Ah, the beloved wiener dog. Few breeds garner such adoration as the curious and playful dachshund. A hit with strangers during walks around the block and the undisputed life of every party, a dachshund brings joy to every social interaction.
If you’re considering bringing a dachshund into your family, you may have some basic questions: how long do dachshunds live, what factors affect this, and what else do I need to know?
What is the Typical Life Expectancy For a Dachshund?
According to the American Kennel Club, the dachshund is considered one of the healthiest dog breeds. Provided that they’re eating well and exercising enough, you can expect the average dachshund lifespan to be about about 12 to 16 years.1 Many doxies live into their late teen years, but the average reported age is about 12.5 years old—that’s 1.5 years longer than the average pooch.2
In terms of differences between a miniature and standard dachshund, there really aren’t any. Both tend to have the same life expectancy.
How Many Types of Dachshunds Are There?
You can categorize doxies according to two main features: size and coat.
In terms of size, you’ll find:
- Standard — They usually weigh anywhere from 16 to 32 pounds.
- Tweenie – These pups fall between 11 and 16 pounds.
- Miniature — Miniature dachshundsgenerally weigh 11 pounds or less.
Standard, miniature, and the sometimes-excluded tweenie dachshunds can come in three different coat varieties, including:
- Smooth-haired – Their coats are short, dense, shiny, and of course, smooth. In fact, their hair is so short and smooth that you can hardly tell it’s hair.
- Wire-haired – If your doxie is sporting a bit of a beard, you know it’s wire-haired. Aside from their signature facial hair, their coats are generally mid-length, fairly thick, and wavy—and a little shaggy, in most cases.
- Long-haired – This elegant dachshund breed has—you guessed it—long hair that’s generally soft and sleek, unlike wire-haired pups. Their flowing mane is especially noticeable in the ears and around the belly, whereas the top of their bodies looks pretty similar to a smooth-haired doxie.
In total, that means you can spot nine different kinds of dachshunds at the dog park. Naturally, each individual doxie will have an irresistible personality all its own.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Death in Dachshunds?
In 2004, the UK Kennel Club and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee surveyed dachshund owners to pinpoint recurring dachshund health issues, straight from the source.3 According to the survey, the top five causes of death for the dachshund breed are:
- Old age – 21%
- Cancer – 16.7%
- Cardiac disease – 14.3%
- Neurologic conditions (IVDD, seizures, etc.) – 11%
- Multiple issue combinations – 5.7%
Although some of these issues are genetic, many are associated with their quality of life. You can help your doxie live longer by encouraging and supporting a healthy lifestyle. Monitoring your dachshund’s weight will lessen any unnecessary strain on their hearts and bones, and help keep them happily digging holes in the backyard for years and years.
What are Common Health Problems in Dachshunds?
Although dachshunds are, on the whole, a healthy dog breed, there are a few potential health risks that every dachshund owner should look out for.
Because of their unique shape, the dachshund’s exceptionally long back could be a point of concern. Owners should take special care that their doxie doesn’t become overweight, as this could cause disc damage. And when your dog lets loose at the dog park, be on the lookout for any strenuous activities that could cause damage to their backs.
Their unique build also sets them up for issues like:4
- Intervertebral disk disease – This hereditary condition affects one in four doxies. Symptoms typically include stiffness in the neck, limbs, or back, pain while running or jumping, decreased activity, and dragging their hind legs. If left untreated, this health issue can cause paralysis.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – One of the most common health conditions for dachshunds, this is characterized by lameness in their hind legs and a clicking sound in their joints when they move. If you suspect your doxie has hip dysplasia, make a medical appointment as soon as possible.
- Teeth – Because of the unique shape of their mouths, doxies are prone to dental issues. You can help promote good oral hygiene with regular chew sticks and swipes of doggy toothpaste.
You love how your doxie’s ears hang low and especially when they wobble to and fro. Unfortunately, so do bacteria. Because of their shape, a dachshund’s ears are particularly prone to infection, so be sure to clean them regularly.
Dachshunds may also suffer from eye issues, typically cataracts or glaucoma. You’ll probably be able to recognize either condition if your dog seems to have difficulty seeing and if their eyes begin to appear cloudy.
To avoid serious issues across the board, every dachshund owner should take their doxie to the vet regularly to ensure good health. Although you can keep a close eye on your spunky four-legged friend at home, your local vet will know exactly what to look out for and will be able to conduct regular tests on their knees, eyes, and overall health. (And what vet doesn’t want to welcome an adorable wiener dog into their office?)
