The Dachshund. Comical, clever, unusually squat and immensely fun to dress in costume, this is the Danny DeVito of dog breeds. But before you run out to get the puppy + hot dog costume combo you should do a little homework. Actually, we did the homework for you. You’re welcome. (And really, don’t be such a cliché. Think bigger than the bun. You’re better than that.)
Without further ado, here’s a brief history of the breed, plus the pros and cons of inviting a Dachshund into your life.
About the Dachshund
Although they were bred to hunt dangerous creatures, the Dachshund is probably best known for its distinctive looks. These dogs sit low to the ground and have very long, usually thin bodies. The breed standard allows for two sizes, the standard (8 - 9 inches tall and between 16 and 32 pounds) and the miniature (5 - 6 inches tall and under 11 pounds). They can have smooth, wire-hair, or long-haired coats that come in a variety of colors including chocolate, cream, red, wheaten, and even some mixtures like black & tan or blue & cream. When you add some markings to these pups you widen the variety of colors even more so there is a lot of diversity among the breed in the looks department.
Historically, the Dachshund can be traced back to Germany in the 1800s when they were used to hunt badgers. In order to successfully take down their prey, Dachshunds needed to have short legs to fit through the badger’s holes. They also needed to be built for digging which is why they have such short but powerful legs. In addition to developing these anatomical attributes, the dogs needed to be fearless so that when faced with their enemy (the badger) and no room to turn and run in the tunnels they would be able to put up a good fight and ultimately take down their prey.
Today, the Daschund is a much-beloved pet, a bit removed from their hunting ancestors. While some of the fearlessness and big personality as well as the iconic body shapes are still there. The Daschund is among the top 10 most popular breeds according to the American Kennel Club. The breed moved into the 10th slot in 2020 moving up from number 11 in 2019.
3 Pros of Dachshunds
1. Perfectly sized for living in a variety of environments
Since the Dachsund is short and weighs in well under the weight limit for most pet-friendly apartment complexes, the Dachsund is an ideal dog for most living situations. So whether you live in the city, suburbs, or a more rural environment a Daschsund could be the perfect pup for you if you like smaller dogs.
2. Need a modest amount of exercise
These little dogs don’t need an intense amount of exercise. They can participate and do well in dog sports but most are happy with a few romps in the backyard or some moderate leash walks each day. If you’re limited in mobility or older this might be a great dog for you since you won’t need to worry about keeping up with their intense exercise needs like you might with other breeds. Like most dogs, puppies are much higher energy than older dogs, so it might be worth considering adopting an older dog if you have concerns about the exercise and attention a young puppy will need.
3. Keep clean don’t shed much
Since Dachsunds don’t shed much they are lower maintenance from a grooming perspective. They may only need to be bathed about once a month and their coats (if they are of the long hair variety) may need regular brushing and the occasional trim. Overall, these pups keep clean and are not incredibly high maintenance which means less money spent on grooming. It is important that you keep their nails trimmed and keep up with ear cleaning and oral hygiene. Just like any other dog with ears that flop over, they are prone to ear infections so after swimming or bathing it is important to make sure ears are clean and dry.
3 Cons of Dachshunds
1. Susceptible to back issues
Because Dachshunds have long spines they are at higher risk for disc damage and other back issues. Being overweight can be a contributor to back problems, so although these pups don’t need a ton of exercise, it’s important to keep them at a healthy weight. This can also be done by ensuring your dog is on a healthy diet and not overindulging in treats.
Another cause of back problems for Dachsunds is jumping - even just getting onto the couch, in bed, or into the car repeatedly over the years can lead to problems for these pups. To help prevent this, purchase some dog ramps or stairs and place them around your home so that your dog can minimize jumping. While the Daschund can participate in sports like agility, it is critically important to keep the jumping to appropriate heights.
2. Can be a “one person dog”
While it’s great to have a bond with your dog, the Dachsund can be a breed that takes it a little too far. These are pups that bond deeply with their owner or may prefer one person over another in the family. So, if you’re single and travel a lot and you know you’ll need to leave your pup with a sitter or in boarding on the regular, this might not be the best breed for you to choose.
3. Have a big bark
Unlike other small breeds, the Dachsund has a very big, deep bark generally associated with pups much larger in size so it’s important to get the barking under control early. So if you live in an apartment or close quarters it will be very important to teach a Dachsund pup the quiet cue as soon as you welcome one home. If your dog is barking every time a person (or thing) enters its line of sight you’re running the risk of upsetting the neighbors, waking the baby, or generally just being irritated at the nonstop barks.
Is a Dachshund a Good Family Dog?
Yes, Dachshunds can be excellent family dogs. They are social creatures so having a “pack” of humans and even other animals can be great for them. They are good with children so long as they are properly socialized. Just like any other breed of dog, you should not leave them with small children unsupervised and it is very important to teach children to treat the dogs with respect and kindness.
These adorable and loveable dogs will bring lots of joy (and some comical antics) into your home. Now that you understand the pros and cons of adding one of these dogs to your family, if this feels like the right choice, you can start looking for a Dachshund puppy or an older dog. The AKC keeps a list of registered breeders and there are many rescues that can pair you with the right pup.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.