The teeny-weeny dachshund (pronounced “dahx-und”) may be low to the ground, but the breed is high in the rankings of America’s favorite pups. These lovey-dovey dachshund dogs are as playful as they are polite, but don’t let their diminutive size fool you—these are former hunters with a protective ‘tude.
With two varieties to choose from—the tiny standard dachshund and the even tinier miniature dachshund—you’re bound to find a companion that fits into your lifestyle and your pocket. But don’t get them mixed up with the beagle who has a similar stature!
Also Known As…
Wiener dog. Sausage dog. Badger dog, doxie, “A hot dog on legs.”
What Is The History Of The Dachshund Dog Breed?
As you might have guessed from the spelling, this dog breed comes from Germany. And in classic German fashion, the name is two words smooshed together: dachs means badger, and hund means—you guessed it—hound.
Despite their little legs and squishable bodies—or perhaps because of them—these “badger dogs” were trained to get up close and personal with badgers in their dens. By scaring the unsuspecting animals out of their homes, dachshunds could drive them into the daylight where they met their untimely end.
Eventually, the sausage-shaped dog was bred into three categories, arranged by their coat type: smooth-haired, long-haired, and wire-haired. These different coats were originally developed for hunting purposes, helping these daring dogs scurry through dense underbrush and withstand chilly conditions. Today, they just bring more variety to the colorful world of dachshunds.
How Big Do Dachshunds Get?
There are two types of dachshund dog breeds officially recognized in the U.S., each with a standard size range as an adult dog. A third, even smaller category called the kaninchen (“rabbit”) dachshund exists, but it isn’t formally recognized here.
Standard Dachshund Size
Height: 8–9 inches
Weight: 15–33 pounds
Miniature Dachshund Size
Height: 5–6 inches
Weight: 7–11 pounds
How Long Do Dachshunds (Generally) Live?
Small dogs tend to outlive their larger counterparts, and the wiener dog is no exception. The usual lifespan for a dachshund of any size is between 12 and 16 years.
What Is A Dachshund’s Temperament & Personality Like?
The dachshund is definitive proof that big things come in small packages. Clever, curious, and cute as a button, this is a pup with a bubbly temperament, beloved by all who get to know them. Your average dachshund is equal parts playful and protective—a perfect mix in a house-trained companion.
With their larger-than-life personality comes a voice box to match. Wiener dogs are often boisterous barkers, shouting to anyone who will listen. This trait makes them surprisingly effective guard dogs, much like a German shepherd, as long as the would-be burglar doesn’t actually see the pint-sized source of the barking.
Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
Socializing your dachshund can be a bit of a coin toss. Some wiener dogs mesh swimmingly with kids, cats, other dogs, lizards, you name it. Others are more solitary and standoffish, treating anyone but their family members with indifference or even assertiveness.
If you own a dachshund, there’s no need to hide them away when company comes over. Regular supervised visits with friends, kids, and other animals can help your hound become comfortable around others.
Do Dachshunds Need A Lot Of Exercise?
Although they’re teensy-weensy, wiener dogs can be little bundles of energy. They’ll run and frolic until the cows come home. (They might even chase the cows if you let them get close enough.)
Be prepared to walk your pup two or three times a day, rain or shine. Dachshunds who don’t work out enough have been known to work the couch cushions instead.
For these hounds, exercise is more than just an outlet for pent-up energy. Like humans, dachshunds need to “hit the gym” from time to time to build and maintain their muscles. The fitter they are, the better their elongated back will hold up against daily strain.
Are Dachshunds Hard To Train?
Sausage dogs aren’t exactly known for their trainability. They tend to be more on the stubborn side, preferring to chase squirrels instead of listening to your commands.
With that said, the dachshund is a reasonably intelligent breed. With a little persuasion, they can learn to perform simple tasks and tricks. Obedience training can be a worthwhile investment for dachshunds, as the uninitiated dog owner may struggle to keep up with their wiener dog’s ever-changing moods.
Do Dachshunds Have Health Issues?
When it comes to pet health, shape and size often play the biggest role. Dental disease is common among all dogs, particular smaller breeds. However, because the dachshund has a unique physique, there are some specific health concerns you should look out for.
Due to the extended gap between their front and back legs, dachshunds are more prone to spinal injuries and neurological issues. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is the most common problem, with around one-fifth of all dachshunds developing this affliction in their lifetimes. IVDD can make affected dogs’ walking a real chore, so it’s worth taking steps to avoid it.
