Dachshund Breed Information
Dachshunds (pronounced DAKS hund — like "say aahh " never dash-hound)
Curious, lively, charming, and brave, the Dachshund is similar to a terrier in his demands to be in on everything.
This comical clown loves to play games and has a great sense of humor. He is a loyal little dog, very attached to his family, and he firmly believes that sleeping under the bed covers is in the Dachshund Bill of Rights.
Dachshunds attract devoted followers who would never consider having any other breed. Indeed, often kept in pairs, Which is a-ok with them, since they seem to recognize and prefer being with other "wiener dogs".
Don't let the Dachshund fool you. He might be, as legendary literary critic and humorous journalist H. L. Mencken said, "half a dog high and a dog and a half long," but this small, drop-eared dog is tough enough to take on a badger. In fact, that's what he was bred to do and how he got his name (Dachs meaning badger; hund meaning dog).
Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Height: 8 inches to 9 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: Mini are 11 pounds and under
Tweenie are 12 - 15 pounds
Standard 16 - 32 pounds
Dachshunds come in three varieties:
smooth haired, wire haired and long haired
However there is also a silky variety (wire/long coat cross)
Coat & Colors
Dachshunds come in more colors, coats and patterns then 3 other breeds combined.
For details on each see our colors, coats and pattern pages
The Dachshund is a small scent-hound with short legs and a distinctively elongated body. The breeds beginning can be traced to the 1600s, when it was used in Germany to hunt, track and retrieve burrow dwelling animals, mainly the badger. Today it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., and can be found in the fields as hunting companions or in homes as a family pet.
The Dachshund dog can move and enter easily through a tunnel or den because of its long, low-slung body. The dog’s unconstrained and smooth gait is enhanced by its powers of stamina, ease of movement, and dexterity. The muscles should be strong without appearing bulky, and the waist tapered slightly. It is the appearance of slender athleticism. Its trim profile, in fact, was used as a symbol for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The distinctive forward flopping ears protect the Dachshund's ear canals from the entry of foreign objects as it races through brush, and the slightly curled up tail serves to make it visible to trailing hunters.
There are three sizes of Dachshund, each based on the practical purpose of the designated prey. The larger Dachshund dog, weighing in at 30 to 35 pounds, is used for hunting badgers and boars, and the smaller, standard sized dog, weighing from 16 to 22 pounds, is used for hunting badgers, foxes and hares. The smallest size, the miniature, which weighs under 12 pounds, is more commonly kept as a house pet.
In addition, there are three types of coats that are standard for this breed. The long coat can be straight or wavy; the smooth coat is short and glossy; and the wiry coat has hard, thick, tight hair with a fine undercoat. The pleasant and intelligent expression of the dog give it a confident demeanor.
Personality and Temperament
The daring, adventurous and curious Dachshund is fond of digging, hunting, chasing game, and tracking by scent. It is a true combination of terrier and hound. Although the dog is playful with children, time spent with them should be attended to by adults, since the Dachshund does not have a wealth of patience for being mishandled -- unintentional though it may be.
This breed does well with strangers, but tends to be reserved and shy, and may sometimes snarl at those it is unfamiliar with. If it recognizes what appears to be an attack on its family members, the Dachshund is loyal to a fault and unreservedly quick to defend against danger. The wire-haired varieties are bolder than the long-haired ones, which are less terrier-like and quiet. Meanwhile, the miniature varieties are even more timid with strangers. However, this independent little dog enjoys spending time with people and in taking part in family activities.
Also of note, in addition to its attentive and protective nature, the Dachshund's loud voice makes it an ideal watchdog.
Because of its size, the Dachshund can adapt to apartment living or city life. Still, this breed needs daily exercise and opportunities to spend its energy. Physical games in the yard or at the park and daily leash walks will keep the Dachshund in top shape, and will allow it to relax when it is at home. This breed especially relishes a good game of catch.