For more on the health of your dachshund read on with: “Common Dachshund Health Problems“
Who Are the Longest-Living Dachshunds?
Some dachshunds have lived incredible, record-breaking lives. Some of those famous pooches include:
- Chanel – This doxie was the first dog to ever win the Guinness World Record for World’s Oldest Living Dog.5 She died in 2009 at the age of 21, just three months after receiving her title. She was known for wearing a stylish pair of red goggles and a pink sweater wherever she went. Her only health problems were cataracts and her tendency to catch a cold. Chanel’s owner said that she was an incredibly active doxie, even when she reached 147 (in human years).
- Rocky – This dachshund from California made it to the record-breaking age of 25. Although Rocky never received an official Guinness Award, he might be one of the world’s longest-living dogs. Rocky made it to the legendary age by remaining active, his owner said.6 Although his organs were working like a much younger dog’s, Rocky’s joints and eyes eventually gave out.
What’s a Dachshund’s General Disposition?
Although they may not look like mighty and ferocious predators, doxies are hunters at heart. They’re a German breed, originally used for hunting badgers (the German word for badger is “dachs”). The dogs were specifically bred to be independent, which is a great trait on a hunt but infuriating when you’re trying to stop your dog from breaking into their bag of treats.
The dog breed is also typically considered:
- Eager to please
If you are wanting to learn more about dachshunds, check out our top dachshund facts.
How Do You Keep a Dachshund Happy and Healthy?
Some owners make the mistake of thinking that, because dachshunds are small, they don’t need to get out of the house very often. But because they were bred as hunting dogs, there’s nothing a dachshund loves more than a good romp, so make sure you’re prioritizing exercise. That can look different depending on your doxie’s disposition:
- Move those little legs – If you can take your short-legged companion out for a moderate-length walk twice a day, they’ll be extremely happy. They’ll be even happier if they can meet strangers and make new friends while out in the world. Doxies are extremely social and extremely charming. You may find your dog making friends for you.
- Occupy their eager minds – Because of their hunting roots, doxies are diggers. You may find your backyard (or even the dog park) quickly filled with evidence of their exploits. In order to counteract the behavior, give them plenty of engaging toys like dog food puzzles, Kongs filled with peanut butter, and the like. Dachshund minds want to be engaged.
- Opt for something unconventional – You can also take your dachshund to activities like barn hunts or EarthDog training. These sports will help them channel their natural tendencies—and you’ll likely meet fellow dachshund owners there, too.
Regular grooming sessions always help a dachshund look and feel their best. Setting a schedule of a few thorough brushings per month should do the trick for short-haired dachshunds. If your doxie is of the long-haired persuasion, you’ll need to brush them more regularly—likely, at least a few times per week.
And, of course, be prepared for plenty of cuddles. Doxies are a loveable and affectionate breed. After a long day of chasing squirrels and playing in the park, there’s nothing they love more than curling up close on the couch with family. Head scratches aplenty, please.
Feed Your Dachshund Well
You can help your adorable dachshund counteract common health issues by looking for dog food that contains healthy ingredients. L-carnitine helps promote great back health and omegas will keep their joints limber. Look for dog foods that lead with natural ingredients like chicken. Bonus points if the formula is specifically engineered for dachshund health issues.
Because of their shape, dachshunds should be carefully monitored for weight gain. If they become too heavy, it can put excess strain on their back, causing slipped or ruptured discs. The best way to avoid doxie weight gain is to put them on a regular and measured feeding schedule—and keep the treats to a minimum, no matter how good of a boy he’s been.
You can supplement doggy food with low-fat natural treats like:
Your doxie will be especially grateful for the new flavor experience, and will probably want to show it with extra hand licks.
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- American Kennel Club. Dachshund. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/dachshund/
- Alpha Paw. Dachshund Lifespan: How Long Do Dachshunds Live. https://www.alphapaw.com/dog-breeds/dachshund-lifespan/
- For My Dachshund. What is the Dachshund Life Expectancy? https://formydachshund.com/what-is-the-dachshund-life-expectancy/
- For My Daschshund. 12 of the Most Common Health Issues in Dachshunds. https://formydachshund.com/11-of-the-most-common-health-issues-in-dachshunds/
- TODAY. Meet Chanel: Almost 21, the world’s oldest dog. https://www.today.com/news/meet-chanel-almost-21-world-s-oldest-dog-wbna30596398
- Mountain Democrat. Rocky the oldest dachshund sets stage for Rocky II. https://www.mtdemocrat.com/news/rocky-the-oldest-dachshund-sets-stage-for-rocky-ii/