Breed Category: Hound
Country of Origin: Germany
Average Size: 18-27 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 6-12 kg
Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Low
The Dachshund is a hound dog originally developed in Germany to aid in hunting badgers and rodents. Its name is German for “badger dog,” which is a testament to its hunting work. It is most recognised for its long body and short legs, earning it several nicknames throughout the world such as “wiener dog” and “sausage dog.”
The breed is thought to have been developed using dogs such as the Basset Hound and Bloodhound. Some argue that the Dachshund is better suited for the terrier dog group because of its personality, appearance and tendency to dig, though its scent-tracking abilities have made it a better fit for the hound group.
A breed similar in appearance may have originated in Egypt, as artwork there depicts a hound dog with short legs. Though the modern day Dachshund may be a descendent of this Egyptian dog, the breed was officially established in Germany in the 17th century. The Dachshund is known around the world as a symbol of Germany. Though they are most popular in their home country, the breed is also very common in other countries such as the United States.
Since the primary purpose of the Dachshund was to flesh out small animals, its body has been conditioned to do this task with efficiency. Its long body allows it to squeeze into tight spaces in order to flesh out prey. Though its legs are small in size, the Dachshund’s feet are extraordinarily strong and allow the dog to dig through hard terrain. The breed also has a long snout that is very strong, allowing it to seek out the scent of badgers and other small animals.
Though all Dachshunds have the trademark long body and short legs, the rest of its appearance can vary. It can differ in size, as the dog may be standard or miniature. Some countries also recognise an even smaller size called the toy Dachshund. A standard Dachshund weighs an average of 6-12 kg, though the smaller breeds will weigh considerably less. Smaller breeds will also be shorter than the standard Dachshund, which as an average height of 18-27 cm.
This breed may have a long-, short- or wire-haired coat. It is found in a variety of colours and patterns. Solid-coloured Dachshunds are typically black, brown, fawn or gray. They may also have a merle pattern that most commonly includes black, brown and gray. The breed standard calls for brown eyes, though they may also be a shade of blue or green.
The Dachshund is often considered a temperamental breed, as it can be very friendly with people and animals, but may also have aggressive tendencies. It is a stubborn and confident breed that requires firm leadership from its owner in order to discourage hostile behaviour.
The breed may be intolerant of children and small animals, though they are typically accepting of those with whom it shares a household.
Though it may have quite a bit of attitude for such a small dog, the Dachshund is loyal to its owner, strongly preferring human companionship over spending time alone. The breed likes to burrow itself under blankets or covers, particularly when it is cold, scared or tired.
The Dachshund loves to play games that allow it to catch and chase toys. During various levels of activity, this breed may be prone to excessive barking, though this can be curbed with the right training. The Dachshund likes to play and go for short walks, but does not have high exercise requirements.
As a result of its long spine, the Dachshund may be prone to backaches and injuries. These problems are typically more severe when the dog is overweight, as it puts more pressure on the bones. Obesity also puts this breed at a higher risk for diabetes.
Additionally, the Dachshund may have health conditions such as epilepsy or thyroid issues. It may also experience vision problems such as glaucoma, retinal ulcers or cataracts.
The average Dachshund lives to be between 12 and 15 years of age.