Other names: Dackel, Teckel, Weenie, Sausage Dog
The Dachshund is a small hunting dog with atypical morphology. With short legs and an elongated body, he resembles a sausage. He is determined, intelligent, courageous, lively and very jovial. He adapts to many ways of life and needs to be treated to the height of his expectations, especially if he does not hunt with his master. He is a well-tempered dog who, if well-educated and socialised, is a delight to have around. They come in two sizes: Standard and Miniature, and in three different coat types: Smooth, Long, and Wire-haired.
Key facts about the Dachshund
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Origins and history
At the origin of this breed and other similar breeds, selection was made according to hunting ability. It is likely that the usefulness of the Dachshund in the hunt was discovered at the same time in different parts of the world. The Dachshund is considered to be a recent breed dating from the 18th-19th century: His ancestor is the German Basset, his close cousin, in addition to the Pinscher, who also made it possible to specify the size of the dog that we know today. His more recent history begins in Germany and more precisely in Bavaria, where the first Dachshund farms were created. In England too, the Dachshund is bred with a lot of passion, either as a hunting dog or as a pet dog, (but with a different ‘standard’). In addition, the two varieties (Standard and Miniature) are distinguished by their size differences. The Miniature version is newer. Concerning the sub-varieties of coat: the Smooth-haired is the oldest, followed by the Long-haired created in the 16th century when it was crossed with Cocker Spaniels. Finally, the Wire-haired version, created at the end of the 19th century, was the fruit of crosses between the Smooth-haired and the Schnauzer, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and probably the Scottish Terrier.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 4 - Dachshunds
Physical characteristics of the Dachshund
Female : Between 7 and 10 in
Male : Between 7 and 10 in
Miniature: 5-6 inches
Standard: 8-9 inches
Female : Between 7 and 20 lb
Male : Between 7 and 20 lb
Miniature: 10-11 lbs
Standard: 16-32 lbs
Smooth-haired Dachshunds can be unicolour (red, yellow-red, yellow, with or without black spots), two-coloured (dark black or brown with red marks), or Harlequin (stripes or brindle).
Wire-haired Dachshunds mostly have a wild boar-coloured coat, a more or less "dead leaf" colour depending on brightness.
Long-haired Dachshunds are very often unicolour (from red to yellow) but they can also be two-coloured (shades of black, brown, and flame-orange) or Harlequin (dark coat with grey or beige marks).
Type of coat
There are several varieties of hair: Smooth, long and wire.
- Long-haired Dachshund: The hair is smooth, shiny and lying all over the body. The hair is longer at the chest level.
- Short or smooth-haired Dachshund: The hair is short, bushy, shiny and smooth. The undercoat is hard and tight.
- Wirehaired Dachshund: The outer coat’s hair mixes with the undercoat and it is seen on the whole body of the dog. It is bushy and wiry to touch.
Depending on the colour of the coat, the eyes can range from dark-brown to black-brown. In Harlequin subjects, odd-eyes are tolerated without being sought after.
A dog with an elongated body, short legs, compact, vigorous and of good musculature. The head is graceful, with a rather flat skull and a buoyant posture. There are two sizes: Standard and Miniature, which are in turn divided into sub-varieties of coat (long, smooth and wire).
Good to know
Did you know the Dachshund was the first mascot of the Olympics? Indeed, during the Games in Munich in 1972, the organisers chose this athletic and courageous dog to be the face of the games.
Another unusual fact: The term "hot dog" may have been inspired by this sausage-shaped dog. Nothing is proven but many historians agree that in earlier times the hot dog was known as the Dachshund sausage.
Finally, this dog was the first pet cloned in England. Winnie, a 12-year-old dog, has been cloned by experts from South Korea and has shared her last few years alongside Mini-Winnie.
This short-legged dog is very friendly towards members of his social group.
The Long-haired Dachshund will be softer, constantly demanding cuddles (especially if crossed with a Cocker Spaniel).
The Wirehaired variety is more independent since it is the result of interbreeding with various terriers.
Depending on the type of Dachshund you get, and the individual dog's temperament, you will need to judge for yourself how loyal he is.
Whatever his variety, this sausage dog is very dynamic, energetic and passionate in his activities. Playing a game will be a great way for him to spend energy. Games related to tracking will be particularly appreciated by this breed due to its very fine nose.
The Dachshund has a rather confident personality with a need for activities. However, if he spends sufficient energy, this dog knows how to rest and enjoy the peace and comfort of the home.
Long-haired Dachshunds will be calmer than the others.
