Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Dachshunds are a very popular breed in the United States and are immediately recognized by their skinny, long bodies and their short legs. Often referred to as “wiener dogs,” they have a spunky personality to match their recognizable shape. They are recognized in two sizes (standard and miniature) and have three different coat types (smooth-coated, longhaired, and wirehaired).
They were originally bred as hunting dogs, but today they are many people’s favorite pets. This is because they are loyal dogs who are great at being a part of a family. Even though they are little, they have a big personality and sometimes like to think that they are big dogs, too. They are both brave and stubborn, which creates a fun, outgoing personality that many have fallen in love with.
Also Known As...
Wiener dog. Wiener. Sausage dog. Hotdog. Badger dog. Doxie. Weenie. Dackel dog. "Hey, it's that lovable canine that looks like a meat-tube gained sentience!"
Dachshunds are German dogs and their name comes from the German words for “badger” (dachs) and “hound” (hund). As seen from their name, they were bred to dig to badger dens, and their long, slim bodies helped with this task. They were bred from German, French, and English hounds and terriers to achieve the look and personality of the wiener dogs we know and love today. In the past, Dachshunds were kept in royal courts throughout Europe, including the court of Queen Victoria.
With different types of coats and sizes, Dachshunds began to be standardized by the 1800s. Dachshunds were first brought to the United States in 1870 to help hunt rabbits and were recognized by the AKC in 1885. The Dachshund Club of America formed ten years later, in 1895. There is still some debate about the exact origins of the breed, as they may have been around in some form longer than we think. What is known is that short-haired Dachshunds were bred first and long-haired and wire-haired Dachshunds came after.
Dachshunds are classified in two sizes: standard (8 to 9 inches) and miniature (5 to 6 inches).
Standard Dachshunds have a weight range of 16 to 32 pounds, while the miniature Dachshunds are 11 pounds & under.
This breed may look small and cute, but they’re also clever, determined, and courageous. They have lots of personality all wrapped up in a small package. This can manifest itself in mischievousness, but more often i just means Dachshunds are playful and want to have fun.
Some people call them stubborn, but this can just be seen as an exciting determination they have to complete tasks arising from their hunting instincts. They have outgoing personalities, making them a great guard dog. They will greet the guests in your house to let them know they’re there!
They are also loyal to their families and happy to both play outside and also stay inside for a good snuggle. This loyalty may manifest itself as separation anxiety when their family is gone.
Furthermore, the three types of Dachshunds (smooth-coated, longhaired, wirehaired) may have slightly different personalities, with the wirehaired being the most terrier-like, the longhaired being the quietest, and the smooth-coated being a bit in between the other two.
Intelligence / Trainability
Wiener dogs are intelligent, with the skills of a hunting dog. They are known to be stubborn and this stubbornness makes them a bit harder than the average dog to train. However, with proper motivation, Dachshunds can be a great dog to teach tricks too. Most wiener dogs are highly motivated by food, so using small bits of food or treats to reward them can help the training process. Their stubborn tendencies mean that they will be steadfast once they learn what they need to learn.
Best Training Techniques For Dachshunds
You will need to work alongside your Dachshund to see what they are able to do and try to use positive reinforcement to encourage the behaviors you want repeated. Because of their stubbornness, it may be difficult to get them to do something they don’t want to do. But with proper motivation, your Dachshund should be able to learn new commands. Being very consistent in your training can help improve the outcomes.
Dachshunds are big diggers, so make sure that if they have a yard to play in, it’s well enclosed so they don’t escape. If you don’t want your flowers dug up, they should also be kept away from gardens. Because of their job hunting badgers, it’s natural for them to want to dig whenever there’s a chance.
They prefer spending most of their time inside with their families, but a place with too many stairs may hurt their back. Furthermore, even though they are small, they were bred for hunting and need a place where they can go on long walks.
Good For Families And kids?
Dachshunds are a great family dog and like to be around children, as long as they are introduced to them early on. Their long backs are delicate, so Dachshunds can be injured if played with too roughly. Because of this, playtime with little kids should always be supervised. (Of course, this is true of all dogs!)
Dachshunds may not want to spend as much time with other children that are not a part of the family, but they are happy to be a part of a family. They often have intense loyalty to their owners and will act as barking watch dog protecting their family, even if it's not wanted!
Their average life expectancy is 12 to 16 years.
