispatch the beast.
The badger dog became popular in America as soon as they were introduced. The American Kennel Club first recorded the Dachshund as a unique dog breed in 1885, and that was only the beginning of the burgeoning international popularity Dachshunds enjoy to this day.
Dachshunds were so beloved in America that dog lovers felt themselves amidst a crisis of conscience during World War II. Anti-German sentiment ran at an all-time high, but so too did Dachshund’s popularity. For many Americans, assigning a German name to a beloved family pet felt out of place, so Dachshunds were briefly rechristened “Liberty Hounds.”
Following World War II, Americans toyed with permanently renaming Dachshunds as Badger Dogs, but in the end, history got the upper hand. Dachshunds kept their names, even as more and more Americans continued to usher them into their homes.
Although they’re often thought of as lapdogs, Dachshunds are high-energy dogs that love to play and spend quality time with their family. When it comes to questions of standard Dachshund vs mini Dachshund, we need to look at these pedigree dog breeds from a trait perspective.
Mini vs. Full-Size Dachshunds: What’s the Difference?
Listed as spunky, curious, and friendly by the AKC, sausage dogs aren’t just taken into the home for their fun shape. These incredibly lively dogs are highly loveable and loyal, with a serious, ever-alert expression that stands in contrast to the humor inherent in their body’s shape.
Each dog, as any dog owner will tell you, has its personality. While an individual miniature dachshund and standard dachshund may differ in terms of trainability or intelligence, the difference between these two is no different than the difference between two individual standard Dachshunds or miniature Dachshunds.
Where miniature Dachshunds vs. Standard Dachshunds do differ, however, is in their adult size and body weight. The difference is striking when they stand next to each other. The Standard Dachshunds might have a chest circumference of 11.8 – 13.7 inches (30 – 35 cm), while the Miniature counterpart’s chest circumference is usually less than 11.8 inches (30 cm).
AKC lists the weight of Dachshunds as ranging from between 11 and 32 pounds. That is a huge range, especially for a dog of this size, and this difference is the difference between standard and miniature dachshunds.
On the low end of things, an average mini Dachshund will measure between 11 and 15 pounds. Standard Dachshunds, meanwhile, weigh upwards of 32 pounds.
When it comes to the height of Dachshunds, mini Dachshunds can stand very short, indeed, at just about 5 inches. Standard Dachshunds will naturally be taller, the tallest among them, measuring at around 9 inches.
Characteristics of a Dachshund
Dachshunds are a unique breed with an extensive history. Both mini and standard Dachshunds share certain characteristics that give them their appeal.
Miniature and Standard Dachshunds have the same general personality traits. These dogs are quirky and excited, with boundless energy and unbridled love for their masters. They aren’t the best dogs for children because their stubborn nature can give them a low tolerance for the antics of youth.
Although miniature Dachshunds vs. standard Dachshunds are thought to have the same personalities, some owners claim that personality differences emerge in Dachshunds of differing coats. Just as the carefree disposition of the sun-soaked Italian differs from the cold, calculating German, the places where the breed develops can impact its personality.
In this vein, longhaired Dachshunds are thought to be the most laid-back of all three Dachshund coat types.
The traits that made Dachshunds excellent for hunting badgers can, in some cases, work against owners that wish to train their Dachshunds.
Badger hunting is incredibly dangerous for dogs of any kind, as badgers possess sharp claws and teeth, as well as inherent strength. At upwards of 34 pounds, an individual badger may have been larger than the Dachshund it faced.
As a result of its hunting past, Dachshunds can be very stubborn, not giving any ground based on instinct.
As highly social dogs, Dachshunds are also very sensitive to people: it is best to train with positive reinforcement rather than through negative reinforcement like punishment or yelling.
Dachshunds have an extremely good sense of smell and a high prey drive, making them possibly difficult on walks. There are, luckily, unique training methods that can make training a Dachshund (or any dog with a high prey drive) easier.
Dachshunds were also bred to follow a scent and not give up on it until the scent was resolved. This can mean that if a Dachshund is focused on something, it can be difficult to get their attention.
The key with Dachshunds is consistency. Train for a little bit of time every day, especially when they’re young. Crate training and leash training will be a must, and it’s important to leash train at home before you ever take your young Dachshund out on the trails.
Level of Intelligence
Dachshunds are dogs with average intelligence. Although intelligence is a must for hunting dogs, especially when hunting cunning animals like Badgers, Dachshunds don’t perform as well on doggy IQ tests as, for example, poodles or golden retrievers.
One canine psychologist ranks Dachshunds in the “average working dogs” category. This category, based on how long it takes Dachshunds to learn a new trick, shows that Dachshunds will learn a new trick in 25 to 40 repetitions and will repeat it 50 percent of the time.
Do They Bark?
Dachshunds are extremely loud barkers, which can surprise many first-time owners. The Dachshund has such a loud bark because of its history: as a badger hunter, the Dachshund’s loud bark could let its above-ground owner know where it was underground.
Dachshunds have a large dog bark and are great guard dogs, but Dachshund lovers will be the first to tell you that sometimes this breed can go overboard with barking.
Especially for first-time dog owners, being prepared for a very barky dog is important. Remember, though, that even dogs that love to bark the most can be trained as to when barking is appropriate and inappropriate.
Standard Dachshund vs Miniature Dachshund Health
Another place you may see the Miniature and Standard Dachshund differ is in their health requirements and life expectancy.
Dachshunds tend to be long-lived, especially compared to larger hunting dogs in the hound group. On average, Dachshunds live between 12 and 16 years.
