The Basics: What to Know About Dachshunds

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by admin

If you’re considering adding a furry friend to your family, look no further than the charming and unique Dachshund. With their long bodies, short legs, and iconic sausage-like appearance, Dachshunds have become a beloved breed worldwide. But what exactly do you need to know about these adorable pups? From their playful personalities to their potential health concerns, this article aims to provide you with the essential information you need to understand and care for these delightful four-legged companions. So, let’s delve into the world of Dachshunds and discover why they make such fantastic pets!

History and Origin

Breed Origins

Dachshunds, also known as “sausage dogs” or “wiener dogs,” have a rich history that dates back several centuries. Originating in Germany, these unique and distinctive canines were originally bred for hunting purposes. Their name, “Dachshund,” literally translates to “badger dog” in German, a nod to their original purpose of hunting badgers. The breed was specifically developed to have long, low bodies that allowed them to dig into tunnels and burrows, making them excellent at pursuing and flushing out small game.


Over the years, Dachshunds have gained immense popularity across the globe. Their charming appearance and bubbly personalities make them beloved companions for many families. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Dachshunds consistently rank among the top 15 most popular dog breeds in the United States. Their popularity can be attributed to their adorable looks, compact size, and loyalty to their owners.

Name Origins

The name “Dachshund” is derived from the German word “Dachs,” meaning badger, and “Hund,” meaning dog. This combination perfectly encapsulates the breed’s purpose and characteristic features. Additionally, Dachshunds are often referred to as “wiener dogs” due to their elongated bodies resembling hot dogs or sausages. This humorous nickname has become popular and is often used affectionately when describing these delightful little dogs.

Physical Characteristics

Body Type

Dachshunds are easily recognizable due to their unique body shape. They have a long and low-profile body with short legs. This elongated body is the result of selective breeding that aimed to create a dog capable of maneuvering through underground tunnels during hunts. Despite their unusual proportions, Dachshunds possess a surprising amount of strength and agility. Their body type contributes to their distinctiveness and adds to their charm.

Coat Types

Dachshunds come in three coat types: smooth, wirehaired, and longhaired. The smooth coat variety has a short and sleek coat that lies close to the body. Wirehaired Dachshunds have a dense, wiry, and harsh coat that provides additional protection. Lastly, longhaired Dachshunds have beautiful, flowing coats that require regular grooming. Each coat type gives Dachshunds a unique appearance, but all three varieties possess the same lovable characteristics.

Color Variations

Dachshunds display a wide range of colors and patterns. Common colors include red, black and tan, chocolate, and cream. They can also be seen in combination colors such as dapple (marbled pattern), brindle (tiger-like stripes), and piebald (white patches mixed with other colors). Whether you prefer a solid-colored Dachshund or one with striking patterns, there is sure to be a color variation that catches your eye.

Temperament and Personality


Dachshunds are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. They thrive on human companionship and are happiest when surrounded by their loved ones. They form strong bonds with their families and are often referred to as “velcro dogs” due to their desire to be constantly by your side. Dachshunds are also generally social with other dogs and pets when properly introduced and socialized from a young age. Their sociable and affectionate nature makes them a joy to have as part of the family.


While Dachshunds may have a reputation for being small in size, they are big on intelligence. These clever canines have a keen intellect and are quick learners. With consistent and positive training methods, they can pick up commands and tricks easily. Dachshunds possess a natural curiosity and love to explore their surroundings, always eager for mental stimulation. Engaging their minds with puzzle toys and interactive games is a great way to keep these intelligent pups entertained.


Like many intelligent breeds, Dachshunds can display a stubborn streak. While they may be eager learners, they have an independent nature that can make training challenging at times. It is important to establish clear boundaries and use positive reinforcement techniques when training a Dachshund. Patience, consistency, and gentle guidance will help overcome their occasional stubbornness, and the rewards of a well-trained Dachshund make the effort worthwhile.

Exercise and Activity Needs

Energy Level

Despite their small stature, Dachshunds are energetic and lively dogs. They have a moderate energy level and require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks, playtime in a fenced yard, and interactive toys are all great ways to meet their exercise needs. It’s essential to strike a balance and avoid overexertion due to their long backs, as excessive strain can lead to back problems, which Dachshunds are prone to.

