Breed Group: Hound

Temperament and Behavior

The Dachshund (DAHKS-hoond) frequently shortened to Dachsie (DAHKS-ee) is a small, long, low-slung dog which gives rise to their nicknames of “Weiner” or “Sausage" dog. They are a lively breed that has a personality more terrier-like than that of other hounds. Dachshunds are modestly affectionate with their family, frequently preferring one family member over others. Properly socialized, they generally get along with well-behaved older children. But because they are so easily injured, the Miniature, in particular, is not recommended for families with small children. Dachshunds prefer the company of own breed; but, although they tend to be bossy, some do well with other dogs. Cats and other small pets can trigger their hunting instinct. They are stand-offish with strangers. Even though they are highly active both indoors and out, they need only modest exercise, so can be kept in an apartment without a yard. But keep in mind a Dachshund is extremely vocal, sounding the alarm at anything new. With their sharp bark, they make excellent watchdogs but poor guardians. When outside they enjoy digging, tracking, and exploring new territory. Because of their vocal nature and their tendency to dig, you may not want to leave one unattended in the yard. They are frequently possessive of food and toys and are notoriously difficult to housebreak.

Physical Characteristics

The breed has three coat varieties: short-haired (or smooth), wirehaired, and longhaired. Smooth coats are short; wirehaired dogs have a rough coat with bristly eyebrows and beard; longhaired dogs have sleek, often wavy hair. They come in many colors including cream, red, black, chocolate, and fawn. Some have more than one color. Patterns include dappled, brindled, and sable. Smooth and wires shed lightly; longhairs shed a little more and require brushing and combing to prevent mats. Wirehairs need regular clipping. They do fairly well in both heat and cold. Dachshunds, particularly the smooth variety, tend to have an odor some people dislike. Each coat type comes in two sizes, standard, and miniature. Some breed smaller Dachshunds calling them “Toys,” but this is not an officially recognized size. Standard Dachshunds stand 14-18 inches tall and weigh about 20 pounds; Miniature Dachshunds stand up to 14 inches tall and weigh about 9 pounds. Various coat and size combinations tend to have different personalities. The smooth and wirehairs are the most stubborn and aloof with strangers. Wirehairs are more extroverted and clownish, while long-hairs are sweeter and more docile. Both longhairs and wires love playing outside in almost any weather; shorthairs are more particular. Longhairs tend to be quieter and standard size longhairs tend to be the most patient with children.

Trainer's Notes

Dachshunds are standoffish by nature and should be socialized with different people, sights, and sounds; otherwise, they may become suspicious and snappish. They can be aggressive with strange dogs so should not be let off-leash. In training, they are tough and stubborn and can bite if they feel over-corrected. They respond well to food-based training. Though not among the best choices for a new dog owner or trainer, they make a reasonable choice provide their temperament is accommodated.

Photo © by Pitcher33 available under the CC BY-ASA 2.5

Dachshund, miniature long hair


Dachshunds are long-lived dogs, with lifetimes typically between 12 and 15 years. However, they are one of the breeds most likely to be affected by Bloat. Their long, low backs, and the fact that they are genetic dwarfs make them especially prone to Intervertebral Disk Disease. To reduce the likelihood of this issue occurring they should be discouraged from jumping, stair climbing, and sitting up on their haunches throughout their life. When picking them up, it is important to both cradle their rear and support their trunk at the same time. Since Dachshunds have a tendency to become obese (which puts additional strain on their back) it is important to adjust their nutrition and exercise to offset this tendency. Other health problems include Dry Eye, Luxating Patella, Epilepsy, Diabetes, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. They can also develop heart disease and urinary tract problems. Hyperthyroidism, the excess production of thyroid hormones, is also seen in Dachshunds.


The American Kennel Club ranks Dachshunds 6th in overall popularity. There are over 36,000 dogs registered on a yearly basis. If you want a devoted, fun, long-lived dog and want to avoid waitlists, the Dachshund is a good choice.

Breed History

German woodcuts show a dog similar to the Dachshund as early as the 16th century. Describing his original purpose, his name is derived from the two German words- “Dachs” (meaning badger) and "hund" (meaning dog). Originally the Dachshund was a 25-pound hunter of the 35 pound German Badger. Their short legs, long bodies, and powerful chests make them well-adapted to do their intended job. Eventually, they were bred down in size to hunt hare and stoat.

Additional Information

With the Dachshund being such a popular breed, it has had many notable fanciers. These include Brooke Astor, Tracy Chapman, Doris Day, James Dean, Patty Duke, Rita Hayworth, William Randolph Hurst, Winona Judd, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Price, Erwin Rommel, Adli Stevenson, Queen Victoria, Maira von Trapp, Andy Warhol, and E. B. White. The National (US) Breed Club is the Dachshund Club of America.

Is A Dachshund THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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