Dachshunds are well-known across the globe. Their unique appearance and lively character makes it impossible not to recognize them.
- Classification – scent hound, terrier
- Place of Origin – Germany
- Approx. Origin Date – 16th Century
- Initial Function – hunting above and below ground (badger, rabbit, fox)
- Current Function – earthdog, agility, obedience, field, and tracking trials.
- Male – 11 to 32 pounds, 8 to 9 inches in height.
- Female – 11 to 32 pounds, 8 to 9 inches in height.
- Life Span – 12 to 14 years (average)
- Alternate Names – Deckel, Teckel
- Breed History
- Popular culture and society
- Group and classification
- Breeding Dachshunds
Dachshunds have lengthy bodies that are short to the ground. Their ears are long and droopy, and their snout is pointy. Although small, a dachshund’s entire body (including their short, crooked legs) is naturally toned. The muscle helps them stay active in case they have to dig or run while hunting.
They also have flexible skin that allows them to go into holes to capture their prey without getting injured. A dachshund’s chest is also built so that hunting can be easily performed; the extra space created with the deepness of their chest gives them more room for air.
Defining the coat of a Dachshund is not at all an easy task, but overall there are three variables in the dachshund coat equation.
There are three types of dachshund coats; long-haired, wire-haired, and short-haired.
Dachshund coats also vary from solid to mixed colors.
Single-colored doxies can have a bit of white on their chest; however, their nose and nails should be black. Solid colors in dachshunds include;
- Cream (aka English cream)
Solid blacks and solid chocolates often occur, but are not accepted by the AKC standard.
Two Colored Dachshunds
Two-colored dachshunds typically have tan or cream markings near the eyes, jaw, chin, ear borders, chest, rear end, throat, and on the front legs. A bit of white on the chest area is accepted but not preferred. In addition to the tan or cream, two-colored doxies will also have another color such as:
- Wild Boar
Dachshunds also come in different coat patterns. Below we list all the defined coat pattern for them.
There are two main types of dapple coat patterns in dachshunds; single dapple and double dapple. A single dapple coat includes a darker base color and a lighter top coat. A double dapple coat is like a single dapple, except there are white spots on the coat as well. Dapple dachshunds can have any of the AKC accepted colors, and they may also have a white spot on their chest.
The piebald coat is not recognized by the AKC, but it is a popular coat pattern among dachshund breeders. True piebald dachshunds have solid, white spots on top of their coat’s base color, have white at the tip of their tail, and do not have blue eyes. The spots on a piebald dachshund should never be a mixed color.
Brindle dachshunds are a solid color (usually red) with dark stripes over the coat that closely represent a tiger’s coat pattern. In chocolate coats, the stripes are chocolate, whereas in red dachshunds the stripes are black.
Sable dachshunds are considered rare and are often times confused with red dachshunds. A sable coat contains hair that is two different colors; the part of the hair that is closest to the dog’s body is the lighter color and the tips of the hair are the darker red.
The dachshund breed has become such a sensation, that hybrid breeds and other mixed breeds have been inspired.
The AKC only recognizes two dachshund sizes (standard and miniature); however, in Europe the toy breed is also accepted.
Standard dachshunds weigh between 16 to 32 pounds and measure 8 to 11 inches in height.
Miniature dachshunds weigh less than 11 pounds and are 5-7 inches in height.
Toy dachshunds weigh approximately 8 pounds and measure no more than 12 inches in height.
Teacup dachshunds are also not an accepted AKC size, but they are popular among breeders and owners. Teacups are typically the same size as miniatures, which is why the names are used interchangeably.
All dachshunds have short legs and long bodies, hence their nickname “wiener dog”!
A dachshund’s personality is often described by owners as loyal, energetic, and mischievous. This dog breed loves to be around people and certainly loves attention! Bravery is another personality trait of the dachshund. They are protective of their family and are not afraid to stand up for them. Lastly, dachshunds will keep you on your toes, as they are extremely curious and love to play. Find out more about the dachshund’s personality here.
