Dachshunds, commonly referred to as “sausage dogs”, are an incredibly popular dog breed, and it’s not hard to see why! They are charming and adorably unique, but before bringing one into your home, let’s make sure you know everything you need to know about your short-legged, long-bodied friend.
What is a Dachshund?
Dachshunds are a popular dog breed easily recognised by their long, low bodies. They come in two sizes (standard and miniature), and three coat types (smooth coated, long-haired, and wire-haired), and lots of colour variations.
The Dachshund is a Hound, and they are bred to be independent hunters, very smart, and good with their noses – so don’t underestimate them!
Dachshunds are known for their unusually shaped bodies!
History of Dachshunds
Despite being popular for their looks these days, Dachshunds were originally bred to be working dogs. The word Dachshund means “badger dog”, and the breed originated in Germany, developed to dig into badger dens and flush them out – hence the unusually shaped body!
With the potential of coming face to face with a badger, these dogs also needed to be confident and strong, with a good bark!
Through selective breeding, different coats were created – a wire coat for working through thorns, and a long coat for colder climates – as well as different sizes. The breed started to be standardised in the late 1800s.
Dachshund puppies are the cutest thing in the world – confirmed.
As with any popular dog breed, finding a puppy from a responsible and reputable breeder can be hard, and the consequences of buying a puppy from a backyard breeder or puppy farm can be heartbreaking.
A dog’s early life experiences and socialisation will impact their future temperament and behaviour, so you want them to have the best start possible! And that’s without considering the potential health issues related to bad breeding.
When meeting a breeder, you should always be able to see the puppy with Mum, Dad and littermates, and everyone should look happy and comfortable. Ask to see the results of health tests, quiz the breeder about their socialisation efforts, and be prepared to walk away if things don’t feel right. Never pay a penny before you meet the pups, and look out for breeders with a watertight contract and breeder back up, who ask you as many questions as you ask them!
As Dachshunds are a purebred, you can sometimes find good breeders through The Kennel Club, but be careful – as this is not a guarantee. Remember, even if the dogs have been health tested, you should also be thinking about temperament, socialisation, and early life experiences.
Dachshunds in rescues
There are a number of Dachshund specific rescues in the UK, including Dachshund Rescue UK and The Red Foundation. But you can often find Dachshund and Dachshund crosses at many rescues – the key is to do your research, and approach the rescue with why you think a Dachshund is the right dog for you.
Say hello to Buddy the Dachshund!
Dachshunds are predicted to live for 12 to 16 years. The types available are:
- Miniature, in multiple coats
- Standard, in multiple coats
- Smooth coated, in multiple sizes
- Long-haired, in multiple sizes
- Wire-haired, in multiple sizes
All of these variations tend to be under 9 inches in height, with long backs and short but muscular legs, long muzzles, and droopy ears.
The suggestions for exercise for Dachshunds varies – with some saying they can cope for under an hour of exercise, and some recommending well over an hour. It may depend on the size and breeding of your dog, for example if they come from working backgrounds. You should however be careful with allowing your Dachshund to run up and down stairs or jump on and off furniture excessively.
They are known as a breed who like to bark, and while you may be able to do some training on this, it’s part of their heritage and to a certain degree to be expected from this breed.
What you need to know about Dachshunds…
Dachshunds shed a reasonable amount, but beyond this their grooming needs depend on the type of coat. Smooth coated Dachshunds need very little grooming, perhaps just a wash every now and again, while long-haired Dachshunds may need regular brushing.
A wire-haired Dachshund may benefit from plucking or hand-stripping, as well as regular grooming.
Dachshunds are the definition of mini but mighty, as they can be very energetic! While they may not always need significant amounts of exercise, you might need to do more mental enrichment, games and training.
Don’t forget the importance of regular rest too – a puppy should sleep up to 20 hours a day, while adult dogs should sleep for around 16 hours.
There are a number of articles online that suggest that Dachshunds are prone to separation anxiety. They are a breed who seem to prefer to be around other dogs and people. We really recommend Julie Naismith’s book Be Right Back!: How To Overcome Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety And Regain Your Freedom to help you start leaving your puppy at home.
Dachshunds have a notorious reputation of being stubborn and hard to train. However, if you put in the time and effort, and stay consistent, it does get easier. They may pick up trick training quite easily, but struggle with more complex training, including toilet training.
We recommend positive reinforcement when training as it builds a strong relationship between you and your dog, meaning that they are more likely to respond to your instructions. If you’re getting a puppy, going to puppy classes is a great place to start. You can also take a look at our practical puppy tips for new dog owners.
Anyone else just want to give her a cuddle?!
Cost of Dachshunds
A Dachshund puppy from a responsible breeder will cost anywhere from £700 to over £1,500, and Dachshunds can have very serious health conditions so you should be suspicious of anyone charging less than this. You should also be cynical of “unusual” sizes or colours that aren’t standard for Dachshunds, for example a “teacup” Dachshund.
Potential health problems
The most common health problem that dachshunds are prone to is IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). In the UK, approximately 1 in 4 dachshunds are affected by IVDD at some point in their lifetime. Whilst many recover over a long period of time, there is a significant risk of long-term or life-changing damage to the spine.
Dachshunds are also prone to skin problems, hypothyroidism and allergies. After all, dachshunds are so low to the ground!
You may find it helpful to take a dog first aid course, to help you identify potential health issues with your pup. I recommend Animal Love Pet First Aid.
My Dachshund, Buddy
by Amber, @new.forest_dog.squad
Buddy is a miniature long-haired Dachshund who was born in 2020. He may be small but his heart and personality certainly are not!
Firstly, a bit about his personality. Honestly, I am struggling to put his amazing-ness into words! He is definitely loyal and expects to be by my side every minute of every day (which I undoubtedly don’t mind). His understanding of human emotion amazes me, he seems to know exactly when to provide hugs. And the fact that he comes running when I walk through the front door melts my heart. He is not just a dog, he is a best friend!
Buddy is a miniature long-haired Dachshund.
But I’m not going to lie, Buddy can be hard work! I have found that Buddy learns tricks very quickly. However, the difficult part of training for us is his reactivity to other dogs. His reactivity began at a very young age (after he was attacked). He barked and attempted to bite passing dogs. I began working on gaining his focus which over a period of time we practised in a variety of areas. It has taken over a year so far, but in that time he has gone from biting passing dogs to completely ignoring them!
Buddy is kept on a lead as his recall is not good but he can now have the freedom of a 10m long line. Buddy gets 3 off lead sessions a week at a local, enclosed paddock that we hire out. He is allowed to run and play fetch with our other four dogs, which runs his energy down. We also provide mental enrichment, such as snuffle mats and lickimats.
Buddy gets groomed every 3 months and has regular baths in between (which is essential when owning a dachshund in winter)! The only health problem Buddy has had since coming home in 2020 is his allergies (hopefully that won’t change)!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the iconic sausage dogs. Dachshunds are such a wonderful and unique breed, small and adorable, but full of personality and the enthusiasm of a working breed! Remember, they may be cute, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.
At Woof by Hollie, I sell super cute dog gifts for humans, including adorable Dachshund gifts! From keyrings to stickers to prints, you can find the cutest gift ideas for Dachshund lovers and Dachshund owners in my store.