Where does the Dachshund come from?
Bred to engage badgers in their burrows, these courageous little dogs originate in Germany. Roughly 600 years ago, hunters designed dogs who would be capable to first dig into the dens of badgers and then flush the occupants out. For this risky task, they needed a keen and courageous canine, equipped with a long, low and yet strong body. And a loud enough voice to alert their hunting owner to their position underground.
Of course, the task of evicting badgers from their own burrows is no small feat, especially if one is a very small dog: With their sharp teeth and deadly claws, these feral animals can easily end a little canine’s life. It is said that hunters even used the new breed to pursue wild boar – a task that required the dogs to work together in packs. Clearly, today’s Dachshunds still carry the enormous courage and perseverance of their brave ancestors.
What is their temperament like?
Despite – or just because of - their strong personalities and stubborn nature, Dachshunds are a joy to have around. Loyal, very social and usually quite agreeable, these endearing little canines make the perfect companions and house dogs. However, especially the miniature version of them can suffer from shyness or nervousness if not socialised properly. A well-raised Dachshund should be friendly, lively and fearless. And whilst these features are desirable for all three different coat types (smooth-coated, longhaired and wirehaired), the wirehaired Dachshund has terrier-blood pulsing through its veins – which makes it particularly daring and mischievous. Longhairs are the most calm and laid-back “Sausage Dogs” and smooth-coated Dachshunds are middle-of-the-road between the two others when it comes to temperament.
All kinds make excellent watchdogs whose bark resembles that of a Hound, giving the impression of a much larger dog guarding the house..
How intelligent and trainable are Dachshunds?
It is quite wonderful to have a smarter-than-average dog, and if you own a Dachshunds, you definitely do! To many “Sausage Dog’s” owners dismay, however, these bright little canines are also incredibly independent and stubborn. Which makes training them quite an interesting task. Getting your Dachshund to comply with your commands usually works best with a calm, consistent and patient approach. It is advisable to use positive reinforcement in the form of praise, treats or play – depending on what your dog likes best: Contrary to many other hunting breeds, Dachshunds do not respond well to corrective measures, so outsmarting the smart little Hound is usually the best way forward.
Are Dachshunds healthy dogs?
Dachshunds are usually quite sturdy and healthy dogs. However, due to their elongated back and short legs, they are prone to suffering from patella luxation, disc damage and hernias. Also, their floppy ears tend to develop infections if not cleaned regularly. Breeders of Dachshunds are recommended to perform patella and ophthalmologist evaluations as well as a cardiac exam on their breeding stock.
The hardy little Dachshunds usually live anywhere between 12 and 16 years.
How much exercise does the Dachshund need?
Due to their size – or rather, their lack of size -, Dachshunds are perfect indoor dogs who do not need lots of exercise to be happy and content. Nevertheless, they still require regular moderate walks and playtimes every day. Not only to stimulate their hunting dogs’ senses by chasing after toys, and by enjoying the many different sights and smells, but also to stay fit: To protect them from disc damage and hernias, they require strong muscles to support their back.
What are their grooming requirements?
Thankfully, Dachshunds are quite clean dogs with very little doggy odour. Outside of shedding season, they hardly lose hairs in the house. Of course, the breed’s three different coat types have different grooming needs: The smooth-coated version is the easiest one to keep clean and only requires a weekly once-over with a soft bristle brush. Wirehaired Dachshunds are also quite straightforward to keep neat by brushing them with a pin brush - but you might want to trim their beards to avoid them accumulating dirt. For the longhaired version, more frequent brushing with a pin brush is required to keep their silky hairs from developing mats and tangles.