A daily walk is usually sufficient to satisfy a dachshund’s exercise needs; however, in cases where a high-calorie or high-fat diet is fed, more exercise may be required in order to prevent obesity. Additional exercise can be provided in the form of play as long as jumping or any twisting motion is not involved. Rough play should also be discouraged, as it can lead to back injuries in dachshunds.
Dachshunds are not aggressive dogs, but can be snippy if they feel threatened. Young children should not be left alone with an untrained dachshund, as they are protective of their small bodies and may not tolerate being pulled or pushed. Stubborness is another characteristic often found in dachshunds; this trait can be either natural in dachshunds or develops when the proper training is not provided.
Dachshunds are extremely social dogs and love being the center of attention. When not active, they enjoy relaxing and spending quality time with their owner. The dachshund’s small size and ability to adapt well to new environments also makes them excellent travel dogs. Overall, dachshunds are good-tempered dogs and are ideal for most households.
Dachshunds are extremely intelligent and can be easily trained as long as patience and consistency is maintained throughout the process. One of the first things you should start with your dog is obedience training; it is a must for dachshunds because it can help prevent the development of unruly behavior.
Socialization is another important part of training; it involves exposing your dachsie to different environments and people so that you can take him along any place you go. Potty training and leash training are also essential.
Like with any other breed, dachshunds too are predisposed to several health conditions. Some of the health conditions include; seizures, back problems (paralysis, injury, IVDD), skin issues (allergies, pattern baldness, acanthosis nigricans), patellar luxation, eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, PRA, corneal dystrophy, keratoconjunctivitis sicca), and obesity.
It is important that you are familiar with the conditions your dog is prone to so that you can learn to detect problems early on and provide the best treatment possible.
The average life span for a dachshund is 12 to 15 years. It is not rare for a dachshund to live past the average life span, especially if they’ve been properly cared for. Preventative care, regular health exams, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are some of the factors that can help elongate a dachshund’s life.
All dachshunds shed moderately, but each type requires different grooming. Long-haired dachshunds are high maintenance when it comes to grooming. They need to be brushed and combed on a daily basis to prevent mats from forming. Dachshunds with wire-haired coats need to be hand-stripped of their undercoat two times per year. This gets rid of dead and loose hair and allows the new coat to grow in nicely. Lastly, smooth-haired doxies can also be brushed daily and wiped down with a moist cloth to reduce shedding.
The dachshund’s origin is largely debated. This is mainly because there are dogs depicted in tombs and drawings (over a thousand years old) in Egypt that highly resemble the breed. In most countries; however, it is widely accepted that dachshunds developed over a course of 400 years in Germany.
The breed’s existence can be dated back to the 15th century, where a sketching displays a small, long dog that has similar characteristics to that of the modern-day dachshund. Clay figures of petite, short-legged dogs were also found in Mexico in the early 1500’s. Breed books from the 18th century are additional proof of the dachshund’s existence. These publications describe a hunting dog that has a long body, short, bent legs, and various coat colors.
Breeders in Germany worked to produce a dog with favorable hunting characteristics. By the early 19th century, the breed became definite and was known as a dachshund, or “Teckel” in German. The wire-haired dachshund was first mentioned in German hunting books in 1812, and long-haired dachshunds began appearing in books in 1820.
By the late 1800’s, dachshunds were the most popular dog breed in Germany. Up until World War I, dachshunds were on the top ten list of most popular dog breeds. The dog’s relation to Germany caused a great decline in their popularity starting in 1914. After WWI and WWII, dachshunds slowly regained popularity and were on the top ten list again in 1940.
In 1870, the first dachshund standard was created in Germany. At the time, there were only two varieties of dachshunds accepted; the long-haired and smooth-haired dachshund. It wasn’t until 1890 that the wire-haired dachshund was approved. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed in 1885, the German Dachshund Club was then created in 1888, and the Dachshund Club of America was finally founded in 1895.
Despite of the obstacles, the dachshund breed was kept alive by breeders and other enthusiasts. The dachshund’s lively personality, affectionate nature, and hunting skills helped the breed fight for their existence. That is why today, people around the world have the opportunity to enjoy the small dog with its big personality.
