Dachshund Legs Turned Out – Why Does It Happen And What Does It Mean?

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Marco

Dachshunds have a lot of peculiar features but they are not all fun. For example, dachshund legs turned out – why does it happen and what does it mean? Is this a major problem and, if so, is it treatable in any way? Does it happen often and should that dissuade you from getting a dachshund? Let’s go over each point below.

Dachshund Legs Turned Out – Is This Normal?

Up to a point, it is normal for your dachshund’s legs to be a bit turned out. Citing an exact angle is different but it’s usually obvious when your dog’s legs are too turned out – it will look as if they are bending under your dog’s weight and can’t support the dachshund properly.

Why Are Dachshund Legs Turned Out?

The main reason is inherent to the breed and unavoidable – it’s the dwarfism that also makes dachshund legs short and their backs – long and cute. Officially called achondroplasia, it’s a form of osteochondrodysplasia. Simply put, this is a type of genetic dwarfism that was bred into dachshunds some six centuries ago by German breeders to make these dogs extra short.

Why?

To help them hunt better, as counterintuitive as that sounds. The short legs of dachshunds make these tiny hounds perfect for jumping into the burrows of badgers, foxes, and rabbits and dragging or chasing them out. Dwarfism comes with its side effects, however, and some of those aren’t always fun.

Fortunately, dachshund breeders have managed to breed most of those unpleasant side effects out of the dachshund gene pool but some problems remain. The infamous dachshund’s back issues are one such example and their sometimes turned-out legs are another.

Most dachshunds’ legs will be only a little bit turned out – nothing that hampers their day-to-day life in any way. In rare cases, however, your dachshund’s legs might be too turned out and interfere with its walk and health. Consulting a vet is a must in such cases.

Read more about Dachshund Front Leg Problems And What To Do About Them 

Other Causes Of Dachshund Legs Turned Out

The achondroplasia isn’t the only reason why your dachshund’s legs might be a bit too crooked. There are also numerous health problems or poor care that can also worsen the otherwise normal bend into impractically crooked legs. Here are the main things to watch out for:

  • Physical trauma – dachshunds are small and relatively fragile dogs so physical trauma can easily cause them problems. Such issues can include turned-out legs.
  • Overgrown nails – people often underestimate this problem but it’s quite common for dog breeds that spend most of their time indoors. Because their nails don’t get filed naturally on the ground, they can get overgrown and change your dog’s walk. This, in turn, can lead to leg problems. The solution is simple – trim your dog’s nails.
  • Overweight – this should be self-explanatory. If you let your dachshund get overweight, its legs are going to have problems carrying all this weight around. Dachshunds are prone to getting overweight so you should be careful with that.

Other Causes Of Dachshund Legs Turned Out

Read more about: How Much Should A Standard Dachshund Weigh?

  • Nutritional deficiencies – if you don’t feed your dog well, especially when growing up, you can expect its body and bones to suffer. This can either be a problem in and of itself or it can lead to some serious conditions such as the ones we’ll mention below.
  • Antebrachial growth deformity (ABGD) – this issue is partly genetic and partly caused by poor nutrition and other growth issues. In essence, dogs with ABGD have their bones stop growing at different times, leading to an imbalanced and crooked skeletal structure.

Other issues you should watch out for include:

So, Dachshund Legs Turned Out – What To Do?

The first and obvious thing would be to go to the vet. They will examine your dog, find the exact cause of the problem, and tell you how to care for your pooch. But the basic care tips that pretty much always apply are:

  • Keep your dachshund’s weight in check
  • Don’t let your dachshund jump up and down furniture, stairs, car doors, etc.
  • Don’t overwalk your dachshund too much – if extra exercise is needed, consider swimming
  • Feed your dog good food, particularly one with bone health supplements

Aside from the basics, your vet should be able to tell you if your dog needs anything more specific.

FAQs

Are Dachshunds feet supposed to turn out?

Yes, but only to a certain extend. The main reason why dachshund legs are turned out is the same as the reason why their legs are extra short in the first place – it’s their inherent dwarfism. The condition, officially called Achondroplasia, was bred into dachshunds to allow them to do their job – hunt badgers, foxes, and rabbits thanks to being short enough to sneak inside their burrows.
What happens if your dachshund’s feet are too turned out, however? This is rare but it can happen. If you’re worried that your Doxie’s feet are too crooked you should consult with your vet immediately. There isn’t a “cure” per se but there are ways to better care for your dachshund if that’s the case.

Is it normal for Dachshunds to have crooked legs?

Technically, yes. A dachshund’s legs are supposed to be a little crooked just as they are supposed to be short. On rare occasions, however, the bend in your Doxie’s legs can be a bit too impractical. If you don’t skip your dog’s regular bi-annual vet visits, your veterinarian should have noticed if there’s a problem. And, if there is, you’re going to have to take extra good care of your dachshund.

Why is my dog’s leg turned out?

Dachshunds’ legs get turned out as a result of their inherent Achondroplasia – the “dwarfism” that was bred into dachshunds to make sure that they are short enough to successfully hunt badgers, rabbits, and foxes. While a little bent into the knees is to be expected, however, too much of it can be a problem. So, you should talk with your vet if you think your dog’s legs are too turned out.

Do Dachshunds get leg problems?

They do, particularly if you’re not keeping your dachshund safe enough. People are often under the assumption that Doxies only get back problems but physical trauma, regular overexertion, and other issues can lead to leg problems too. Even untrimmed nails can eventually cause leg problems for your dog.

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