This small, elongated dog is particularly intelligent due to his ability to adapt to many lifestyles. Whether he lives in the city or in the countryside, whether he is used for hunting or as a simple life companion, this dog will be delighted by almost any home.
Moreover, his intellect also facilitates tremendous cunning. Indeed, this little dog with a well-tempered personality does not let anything slide and can take advantage of the slightest weakness in his companion to serve his own interests.
Although today the Dackel (to give it its German name) is regarded by many as a companion dog, it is important to remember that he was originally used for hunting, and only 1/3 of puppies were intended for family lives. He is an excellent hunter - especially the Wire-haired variety, since it is the most eager and courageous.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This little dog is quite distant when around people he doesn’t know. He tends to reserve his affection for his own social group. When it comes to the Smooth-haired variety, it is rather exclusive and tends to pay attention to one and only one person: His master.
He is not very independent nor particularly clingy. The Dachshund turns out to be a rather balanced dog.
Behaviour of the Dachshund
If he spends enough energy and he engages in plenty of activity in the absence of his masters, this small dog can withstand loneliness. But be careful, your absence should not be too long.
Easy to train / obedience
This small hunting dog has a thick head, and is not easy to educate - especially if he fails to perceive any sense or logic in the exercises requested of him.
Education must be started early. It needs to integrate firmness and coherence. Despite his small size, you must not show any weakness to this dog since he will exploit the slightest hesitance.
However, his intelligence, enthusiasm and playful side will make it possible to work together effectively, especially if the educational methods are adapted to his type and they favour the positive reinforcement of good behaviour.
He is suspicious of strangers, so he tends to bark to warn them away when he senses their approach.
Tendency to run away
A lack of education, a poor master-dog relationship and too little care of his energy spending needs are elements that can push this dog to run away to a life of adventure and energy-release.
If he lives in the countryside, you might need to reinforce the fence and make sure that you remember to walk him every day.
This hunting dog is somewhat "nosy" and can thus be very curious and potentially destructive if he finds something that interests him. Moreover, his determined personality does not allow him to let go of things easily.
Greedy / Gluttony
Despite appearances, this dog is a big eater that can easily become overweight if his diet is not suitable.
Because of his systematic barking at the sight of a stranger, this dog is a good warning guard. But he still remains a feeble deterrent due to his small size.
The Dachshund is a good companion dog if he is well educated. If not, his integration into a home will be very complicated since he will behave how he pleases. Thus, the masters of this little dog should not be too permissive.
For a first adoption, he can be a good choice but it is important to become aware of all the characteristics of the breed because he is not simply a dog that one can easily take everywhere just because people smile at his clownish side and atypical physique.
Indeed, this dog cannot be boiled down to just his amusement factor; it is very important to take into consideration all aspects of his personality before embarking on an adoption.
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Dachshund in a flat
The Dachshund is a hunting and roaming dog. His preferred environment is the outdoors. However, he can fully accommodate to living in an apartment in an urban environment if his needs are fulfilled.
Moreover, if he lives in the countryside in a house with a garden, he will still need several daily walks outside to stimulate his sense of smell and to fulfil his exercise needs.
His strength and courage allow him to stay out despite low temperatures (especially during the hunting sessions) but he still appreciates the cosy comforts of home.
The Long-haired variety is better suited to living in an apartment than others because it is more calm, affectionate and gentle.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Like any good self-respecting dog, he needs to expend energy daily to feel fulfilled, especially if he does not hunt with his master.
Since he is very active and in constant demand for activity, you need to ensure that his needs are fulfilled: his physical, mental, and olfactory needs.
The particular activities that this dog likes which allow him an excellent expense of energy tend to be exercises that incorporate a search to stimulate his sense of smell which is particularly developed and efficient.
However, watch out for unsuitable exercises like jumping, for example. This dog can develop many spinal issues so it is important to adapt the activities to his morphology.
Specifically, you will need to be very vigilant during the growth of the Dachshund puppy to avoid any problems during development. A veterinary follow-up is also strongly recommended.
Travelling / easy to transport
The Miniature Dachshund will be able to travel with their master in a transport bag without any problem, which makes transport easier.
The Standard Dachshund, which can weigh up to 9 kg, is however not allowed to travel in a transport bag in public transport.
In fact, for train travel, dogs of more than 7 kg must be kept on a leash and muzzled.
Moreover, his small body retains a certain advantage when you take this dog hither and thither. But in order to do so, it is still necessary that the dog has been educated and socialised from an early age so that environmental changes and various situations do not scare him.
Dachshund and cats
The Dachshund will be able to get along with a cat with whom he grew up at home. But once grown up, contact with new felines can be complex, especially because of his high predatory instinct.