By popping into the vet’s office twice per year, you can stay on top of the worst dachshund health problems. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule and encouraging your hound not to hop on or off the bed or stairs can also keep their spine in tip-top shape.
Other neurological conditions that can show up in dachshunds include:
- Narcolepsy (sudden collapse and inability to stay awake)
- Lafora disease (characterized by short seizures)
- Cerebellar abiotrophy (characterized by a lack of balance)
- Myasthenia gravis (weakness in the muscles)
Do Dachshunds Need To Be Groomed?
A dachshund’s grooming needs depend mostly on their coat type:
- Smooth-haired dachshund – These hounds rarely need a bath, except when visibly grimy. Give them a quick brushing and a wipe-down with a towel every so often, and they’ll be all set.
- Wire-haired dachshund – This variety’s thick, wiry hair requires a little more TLC. Visiting the groomer a few times a year for hand-stripping or plucking can keep your doxie looking dapper. At home, you’ll want to keep your pup’s eyebrows and facial hair in check with a weekly comb-through.
- Long-haired dachshund – With more hair comes more shedding. Aim to brush your long-haired dachshund at least once a week.
No matter their hairstyle, all dogs need regular nail clippings and ear cleanings to look and feel their best.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Dachshund?
It’s not always easy to estimate the cost of dog ownership. If you treat your wiener dog like a winner, you could easily spend thousands on designer collars and coats.
At a minimum, budget around $700+ per year to care for your dashing dachshund.
Dachshunds are smaller dogs that eat anywhere from ½ to 1 cup of dog food per day. A sizable bag of high-quality food should last you around four weeks, placing your average food bills at $30–$60/month.
BARK Eats makes food specifically for dachshunds. Simply fill out an online form with your pup’s size, age, and dietary needs, and you’ll receive a bag of perfectly portioned meals every month. With recipes formulated by veterinary nutritionists and dietary supplement add-ons available, you can rest easy knowing your dachshund is well-fed. Get 50% off your first month!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
A routine vet checkup should cost around $50–$60 each time, and most dog owners make the trip once or twice each year. Tack on a few other vet-related expenses, and you’re looking at about $200–$250 per year. Consider getting pet insurance to cover costly expenses when your dachshund puppy needs emergency care.
Preventative medications for heartworm, fleas, and ticks are a bright idea for any dog. Medications to keep these pests at bay can cost around $80–$150 per year.
Vaccines are another must-have for most mutts. They cost roughly $20–30 per dose, but they can save you hundreds over the years. Most vets will recommend vaccines to protect against:
- Bordetella (kennel cough, especially if they’ll be attending doggy daycare or a pup hotel)
- Lyme disease
Most of these vaccines are given at a young age, with occasional booster shots to follow. Talk to your vet to figure out which vax schedule to stick to.
Dachshunds are fairly low maintenance, so don’t expect grooming to eat into your budget too much. If you take care of nail trimmings and ear cleanings at home, you can usually go three months between each trip to the groomer (unless your dachshund likes to roll in mud puddles).
Grooming appointments for these petite pups should only run you $30–$60.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
Tiny toys for your little tyke can cost anywhere from $20 to $50+. Treats are around $120 per year, depending on how snacky your friend gets. Be sure to keep the daily treat rations at no more than 10% of your dachshund’s daily caloric intake. Any more than that and you risk weight gain that puts their fragile spine at risk.
Ready for treats and toys galore? A monthly BarkBox brings them straight to your door. For $23/month, you’ll receive 2 toys, 2 treat bags, and a tasty chew. If your dachshund is a destroyer, you may want to opt for the Super Chewer box. Enjoy 2 extra-strength toys, 2 bags of treats, and 2 meaty chews for $29/month. Plus, DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FREE!
Other classic dog accessories include:
- An extra-small dog bed ($30–$65)
- Food and water bowls ($10–$25)
- A leash and collar (~$30)
- Bathtime supplies ($40)
- Nail clippers ($10)
USA Today. The 50 most popular dog breeds in America. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/life/2021/06/28/the-50-most-popular-dog-breeds-in-america/45134329/
Dachshund Club of America. Dachshund Breed History. http://www.dachshundclubofamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Breed-History.pdf
British Veterinary Association. Worried vets lay out the long and low of dachshund health issues following Crufts win. https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/wiener-get-a-sausage-dog-worried-vets-lay-out-the-long-and-low-of-dachshund-health-issues-after-crufts-win/
Southeast Veterinary Neurology. Dachshund Health Issues: 5 Dachshund Neurological Problems. https://sevneurology.com/blog/dachshund-health-issues-5-neurological-problems/