Instantly recognisable for its disproportionately long body and short legs, the Dachshund is often referred to as a sausage dog and is one of the most entertaining and loving dog breeds you could have as a pet. Originally from Germany, the name dachshund translates to “badger dog” and they were historically used for hunting badgers because their long, pointy noses and short stature made them perfect for sniffing out prey and digging into holes. Accounts of dachshunds as pets date back to the fifteenth century (often in paintings with hunters) and the breed was officially registered in the Kennel Club in the 1800s.
Dachshund pronunciation varies- in the USA, people often say “dash-hund” (combining the words “dash” and “hound”) but the correct pronunciation based on the name’s German origins is actually “dacs-hund”, with a clear distinction between the letters “c” and “h”.
Size and Weight
Dachshunds come in two main sizes- standard and miniature. A fully grown standard dachshund weighs in at between 7kg and 15 kg and stands at around 9 inches tall, while a miniature weighs an average of just 5.4kg and is around 5 inches high. Because they’re so little they are often in danger of being stepped on or tripped over, so take care when you’re out in busy places or if you’ve got visitors over. Always warn elderly or very young visitors to take care to avoid being tripped over by these enthusiastic, diminutive little pups and to keep everyone safe and comfortable.
Dachshunds are great fun to have around due to their big personalities, curious natures and love of attention. Loyal and affectionate, they really love their owners and enjoy lots of cuddles, making them fantastic pets for anyone who lives alone and is looking for a loving companion. They are often fearless, bold little dogs who don’t let their size get in their way of their curiosity or willingness to protect their owners and have been known to chase bigger, scarier looking dogs away with their tails between their legs.
Training and Temperament
On the down side they can be notoriously hard to house train, so anyone considering dachshund puppies (or untrained rescues) will need to have bucket loads of patience and perseverance. Enrolling in a puppy training class is a sensible idea to help them to learn how to socialise with other dogs and learn good manners, and a good toilet training routine at home is essential- so expect to invest in some puppy pads and keep an eye on the clock. The natural burrowing instincts that made them such popular hunting dogs also mean they can like to dig holes in the garden- so plenty of distractions are needed if you like your lawn to stay in tip top condition.
Children and Other Pets
Dachshunds can get on great with children and other pets, but be aware that their natural instinct to protect their owners means they may bark or even snap at anyone they’re suspicious of. They can also be quite jealous and possessive, which is another reason puppy training classes are recommended to help them socialise and learn good manners with other dogs and visitors. They like to have a plentiful supply of toys and tend not to be big fans of sharing them, so be prepared for some regular visits to the pet shop to keep the toy box topped up!Nutrition and Feeding
Because of their unusual shape, dachshunds are prone to health problems and weight gain so it’s important to give them a balanced diet and sufficient exercise. They often suffer from back, bone and joint issues and need a diet rich in glucosamine and omega fish oils to minimise the risk of discomfort and long term issues, so invest in a good dog food and be sure to attend regular check- ups with your vet. As well as walking, they also like to swim, and this is a great form of exercise for them as it’s easy on their joints and little legs.
Dachshunds should be fed at least twice a day. As with any pet, we’d always recommend buying the very best you can afford- it can make a huge difference to their coats, eyes and overall health- and give a good variety of dry food, meat and vegetables.
Coat and Grooming
Dachshunds come in a variety of colours and patterns, but the most commonly recognised are reddish brown, cream, black and tan. They have three main coat varieties; smooth, long and wire but all dachshunds can be prone to shedding. Long haired dachshunds need to be brushed daily to keep their coats in good condition and the wire coated variety require professional trimming twice a year. You may want to buy a good lint roller to keep your clothes and furniture in good condition, and be sure to wash your dog’s bedding regularly.
It’s reasonable to assume that because dachshunds are small, they don’t need much exercise- however this isn’t the case! They are actually very active little dogs with a great deal of stamina, and their curious natures make them easily bored, so they need daily walks and lots of interesting activities and toys to keep them busy. They are not keen on going out in bad weather though, so you may want to invest in a covered toilet area and a good winter coat to keep them happy and comfortable during harsh winters.
Dachshunds live for an average of 14- 17 years, making them one of the longest lasting dog breeds. Because they are prone to health complaints you’ll need to arrange regular trips to the vet to keep your dachshund fit and healthy for as long as possible, and it’s a good idea to sign up to a pet insurance policy from a young age.
These dogs will keep you entertained for years, so if you’re looking for a long term companion who’s fun, loyal and full of personality, you can’t go wrong with one of these feisty and loving little hounds.