Dachshund Traits and Care
The Dachshund is a very popular breed. They make great companions and overall, are pretty easy to care for.
The two weight classifications are Miniature and Standard. The Miniature Dachshund is 11 lbs. and less at 12 months of age or older and the Standard 16-32 lbs.
My Dachshund, Charlie, was “on the fence” in terms of weight classification. Sometimes before eating he was a miniature but after eating was between the two classifications. You will find that many Dachshunds are between the two weight classifications.
The Dachshund comes in three different types of coats: Shorthaired (also called Smooth), Longhaired and, Wirehaired.
Dachshund personalities come in all shapes and sizes but words like playful, affectionate, bold, intelligent, loyal, curious, and mischievous come to mind. They love to snuggle and most are super cute. They have a way of melting your heart.
Dachshunds are also known for stubbornness which can make them a challenge to train. You therefore need to be firm, consistent and very patient when training your good friend. Training otherwise is not covered in this hub.
Generally speaking, Dachshunds love to be around people. That being said, Dachshunds and small children tend to not be a good mix...in my opinion.
Small kids often do not know how to approach and treat the doxie. Many small kids tend to see the Dachshund as a stuffed animal that moves which is a hazard. For example, a child may think of the doxie as something to be sat upon or ridden which can result in a severe injury to the Dachshund's back. A loud or shrieking child running about tends to make a Dachshund nervous which is not good. A child can get nipped or bitten if it gets in the face of an uncomfortable or otherwise nervous Dachshund.
A Dachshund may be uncomfortable at first around other pets but will adapt well...if it was raised and socialized correctly as a puppy. Dachshunds tend to like and do well with other Dachshunds - they like to play with one another and will curl up and sleep together.
Dachshunds should always be walked on a leash in towns and cities due to their tendency to be easily distracted. Squirrels, for example, seem to drive Dachshunds nuts! Even the most well trained and obedient Dachshund will bolt after a squirrel. The Dachshund tends to get into a Zen kind of state where everything is about the squirrel. Traffic and other hazards can be fatal in this type of circumstance.
Dachshunds do not like to be rained upon.
Dachshunds like to dig and burrow. If you have a fenced in yard make sure they cannot get out. Dachshunds like to tunnel under bed covers and pillows which to me, is really endearing! It is a joy to have them next to you in bed, on the couch with you, etc. On occasion, while in bed, they may have an accident or get sick so be warned.
You will need to decide if you wish to spay or neuter your Dachshund.
Some people breed Dachshunds and show them in competitions. There is some controversy over people breeding Dachshunds that do not fit into the official breed standard (see link at bottom of hub). Creams and Dapples immediately come to mind but there are a number of others.
Some people use their Dachshunds to track game and wildlife while others engage in activities where Dachshunds work their way through underground tunnels, jump over things, run around obstacles, etc. Dachshund races are popular among many. Most people however have the Dachshund strictly as a pet, friend and family member.
The biggest health risks these dogs face are obesity and spinal disc disease. Too much weight gain can strain their inherently long and somewhat weak back.
Dachshunds will go to great lengths to get extra food; they will overturn garbage cans, take food accidentally left about and if all else fails, they will beg. The look on a begging Dachshund's face is often hard to resist. Regardless, you MUST be careful to ensure they do not overeat; they need to have their food intake carefully managed.
Try also not to let this dog jump too much as this too increases their chance of spinal injury.
You can do everything right and your doxie can still suffer a back problem from time to time. The breed is notorious for this problem in general. Charlie, a Dachshund I use to have (now deceased), strained/sprained his back three times in 14 years and luckily, came out of it every time.
A Dachshund doesn't need a great deal of exercise. A short walk once a day or a session of play is enough. Dachshunds do well without a yard so are a good choice for apartments or condos. This versatility is a real plus of the breed; they are at home on the farm or in the high-rise, condo building downtown.
If you own the Long Haired variety of this dog, you will need to regularly brush their hair. The Wire Haired variety needs to be professionally trimmed twice a year. The Smooth Haired (also known as Short Haired) variety just needs to be rubbed down with a damp cloth every now and then. I gave my Smooth Haired Dachshund, Charlie, a full bath whenever I felt it was warranted.
Of course you also have to clip their nails from time to time. Brushing their teeth is a plus if you have the time. Periodic visits to the veterinarian for health checkups are recommended. If your doxie seems strong and healthy you may be able to skip a visit once in a while -- especially if you are short on money.
Keep in mind please that it is a serious, long term commitment if you decide to get a Dachshund puppy. Some Dachshunds can live to be 20 years old.
Overall, the Dachshund is a great dog to own! Many Dachshund owners confess that their Dachshund owns them.