The Dachshund is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world because of its unique, short legged, long bodied appearance. This breed has a distinguished history of being used as a hunting dog, perfect for going to ground to roust badgers from their underground tunnels and dens. While now typically a companion dog, this stout and highly athletic canine retains many of the hunting behaviors of the Dachshund breed. A pleasure to own, the Dachshund can also be a challenging dog and definitely has his or her own personality and naturally independent nature.
The Dachshund comes in three distinct sizes for breeders, with some kennels also including two different size categories that are not standardized. The recognized sizes by most Dachshund breeders are the standard, miniature and the toy.
- Standard Dachshunds are 8 to 11 inches in height at the shoulders and can weigh over 11 pounds by one year of age. Most will mature at a weight of between 16 and 32 pounds.
- The Miniature Dachshund is slightly smaller in height at 5 to 7 inches at the shoulder with a weight of 11 pounds or less at 12 months of age and older. These are the only two size designations recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and compete in the same class, just in different divisions.
- The third breeder size designation is the Toy Dachshund , which is a Dachshund that is up to 12 inches at the shoulder but only weighs 8 pounds or less at the one year mark. Less common are the tweenies, which weigh up to 18 pounds at 12 months. There are also breeders that market teacup, micro-mini and dwarf Dachshunds that are not recognized by the AKC. These tend to be the smallest of the breed and may be prone to increased health problems due to their small size.
The coat of the Dachshund is incredibly varied. Within the breed there are three coat types, smooth, wirehaired and longhaired with each coat type found in a huge array of single, dual and multiple colorations. Common colors include fawns, agouti, reds, chocolates, blacks and grays. Patterns include brindles, dapples (merles), two-color combinations such as black and tan or red and cream, as well as three color combinations.
Despite the Dachshunds short statute and generally happy go lucky disposition they can be a challenging dog to own. Closely related to the terrier breeds in temperament and behavioral instincts the Dachshund can be somewhat stubborn and difficult to train. They are loyal and lovable and need human attention and affection to be well adjusted dogs. Without proper training and leadership by the humans in the family the Dachshund can become possessive and aggressive which is no different than other companion dog breeds.
The Dachshund is a great option for a house dog or an apartment dog. While they do enjoy lots of time in the great outdoors they also will self-exercise in the house. With a strong hunting instinct the Dachshund may not be a good companion pet for houses with cats or rodent types of pets, however with proper training a Dachshund and a cat can be get along well together. They thrive on routine walks and time to run in a fenced area and most are terrific at retrieving and playing all.
Generally healthy the Dachshund breed does need to be monitored closely for problems with the spine. Dachshund paralysis, diabetes, heart problems, obesity and urinary tract infections are the most common medical issues found within the breed. A relatively long lived dog the typical lifespan of a Dachshund is twelve to fifteen years with dogs very active well into their senior years.
The Dachshund is a wonderful family dog and will enjoy being around children and snuggling up with you on the couch. They are good watch dogs and naturally protect their space, sometimes acting much more possessive than one would expect with their small size. With proper socialization they are not aggressive and will welcome friends into the home with a wag of the tail and a happy bark hello. These dogs are also natural clowns and love to play, seeming to thrive on human laughter and affection throughout their lives.