The Dachshund dog breed, with its short legs and elongated body, has a striking appearance that endears it to all those who meet it. Though originally hunters of small prey, they have become favorite housedogs all over the world. Since these dogs live comfortably even in city apartments, space constraints need not be a problem when it comes to adopting a Dachshund.
The Dachshund dog breed originated far back in the 15th century. Even though there’s some archeological evidence to show that dogs of this type originated in Egypt, the breed is commonly considered to be developed in Germany from various hounds of England, France and Germany. They were mainly badger hunters in the early days. The name itself means “badger dog” in German. The short dog would crawl into thickets and flush out the animals. The miniature version was developed to hunt rabbits and other rodents.
The breed became very popular in Europe, and Queen Victoria was a proud owner of Dachshunds. When it was introduced to the United States towards the end of the 19th century, the dog was used for hunting prairie dogs. Official recognition for the breed came only in the beginning of the 20th century, but it often makes the top 5 list according to the number of registrations with the AKC.
Dachshunds typically have a pointed head and an elongated body supported on short legs. The characteristic shape of the body has earned this dog the nicknames sausage dog and weiner dogs. The tail is thin, and the ears are large, folded, and floppy. The large chest is the main feature of the muscular body. The dogs in this breed may come in three distinct coat types; the smooth coat with very short hair, the long coat with silky hair, and the wire haired, with rough, wiry hair. The color may be black, tan or red, in solid coats, or with patches or dappled patterns.
Depending on their weight, the Dachshund dog breed comes in standard and miniature types, with a third type called “rabbit” or Kaninchen in German. The average weight of the standard is between 16-32 pounds; the miniature weighs under 12 pounds and the Kaninchen around 8 pounds.
Dachshunds are small dogs with a big personality. They are bold and independent, even to the point of being stubborn and willful. Although they rank high in intelligence, they are not exactly great at obedience. Early and consistent training is essential to make this dog obey your commands. However, these dogs are extremely devoted and loyal to their owners, even suffering separation anxiety in their absence. With a patient and understanding owner, they can be excellent family dogs. They get along very well with older children, but this not a breed for households with young kids as it takes offence to being treated as a toy.
Housebreaking Dachshunds has its pitfalls. They may burrow into blankets and closets when they get bored, and chew up furniture and other things when they are stressed. Loud barking can be a problem in some dogs. Nevertheless, these playful dogs continue to consistently rank high in popularity as house dogs.
Being reserved with strangers, and always bold and alert, Dachshunds make good guardians. Their hunting and burrowing instincts are still very sharp, and given the opportunity, they will sniff out a prey in the undergrowth and take after it in an instant.
Grooming and exercise
Dachshunds with smooth coats are easy to groom, with an occasional light brushing to remove dead hair. If your dog is long-haired, thorough brushing may be necessary at least twice weekly.
The Dachshund dog breed is a very active breed with a tremendous store of energy in its small body. The dogs need plenty of exercise to expend this energy, but they usually manage to do it on their own, keeping busy indoors. However, they enjoy games, activities and long outdoor walks.
Common health issues of Dachshund dog breed
The Dachshund dog breed is generally healthy with only a few major problems, the most serious among them being gastric torsion, but is not very common. This breed is highly susceptible to intervertebral disk disease due to its long body. Seizures and patellar luxation may occur in some dogs. Endocrine disorders occasionally encountered in this breed include Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes. Deafness is also seen in some dogs.
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) is an eye problem these dogs may develop. Regular eye checkups are necessary to ensure early diagnosis and treatment. If untreated, this disorder that causes dry eyes can lead to blindness. It is very common for Dachshunds to be obese due to overfeeding. This breed has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.