Ideal Exercise Routine

A consistent exercise routine is essential for a happy and healthy Dachshund. Aim for at least two 15 to 20-minute walks each day to provide them with the opportunity to explore their surroundings and burn off excess energy. Engaging in interactive games, such as fetch or hide-and-seek, can also provide mental stimulation while keeping them physically active. Remember to adjust the exercise routine based on the individual needs and age of your Dachshund, and always consult with your veterinarian for guidance.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Dachshunds require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. These intelligent dogs benefit from activities that challenge their clever minds. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games that require problem-solving are all excellent ways to engage their mental faculties. Training sessions that incorporate obedience commands and new tricks also fulfill their need for mental stimulation while strengthening the bond between you and your Dachshund.

Health and Care Requirements

Common Health Issues

Dachshunds are generally healthy dogs but are prone to certain health conditions. Their elongated bodies put them at higher risk for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a condition that can cause back problems and even paralysis. Other potential health issues include obesity, dental problems, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise can help prevent and manage these health concerns.

Grooming Needs

The grooming needs of a Dachshund vary depending on their coat type. Smooth-coated Dachshunds have low-maintenance coats that require occasional brushing to remove loose hair. Wirehaired Dachshunds benefit from regular brushing to keep their wiry coat free from mats and tangles. Longhaired Dachshunds have the highest grooming requirements and need daily brushing to prevent matting. Regular ear cleaning, dental care, and nail trimming should also be a part of their grooming routine.

Nutritional Requirements

Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of your Dachshund. High-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level should form the basis of their diet. Dachshunds can be prone to obesity, so it’s important to monitor their food intake and avoid overfeeding. Consult with your veterinarian for guidance on portion sizes and feeding schedules to ensure your Dachshund maintains a healthy weight.

Training Tips and Challenges


Housebreaking a Dachshund can be a challenging task, but with patience and consistency, it can be accomplished successfully. Remember to establish a routine and take your Dachshund outside regularly, especially after meals, naps, and playtime. Rewarding your Dachshund with praise and treats for proper elimination in designated areas will reinforce desired behavior. Crate training can also be a helpful tool in housebreaking and providing your Dachshund with a safe space when unsupervised.


Proper socialization is crucial for Dachshunds to develop into well-rounded and well-behaved dogs. Expose your Dachshund to various experiences, people, and environments from a young age to help them become confident and adaptable. Enrolling in puppy socialization classes and arranging playdates with other friendly dogs can enhance their social skills. Regular positive interactions with different individuals and environments will ensure your Dachshund is comfortable in various situations throughout their lives.

Dachshund-Specific Training Challenges

Dachshunds can present unique training challenges due to their independent and stubborn nature. They may become easily distracted or bored, making it important to use positive reinforcement techniques and keep training sessions short and engaging. Incorporating fun and interactive methods into training, such as clicker training or reward-based training, can effectively capture their attention and motivate them to learn. Consistency, patience, and plenty of praise will ultimately lead to success when training a Dachshund.

Living Arrangements

Apartment Living

Dachshunds can adapt well to apartment living if their exercise and mental stimulation needs are consistently met. Regular walks and playtime are essential to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, even in smaller living spaces. Their compact size also makes them suitable for apartment living, but it’s crucial to ensure they have access to a designated potty area and opportunities to explore the outside world safely.

Backyard Requirements

While having a backyard is not a necessity for owning a Dachshund, it can provide them with additional outdoor space to exercise and explore. A securely fenced yard is essential to prevent them from wandering off, as Dachshunds have a strong prey drive and may be tempted to chase small animals. Ensure that the fence is high enough to prevent them from jumping over and that there are no areas where they can dig underneath.

Proper Containment

Due to their hunting instincts, Dachshunds can be prone to chasing small animals, which can lead to them potentially getting lost or injured. It’s imperative to provide proper containment to keep your Dachshund safe. Whether using a securely fenced yard, leash, or harness, always supervise them during outdoor activities and avoid letting them roam off-leash in unsecured areas. Proper containment measures will minimize the risk of accidents and help keep your Dachshund out of harm’s way.

