About the Breed
The Dachshund was developed in Germany over a period of several hundred years. It is a small, compact hound dog whose legs are short and body is long. The head is long and wedge shaped with pendulous or floppy" hound ears. The standard dachshund was originally bred for the strength and tenacity to hunt badgers (a mean and nasty, aggressive animal which lives in tunnels) as they can be a ferocious hunter and due to their unique body style, they can dig out the badgers. The Dachshund originally weighed in at 30-40 pounds in order to expeditiously handle a badger, but they were also used to hunt smaller animals, trail wounded deer and hunt wild boar. Consequently, some (but definitely not all) dachshunds have a strong desire to help you dig up your plants and flowers, explore your neighbors yard, or hunt down furry creatures such as cats, squirrels or other varmints.
Dachshunds are still used as a hunting dog and excel at hunting small rodents such as rabbits, mice and woodchucks. They have a keen sense of smell and their short legs can move amazingly fast. The Dachshund is the only American Kennel Club breed that can and does hunt both junkove and below ground. The breed is very loyal and protective of its territory, home and family.
Dachshunds are known to quickly convert new owners to a lifetime of Dachshund addiction. They are loyal, protective, affectionate and love their people very much! They have often been accused of being independent and stubborn, but if we keep in mind that he was bred to go to ground and make decisions regarding the pursuit of his prey, we can understand, and forgive, a bit of an independent attitude. A more humorous carryover of the Dachshund's burrowing... he is often found burrowed under a favorite sweater laid carelessly on a chair, an heirloom quilt or his own blanket. If allowed, he can be found under the bedcovers as well, an excellent hot water bottle substitute for the feet. Determined on a course of action, a Dachshund can become obsessive to see his task to its end. Just try to let an evening go by without handing out the evening treat and you will soon bear witness to this determination as he stares you into submission. Curious, energetic, an impish sense of humor and a strong need to be close to the humans they own, a Dachshund makes an ideal companion and family member. Ask anyone who has ever been owned by a Dachshund!
How big do dachshunds get?
The dachshund in the United States is bred in two sizes recognized by the AKC - the miniature and the standard. The miniature is generally under 11-12 pounds when over a year old. The standard is between 16 and 32 pounds. We affectionately call the dogs that are between 12 and 16 pounds "tweenies", although this is not a recognized size. There is no recognition of what some people are calling toy or micro dachshunds.
What kind of hair do dachshunds have?
The dachshund is bred in three coat types; smooth (or short-haired) longhaired (similar to an Irish setters hair), and wire-haired (similar to that of a terrier).
Are dachshunds good with children?
How well a dachshund gets along with children depends on three things, the temperament of the dog, how the dog is raised, and how the children are taught to treat animals. A dachshund with a sound temperament, and properly raised with children, who likewise understand how to treat a dog kindly and how to properly handle a dachshund's special needs, should do fine with children. (of course, small children should never be left unsupervised with any type of dog, and special care must be taken with a dachshund's long back so it will not be injured). Children should never lift, pick up or carry a dachshund unless they are shown the proper way to lift a dachshund. To properly lift a dachshund, one should place one hand under their chest and the other under their rump and lift them up so that their back is always horizontal, never vertical or upside down. With proper care and attention to their backs, you can reduce the chance of spinal injury.
Are dachshunds difficult to train?
A dachshund is a working dog with a very strong, willful personality; it takes an owner with an equally determined character to own a dachshund. They are not mean, aggressive or unpredictable breed, just strong willed and a bit stubborn and independent. An owner of a dachshund must be comfortable letting his or her dog know who is the pack leader, in which case, they are not difficult to train. With consistent and rewarding training, they learn quite easily and quickly. As with all animals, they should never be struck, hit or otherwise physically punished in order to deter them from any bad habits or behaviors.
Do dachshunds get along with other animals?
Dachshunds tend to be a very sociable and outgoing breed, and if properly raised and socialized, will generally get along well with other dogs and animals. It is important to remember that dachshunds are a hunting breed and that if you intend to have cats, rabbits, rodents, etc., you should be sure that the dog is trained from an early age to get along with these types of pets. To an unfamiliar dachshund, your new pet rabbit may be seen as hunting game and he will only be doing what is inherent in his nature to do, and that will be to take it upon himself to help you get rid of it! Keep these things in mind when considering a dachshund as a new addition to your home.
What about health issues?
Most all breeds have certain health issues that are inherent in the breed. Dachshunds are prone to three main health concerns. The main one is back problems with degenerative disks, and are highly prone to paralysis from injury and from bad breeding. Barring any accidents, if a dachshund passes it's sixth year with no back troubles, chances are it will not develop it. (More on this when we get our "health issues"page up and running!). The second thing they are prone to is seizures. The seizures range from mild to severe and some require medication to help control. (Again, more on this issue later!). The third thing that they are prone to is mammary tumors - both males and females can get this. The only known preventative is to have your dachshund spayed or neutered prior to their first heat cycle for females, and at age 6 months for males. This will reduce the risk of mammary cancer and tumors by 98%. A further brief note on health issues is heart-worms. This is fast becoming one of the leading killers of all dogs, not just the dachshunds, and is totally preventable with heart worm preventative such as Heart Guard.
What are typical dachshund colors?
The original breed comes in only two colors or "Self" solid colors. The most common is the red dachshund and the black and tan dachshunds. There are other colors that have become popular in the past several decades, and they are cream (also called Wheaten), black and cream, and chocolate and tan. Recently, rarer colors have been bred into the line, that is fawn and tan (also called Isabella), and blue and tan. All dachshunds have one, and only one, self color. The patterns found in dachshunds coats are dapple, double dapple, brindle, sable and piebald. Any pattern can be superimposed over any self or solid color; for instance, black and tan dapple, red brindle, chocolate and tan piebald. The color is named first, followed by the pattern, if any. Only an experienced breeder should ever attempt to breed any of these patterns, as that in order to achieve some of these patterns, there may be some health issues involved. Many dapples, double dapples, piebalds, and white Dachshunds, or piebalds with mostly white and only a few, if any, color patches, may develop some of the following health issues: blindness, deafness, or partial loss of these senses. Some may have reduced eye size and missing eyes are not uncommon in dachshunds with these patterns.