That said, however, miniature Dachshunds tend to live longer than their standard cousins. In fact, according to Newsweek, miniature Dachshunds are one of the longest-lived of all dog breeds. Their average life span is 14 years, but many Dachshund owners report mini Dachshunds living upwards of 18 – 20.
What accounts for this difference? In general, smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than larger ones. Moreover, unique to the Dachshund breed is a high propensity for back problems in old age. Miniature dachshunds, with a less immense bone structure, have less back pressure generally and so are less likely to be afflicted with back problems.
The Dachshund Diet
Dachshunds are a healthy breed that can be very long-lived.
It is extremely important, however, that owners do not overfeed their Dachshund. For general health, it is important to keep dogs at a normal weight. Dachshunds are also particularly prone to health problems when overweight because of the shape of their bodies.
When a Dachshund is overweight, its excess fat puts undue pressure on an already structurally vulnerable back. Slipped or ruptured discs in the back (and the commensurate pain) can be the punishment for overfeeding.
Feed the Dachshund with standard dry dog food, and only feed what the manufacturer recommends on the bag. The Dachshund, with its goo-goo eyes, may beg for more, but you mustn’t relent.
Remember, too, that the Dachshund has a very powerful nose and a stubborn disposition. If you leave food where your Dachshund can access it, you do so at your (and its) peril.
Dachshunds are often prone to health issues such as Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), progressive retinal atrophy, Acanthosis Nigricans, hip dysplasia and various eye problems and eye diseases including dry eye syndrome. The dog’s activity levels go dramatically down once the health issue appears. Every health concern (even a very slight one) must be consulted with the local vet in advance to keep your pup healthy.
Bear in mind that dachshunds require some care to be healthy and thriving. It’s important to be knowledgeable about their needs before adding one as a new member to your family.
The Many Colors and Coats of Dachshunds
Dachshunds have two distinct coats that helped them thrive in different hunting situations.
Smooth-coated Dachshunds are the original Dachshund, whose coats look great in all situations.
Wirehaired Dachshunds were bred to make their way through dense briars on the badger hunt. Their coat is stiff and sturdy.
Longhaired Dachshunds have a thicker coat than either smooth-coated Dachshunds or wirehaired dachshunds, bred as they were for colder climates.
As far as breed color, the AKC recognizes many variants of Dachshund coat color.
- Dachshund coat color:
- Black and Cream
- Fawn and Tan
- Fawn and Cream
- Blue and Cream
- Wild Boar
- Chocolate and Tan
- Blue and Tan
- Black and Tan
Grooming Your Furry Friend
Dachshund grooming is dependant on the coat variant of the dog in question.
For smooth-coated Dachshunds, grooming is simple. As these dogs look fresh in their silky-smooth coats wherever they go, a simple brush down with a cloth or a hound glove before stepping outside is enough to ensure elegance.
For longhaired Dachshunds, owners may choose to implement a more consistent brushing regimen. How much brushing is required depends on the individual dog and the thickness of its coat.
Wirehaired Dachshunds may be the most labor-intensive for grooming purposes. To keep them looking their best, owners should trim the eyebrows and beard every few weeks. For the coat, quarterly plucking keeps the Dachshund looking its best.
Whether your Dachshund is miniature or standard, longhaired, smooth-coated, or wirehaired, you should trim its nails at least once a month.
Do Dachshunds Shed?
Dachshunds are moderate shedders. The AKC rates Dachshund shedding at a two out of five, with five being the heaviest shedders.
Depending on the coat type, however, some Dachshunds will shed more than others. Those Dachshunds with smooth coats or wirehaired coats won’t shed much, but some long-haired Dachshunds can shed a lot.
Essentially, the thicker and longer the coat, the more the dog will shed.
Which Type of Dachshund Should I Choose?
How do you know if the Dachshund is right for you?
Remember: these dogs are incredibly loving and loyal, but they can be difficult to train and aren’t the best dogs for kids. Their loud bark can pose a real problem for first-time owners, who can feel out of their depth when trying to get their stubborn friend in control.
What’s more, Dachshunds have a high prey drive and a very sensitive nose that can make leash training difficult.
If you have lots of space, you may consider getting a standard Dachshund or a miniature. Although Dachshunds aren’t suited to long-distance running, having a large yard for them to play in can be a great way to occupy them, following their noses in exploring trees, bushes, and the critters on the ground.
If you’re in a smaller space, you should still consider getting a Dachshund. Even the largest Dachshunds, at 32 pounds, are perfectly appropriate for city-living. That said, you should consider that though these dogs are small, they can have lots of energy. Regular walks will be a must.
Smooth Coated Standard Dachshund
Likely the most popular type of Dachshund is the smooth-coated standard Dachshund. That said, however, the popularity differs between town and country, north and south as to what type of Dachshund is the most popular.
In suburbs and rural areas, the standard Dachshund is more popular, while city dwellers tend to prefer the smaller, fun-size option.
What’s the Cost?
Dachshunds, like other purebred dogs, can sometimes fetch a hefty price at the market. Expect Dachshund puppies to cost between $800 and $1,500. Depending on your state and the demand for Dachshunds therein, however, the sausage dog can cost upwards of $3,000.
Some breeders may sell Dachshunds at prices much lower than this, but you need to be sure when looking for any dog that you source from a responsible breeder.
You Can’t Go Wrong with a Dachshund!
In the words of the AKC, getting a dog is a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. A Dachshund in a house will make it feel like home for all family members. Dachshunds, with their loyalty and keen sensitivity, make perfect companions, but training them (especially at first) isn’t a walk in the park.
If you’ve decided to get a Dachshund, congratulations! They may be a challenge to train, but Dachshund lovers will tell you your labor of love is worth every moment.