The Wiener Dog. The Doxy. The Hot Dog. The Sausage Dog. Yes, we're talking about the Dachshund! This breed has earned an abundance of nicknames due to its long body and short legs. But the Doxie isn't one of the most popular dog breeds in the world for its looks alone.
The Dachshund has a spunky and independent personality. They are playful and energetic, enjoying walks and playtime. This quirky dog breed loves spending time with you and is very loyal and loving. But they can sometimes be a bit stubborn.
Is this breed right for you? Find out more about what makes the Dachshund so unique and what it takes to properly care for this special sausage of a dog.
Dachshund Characteristics [Physical]
The Dachshund has a very unique appearance that makes this breed one-of-a-kind. Despite being low to the ground, this dog stands out from the crowd quite easily. But a wiener dog is more than its stubby legs and long body. Here is what makes a Dachshund a Dachshund.
Dachshund Dog Breed Size
The Dachshund comes in two sizes: standard and miniature.
Standard Dachshunds weigh between 16 and 32 pounds and stand 14 to 18 inches tall. The miniature Dachshund weighs 11 pounds and under according to the official breed standard set by the American Kennel Club. They are five to six inches tall.
The wiener dog's head tapers uniformly to the tip of the nose. Their skull is slightly arched, as is their muzzle. The eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and darkly colored. The Dachshund's ears are set near the top of the head and rounded.
This breed has a long, muscular neck that flows gracefully into the shoulders. Their trunk is long and fully muscled. The back is quite straight when viewed from the side. Their forequarters are strong, deep, and muscled, and their thighs are powerful too.
Despite their short legs, the Dachshund has a fluid and smooth gait. They have a good amount of endurance, thanks to their freedom of movement and agility.
When you meet the goofy and loving Dachshund, it's hard to believe they used to be bred as hunters. The Dachshund is more of a lap dog, although they are known for their confidence and spunky spirit.
This breed is energetic and alert. Despite their small size, this dog is very playful and needs a lot of exercise and attention each day. Without proper stimulation, the Dachshund can get a bit destructive. Lively and courageous, the wiener dog needs a family that's active and present to thrive.
This dog is very intelligent and can learn tricks easily. They also love to play games, although they sometimes make their own rules. This breed can become a bit stubborn, so you'll need to be consistent and patient.
The Dachshund is a very loyal dog. They love following you from room to room, getting involved in whatever you're doing, whether it's watching a movie, folding laundry, or tying your shoes. This breed often becomes very attached to their favorite person and even becomes jealous if they give attention to other dogs or people.
Dachshund Dog Breed Exercise
Doxie puppies need about five minutes of daily exercise for every month of age. Until they're four to six months old, light play in the house or backyard is sufficient until they can slowly build themselves up to daily walks. A Dachshund adult dog should exercise for about 30 minutes a day until they start slowing down with age. A senior dog may need a slower pace or to go for a few shorter walks.
The Dachshund should be trained and socialized as a puppy, including obedience classes. These classes can also provide you with consistent tools to use at home. Being consistent is very important with Dachshunds since they can be a bit stubborn.
Dachshunds are not an aggressive breed, but you need to properly socialize your Wiener Dog to avoid them becoming a bit snappy and reactive. This can happen when the Dachshund is jealous when their owner's attention is elsewhere or when playtime doesn't go their way.
As a puppy, teach your Dachshund general commands. Be consistent and use positive reinforcement, and your dog will catch on quite quickly. There are a few key behaviors you should also focus on when training your Dachshund.
Due to the wiener dog's hunting background, this breed is known to chase just about everything. This includes people (especially children), wild animals, and other pets. It's not uncommon for a Dachshund to race after a squirrel at the park or chase the cat around the living room. It's important to address this issue early on, teaching your Dachshund that this is unwanted behavior.
These dogs are known for obsessively digging, whether it's in the garden outside or your sheets on the bed. Dachshunds will especially dig when they are understimulated and bored. The best way to stop your wiener dog from digging is to tire them out with some exercise and then spend some time hanging out with them afterward.
If your Dachshund continues to dig, it's best to give them a specified spot to dig that's more appropriate. This will save your garden from destruction and deter them from digging near a fence and escaping underneath.
Despite being small dogs, this breed has a big voice. They are known to bark loudly and often. Train your Dachshund to stop barking by consistently not responding to their howls and barking. When they don't get what they want from barking (whether it's attention or food), they will start to realize that it's a bit ineffective.
