10 Facts You Should Know About Dachshunds (with Pictures)

Taylor A Ritz Despite their short stature, Dachshunds were bred as scent hound dogs for hunting. Their prey primarily included tunneling animals such as badgers, rabbits, and foxes. Their small, elongated frames made them perfect for running underground. Packs of Dachshunds were even used to hunt wild boar. Though hunting days are over for most Dachshunds, today they make excellent family companions and show dogs. Let’s look at 10 Facts You Should Know about Daschunds.

1. Where Does The Dachshund Come From?

The Dachshund was first created as a hunting dog in Germany; dachs means badger and hund means dog, so Dachshund translates to badger-dog. Records of Dachshunds occur as early as the 15th century, where they appear in illustrations as well as documents referring to “earth dog” and “badger creeper.” In addition to badgers, Dachshunds were also used to pursue other denning animals such as foxes and rabbits. Early Dachshunds varied greatly in size depending on their intended prey; Dachshunds used in pursuing badgers and boar weighed over 30 pounds while those used to hunt foxes and deer weighed less than 20 pounds. Those used to hunt rabbits and weasels weighed as little as 12 pounds, sometimes less. Dachshunds are presently the only AKC-registered breed that hunts both above and below ground.

2. How Does The Dachshund’s Build Make It An Ideal Hunter?

Dachshund’s short, powerful legs enable these dogs to run through deep, narrow tunnels to pursue prey. Long, sturdy tails that extend straight from the spine provide a “handle” for hunters to grab when extricating the dogs from burrows. The large, paddle-shaped paws make digging into burrows a breeze. Loose skin doesn’t tear as dogs traverse the twisting, tight labyrinths their prey call home. A Dachshund’s deep chest provides plenty of lung capacity to conduct a long, successful hunt. Their long noses make scenting out their prey easier. A Dachshund’s deep, loud bark made it easier for hunters to follow the dog’s progress while underground. Overall, these physical features made a Dachshund the ideal small-prey hunting dog.

3. What Does A Dachshund’s Coat Look Like?

Dachshunds’ coats come in a virtual rainbow of colors in addition to several textures. Textures:
  • Smooth: capable of traversing underground burrows without tearing their skin.
  • Wire-haired: for work in thorny branches and similar terrain.
  • Longhaired: for Dachshunds to better hunt in colder climates.
Coat colors:
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Fawn
  • Wheat
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Fawn and Tan
  • Fawn and Cream
  • Chocolate and Tan
  • Blue and Tan
  • Blue and Cream
  • Black and Tan
  • Black and Cream
  • Chocolate and Cream

4. How Big Is A Dachshund?

Dachshunds are sorted into two sizes: standard and miniature. Standard Dachshunds normally weigh between 16 and 32 pounds and are between 8 and 9 inches tall at the shoulder. Miniature Dachshunds weigh less than 11 pounds. Any Dachshund that weighs between 11 and 16 pounds is called a “Tweenie.”

5. What Is The Temperament of A Dachshund?

To successfully hunt their prey, Dachshunds were bred to be bold and brave. They are independent and clever, capable of pursuing animals underground while their hunters wait above. While they are courageous and stubborn to a fault, Dachshunds also enjoy cuddling with their family members.

6. What Are The Exercise Requirements For A Dachshund?

Despite their small size, Dachshunds still require regular exercise to be happy and healthy. Dachshunds need routine exercise to maintain a healthy weight but also to build strong muscles that will support and protect their long backs. A quick walk or play session in the yard, twice a day, is more than enough to burn off the excess energy your Dachshund has and keep him or her fit and healthy. To avoid back injury, never allow your Dachshund to run up or downstairs or to jump off of furniture.  A tired dog is a well-behaved dog; dogs that are not provided with adequate exercise will become bored and resort to undesirable and possibly even destructive activities.

7. How Do You Train A Dachshund?

Training and socialization are vital from an early age for any dog. Dachshunds are intelligent, quick learners but are also independent and stubborn. This can make them a challenge to train, so patience and consistency are key. Dachshunds also have a very high “prey drive” and can focus on a scent trail with high intensity, so it’s important to maintain their attention during training sessions. Avoid harsh methods like shouting or punishment; this would likely cause your Dachshund to shut down during a training set. Instead, use positive reinforcement and keep training sessions short and fun. If you begin to feel frustrated, end your training session as soon as possible.

8. How Healthy Is A Dachshund?

As with any dog, Dachshunds can experience their share of health issues. Here are a few health concerns Dachshunds may be more prone to:
  • Obesity
  • Ear infections
  • Deafness
  • Invertebral Disc Disease: Dachshunds’ long backs make them prone to injury.
  • Epilepsy: a neurological disorder causing sudden uncontrolled and recurring seizures.
  • Bloat: aka Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV), a potentially fatal condition where the dog’s stomach becomes twisted.
  • Eye problems: many small dogs have large eyes, making them more prone to eye-related health problems.
  • Cushing’s disease: an imbalance of the pituitary or adrenal gland causing overproduction of cortisol. 
Overall, Dachshunds are a relatively healthy breed, with a life expectancy between 12 and 16 years.

9. How Often Do You Groom A Dachshund?

A Dachshund’s grooming routine depends on their coat type. Smooth-coated Dachshunds require the least care, with simple periodic bathing and minimal brushing. Longhaired Dachshunds require regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Wire-haired coats should be brushed at least once a week as well as plucked and trimmed a few times a year.

10. What Is An English Cream Dachshund?

Curiously enough, breeders have found that Dachshunds’ temperaments tend to vary based on their coat type. The wirehaired Dachshunds tend to be the most mischievous of the bunch, most likely due to the inclusion of terrier in their genetics. Longhairs are often calm and quiet, while smooth-coated Dachshunds tend to have a personality that lies somewhere in between. English Creams are a popular variation of Dachshund, widely held to have the most mellow temperament of all. True English Creams are miniature Dachshunds of the longhaired variety. English Creams must be closely linked genetically to English lines and remain cream-colored their entire life. Other coat colors referred to as “diluted reds” look cream-colored as puppies but will turn redder as they age.

Taylor Ritz

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is a former zookeeper and animal trainer. She has her own dog, Dobby, with whom she has bicycled across the U.S. and thru-hiked the Long Trail.

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