Dachshunds are generally a healthy breed, but their body shape can make them vulnerable to some health issues. Because of their long bodies, they may be vulnerable disk damage, such as intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), in their back if they are played with roughly, if they do a lot of jumping, or if they become overweight. This breed tends to like to eat a lot, so becoming overweight is a problem that owners should be on the lookout for. Obesity can cause many different health issues, including the aforementioned back problems, so monitoring their food intake is important to keeping them healthy.
In addition to these issues, they may get ear infections if their ears are not cleaned regularly, because of their floppy ears.
Wiener dogs have moderate energy levels and should get regular exercise in order to keep them at a healthy weight and to build muscles that will help support their skinny backs. Time playing outside and a couple walks a day are necessary for them to have a proper outlet for their energy.
Because of their long backs, watch out when they are playing to make sure they’re not doing anything that could cause damage. For example, running up and down stairs or jumping on and off things could potentially hurt their backs.
Friendly With...(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Dachshunds can be good with other dogs if they are a part of the family, especially with other Dachshunds. However, it's not uncommon for them to be reactive around strange dogs, which is why training, socialization, and a watchful eye are all important.
Similarly, Dachshunds may be confused by new people, so it’s important to socialize them with strangers from a young age.
Dachshunds also may be wary around cats, but if they're introduced at a young age, then they'll likely live together peacefully.
Coat & Grooming
There are three coat types for Dachshunds: smooth-coated, longhaired, and wirehaired. All three are moderate shedders and need a moderate level of grooming.
Longhaired Dachshunds require a bit more grooming, as they need more frequent brushing if they have a thicker coat.
Wirehaired Dachshunds should be hand-stripped a few times a year (a process that removes dead hair) and some trimming of areas with longer hair should be done regularly.
Smooth-coated Dachshunds require very little grooming, with just regular washing and brushing.
Because of all three groups’ droopy ears, cleaning their ears regularly is important for preventing ear infections.
Their recognizable shape makes them a quirky breed when compared to other dog breeds. Their unique body requires extra care to make sure that they are comfortable. As they were bred to burrow down badger holes, it's not unusual to see them burrowing under blankets or digging into the ground just for the heck of it.
Toys Dachshunds Would Like Best
Let's talk toys! Because of their hunting instincts, some Dachshunds like Fetch Toys they can chase after. Small balls and ropes should do the trick! Puzzle Toys that allow them to sniff out treats can also keep them mentally stimulated so that they don't have destructive behaviors.
Multi-part toys like "Andi's Famous Dumplings," as depicted above, are often a big hit with this wiener breed.
Dachshunds also have high energy that can be released by going to town on durable Super Chewer Toys. These will keep your Dachshund busy and help prevent them from getting into trouble.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Dachshunds really like to eat, so if you want to keep your dog(s) healthy, you'll need to limit their food intake. They may continue to eat to the point of making themselves sick. Make sure portions are the right size for your dog’s needs and keep extra food and trash out of reach, as they have been known to eat anything edible they can find.
Because of their possible disk problems as a result of their little legs, supplements can help with certain issues. As always, consult a veterinarian before giving your Dachshund anything.
BARK's Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Boston Terrier with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
Dachshunds’ funny shape make them prone to back issues, so a ramp and a comfy bed can help protect their delicate spines. Ramps prevent jumping or running upstairs, which are the most common causes of back problems like IVDD. And after a long day of playing, they'll want somewhere to cozy up while they watch their family relax at the end of the day.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup's tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues to Find the Dachshund of Your Dreams
- Dachshund Rescue of North America (DRNA)
- All American Dachshund Rescue
- Little Paws Dachshund Rescue
- Adoptable Dachshunds on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Dachshunds
Andi the Dachshund is basically the total package. Pretty. Smart. Opinionated. While Pepper is...well, she's pretty, too. And smart. She's just a little awkward, is all. Together, they make the perfect odd couple.
This adorable, famous Dachshund has 730,000 followers and can be seen in different costumes and videos. He even has his own book!
This Instagram posts many different Dachshunds they see around New York City, showing that this city with a lot of people also has a lot of Dachshunds!
Bella is a longhaired miniature Dachshund from the UK who is very cuddly and spends a lot of time in nature.
Hansy is a Dachshund mix, and along with his Pit Bull brother Guybrush, they have adventures in Brooklyn. (Which mostly means they just nap under blankets and are lazy together.)
Elijah is a truly ridulous(ly adorable) Dachshund with a Doxbull brother named Cliff Clavin and a kitten sister, Soda. They're great. Follow them!
***Looking for a gift to blow your Dachshund's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via The Rotten Hounds/Instagram