Affectionately known as wiener dogs, dachshunds are one of the most recognizable breeds out there. But don't let their small size and cuteness fool you: dachshunds are hounds, bred to hunt, and extremely tough. This small dog is made to hunt tunneling animals and tough enough to take on a badger. But they're also loving family dogs that make excellent companions.
There are two sizes of dachshunds, standard and miniature. Standard dachshunds come in three varieties: smooth, longhair, and wirehair. They usually weigh between 16 and 32 pounds while miniature dachshunds weight around 11 pounds. Those that fall between 11 and 16 pounds are unofficially known as tweenies. You might see some breeders advertising toy dachshunds, but this isn't an official designation; they're just bred to be on the small side.
Smooth dachshunds are the most popular and most recognizable. They have short, shiny fur and need a sweater in cold weather to help then stay warm. Longhaired dachshunds have a coat that is slightly wavy and a little longer. Breeders likely developed long hairs to give the dog a little more protection from the elements so they could hunt more effectively in cold weather. Wire-haired dachshunds have coarse, wavy hair of medium length. They likely have a bit of terrier mixed into their bloodline.
Thanks to their small size, dachshunds are great for people who live in an apartment or don't have access to a big backyard. But that doesn't mean they should be kept indoors all day — they like being outside but will be happy with a long walk. Dachshunds may have been bred to hunt, but they have a lot of other skills, too. They're known to compete in obedience and agility competitions and are sometimes used as therapy dogs.
Dachshunds are bred to persevere in the hunt, chasing down prey and fighting back when necessary. They're a big dog in a small body and can be extremely stubborn. While they may be bred to hunt, what they love most is being with their family. For a lot of people, this outweighs their more challenging traits. Since wirehaired dachshunds have a bit of terrier mixed in, they're a little more mischievous. Long-haired dachshunds are said to be the calmest, with smooth dachshunds falling in between.
The dachshund's long torso makes them prone to back problems. Injuries can occur as a result of genetics, a fall or jump off of furniture, or being held unsupported. This breed is also prone to having epilepsy, though this can be controlled with medication in most cases. Some varieties of dachshunds are ar risk for hearing loss, but it is not common in the breed as a whole.
Dachshunds are extremely active hunters. They have a lot of energy and the stamina for long walks, so it's important to make sure they get enough exercise. If not, they will likely get into trouble and may be destructive. Two 10-minute walks a day is a good goal, but if time is short, a vigorous game of catch will do the trick. Dachshunds can meet their exercise needs by running around indoors, but remember that these dogs are hunters and they do like to spend some time outside.
Dachshunds are smart, but they are also stubborn and training can be a challenge. Positive reinforcement works best for training these feisty dogs. Crate training is recommended, but a dog should never spend an extended amount of time locked in their crate. Dachshunds, especially minis, can be loud. They make great watchdogs because they will warn you about anything unusual, but they may annoy your neighbors in an apartment setting.
Smooth and long-haired dachshunds can be single- or double-colored, with their coloring typically including brown, red, grizzled, black, blue, or fawn. Dappled dachshunds have a merle patterned coat, often with white on the chest. Wirehaired dachshunds are usually the same colors as smooth, but the most common is a combination of red, brown, and black called wild boar. Some dachshunds have light-colored coats accompanied by green or blue eyes instead of the breed standard brown eyes.
Smooth dachshunds are low maintenance. They shed a little bit and don't need to be bathed often unless they get messy. Wirehaired dachshunds are a little more work. They need regular brushing and stripping a few times a year to remove excess hair from their coat, keeping it tidy and reducing shedding. Long-haired dachshunds need the most care. Daily brushing helps prevent mats and knots, and they need to be bathed more regularly.
Dachshunds are great with kids, especially those in their own homes. That said, they may not be as accepting of other people's children, so playtime should always be supervised. Young children should never be left alone with a dachshund. Because dachshunds are so small, children may be tempted to pick them up, and if they're not handled properly, dachshunds can easily be injured. Encourage children to only hold a dachshund when they're sitting on the floor. Dachshunds also get along well with other pets, particularly if they were introduced as puppies.
Get your paws on the latest animal news and information