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There’s something about Dachshunds that makes you sit up and take notice. Whether it is their bright pair of eyes, sausage-like bodies, shiny fur, or big, floppy ears — there’s no way in which you can ignore this mini hound if it walks into the same room as you.
But what are Dachshunds really like? Do they fare well as family pets? Which part of the world do they come from? Come with us on this exciting journey to discover all about Dachshunds and find out if they’re the pet you’ve been looking for.
Dachshunds originated in Germany 600 years ago where these agile and narrow-bodied dogs were deployed to chase badgers. That’s why these hounds are also known as “badger dogs”. Although predecessors of Dachshunds go back to as early as the 15th century, the breed in its current form was only developed during the 17th century.
These dogs came to the US in 1885 but it was not until 1930 that they gained the attention of dog lovers. But since they, Dachshunds saw a continued rise in popularity and demand, well into the middle of the Second World War. However, at that time, these dogs were hardly ever called by their original name. Americans were not particularly fond of Germany (for obvious reasons) and a German name didn’t fare well in the country.
Even though German in origin, Dachshunds have won over hearts across continents courtesy of their spunky attitude and mischievous nature. They’ve gained as much acclaim as lapdogs as they have as hunter hounds. In rare instances, like that of none other than Pablo Picasso, Dachshunds have also been considered an artist’s inspiration.
Fun fact: Did you know that from Queen Victoria, John F Kennedy to Andy Warhol, everybody had Dachshunds as pets?
The most distinguishable physical feature of a Dachshund is its low-slung, slender body standing on short, stubby legs. These hounds have a narrow and pointy muzzle, vivacious eyes, and large, droopy ears. They usually come in two different sizes: the standard Dachshunds growing anywhere between 16-32 pounds and the miniature ones weighing up to only 11 pounds.
Irrespective of their size, Dachshunds can have three different types of coats of fur. These dogs can have smooth and shiny coats, long-haired fur coats, or be wire-haired. You can find them in a variety of colors, including black, tan, black and brown, chocolate, wild board, gray, etc.
Because they’re small dogs, Dachshunds do not grow beyond 9 inches tall if they’re standard in size. They stand anywhere between 5-6 inches in height only if they’re the miniature kind.
However, they do enjoy a fairly long lifespan of 12-16 years.
Born to be brave, Dachshunds are headstrong hunters, very independent, and extremely sassy by nature. In fact, some of these munchkin hounds can have such a mind of their own that they can end up throwing caution to the wind, doing things they should not do.
Always curious and inquisitive, this is a breed known for barking at the slightest disturbance and performing watchdog duty like no other. Yes, a Dachshund may be small in size, but they have the demeanor and attitude of a gigantic guard dog.
They’re fairly affectionate with their families and simply spare no effort in hiding their love for their parent(s). While that is a great character trait to have, Dachshunds do get easily attached to their owners. So if you have one that is very close to you, do not leave them on their own for long periods of time.
If you’re a first-time pet owner, Dachshunds aren’t the best choice for you. But in case you’ve been a dog parent to other breeds for a while, give these short but sweet hounds a chance to warm up your home.
Dachshunds love to eat and their nose guides them to food even if you’ve managed to hide it from the rest of the world. So, you gotta watch your dog with a hawk's eye when it comes to eating.
Ideally, Dachshunds do well on dry, wet, homemade, or even raw diets. While dry kibble is great for maintaining the strength of their gums, wet food keeps them well hydrated. Meanwhile, if made to put on a habit, these little hounds can even joy a raw or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet.
Just make sure not to overfeed your dog. They need to maintain their body weight because if they don’t, it can affect their slender bodies and deform their spines!
Meet your dog’s daily calorie requirements, and steer clear of table scraps and an excessive amount of treats. That way, your Dachshund will be in good health.
Another thing you should remember when choosing a diet for your Dachshund is that younger ones need more food than older dogs. So, while a Dach puppy will need three meals a day, two are enough for a mature one. But if your grown-up Dachshund is lazy and doesn’t perform a lot of exercise, do consult your vet about the quantity of food you should feed it.
Also, remember that not all human foods are safe for dogs. So do not indiscriminately feed your pup what you’re eating.
As their lifespan indicates, Dachshunds are healthy dogs when they enjoy an active lifestyle, aptly supplemented by a good diet. However, because of their physique, they’re susceptible to numerous skeletal issues including:
Dachshunds are also prone to obesity because love to eat and can gorge on anything that they find. They do have a tendency to get ear infections too, because of their long, droopy ears! Just be careful of your pet’s health from the time you get it home and you should not have much to worry about.
Go for yearly check-ups, get your pet neutered at the right time, and do not hesitate to invest in good dog insurance. There are ample service providers in the market who can help you secure the best veterinary care for your pet without burning a hole in your pocket.
If you need some help, check out this dog insurance guide.
Dachshunds are not high maintenance dogs and they require basic grooming to keep looking their dapper best. While it is ideal to cut their nails once a month and brush their teeth regularly, taking care of their coat is the only effort-intensive task you’ll need to do.
Depending on what kind of fur coat your Dach has, you need to adopt a diligent grooming routine. Short-haired dogs don’t need much except for weekly brushing and thorough wipe down with a damp cloth or a wet wipe.
Long-haired ones will need a fair bit of brushing to prevent tangles from forming in their coat. If your dog has wiry fur, do remember to inspect it for stray strands that appear too curly or wiry. Pluck and comb with a detangling brush for best results.
No matter what kind of Dachshund you got, brush their coat in sections and be gentle. Because they’re so tiny, putting them up on a table helps in easing the process for you. A soft brush meant for grooming can be your best friend in the process, so choose your tools with care.
Otherwise, you can always book a trip to the groomer to give your Dachshund a stylish makeover.
As intelligent dogs, Dachshunds have a good understanding of commands. But they’re also headstrong dogs with a mind of their own. So, training these dogs isn’t a breeze, especially if you’re a first-time pet parent.
You’d need to be extremely patient with your Dachshund during the training period. This breed does not react well to punishment and is quite a handful to handle. So start when your dog is still a puppy and inculcate good habits in it. After all, dogs too are creatures of habit.
Positive reinforcement-based training methods work well for Dachshunds. Encourage them with treats and affection when they do well in their training. They will love to keep going back to it.
Because Dachshunds are active dogs, they do need anywhere between 30-60 minutes of exercise daily depending on their size. However, they do have short legs that can easily tire out. So do not take them for long walks, or steep hikes.
Yes! They’re affectionate and show a lot of love to their family. While their stubbornness does make them difficult to train, with the right kind of family, these dogs do make for excellent companions.
No, they’re not. However, if you have a long-haired Dachshund, you’d need some effort in grooming its fur.
No, they’re hounds that were bred to hunt badgers.