The Dachshund breed, which has an average lifespan of approximately 14 years, occasionally suffers from PRA, diabetes, gastric torsion, deafness, seizures, patella luxation, and cushing's disease. The major health concern affecting the dog is intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), causing spinal cord problems due to the Dachshund's elongated body. Obesity will increase the risk of spinal injury. Eye tests should be included as part of the regular physical check-up.
The Dachshund was created in Germany where he was known as the badger dog, dachs meaning badger and hund meaning dog. Illustrations of dogs resembling Dachshunds date to the 15th century, and documents from the 16th century mention the "earth dog," "badger creeper," and "dachsel." Badger wasn't the Dachshund's only prey. He was also used on den animals such as rabbits, and foxes, and packs of Dachshunds trailed wild boar. Those early Dachshunds varied greatly in size. The dogs used on badgers and boar weighed 30 to 35 pounds. Dachshunds used to hunt foxes and deer weighed 16 to 22 pounds, and smaller 12-pound Dachshunds hunted hares and weasels. For a brief time in the early 20th century, 5-pound Dachshunds were used to bolt cottontail rabbits.
Known as the Teckel in Germany, the breed was refined over the course of many years by German foresters in the 18th and 19th centuries. They wanted to develop a fearless, elongated dog that could dig into badger burrows, and then go into the burrows to fight the badger to the death if necessary. The Smooths were the original type, created through crosses with the Braque, a small French pointing breed, and the Pinscher, a small terrier-type ratter. French Basset Hounds may also have played a role in the Dachshund's development. The long-coated Dachshunds were probably created through crosses with various spaniels and the wirehairs through crosses with terriers.
Carefully sculpted through years of breeding, today the Dachshund is the only AKC-recognized breed that hunts both above and below ground. Their short, powerful legs enabled Dachshunds to go deep into narrow tunnels to pursue their prey. Their long, sturdy tails, extending straight from the spine, provided hunters with a "handle" to pull the Dachshund out of the burrow. The Dachshund's unusually large and paddle-shaped paws were perfect for efficient digging. The Smooth Dachshund's loose skin wouldn't tear as the dog traversed into tight burrows. Their deep chest with ample lung capacity gave them the stamina to hunt, and their long noses enabled them to be good scent hounds. Even their deep, loud bark had a reason - so the hunter to locate his dog after it had gone into a burrow.
And of course, they had to be bold and tenacious. Although the original German Dachshunds were larger than the Dachshunds we know today, you can still see the fearlessness for which the breed was developed in even the smallest varieties. Give your Dachshund a squeaky toy and he'll likely "kill" it by destroying the squeaker as quickly as possible. Remember, these dogs were bred not only to hunt prey, but kill it as well.
In the 1800s, Dachshunds started being bred more as pets than as hunters, especially in Great Britain. They were favorites in royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria, who was especially fond of the breed. Due to this trend, their size was gradually reduced by about 10 pounds. Eventually, an even smaller version - the miniature dachshund - was bred.
A breed standard was written in 1879, and the German Dachshund Club was founded nine years later, in 1888. By 1885, Dachshunds had made it to America, and 11 were registered with the American Kennel Club that year. The first one was named Dash. The Dachshund Club of America was founded 10 years later, in 1895.
The breed became very popular in the early 1900s, and in 1913 and 1914, they were among the 10 most popular entries in the Westminster Kennel Club Show. During World War I, however, the breed fell on hard times in the U.S. and England because they were closely associated with Germany. Dachshund owners sometimes were called traitors and their dogs stoned. After World War I, some U.S. breeders imported some Dachshunds from Germany and the breed started to become popular once again. The breed faced a similar fate during World War II, but not nearly so severely as during World War I.
In the 1950s, Dachshunds became one of the most popular family dogs in the U.S. again, a status they have enjoyed ever since. While Dachshunds rarely are used as hunting dogs in the U.S. or Great Britain, in other parts of Europe, especially France, they still are considered hunting dogs. Today the Dachshund consistently ranks highly among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC.