Breed At A Glance


Tenacious, lively and devoted

Life Expectancy
12-15 years

Average Height
Miniature 12-14 inches; Standard 14-18 inches

Average Weight
Miniature 8-11 lbs; Standard 11-32 lbs

Coat Color

Coat Length/Texture
Three varieties: Smooth, Wired-haired and Long-haired

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year-round

Also known as Standard Dachshund, Miniature Dachshund, Toy Dachshund, Doxie, Wiener Dog

General Temperament

Dachshunds are playful and energetic dogs who enjoy spending time chasing birds, rabbits, squirrels, or even a ball or stick thrown by its owner. They are clever and courageous, often to the point of absurdity. They are extremely loyal to their owners and often suspicious of strangers; they are also exceptionally loud barkers, making them great watchdogs. They are so devoted that they can experience significant separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They can get along with other household pets and older respectful children, but they can also be jealous, irritable and quick to bite if provoked.

Dachshunds are curious, mischievous and tenacious. They can be very stubborn, and are one of the most difficult breeds to train. They are compulsive diggers and can spend hours digging holes in the back yard, or burrowing under the backyard fence creating an “escape route.” Dachshunds need adequate human attention and playtime, otherwise they can become destructive, but they are active indoors and make good apartment pets. They are also good travelers.

Breed History

The Dachshund was originally developed in Germany from a combination of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. The breed was used primarily to hunt badger; in fact, its name is German for “badger dog.” The early incarnations of the Dachshund were significantly larger and heavier than the modern breed, weighing 30-40 pounds with longer legs. These early Dachshunds were also commonly used for rabbit and fox hunting, for locating wounded deer, and in packs were known to hunt game as large as wild boar and as fierce as the wolverine. As the breed became specialized for badger baiting and hunting, the body-type changed. The legs were shortened to allow the dog to follow its prey close to the earth, digging into the ground to follow it into its burrow.

Documented importation of the Dachshund into the U.S. began around 1885.

Body Structure and Composition

The Dachshund is an elongated, vigorous, muscular dog with short legs and a long back. Its chest is rather deep relative to its overall size, and its tail is long and straight. It has a long muzzle and strong teeth. Dachshund ears are pendulous, hanging close to the head, which is carried high and proud.

There are three varieties of Dachshund: the short-haired, the wired-haired, and the long-haired. In addition to the three coats, the Dachshund comes in standard, miniature and toy varieties. All varieties of coat come in a wide range of solid colors as well as multi-colored patterns.

Medical Information

Overbreeding has lead to some significant hereditary problems within this breed, the most prevalent of which is various forms of Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease (IVDD), which can cause degeneration of the cushioning cartiledge between the vertebra. This degeneration can cause pain, lethargy, sensitivity, poor appetite, dragging of limbs, paralysis, and loss of bladder and bowel control. There is no specific “cure” for this condition, although pain can be managed through drug therapy, and many veterinary professionals suggest that jumping and stair climbing be limited with this breed. There are devices available to allow the dog continued mobility in the case of rear paralysis. (Patellar Luxation, a recurring condition caused by sudden movement or dislocation of the knee cap, occasionally occurs with this breed as well.)

Another hereditary issue experienced by a significant number of Dachshunds is Cushings Disease, a condition which causes the production of too much adrenal hormone, in particular cortisol. Symptoms include excessive drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, severe temperament swings, panting, high blood pressure, hair loss, pendulous abdomen, thinning of the skin, susceptibility to skin infections and diabetes, weakening of the heart and skeletal muscles, and nervous system disease, among others. This is can be a naturally occurring condition, or can be the result of a tumor in the adrenal or pituitary gland; adrenal tumors can be removed surgically, but pituitary tumors cannot. Cushings Disease caused by a pituitary tumor can be treated with long-term drug therapy, but this will not “cure” the dog.

Hereditary Epilepsy (recurrent seizures) is also prevalent in this breed. Dachshunds can also develop allergies and other skin problems, as well as various eye conditions.

Although active indoors, dachshunds can sometimes become lazy as they get older. The resulting possibility of obesity can present additional significant back problems for this breed. They can also develop heart disease, diabetes, and urinary tract problems including kidney stones.

Each coat variety has its own grooming requirements. Long-haired Dachshunds require daily combing and brushing to minimize matting and remove dead hairs. Wire-hairs need professional trimming twice a year. Smooth-hairs require regular a rubdown with a damp cloth, with little to no brushing necessary (although it may help preserve household cleanliness by removing shed hairs).

Anecdotal Information

Although the three coat varieties share common temperaments, observers say their personalities differ somewhat. The smooths are inclined to attach themselves to a particular family member and to be somewhat aloof with strangers; the wirehairs are extroverts with a clownish sense of humor; the longhairs manage to maintain their dignity while happily playing with anyone who can be enticed into a game.

The iconic Dachshund has been featured in many forms of American media. Gary Larson’s comic strip The Far Side portrayed the breed in many humorous situations. Several children’s cartoons feature Dachshunds, including Hundley in “Curious George” and Jorge in “Clifford’s Puppy Days.” The breed has also held roles in several television shows and movies. Many artists have owned and been inspired by Dachshunds.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German emperor and King of Prussia, had two ferocious Dachshunds named Wadl and Hexl. Upon arriving at Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s country home, chateau Konopiste, on a semi-official visit, they promptly proceeded to do away with one of the Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince’s priceless golden pheasants, thereby almost causing an international incident.

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