Dachshund and dogs
He will get along well with other dogs, especially if he hunts alongside them regularly. However, be careful because this dog is not afraid of large dogs and he is sometimes forgetful of his size.
He is very courageous and persevering, even stubborn, so he could become insistent and somewhat rude when dealing with other dogs. This is not always appreciated by other pets.
Proper socialisation will have to be taught in the first months of puppyhood to develop and strengthen his canine codes and to give him as many positive experiences as possible.
Dachshund and children
This dog is suitable for children because he knows the difference between adults and children and will be much more lenient with youths. He will not show aggression towards the child; instead he will be less lenient towards the adult if he is not respected.
In any case, even if this dog proves to be friendly with children, guidelines will have to be established and above all respected to guarantee the safety of all and to prevent any incident.
Dachshund and the elderly
Long-haired Dachshund prove to be the most suitable for integrating into the home of elderly people. On the other hand, the other two varieties (Wire-haired and Smooth-haired) are much less suitable, especially because of their eager nature and their high demand of energy spending.
The price of a Dachshund varies depending on its origins, age and gender. An average of £1,200 to £2,000 is required for a dog registered with the KC.
Regarding the monthly budget, it takes between £20 and £30 to meet the physiological needs of this small dog.
Caring for a Dachshund is not complicated but still requires some rigour. Baths are not indispensable and must not, in any case, exceed the number of 3 per year unless absolutely necessary.
For Long-haired Dachshunds, a regular untangling of the coat should be done, especially after long walks in the forest.
For Wire-haired Dachshunds, bi-annual trims will also be required, with a professional canine groomer.
Shedding is almost permanent but relatively moderate. Regular brushing helps remove dead hair.
Nutrition of the Dachshund
This dog needs a diet adapted to his morphology, age, weight, size and fitness. The daily rations will differ according to the dog variety and especially according to how much exercise he gets.
A hunting dog and a pet dog will benefit from nutritious meals according to their daily expenditure of energy. A veterinary follow-up will help to balance rations.
When it comes to the metabolism of this dog, the digestion of a large quantity of food at once is delicate. In fact, several meals a day (one light in the morning and one more copious in the evening) are recommended.
Foods can be moist, dry, semi-dry or even homemade, as long as the necessary nutrients are included. In any case, the choice of high-quality food is essential to the good health of this dog, which has a tendency to become overweight.
Health of the Dachshund
The average life expectancy is estimated at 13 years.
Strong / robust
This dog is rustic: He is sturdy and has a relatively long lifespan. However, his atypical morphology causes some health problems.
During summer, you will find that water and a chance to rest in the shade are necessary for this little hound. Intense activities will have to be minimised and adapted during the summer..
The determination and courage of this dog in his work as a hunter cause him to ignore the problems of bad weather. However, if he is not working and he is not physically stimulated, he may be afraid of the cold.
Tendency to put on weight
Since this dog is very greedy, he can quickly gain weight. But be careful, a dog with overweight morphology can develop serious back problems. His diet must, therefore, be controlled and balanced to avoid obesity.
Frequently asked questions
Is a Dachshund a good family dog?
Dachshunds are good natured dogs if properly trained and socialised. However, as typical terriers, they like to dig and bark, they are notoriously stubborn, and don’t like to be rough-handled. This means they may not be the perfect choice for a family with young children. However, well educated Dachsies can do great with older children who know how to interact with dogs safely and respectfully. Plus, they make loyal guardians!
Do Dachshunds like to cuddle?
Dachshunds are incredibly loyal and affectionate dogs. They love to snuggle with their humans on the sofa or even in the bed. In fact, because of their terrier instincts, they love to burrow under blankets! Sausage dogs may bond with one member of the family in particular and will become this person’s shadow. Miniature Dachshunds in particular, due to their smaller weight and height, are very easy to transport, and so, love to follow their owners on their adventures.
Learn how to bond with your dog.
Are Dachshunds aggressive?
Like many terriers, Dachshunds have strong personalities and are not aware of their size. They don’t hesitate to let people know when they’re not happy. It is essential to train and socialise your sausage dog at a young age so they become well-rounded and friendly dogs. If you don’t put effort into a terrier’s education, their stubborn and protective instincts can turn into aggression, particularly if they are bored, stressed, or under-exercised.
Are male or female Dachshunds better?
This is a matter of personal preference. As a general rule, male Dachshunds tend to be a little more laid-back, clownish and affectionate than female Dachshunds, who can be a little more wary, independent and anxious. Of course, this is a generalisation and every dog is different. A lot of it comes down to how you raise your sausage dog puppy!