Maybe like me, you are one of the millions of fans of Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund and his brother Oakley, or our own rescue rock stars Blue (pictured above, rescue story in video at the end of this post) and blind Arthur from our TV series.
Dachunds are so cute. What’s not to love?
But are you really ready for a Dachshund or Wiener Dog?
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Here are the things you should know about Dachshunds.
Where do Dachunds come from?
The dachshund originated in Germany as a hunting dog. Dachshund means badger dog or dachs-hund in German. As early as the fifteenth century in Europe, there have been illustrations of dogs with elongated bodies, short legs and hound-type ears hunting badgers. The breed’s development reportedly really began in the 17th century. They were thought to have the tracking skills of hounds with their long noses and a strong sense of smell and the temperament and proportions of terriers, including those strong little front legs to go to ground and to dig for the badger.
Quick Dachshund Facts
- They have very strong muscular little bodies with long torsos and short legs. Their skin’s quite elastic so they don’t have wrinkling.
- They come in two sizes: standard and mini.
- They have three coat types: short hair, long hair and wire hair.
- They come in many colours including black, brown, tan, red, cream and chestnut shades. They can be solid coloured, dapple, brindle or piebald.
- They have big oval brown eyes, long noses, long ears and a strong jaw.
- They are usually a healthy breed and can live up to sixteen years.
- They often love food, so it’s important to monitor portion amounts and feed an appropriate diet. An obese dog can develop back, joint and other health issues more easily.
- They can be great with their family but they do need to be well socialised.
My family looked after a dachshund called Hans for two years when I lived in London as a child (his family were diplomats posted in the Middle East and could not take him). He was very stubborn, but loving and fun. We played everyday in the back yard.
My friend from Woofjocks has a gorgeous little trained Dachshund you can see in the video. She told me “He is very determined with a mind of mind of his own. He thinks like a big dog in a little dog body. He does like to cuddle and be on my lap all the time and he does like to sleep under the covers right next to me. So I get pushed to the edge of the bed while he gets the comfy spot underneath the covers where it’s nice and warm.”
My friend Jessica Williams is a Dachshund lover and expert. She shares information and breaks stereotypes on her site featuring her dogs hiking and camping with her in summer and in winter.
I sat down with her at a conference and asked her to tell us about Dachshunds.
Interview with Jessica from”You Did What With Your Wiener“
I have owned and looked after Dachshunds for many years. I adopted Gretel from a rescue about seven years ago. My life has changed since adopting her. I started my blog and now I’ve been writing about dachshunds for seven years. I really liked communications so I went back to school and started my own business. I’m much happier and more satisfied with my life now, and it’s all because of her.
You can find us on the blog and Instagram @youdidwhatwithyourwiener, Twitter and Facebook.
Personality and Traits
I looked up the breed when I didn’t know that much about dachshunds. The first thing that came up was “tenacious”. I think they are certainly relentless and stubborn, but they’re also very smart and determined to learn things.
They can be a bit aloof. They make their decisions on their own so they can be hard for a first time dog owner, but it’s really rewarding when you earn their trust. I have a really strong bond with Gretel as you can tell. It may not happen with all dachshunds, but they usually make really good little friends.
They’re funny, silly and personable and they really love their owners. Their antics will provide you with hours of pleasure.
They make great companion dogs because they’re small, portable, and easy to take with you where ever you want. A lot of dachshund owners do take their dogs everywhere with them like me. My Dachshunds have been my best hiking and camping buddies for the last 16 years (Some people probably think I’m crazy but if I can’t do it with my dogs, I pretty much don’t do it!)
How much exercise does a dachshund need?
A lot of people get small dogs including dachshunds because they are under the impression that they don’t need much exercise. However dachshunds were bred for hunting and are capable of covering a lot of ground. They do need quite a bit of exercise. If my goal was to tire Gretel out, I would have to walk her at least an hour everyday so that’s kind of a good minimum. The nice thing is, they sleep a lot. If you can’t take them out for an hour, they’re generally not really destructive or badly behaved, especially when they’re older and more mellow.
My blog is really about showing people that they do need to be active to stay fit and that they are capable of lots of activities. They’re great companion dogs for travel, hiking and camping.
Are Dachshunds easy to train?
When it comes to sit or lay down or roll over it’s pretty easy, especially if they’re food motivated like Gretel. They want the food and they’re smart. They’ll figure out what you want.
However, when it comes to more challenging things, Dachshunds can be difficult to train because they make up their own mind whether they want to do something or not. They’re not trying to please you like some working dogs. Many dachshunds can’t ever be trained to be off-leash safely in certain situations (like Kilo the Pug).
Grooming your Dachshund
The wire-haired probably takes the most grooming from what I hear. They need regular combing and stripping of their coat.
Long hairs pick up a lot of dirt and grime on the road, they need to be washed and brushed pretty often.
Slick smooth short haired ones like Gretel don’t need baths very often. I can just wipe her off with baby wipes between baths if she’s dirty, so it’s really easy.
She does need her teeth cleaned, her nails trimmed and her ears cleaned regularly.
Are Dachshunds Healthy?
Dachshunds are known for back problems. That’s their genetic predisposition. A lot of people think that they get back problems because they were jumping and doing things that put pressure on their back but it’s actually more likely to have been the result of a genetic disease called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.
One in four Dachshunds have IVDD and there’s no reliable genetic test for it. You just have to be really cautious, know the signs, and know what to do right away as the chances of a full recovery are better if you catch it really early.
Gretel had a back injury. It was stage one, which is the most mild it can be. She has fully recovered through rehab and hiking but that’s not always the case. It depends on how far their back has degenerated when the injury occurs.
Like many small dogs, they can also have problems with their teeth, for example teeth that need to be cleaned often or removed.
Other than that, they’re pretty healthy.
To foster or adopt your Dachshund after doing your research, try local rescues.
In Ontario we have worked with Tiny Paws Dog Rescue of Canada and Canadian Dacshund Rescue.
Do you have a Dachshund or a question or something to add? Let me know in the comments.
If you love Dachshunds or already have a Dachshund, you may want to buy these products:
Doggy Boot Scrapers
I was given a fabulous boot or shoe scraper for my birthday so I looked around and found one on Amazon you can buy here through my affiliate link.
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