Dachshunds: Long Body, Short Legs & All You Need To Know About The Breed

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Dachshunds: Long Body, Short Legs & All You Need To Know About The Breed

Whether you know them as the wiener dog, sausage dog, doxie, or their proper name, the dachshund, these adorable pups are instantly recognizable and have an interesting history. 

With their distinct short legs and long body, dachshunds were famously described by H.L. Mencken as “a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long.” Curious, smart, and spirited, this breed makes a wonderful companion and family dog. 

Keep reading for all you need to know about dachshunds, plus some fun facts!

An Overview of the Dachshund

The dachshund is part of the hound group and comes with three types of coats — longhaired, wirehaired, and smooth. The most common colors are reddish-brown and black with a few tan markings, but many colors and patterns are possible. Two fun color and pattern variations are the dapple dachshund and the piebald dachshund.

Doxies come in two recognizable sizes: standard and miniature. On average, a standard doxie weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, while a miniature weighs 11 pounds and under.

They have a ferocious bark for such a little dog and make excellent watchdogs even for their small stature. In fact, the breed is brave, ferocious, and stubborn. They have a strong will and can be tenacious, but their endearing qualities make them a wonderful pet for many.

History and Background

Often known as a wiener dog because of its district physical appearance and huge personality, the breed is over 600 years old. It was originally bred in Germany to dig for badgers. Their name literally translates to badger dog - “dach” means badger and “hund” means dog. 

As you may have guessed, their unique long, low bodies make them incredible subterranean hunters. They specialized in tracking small animals and digging tunnels to find the prey. You might be surprised to find out that hunters also used them to track larger game, such as deer and wild boar.

In 1885, they were registered as an American Kennel Club recognized breed and became immediately endearing to the people of the United States.

Temperament and Personality of the Dachshund

This breed has a lot to offer families. They're loyal, fun, and lively. And speaking of loyalty, they're quite the alert watchdog. Any strangers may receive a sharp bark till he gets comfortable with them.

They have a comical clownish personality that can charm, yet often are demanding. Don't be surprised if your dachshund feels it's his right to steal your covers.

They're quite good with other household pets, but may become jealous over attention and toys. This is when training comes in handy. And they can be stubborn too, so make sure you reward exemplary behavior with treats and praise.

Caring for Your Dachshund

Just like any canine friend, your dachshund needs proper care so he can be healthy and thrive.

Nutritional Needs

One of the most important things for a healthy dachshund is maintaining a healthy weight. They are naturally prone to develop obesity. Extra weight can strain their long back. An overweight dachshund is more susceptible to spinal issues, like spinal cord compression and herniated discs. 

Proper nutrition is key for a healthy doxie. Only allow the proper amount of food and ignore those puppy dog eyes. He may melt your heart, but his health depends on saying no to too much food or unhealthy food.

Grooming

Dachshunds are generally low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They are moderate shedders, relatively clean, and have little or no body odor. However, the specifics on how you groom your dachshund will depend on which coat he has.  

A long haired dachshund will need to be brushed more often than their smooth coat counterpart. Brushing will help keep their coat clear and knot free, and will also help cut down on shedding. 

A wire haired dachshund needs to have their coat plucked 2 to 3 times a year. Additionally, their eyebrows and beard should be brushed regularly and trimmed occasionally. 

Smooth haired dachshunds are the easiest to keep clean, needing little more than a wipe with a towel or a grooming mitt to look adorable.

All dachshunds need to have their nails trimmed monthly.

Exercise

This cunning breed requires both physical and mental exercise. Like most breeds, a bored, energized dachshund can be very naughty. 

Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are couch potatoes. On average, they need at least 45-60 minutes of exercise each day. This can be split into two or more sessions. Regular exercise helps to keep them at a healthy weight and maintain muscle strength to avoid back issues. 

Additionally, playing games inside and learning new tricks is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated. Incorporate these tricks and games into your daily walks to keep them guessing.

Training

Did we mention they can be very stubborn? This, combined with a high intelligence, means training can be a challenge. The good thing is that these furry friends respond well to praise and treats. Be careful with your words because the dachshund is a sensitive soul. Shouting or punishment upsets them. Instead, keep a consistent training schedule and always reward them for a job well done.