The word “dachshund” means badger dog in German. When broken down, the first part of the word (Dachs) is defined as badger, and the last part (hund) means dog. Through the years, the dachshund’s unique physique has helped it gain a wide variety of nicknames. Some of the most common nicknames include:
- Wiener dog
- Weenie dog
- Sausage dog
- Hot dog
- Low rider
- Bassotto (in Italian)
- Teckel or Deckel in German.
Popular culture and society
There is no doubt that dachshunds are a popular breed; they have been included in the top ten popular dog breeds list for years. According to the AKC, dachshunds were the 7th most popular dog in 2008, and they came in at number 9 in 2011. The dachshund is so popular, that just about every city in the U.S. has organizations or clubs solely dedicated to the breed.
Thanks to their unusual shape and clever personality, weenie dogs are a favorite breed when it comes to advertising. Several major companies have used dachshunds in commercials including; Little Ceasers, Mighty Dog, Miller Lite, Kibbles n’ Bits, Petsmart, Pedigree, and Sprint.
In addition to being big in the media, dachshunds are also popular celebrity companions. Now and days, it isn’t rare for celebrities to “borrow” someone else’s doxie to take to a special event. Who could blame them though; after all, weenie dogs do make just about anybody stand out…in a good way of course!
Movies & TV
TV shows and movies are no exception when it comes to admiring dachshunds. Popular TV shows featuring a dachshund include; That 70′s Show (Schatzi), Clifford the Big Red Dog (Jorge), Oswald, and iCarly. There are also quite a few movie hits that feature a weenie dog such as; All Dogs Go to Heaven (Itchy Itchiford), Toy Story 1 & 2 (Slinky), Open Season 1 & 2 (Mr. Weenie), The Ugly Dachshund, Raising Helen (Origami), Lady and the Tramp (Schultzie), Hitch, and Beethoven.
The world of art has also been somewhat influenced by the little hot dog. Perhaps part of the influence was due to famous dachshund owners; Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. They were both constantly inspired by their beloved dachshunds and were not afraid to show their love through paintings and other works of art. But paintings are not the only type of art that dachshunds can be found in. Today, dachshund sculputures and figurines made of various materials (wool, ceramic, metal, wood, glass, etc.) can be found just about anywhere.
Dachshunds are everywhere; literally! Their figure is a favorite among toymakers, fashion designers, and even houseware manufacturers. You can find toys, clothing, bags, clocks, dishes, bookends, and many more items inspired by the adorable sausage dog.
The first thing that pops into anyone’s mind when hearing the words “service dog” is probably labrador retriever or german shepherd. The truth is, any dog can be trained to be a service dog. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as; “any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.” Dachshunds are commonly used to aid people with disabilities such as; autism, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety.
Although certification is not required by law, some people choose to place their dachshund in training so that they can be “certified” service dogs. Training your doxy at home is perfectly fine; as long as he’s truly trained as a service dog, no one can deny you and your dog access to public places, or ask for any proof. The only two questions you may be asked are; “Is your dog a service animal,” and “what service does your dog provide?”
Dachshunds can also work as therapy dogs. Thes dogs are not considered service dogs; however, they dedicate some time visiting and comforting people in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, and even schools. Now, even the American Kennel Club offers an AKC Therapy Dog title once your dog has been certified by one of the organizations listed on their site.
Racing, earthdog trials, agility trials, obedience trials, tracking, field trials, conformation (dog show), flyball, rally, and freestyle are all dog sports in which dachshunds can participate. If your dachshund has a lot of energy he would do best in sports such as tracking, agility,flyball, rally, freestyle, field trials and earthdog trials. Any dachshund can be trained to participate in conformation and obedience trials, but keep in mind that these sports require patience from both the handler and the dog. Find out more about dachshund sports here.
Dachshunds are the smallest dog breed used in hunting. Despite of their size, they were bred to carry out hunting tasks and are quite good at it. Thanks to these natural skills, a dachshund can track a scent that is more than a week old. Dachshunds can also hunt both above and below ground, giving them a wide range of prey to choose from including; rabbit, fox, groundhog (aka woodchuck), badger, squirrel, bird, vermin, and more.