Dachshunds and Families

Compatibility with Children

Dachshunds can make wonderful family pets and can form strong bonds with children. However, it’s important to supervise interactions between Dachshunds and young children to ensure mutual respect and gentle handling. Teach children how to approach and interact with dogs appropriately to prevent any accidental harm. Early socialization and positive experiences with children can help Dachshunds develop into patient and tolerant companions for family members of all ages.

Interactions with Other Pets

With proper socialization and gradual introductions, Dachshunds generally get along well with other family pets. They can form close bonds with other dogs and even cats if given the opportunity to get acquainted in a positive environment. Always monitor their interactions and ensure that all pets are comfortable and safe around each other. Early introductions and consistent positive reinforcement can help promote peaceful coexistence and prevent any potential conflicts.

Supervision and Safety

While Dachshunds are loyal and affectionate, their size and unique body structure make them prone to certain risks. It’s crucial to supervise them around larger dogs or children who may unintentionally harm them due to their fragile backs. Dachshunds should always be handled gently and supported properly to prevent injuries. Additionally, providing a safe and secure environment, both indoors and outdoors, will minimize the risk of accidents or escapes.

Potential Challenges and Considerations

Separation Anxiety

Dachshunds are known for their love and attachment to their families, which can sometimes lead to separation anxiety when left alone. They can become anxious, exhibit destructive behaviors, or incessantly bark to express their distress. Proper training, gradual desensitization to being alone, and providing mental stimulation can help alleviate separation anxiety. Additionally, gradually acclimating them to being alone for longer periods and using calming aids or puzzles can also provide comfort and mental stimulation while you are away.

Barking Tendencies

Like many small breeds, Dachshunds can be prone to excessive barking, which can become a nuisance if not properly managed. Their alert and protective nature can lead them to vocalize at perceived threats or even out of boredom. Consistent training to respond to quiet commands and redirecting their attention to appropriate toys or activities can help curb excessive barking. Adequate exercise and mental stimulation are also key factors in reducing barking tendencies.

Potential Vet Expenses

Dachshunds, especially those with long backs, are at a higher risk for back problems and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). These conditions may require expensive veterinary treatments, including surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term care. It is important to be prepared for potential vet expenses and consider investing in pet insurance or setting aside funds for any unforeseen medical needs. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive measures can also help reduce the risk of serious health issues.

Finding a Dachshund

Adoption vs. Breeder

When considering adding a Dachshund to your family, you have the option to adopt from a rescue organization or purchase from a reputable breeder. Adopting a Dachshund from a rescue organization not only provides a loving home for a dog in need but also gives you the opportunity to provide a second chance to a deserving pup. If you prefer a specific coat type, color, or age, working with a reputable breeder can help you find the perfect match while ensuring your new companion comes from a healthy and well-cared-for lineage.

Rescue Organizations

Many rescue organizations specialize in Dachshunds and can be a great resource for finding your new furry friend. These organizations rescue and rehabilitate Dachshunds in need and carefully match them with loving and responsible adoptive families. Reach out to local rescue groups or search online databases to find reputable Dachshund rescue organizations in your area. Adoption fees typically cover necessary vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and sometimes even microchipping, making adopting from a rescue organization a rewarding and cost-effective choice.

Choosing a Reputable Breeder

If you decide to purchase a Dachshund from a breeder, it is essential to do thorough research and choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and welfare of their dogs. Look for breeders who perform health testing on their breeding dogs, offer a clean and nurturing environment, and provide proper socialization for their puppies. A responsible breeder will also be available to answer your questions, provide documentation, and offer ongoing support. Ensure that the breeder adheres to ethical breeding practices and does not prioritize profit over the well-being of their dogs.

In conclusion, Dachshunds are unique and delightful companions with a fascinating history and distinct physical characteristics. Their sociable and intelligent nature makes them beloved family pets, although they may present specific training challenges. Proper care, exercise, and socialization are key to providing a loving and nurturing environment for these lovable “wiener dogs.” Whether you choose to adopt or purchase a Dachshund, the joy and love they bring to your life are immeasurable.