What is a Dachshund?
The Dachshund is a German breed of dog, also referred to as the Sausage Dog in Europe, and Weiner Dog in the USA thanks to its highly recognizable shape; with noticeably short stature and long body.
The Dachshund, pronounced daks-hund, sits within the Hound group and is a friendly, gregarious, and curious little chap who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s a small dog!
Often mistakenly purchased as a lapdog, this breed is, in fact, a medium to high energy pooch and thus requires plenty of exercising to not only keep him happy but to make sure that he doesn’t become overweight.
Types of Dachshund
When you think of the Dachshund, you’ll likely picture a black and tan, short-haired, medium build little fella, but alas – this breed comes in multiple colors and sizes.
The Standard Dachshund
Weighing in somewhere between 16 lbs and 32 lbs, and measuring 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder.
The Miniature Dachshund
Ideally, the miniature version of this breed will weigh under 11 lbs, and measure between 5 and 6 inches at the shoulder.
Not recognized internationally, in Germany, the Kaninchen (aka Rabbit) version of the Dachshund is incredibly small, weighing only 7 to 8 lbs, and measuring 3.5 to 5.5 inches at the shoulder.
The most popular variety of the Dachshund is the short-haired version, perhaps because as such a short chap, he quickly becomes dirty – and it’s easier to bath short-haired pooches.
The long-haired Dachshund is an impressive sight to behold, with luscious locks that, perhaps unsurprisingly; reach all the way down to the ground!
Rapidly growing in popularity in recent years, the Wire-haired Dachshund is a dignified looking pooch, with a coat that makes and dog look wise beyond his years.
Quite an adorable combination when you consider the goofy and playful temperament of the Dachshund!
Hailing from Germany, the name Dachshund translates to Badger Dog.
He was bred from a mix of English, French, and German hounds and terriers to make a formidable flushing dog.
Notably, he would be sent into badger setts, and other burrowing animals homes to flush them out.
This adorable canine companion has had quite a rich history, and there are many theories and rumors surrounding the breed, with some theorizing that the breed originated in ancient Egypt; based on engravings that featured a short-legged hunting dog.
More popular arguments include the age of the breed, with certain Dachshund organizations arguing that the breed was first seen in the 15th century, whereas – their fellow associations refute this and believe that the Dachshund began in the 18th or 19th century.
From working roots, the Dachshund, as a reasonably energetic breed; does enjoy having a job to do and also loves to eat a lot of food.
He’s rarely used as a hunting companion today, but some owners, in a bid to keep their short-legged friends active and mentally stimulated have set up Dachshund races, which is a real crowd-pleaser.
While it can be cute to see a pack of Sausage Dogs racing one another, many breed organizations and veterinarians condemn the practice which is often used by race tracks as a gimmick to draw in the crowds.
The breed, with such unique conformation, is prone to back issues which can be exacerbated by excessive racing, therefore – if you’re looking to keep your Dachs active; perhaps consider hiking as a great alternative! Plus, it will help you to stay fit too!
The Dachshund is a highly affectionate pup but does have a tendency to be aloof with other dogs, and animals unless introduced at a young age.
He prefers to be in the company of his human, and if left alone for long periods can be a yappy little devil due to his proclivity for separation anxiety.
Highly trainable, this intelligent dog breed loves having a job, and combined with his lack of self-awareness – this little dog makes for a brave guard dog with a big spirit!
Instantly recognizable, the Dachshund is rarely mistaken for any other breed.
He is perfectly designed for entering tunnels and flushing out what lurks within.
His body should be well muscled, with a broad chest for a superior lung capacity which is required for his badger flushing work. So it is very important to care for your hound properly.
His legs, while short, end with large paws – notably the front paws – these are an excellent tool for digging into burrows.
For the short-haired Dachshund, grooming once per week will easily suffice and will be useful to check over him for ticks, and parasites.
Whereas, the longhaired and wirehaired varieties will require more frequent grooming and occasional trips to the groomers for clipping.
If you tend to walk a lot through the wilderness, a shorter clip is recommended to avoid your pooch becoming caught in stickers or hedges.
While the Dachshund is highly intelligent, he can also be somewhat aloof and quite the independent little chap.
For that reason, it’s best to begin training early, and as he can be somewhat reserved with other dogs, enrolling your baby pooch in a puppy obedience course can kill two birds with one stone!
As a puppy, your Dachshund doesn’t require quite so much exercise; he’ll likely spend more of his time sleeping while his body works hard on growing his teeny tiny body!
Building up gradually, by the time your Dachs pup reaches six months of age, he should be going out on a thirty-minute walk per day, plus playtime and obedience at home to keep him mentally stimulated. So having the best harness specifically designed for this breed is a must.
Mental stimulation is key for Dachshunds, especially when they’re young and can’t cope with as much strenuous physical work.
Making sure that he has lots to think about will help to avoid him picking up bad habits and becoming destructive.
A fully mature adult Dachshund will need at least two walks per day, and playtime in between, this breed was bred for hunting, so they will likely have stamina than you!
Common Health Issues
One of the most common health concerns for this long dog breed, is, of course, their back health.
With such a long spine, and little support in the way of legs – he’s prone to injury of the back, this is usually minor and only requires adequate rest.
The more severe back condition that Dachshunds can, and often do suffer from, is Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
IVDD is a condition that causes the soft inner area of the spinal discs to dry out, and harden; this can cause mobility issues such as paralysis or partial paralysis – and worst of all, it can happen overnight.
Unfortunately, IVDD is a genetic condition, meaning that there is nothing that can be done to stop this from occurring, the only that you can do, is seek immediate veterinary treatment.
An incredibly gutsy and lovable dog breed, the Dachshund is a big-hearted dog stuck in a little dog’s body!
With such a tenacious attitude and joy for life, it’s unsurprising that he has been at home in such households as the British Royal Family!
If you’re looking to welcome a small breed with a lot of love, and a lot more energy into your family, I’d say that it’s worth looking at the Dachshund.
But remember, if you can – adopt, don’t shop!