Here are five things to teach a new dachshund puppy.

  1. Teach him his name
  2. Train him not to bite
  3. Show him fresh smells, unfamiliar sights, and different surfaces
  4. Teach him to use a crate
  5. Potty train your dachshund

Health Issues

The main issue with this breed is with their weight. Generally, they're healthy and live between 12 and 16 years. However, dachshunds are prone to overeating and back injuries. Make sure your sausage dog maintains an ideal weight, and doesn't leap off of stairs, furniture, or other high places as he can injure his back or hips.

Dachshunds have the potential for joint and back issues because of a few reasons. One is Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD. This condition causes faster aging in the spinal disc. It is a degenerative disease and causes brittle and dry discs, along with a hard inner layer that doesn't cushion the disc. This may cause a herniated disc.

1 in 5 Dachshunds have a gene that creates mineral deposits within the discs in their spine that increases their risk of herniation and rupture, according to PetMD.

These dogs are also prone to osteoarthritis, which is another degenerative disease affecting joints. It causes pain, inflammation, and inability to use the joint. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of your dachshund's joint health.

While their floppy ears are adorable and help keep dirt out, they are also prone to infections. Be sure to keep your dachshund's ears clean with a soothing ear wash.

Fun Facts

  • Depending on its coat, a dachshund's personality varies. Long-haired ones have the mildest temperament. Wire haireds have the most energy. And smooth coated bonds better with one person.
  • They're fearsome hunters and love to burrow..
  • There are three coat types, six marking types, three sizes, and 15 color combinations.
  • They are the smallest dog type in the hound group.
  • The first official Olympic mascot was a colorful dachshund named Waldi for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. That year’s marathon route was in the shape of a dachshund.
  • Two dachshunds have held the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Oldest Living Dog”. 

Famous Dachshunds

Here are a few famous wiener dogs in history:

Lump

The famous artist Picasso had a friend with a dachshund named Lump. Picasso fell in love with Lump, who shows up in some of the artist's work including an abstract sketch simply entitled “Dog”.

Obie

Obie was the victim of overeating, reaching a weight of 77 pounds! After a healthy diet, Obie slimmed down to a respectable 28 pounds.

Archie

Another dachshund beloved by a famous artist is Archie, who belonged to Andy Warhol. Archie would accompany Warhol to galleries, photo shoots, and especially to interviews to “answer” questions the artist didn’t like. The doxie was also the subject of some of Warhol’s work.

Frankenweenie

While not a real doxie, Frankenweenie by Tim Burton features a sweet weenie dog brought back to life by its owner. A young boy who uses a science experiment to spend time with his beloved dog again.

Dachshunds to Follow on Instagram

What better way to fill your feed with happiness than following a few doxies! Here are a few positively adorable wiener dogs you'll enjoy.

Crusoe is a wiener dog celebrity and a People's Choice Award winner.

Finn, Daisy, and Dixie are three adorable miniature doxie siblings who hail from Alberta, Canada. 

Honeydew is surely a much-followed doxie because of her star-quality looks.

Rowdy is not only an insanely popular wiener dog, she's also a skater!

What The Finn is a curious Canadian who often leaves his parents wondering “what the…?”. 

What to Expect Owning a Dachshund

No matter what you know them as, they are lovable, smart dogs with the antics of a clown. And not the scary kind, either! They're loyal, fierce protectors, and will give you years of the perfect furry companion.

After reading this, you might be eager to google “dachshund puppies for sale”. If you are interested in owning this breed, consider adopting or fostering a doxie. Reputable organizations, such as Dachshund Club of America, All American Dachshund Rescue, and Dachshund Rescue of North America, can help guide you through the process of adoption or  finding a breeder. 

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  • Holly W
Comments 1
  • Jane
    Jane

    Do you write about Border Collies? We rescued one that had been hiding on a person’s boat. Our Vet said, "congratulations, you have a 1 1/2 yr old Border Collie – the smartest dog on the world! We named him Winston Churchill.

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