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The Dachshund Temperament: Are Doxie Dogs the Right Breed For You?
"Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Some day, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the dachshund and why he can't be trained and shouldn't be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do." - E.B. White
Lively. Affectionate. Proud. Adventurous. Bold. Tenacious. Intelligent. Mischievous. Intuitive. Independent.
Known around the world as the 'dachshund', 'doxie', 'dachsie', 'hot dog', 'badger dog', 'weiner dog' or just plain 'long dog', this breed is one that is sure find a permanent place in your heart and drive you crazy all at the same time.
Meet Peanut, the Mini Doxie
Peanut was a gift for my daughter's 19th birthday. Having had rescue dogs all of my life, she was my first purebred purchase from a breeder. We brought Peanut home when she was 8 weeks old, and life has never been the same since...in a good kinda sorta way.
My daughter wanted a doxie, hands down. She had talked about it for years. As a responsible dog owner, however, I had done my research before purchasing.
What I Knew When We Brought Peanut Home
- Doxies are pretty adaptable to their environment.
- They require moderate exercise. (Which worked for me very well. To date, no one has nicknamed me "Marathon Woman" or "Abs of Steel".)
- Doxies don't 'find their bark' until they are 7 or 8 months old.
- They are expensive. Peanut, all four pounds of her, cost me $1,500.
- Because of their long spines, doxies can be prone to back problems.
- If you have small children, play time with the dog should be supervised by an adult.
What I Learned By Peanut's First Birthday
- Doxies are loyal and protective as heck. They will protect you from every bird flying overhead, any person entering your house, any leaf blowing by you, or any other perceived threat, no matter how small -- or large.
- When doxies do find their bark, their little throats can put out a sound that rivals that of a 100 lb. mastiff.
- They are food sluts. Full stop.
- When the books say that doxies require "medium exercise", they don't tell you that that's just an average. Doxies are either completely calm, or perfect candidates for Prozac.
- Doxies are extremely smart and perfectly trainable (on their own terms). They will also selectively ignore any and all commands that you give them at any given time.
- They are the most lovable dogs in the world, capable of very human-looking facial expressions that will bring you both laughter and tears.
From my experience with Peanut, now 3 years old, I can tell you that if you are considering a doxie purchase, think twice. They are not for everyone. You will either love them, or wish you were the grandparent who could send them home at the end of the day. I am in the "love them" camp. If I didn't have two other dogs -- chihuahuas -- I would have more doxies in a heartbeat.
Peanut is a trip. She is somewhat trained on basic commands. By that I mean that "come" only works half of the time. But if you say "PEA-nut butter, NIT-tee butter, SEX-ee butter" she will come each and every time. Unless there's an errant leaf to chase.
The "sit" command will never happen. As a mini doxie, Peanut's legs are so short that I can't tell most of the time whether she actually sat or not. I'm sure that I've completely screwed her up by rewarding her when she's NOT sitting and not rewarding her when she is.
I wish that we didn't need doxie rescue groups. But that will only happen if people consistently know what they are getting into before they bring a pup home. So please, please, try before you buy. Go to www.Meetup.com and look for a local dachshund meetup group. Ask if you can attend a few get togethers and learn what doxies are all about and whether they are the right breed for you.
And if you are committed and you bring a doxie into your family, I can tell you that you will be in love instantly and forever.