Dachshund Dog Breed Traits & Characteristics

The dachshund is a small hound dog of German origin. Dachshunds are also commonly referred to as doxies, wiener dogs, sausage dogs, and badger dogs.

These dogs are intelligent, curious, friendly, and known for their unique, long-backed bodies. This breed grows 8 to 9 inches tall — or 5 to 6 inches if it’s miniature. The dachshund has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years.

While reserved around strangers, these dogs are sociable with their owners and love being the center of attention. Although loyal, they can be stubborn and are best suited to experienced dog owners.

Dachshunds typically cost $500 to $1,500.

Dachshund Characteristics & Overview

Dachshund dog staying on a path in the forest

Common names:Dachshund, sausage dog, wiener dog, badger dog, doxie
Origin:Germany
Breed group:Hound dog
Size:Small, miniature
Height:Miniature dogs 5–6 inches, standard dogs 8–9 inches
Weight:Miniature dogs under 11 pounds, standard dogs 16–32 pounds
Colors:Black, brown, cream, tan, fawn, red, blue, wild boar, wheaten, chocolate
Coat:Three coat types: smooth, long, wire
Life expectancy:12–16 years
Temperament:Friendly, curious, affectionate, playful, smart, stubborn
Shedding:Light to moderate shedding, depending on coat type
Barking tendency:Vocal, frequent barking
Cost:$500–$1,500

Origin & Purpose

The origin of the dachshund dates back hundreds of years to 15th century Germany, where the breed was developed for badger hunting.

These dogs were selectively bred from several hound dogs and terriers to be agile, strong, and excel at digging. The miniature dachshund was used to hunt small game, like rabbits.

They were officially recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885. Today, they are one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of a dachshund is 12 to 16 years. Dogs that are exercised, fed nutrient-rich diets, and go to the vet regularly are likely to live long and healthy lives. Individual dogs that aren’t exercised and have poor diets are more susceptible to health issues.

Dachshund Appearance

Dachshund adult appearance

The dachshund is a muscular dog with stocky legs and paddle-shaped front paws.

There are two recognized sizes — miniature and standard — and the breed has three coat types that come in several shades. These dogs are often called sausage dogs and wiener dogs because of their unusual, elongated body shapes.

Height and Weight

Dachshunds are considered small dogs, with a height at the withers of 8 to 9 inches, and a weight of 16 to 32 pounds. Miniature dachshunds are 5 to 6 inches tall and weigh under 11 pounds.

The exact size of the dog depends on several factors, including habits, age, sex, and genetics. Females are typically smaller than males.

Colors

Dachshunds come in different shades of black, tan, chocolate, red, blue, wild boar, and cream. Some have brindle, sable, piebald, or dapple markings across their bodies, especially on their jaws, eyes, chests, necks, and paws.

The most common color combination is black and tan, and the rarest colors are black, solid chocolate, wheaten, and a combination of blue and tan.

The AKC doesn’t recognize solid black as a standard breed color, as this color is caused by a rare recessive gene.

Coat

Dachshunds have three coat types: wire, long, and smooth. Shedding tendency and grooming needs depend on the coat type.

  • Wire-haired coat: A thick, rough outer coat with a dense undercoat that has short, soft hairs. Their ears are smooth, and the tail is thick and tapers to a distinct point. Wire-haired dachshunds are known for their bushy eyebrows and beards, and the dogs blow their coat twice a year.
  • Long-haired coat: A sleek coat with wavy hair. Their fur is longer on the ears, legs, tail, and the dog’s underside. These dogs are moderate shedders.
  • Smooth-haired coat: A short, smooth, dense single coat with a slight sheen. Their ears are leathery. Smooth-haired dachshunds are the most common variety and have low-maintenance grooming needs. Their coat sheds lightly throughout the year.

Facial Features

Dachshunds have tapered heads, muscular necks, and medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes. Like many hound dogs, these dogs have been bred to have floppy ears to protect their ear canals from dirt, grass, and debris while hunting.