Once your dog is silent, reward them and say "quiet" or a similar demand. They will soon realize that it's more effective to be quiet.
Dachshund Dog Breed History
Fans of the spunky and stout Dachshund are often surprised to learn that this breed originated as a hunting dog.
The breed was developed in Germany during the 17th century to hunt badgers. All of their unique physical qualities are specifically designed for the task. The Dachshund's short legs, loose skin, and big chests helped them dig and enter badger tunnels. Their ears are floppy, protecting them from dirt and debris while burrowing. Their determination and courage made them perfect for fighting badgers.
As word of the Dachshund's abilities spread, the breed was further developed. This resulted in two sizes. People used the standard size for hunting not only badgers but wild boars. The miniature Dachshund was bred for hunting hare and foxes.
Dachshunds were brought to the United States around 1885 when the American Kennel Club recognized them. They became popular in the 1930s and 1940s thanks to their unique appearance and interesting personalities. In 2021, the Dachshund was considered one of the world's top 10 most popular dog breeds!
Common Health Problems Found in the Dachshund Dog
Like all purebred dogs, it's very important to only get a Dachshund puppy from a reputable breeder registered with the American Kennel Club. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to have health conditions since dogs that carry the gene are removed from the breeding pool.
The Dachshund does have a few hereditary health problems that are common for the breed. Here are some to be aware of.
- Intervertebral disc disease: Also known as a "slipped disc," this is when the space between the bones along the spine (called intervertebral discs) swell or rupture over time. You'll notice your dog limping or having trouble moving.
- Diabetes: A Dachshund with diabetes has insufficient insulin, eventually causing glucose to leak into the urine. This will make your dog pee more than usual, making your dog very thirsty. You will also notice your dog seeming lethargic. There are luckily treatment plants for dogs with diabetes, but you want to get it detected as soon as you can.
- Epilepsy: This is the most common neurological disorder in dogs, affecting 0.75% of the entire canine population. This means that your dog will have reoccurring seizures. This can be managed by a vet as well.
- Gastric dilation: Also known as bloat, this is a common condition in dogs with wide chests. For dogs, bloat is a life-threatening condition that makes the stomach expand, rotate, and cut off blood supply to the stomach and spleen.
The Dachshund is sometimes the subject of controversy due to its short legs and long spine. Around 90% of Dachshshund back problems are due to intervertebral disc disease, linked to the dwarfism genes. Always keep a close eye on your Dachshund's back, from their physical appearance to how they walk.
How to Care for a Dachshund
The Dachshund needs obedience training very early on. They should be trained properly and socialized as puppies to avoid unwanted behavioral issues and potential problems.
This breed can be difficult to housebreak, so have plenty of pee pads around the house and time to consistently train them to go potty outside. This will take a lot of time each day, especially when they are puppies.
It would be best to have a lot of time bonding with your Dachshund to avoid destructive behavior and anxiousness. This is a dog that needs a lot of stimulation. If you work eight hours a day or more, this may not be the best breed for your lifestyle.
The wiener dog also needs plenty of exercise. This breed is prone to obesity, so they need to stay active throughout the day. Think multiple short walks each day and fun play sessions like fetch.
But don't overwork your Dachshund. This breed needs to have their back protected. As many as 25% of Dachshunds have intervertebral disc disease, which can lead to spinal disc deterioration. Don't let your Dachshund jump up and down from furniture. You might even want to provide ramps for your Dachshund to get onto the couch and bed.
Nutrition and Feeding for a Dachshund
These dogs are prone to obesity, so it's very important to give them the right amount of food. Choose a high-quality dry kibble with protein, carbohydrates, grains, vegetables, oils, fats, and vitamins and minerals.
Most Dachshunds eat between half a cup to 3/4 cup of food a day. This depends on the size of your Dachshund. If you're unsure what the right size is for your particular dog, talk to your veterinarian. They might also provide a special diet if your Dachshund is overweight.
Because the Dachshund is prone to bloat, split up their daily food intake into two smaller meals. Give them half in the morning for breakfast and half at night for dinner. This will reduce the risk of bloat. Let your dog rest after each meal.
Coat Color and Grooming
The Dachshund comes in a variety of coat colors and patterns. Dachshunds with one solid color are often red or cream. Two-colored Dachshunds can be any color combination between:
Dachshunds can have the following coat patterns:
- Double Dapple
This breed can also have three different coat types:
- Smooth Dachshunds: This type has a sleek and shiny appearance. Their coat is short but dense. It feels soft and plush.