If hunting is not a hobby of yours, you can put your dachshund’s natural hunting abilities to work by entering him in earthdog trials and field trials. This will relieve your little doxy of all the extra energy he has as well as put his excellent sense of smell to work.
If hunting is an interest, you may want to consider training your dachshund to hunt alongside a falcon. In falconry, dachshunds are used to “flush” or drive out their quarry so that it is more visible to the falcon and can be captured more easily. When trained at a young age, dachshunds learn to work in a team with the falcon and do not pose any danger to the bird.
Famous Dachshunds & Dachshund Owners
Pablo Picasso owned a doxy named Lump; he was an inspiration and is featured in many of Picasso’s pieces.
Jack Ruby, the infamous killer of Lee Harvey Oswald, owned a doxy named Sheba.
Claire Lee Chennault, whom was the commander of the China Air Task Force of the US Army Air Forces and Flying Tigers, owned a dachshund named Joe. Joe later became the mascot for these major organizations.
In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense) stated that he owned a dachshund that looked out for him and his family.
Queen Margrethe II and Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (her husband) are renown dachshund owners. Through the years, they have owned several smooth-haired and wire-haired dachshunds.
The 22nd President, Grover Cleveland, was accompanied by a dachshund in the White House.
Maxie, Marie Prevost’s dachshund, was made famous after the actress’ death. It is thought that the dog tried to awaken his owner, as bite marks were found on her legs. Maxie’s barking alerted neighbors of the incident.
Fashion designer Norma Kamali owns Zeke, a dachshund whom has his own blog.
Group and classification
Although the dachshund is labeled as a hound or scent hound in the U.S. and Britain, not all people agree with this classification. Some people argue that dachshunds have characteristics that are more like that of a terrier, while others state that dachshunds are definitely hound dogs.
The wire-haired doxies in particular, have many physical characteristics that highly resemble dogs in the terrier class. Besides physical similarities, dachshunds are also said to have the a passion for digging and the energtic personality of a terrier. Today, most people accept dachshunds being in the hound group because of their natural, hunting instincts. One fact that is commonly used to argue this statement is that dachshunds were bred with various hound breeds (basset hound and bloodhound) in order to create a skilled hunting dog.
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale however, decided that dachshunds should be classified in their own group (Group 4. Dachshunds). The decision was mainly based on the fact that dachshunds are the only dog breed recognized by the AKC to have the ability to hunt both below and above ground.
The dachshund is recognized by national and international kennel clubs and registries such as but not limited to:
- AKC (American Kennel Club)
- UKC (United Kennel Club)
- KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain)
- CKC (Canadian Kennel Club)
Deciding to breed your dachshund comes with great responsibility. Not only do you have to assure that both the parents are healthy and do not carry the genes for serious health conditions, but you also have to live with the fact that the puppies might not end up in a good home.
The average litter size for a dachshund is 4 to 6 pups; this may not sound like a big number, but when there are thousands of dachshunds being bred, the numbers do really add up. The saddest part of all is that many of these little weenie dogs end up in the shelter and a big percentage are euthanized.
According to the ASPCA, 5 to 7 million animals in the U.S. end up in a local shelter each year. Out of those 7 million, approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized. Regardless of what people believe, pure bred dogs end up in the shelter as well, so that is not an excuse not to adopt. The ASPCA also states that about 25% of dogs placed in shelters are purebred. So despite of the efforts to “correct” the pet overpopulation crisis, the problem will not be solved until breeding is minimized and people choose to rescue.
Should you buy or adopt?
Before obtaining a new dachshund puppy, it is important that you decide whether buying or rescuing is the best choice. Contrary to what most people think, there are many benefits associated with adopting a dachshund. For example, some people state that adopted dogs are much more loyal, appreciative, and overall make better pets.
Adopting a dachshund is saving a life. Any time, effort, or money used in rescuing a dachshund is nothing compared to the love and companionship you’ll receive from your little weenie dog.