The Dachshund is a hound type dog that originated in Germany. True to its name that means “badger dog,” Dachshunds were developed to chase and hunt these and other burrowing animals out of their holes. Their breed evolution gradually led to short legs and long bodies that make Dachshunds ideal for this role.
Dachshunds come in three varieties of hair coat: short-haired, wired-haired, and long-haired. It addition, the Dachshund comes in three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard, each capable of possessing any of the three aforementioned hair coat types. The Dachshund is an elongated, muscular dog with short legs. It carries itself steadfastly and retains an intelligent expression.
The Dachshund has an elongated head with a long muzzle, robust jaws with a scissor bite. The eyes are oval, dark val, dark brown or chestnut, with a friendly and inviting expression. The ears are long and pendant.
The body has deep chest, thick and protruding, with an abdomen that is tucked in. The tail is medium length, carried in line with the dorsal aspect of the body.
Dachshunds have wide spectrum of colors, including: black, varying shades of red, brown, tan or fawn, creme (a light blonde look), and blue (a steel-like gray). In the wirehaired Dachshund, creme is referred to as wheaton Bi-color dachshunds can be black and tan (probably the most common combination), black and creme, brown and tan, brown and creme, blue and tan, or blue and creme. Sable is a red base coat with a black overlay. Dachshunds can also be tri-colored or patterned. Brindles are striped over the entire body and may be seen on any of the aforementioned colors. Dapple appears as patches of lighter color over a darker base color which can result in a tri-colored dachshund. Dappling also accompanies one or both eyes being blue in color.
Piebalds can be bi-colored or tri-colored with a white body with patches of one or two solid colors, as in red on white, or black and tan on white. The patches may range from a just a few spots, to covering over half of the body.
Dachshunds are animated, affectionate, and playful dogs. There seems to be a general difference in temperament between the Dachshund hair types, with the wire haired seeming to be the most playful and outgoing, the long haired seeming to be the most calm and easy to work with (grooming or at the vet, for example), and the short haired the most stubborn and difficult to train, and most apt to exhibit dominance behavior or aggression. Generally, however, all types of Dachshunds tend to be resistant to training, including even potty training.
For this reason, it is important that a Dachshund owner establish himself (herself) as the household or “pack” leader. If this is not established quickly, effectively, and consistently, A Dachshund will gradually try to take over this role, many behavioral problems may surface, such as guarding toys or territory, snapping or biting, obsessive barking, or separation anxiety.
Dachshunds are often not tolerant of small children because of their inability to establish any type of pack leadership, and are therefore not ideal for households with small children. They do best with well instructed, gentle but assertive older children. Dachshunds tend to be aggressive with other dogs, and due to their natural instinct to hunt and chase small animals, should not be trusted with pocket pets.
Like other small, tenacious, hunting little dogs, Dachshunds should not be babied, but trained consistently and shown strong, consistent leadership. Overly babied and doted on, Dachshunds can often become incessant barkers, refuse to succumb to handling, nail trims, ear cleanings, baths, applying or administering medications, etc. In fact, Dachshunds have a reputation at the vet or at the groomer, to be very difficult patients, commonly needing to be muzzled or even sedated.
That said, however, Dachshund with proper leadership and training can be excellently tempered, affectionate, loving members of the family.
Dachshunds are fine for apartment living, fairly active indoors, but thrive best with regular walking. However, while not necessary, Dachshunds will enjoy a house with a yard or regular access to an open area to run and play.
The Dachshund’s different size measurements are as follows:
Roger L. Welton, DVM
Founder and Chief Editor, Web-DVM.net
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital
Article updated 9/26/2012