- Longhaired Dachshunds: This variation has long, flowing fur that's sleek and partially wavy. Their ears and legs have feathering.
- Wirehaired Dachshunds: This is a newer variation that's designed to be more resistant to extreme weather. Their surface coat is bristly and rough to the touch.
Smooth doxies don't need a lot of grooming. Brush them once a week to reduce shedding and keep their coat shiny and healthy. Longhaired Dachshunds need daily grooming to keep their coat from tangling.
It would be best if you also brushed your Doxie's teeth daily to avoid dental problems. Clip their nails when you hear them clicking on the floor. Check their ears for dirt and wax buildup, using a cotton swab to gently remove anything you see.
Children and Other Pets
The Doxie is an overall friendly and loyal dog when properly socialized as a puppy. But this breed is not considered ideal for families with small children.
It's very important to teach children how to handle this dog, not only to keep their back safe from injury from improperly handling but avoid irritating this stubborn breed. When this breed doesn't like how a kid is behaving (like tail pulling or uncomfortable petting), they may become snappy.
Always supervise children that are playing with a Dachshund to ensure your dog isn't getting uncomfortable.
These dogs are known for having high prey drives due to their hunting background. They may not be the best dog to have around cats, rats, and other small pets. Proper socialization early on can help them control their chasing instincts, but supervision is always advised.
Dachshund Dog Rescue Groups
Dachshund and Dachshund mixes can be a bit of a handful for new dog owners. Because of their stubbornness, social needs, and exercise requirements, they can sometimes become too much for some families. Others may realize that this dog doesn't get along with their children or small pets.
Luckily there are rescue groups that specialize in helping Dachshunds in need of a new home. These rescues will often assist families looking to rehome their dogs. They will also foster Dachshunds and get them prepared for a new home.
Little Paws Dachshund Rescue helps rehome Dachshunds on the east coast. They specialize in finding permanent homes for Dachshunds that were abandoned, mistreated, or homeless. They also provide education on the breed.
The Dachshund Rescue of North America is a nonprofit that reduces and rehabilitates wiener dogs that need a home. They've placed almost 12,000 dogs into their forever home.
Southern California Dachshund Relief Inc. has been rescuing Dachshunds in need throughout southern, central, and northern California since 1994. Their goal is to find forever homes throughout the state.
The volunteers that make up the Dachshund Rescue of Los Angeles aim to reduce the number of Dachshunds being euthanized in local shelters and provide well-educated and committed homes for homeless dogs.
Dachshund Dog Breed Organizations
Dog breed organizations are created all over the country to give Dachshund owners a community. They provide events and tournaments specifically for Dachshunds and spread important information about judging and breeding.
The Dachshund Club of America promotes the natural qualifies of all purebred Dachshunds. They provide education and memberships for passionate Dachshund owners who want to get more involved. Its mission statement reads: "The Dachshund Club of America promotes canine health and wellbeing and ethical sportsmanship in all competitions and protects and advances the interest of the breed."
You can usually find organizations in your specific state, allowing you to meet other Dachshund owners in your area.
More About the Dachshund
The word "Dachshund" literally translates to "badger dog" in German. This makes sense seeing as people bred the dog to hunt badgers, specifically during its early years. But there are many nicknames for this breed:
- Sausage Dog
- Dotson Dog
- Doxin Dog
- Weenie Dog
- Weeny Dog
The Dachshund had its name temporarily changed to "badger dog" in the United States during World War II. This kept the breed popular during a time when the states were biased towards Germany. This proved to be a smart choice because the Dachshund is now more popular than ever before.
We said these dogs like to bark. But did you know that they have loud, deep barks that sound like they're coming from a big dog? That's thanks to their barrel-like chest. This matches the weenies' big and bold personality.
The sausage dog loves to run and play. But did you know there used to be Wiener Races? This was a quite popular event among Dachshund owners for a while, thanks to how funny it is to watch this long, short dog run around. But the American Kennel Club recently opposed this practice due to concerns over the breed's back.
This breed is prone to back issues due to its long body. So make sure to watch their movement and give them ramps. You should also spend a lot of time playing and cuddling with your dog. If you have a lot of time and love to spare, the Doxie is a great companion for families without small children. You'll be rewarded with a loving and loyal dog that loves being around you at all times.