The Dachshund has been one of the popular family dogs in the United States for decades. Originating in Germany in the 1600, their initial purpose was to flush, chase and fight to the death, badgers and other small burrowing animals.
These vertically challenged, little warriors are found in the Hound group. Their exceptionally long nose is keen to scents and with those long floppy ears they make excellent trackers. An interesting tidbit of info, they are the only breed certified to hunt above and below ground.
Take your pick. They come in short/smooth haired, longhaired and wirehaired.
They also come in three sizes, although the Standard and Miniatures are the most popular. The Toy is called a Kaninchen, meaning rabbit. They normally weighs less than 8 pounds. Standards on the average weigh up to 15 pounds. Miniatures average 11 pounds. Dachshunds that are over fed and under exercised can pack on the pounds quickly. Because of their stumpy, short legs and long back, they are prone to numerous back problems and injuries, which can become a severe due to the stress of the extra weight.
Besides obesity, their common health problems can include: back problems, especially Invertabral Disk Disease, Cushing's Syndrome, epilepsy, diabetes, allergies, cataracts, Urinary Track Infections (UTI), heart disease, patellar luxation, and dental problems. Dapples have also be found to be prone to hearing and vision loss. They share another problem most toy or small dogs have, injuries from being dropped or stepped on.
Their average lifespan is 12-15 years.
These are not the easiest breed to obedience train or house-train. Average on the intelligence scale, these tenacious, elves require positive reinforcement obedience training as soon as possible. Without training and boundaries they can be prime candidates for Small Dog Syndrome. A fearful Dachshund can be aggressive, and they will not hesitate to bite! Devoted as they are, it is not unheard of, for a Dachshund to turn on its owner, if it senses a lack of leadership. As amusing, playful and loyal as they can be with adequate leadership, without it they can be demanding, unpredictable, jealous, stubborn and aggressive. Many are not particularly fond of meeting strangers. When raised with children, trained properly and with plenty of socialization, they do make a good family pet if the children are older. Because they can be unpredictable, with their limited coping skills and high prey drive, they are not recommended for families with young children. Like many small dogs, some will leap at the opportunity to challenge a larger dog.
Dachshunds were born to work. If bored, they will develop inappropriate behavioral problems such as excessive barking, chewing, burrowing through carpets, bedding and furniture, not to mention soiling in the house. They are also known to exhibit serious separation anxiety, which is fairly common with smaller dogs.
Dachshunds are born to dig! It is suggested that an area in your yard be relegated specifically for that purpose. Don't let them watch you garden. They will jump right in to help! To accommodate their inherent need to dig, some owners have given their dog their very own blanket to tunnel under, simply to distract them from digging through the couch.
They are average shedders. Grooming for the short haired and wirehaired variety is fairly easy. In most cases a quick rub down with a damp cloth and the usually daily brushing will keep them clean. The longhaired Dachshund may need a trip to the groomer once or twice a year for a trim.
Fairly energetic, exercise is important. They need daily walks, and some fun, inner action playtime with you. With that high prey drive, many are terrific at retrieving tennis balls. Be careful with the exercise. Limit their jumping, mainly on and off furniture to prevent crippling back injuries.
Dachshunds are one of the few dogs that can't swim! Be extremely watchful around water! They do have little life jackets for dogs...it may be a prudent investment if left unattended around a swimming pool or dock.
Bottom line: Do your homework. Avoid puppies from flea markets, pet stores and backyard breeders. Dachshunds are a favorite for many of them. It's worth the few dollars more to find a reputable, trustworthy breeder. Because of inappropriate behaviors, many do end up being surrendered to shelters and rescues. Check them out. If you are willing to devote time and energy to help them get back on track, who knows, your new best friend may be there patiently waiting for you.