Dachshunds are intelligent, active dogs originally developed to hunt badgers. The early Dachshund weighed about 30lbs and looked like a slightly longer-legged version of today’s smooth dachshund. This moderate sized dog proved to be so good at bringing in its prey from underground burrows that breeders soon developed smaller varieties of dachshunds for smaller game. A 20lbs dachshund was developed to hunt foxes and track larger game, and even smaller dachshunds were bred to rout rabbits from their warrens.
The Modern Dachshund
The modern Dachshund exists in two size varieties. Standards usually weigh 16-30 lbs, while miniatures weigh up to 11lbs. Although the two sizes are supposed to be alike in temperament, many fanciers belive that minis are more timid. In addition, the modern dachshund comes in three coat styles, & some believe that the personalities vary among the coats.
The Smooth Dachshund
The smooth dachshund tends to be somewhat aloof with new people and often chooses one family member as its own special person. The smooth dachshund can often be considered extremely stubborn – a highly desirable trait in a dog employed to drag a badger out of its den.
The Longhaired Dachshund
The longhaired dachshund is believed to be either the result of a genetic mutation reinforced through selective breeding or the product of crossbreeding, possibly to a long-coated German hunting dog. The longer coat was a liability underground and in heavy brush, so the longhaired dachshunds were used as bird dogs. The longhair is said to be the most easy-going of the three varieties, although some may be a bit shy.
The Wirehaired Dachshund
The wirehaired dachshund, whose coat provides excellent protection from thorns and brush, was probably developed by crossing smooth dachshunds with Schnauzers or Dandie Dinmont Terriers. The wirehair is the most outgoing of the three varieties, most likely as a result of the infusion of terrier blood.
Training dachshunds requires patience and persistence to overcome the stubbornness. “The dachshund owner should be willing to explain things to the dog. I know this sounds weird, but a doxie will do almost anything for you as long as the dog understands it. If it thinks you are wasting its time, it will ignore you.”
Regardless of training, dachshunds are diggers. Maintaining shorter nails can help ease this issue, but will not completely eliminate it. Dachshunds also vary in their levels of barking – some may be excessive barkers while others rarely speak their mind. They may make excellent watch dogs as some feel the need to sound the alarm each time the wind blows!
Dachshunds make excellent companions for many individuals and families
They are moderate in the time they demand for play, grooming, and companionship with their people. As with any breed of dog, the dachshund’s suitability for a family with children depends largely on the children themselves. Dachshunds are prone to back/spinal injuries and cannot tolerate rough handling. All play between young children and dogs should be supervised. Older children should be taught how to play safely to prevent injuries to themselves or the dog. Likewise, the dog should be properly socialized and trained.
If you have any questions regarding basic care (feeding, grooming, potty training, exercise) of the dachshund, or would simply like additional education on any other aspects of the dachshund life, always seek out reputable breeders and dachshund owners. We mention breeders and owners because everyone has differing opinions as well as sharing common knowledge of the dachshund. Your best sources are the breeders and owners who will take the time to answer your questions to ensure the best life for you and your dachshund(s). Visiting dog shows is another great way to learn more about the breed and its standards. This is another valuable location to find people who are avid about their breed and enjoying showing off their dogs.