Body Features

The dachshund has a long-backed body, stubby legs, and paddle-shaped front paws. These features were selectively bred to help the dog dig and flush out badgers. The dog’s chest is muscular, and its tail curves slightly upwards.

Personality and Temperament

Dachshund playful temperament

According to the AKC’s breed standard, dachshunds are friendly, curious, brave, and lively dogs that make wonderful family pets. While intelligent, this breed has a stubborn nature, which can make training difficult for first-time dog owners.

These dogs also have a strong prey drive, and shouldn’t be kept in households with small animals or young children.

They have well-developed senses, love to dig, and thrive when they have plenty of attention. They are energetic despite their small size and need an owner that’s prepared to exercise their dog regularly.

Barking

Dachshunds are vocal dogs with loud barks, and often bark when they’re bored, lonely, craving attention, or excited. While the breed’s barking instinct is strong, early training can help lessen this behavior.

Dachshund Care

Dachshund sleeping on a blanket with cucumbers over its eyes

Caring for a dachshund is relatively difficult because the dog is stubborn, needs lots of attention, and is prone to obesity and back problems.

Without proper care, these dogs are likely to exhibit destructive behavior and experience health issues later in their lives.

Food Needs

Adult standard dachshunds need 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality, protein-rich dog food per day, and miniature dachshunds eat ¾ to 1 cup daily. Food should be split into two separate meals. The exact amount of food to feed depends on the dog’s size, activity level, and age.

This breed is prone to obesity because they’re not good at self-regulating their consumption. Avoid overfeeding, and use the Body Condition Score (BCS) to assess whether your dog has a healthy weight. Dachshund puppies should be fed three to four meals daily until they’re eight months old.

Feeding these dogs small meals throughout the day is crucial because they are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Transition puppies to new foods slowly to give their stomachs time to adjust.

Grooming Needs

The dachshunds’ grooming needs depend on their coat type. For example, long-haired dachshunds are moderate shedders and require regular brushing, while smooth-haired varieties have low-maintenance coats, shed minimally, and only require a good brushing weekly.

Wire-haired dachshunds have double coats which need frequent brushing to remove trapped hair, especially when the dogs are blowing their coats.

Brush in the direction the fur grows, and trim any excess hair around the eyes and paws.

These dogs should be washed monthly with unscented dog shampoo to keep their skin and fur healthy. Clean teeth frequently to prevent gum disease and other mouth problems.

Their ears should be examined daily because dachshunds are prone to ear infections. Their nails should be trimmed to help the dog walk comfortably and easily.

Exercise Needs

Standard dachshunds require 60 minutes of exercise per day, while miniature dachshunds need 30 minutes. The exercise should be broken into two to three separate walks because these dogs have small legs and find long walks difficult.

Over-exercising puppies can cause growth deformities and affect their mobility in adult life. Puppies require five minutes of exercise per month of their age, meaning a three-month-old puppy should be exercised for 15 minutes daily.

These dogs are intelligent and can participate in a range of activities aside from walking, such as swimming and scent work. However, they have fragile legs and backs which can easily get injured, so avoid activities that encourage these dogs to jump or overwork their bodies.

Mental Needs

Dachsunds are intelligent, courageous, and curious dogs that need at least 30 minutes of mental stimulation per day to prevent boredom.

Scent work games, like snuffle mats, allow these dogs to act on their natural instincts. Puzzle toys keep them entertained and busy for long periods of time while teaching new tricks and commands allows for one-on-one bonding.

Common Health Concerns

The dachshund is a healthy breed overall, with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. However, they are predisposed to back issues, eye problems, and a few other health ailments.

