Description of the appearance, size, weight, temperament, grooming, health concerns and other important facts about Dachshunds.
Dachshunds come in Standard or Miniature sizes. They all have low-slung elongated bodies and very short legs. They are muscular dogs with exceptionally strong front legs that have been developed for digging. Many people refer to them as “sausage” dogs. Their loose coats come in a variety of colors including solid colors, two-colored, dappled, tiger marked, and brindled. There hair comes in three distinct types with the wirehaired variety being the least common. The other types are longhaired with soft, flat and straight hair with feathering and also short, smooth and dense hair.
Male and female Standard Dachshunds are generally about 8 inches (20cm) tall and weigh in between 16 and 32 pounds (7-15 kg). Miniatures are somewhat smaller in size and weight. Regular brushing is recommended for these dogs but owners should not bathe or dry shampoo unless it is necessary to do so. Wire-haired dogs should be professionally trimmed about twice a year and smooth-haired dogs require regular rubdowns with a damp cloth. It is also advisable to check the ears often and keep them clean to prevent infections. There are no special dietary requirements for this breed however, it is important that they are not overfed. They have a tendency to become overweight and lazy, which can contribute to serious health problems and additional strain on their backbones.
Lively, affectionate, alert, curious, and brave are all terms that describe the temperament of Dachshunds. They have big barks for such small dogs and it is often intimidating to strangers. They make great companions and are fairly obedient when trained properly. They can be slightly aggressive to strangers, which make them good as watchdogs. Miniature Dachshunds adapt well to apartment living as they only need moderate daily activity but they are not well suited with children. Miniatures are more vulnerable to injuries if they are handled too roughly. Homeowners should also be aware that Dachshunds love to dig and if not restrained they may destroy your gardens and flowerbeds. These dogs love to go for walks or to run and play in an open space. They are very active and have remarkable stamina for their size.
Some common health concerns that Dachshunds often face include spinal problems like herniated disks that can cause severe pain, heart disease, eye disease, diabetes, urinary track problems, and various skin conditions. They generally live to be around 12 to 15 years old with proper care and weight control.
Dachshunds originated several hundred years ago in Germany and their name comes from the German word “Dachs” that means badger. They were bred for hunting and following animals. With their short, powerful legs they can dig out prey that tries to escape by burrowing into the ground. They have many of the same characteristics that “Terrier” dogs have as well and are very courageous in challenging other animals like foxes, otters, and badgers.