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease: A degenerative condition that affects a dog’s spinal disc. Symptoms include back and neck pain, loss of mobility, changes in pain tolerance, incontinence, and dragging of the legs. Treatment involves crate rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery.
  • Hip Dysplasia: An abnormal formation of the hip socket, which causes pain, mobility issues, and swelling. Treatment involves weight reduction, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and potentially surgery.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): An inherited disease that causes progressive and eventually permanent blindness. There is no known treatment.
  • Heart Disease: A disease common in miniature dachshunds, that causes breathing difficulties, lethargy, and back-leg weakness. Treatment varies depending on type and severity, but typically involves medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: A condition where the dog’s tear glands don’t work properly, causing redness, irritation, inflammation, and pain. Dry eye is treated with tear stimulant drugs.
  • Cataracts: A condition in which the dog’s eye lens becomes clouded, causing vision issues. Cataracts can be treated and removed with surgery.
  • Hypothyroidism: A condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, causing weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss. Hypothyroidism is treatable with medication.

Always buy dachshund puppies from breeders who have cleared the parents of common health issues. A reputable breeder provides proof of the parents’ health screenings.

Training

Dachshund dog being trained

Dachshunds are intelligent but difficult to train, especially as adults, because they are stubborn and independent. However, these dogs respond well to firm, consistent training that uses positive-reinforcement measures.

Begin training puppies when they’re eight weeks old, starting with house training, crate training, and basic obedience. Early socialization is critical for these dogs to become confident and well-behaved adults.

Dachshunds are notoriously difficult to potty train. Take puppies out regularly, and be patient with them. Don’t skip crate training, as a crate makes it easier to housebreak the dog.

This breed is known for its vocality, but appropriate training from an early age can reduce the dog’s barking tendencies. Punishing these dogs can exacerbate their behavioral problems and aggression.

Socializing a dachshund with children and other animals — while teaching the dog how to interact appropriately — can help reduce the dog’s instinctual prey drive.

Dachshund Price

Dachshund puppies sitting in a basket

Dachshunds are relatively expensive dogs, with the initial price depending on whether you adopt or buy from a reputable breeder.

How Much Is a Dachshund?

A dachshund puppy from a breeder typically costs $500 to $1,500. The exact cost will depend on the dog’s lineage, appearance, size, and coat type.

Mixed puppies cost significantly less, in the range of $300 to $800, while purebred pedigree puppies with champion bloodlines or rare coloration can cost over $3,000.

Adopting an adult dachshund is a more affordable option, with adoption fees around $150 to $300. These dogs are common in shelters because inexperienced owners often underestimate these dogs’ stubbornness, and struggle to train them.

How Much Does it Cost to Own a Dachshund?

The monthly cost of owning a dachshund is $50 to $100, depending on the dog’s size, coat type, diet, and health. This cost covers the essentials like healthcare, walking equipment, food, toys, and grooming supplies.

Professional training and socialization classes, which are often necessary for this breed, will increase this monthly cost.

Is a Dachshund Right for You?

Dachshund dog sitting on a sofa

The dachshund is intelligent, friendly, and curious, but the dog’s stubbornness, activity level, and high vocality mean it’s not suitable for all people and lifestyles.

The best owners for these dogs are people who are experienced with dogs and are prepared to put a lot of time and effort into their care.

Who Should Get a Dachshund?

Dachshunds require owners that are confident, consistent, and firm with training. Families that lead active lifestyles and are able to give a dog plenty of attention are ideal.

Because these dogs are small, they can happily live in apartments, as long as they receive daily mental stimulation and exercise.

Owners should be able to resist the breed’s “puppy eyes” and keep track of its weight and diet.

Who Should Not Get a Dachshund?

Dachshunds are stubborn, difficult to train, and are not ideal for first-time dog owners.

These dogs also aren’t suitable for inactive people or those with mobility issues. Without frequent exercise, they become bored and restless, and may engage in destructive behavior like barking and scratching.

Dachshunds are affectionate, but they have a strong prey drive and aren’t well-suited to families with small pets or young children. The breed also loves to dig, so people that want to protect their flowerbeds should avoid this breed.

Dachshund Mixes

Dachshunds have been extensively and selectively crossbred to create some of the cutest and most unique designer dog hybrids around. If you like wiener dogs, you may be interested in some of the following mixes:

About Thomas Woods 225 Articles
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

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