Dachshund: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide

| Updated: August 18, 2023
Sleek looking Dachshund laying on a park bench

Dachshunds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and it’s easy to see why. They are adorable, faithful, smart, and full of personality. They have a long history of being bred for hunting badgers and other small animals, and they still have a knack for digging and chasing anything that moves. But they are also adaptable and affectionate family pets that can fit into any lifestyle. Whether you live in a mansion or a studio apartment, a dachshund will make itself at home and steal your heart.

Breed Overview

Dog Breed Dachshund
Nicknames Wiener dog, badger dog, sausage dog, Doxie
Coat Smooth, wirehaired, or longhaired
Coat Colors Black, chocolate, wild boar, gray, fawn, tan, brindle
Coat Patterns Solid, spotted, or dappled
Weight Standard: 16 to 32 pounds; Miniature: 11 pounds or under
Height Usually under nine inches at the shoulder
Lifespan 12 – 16 Years
Origin Germany
Breed Ranking 9th most popular breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club

History of the Dachshund Breed

Dachshunds have a long and fascinating history that dates back to at least the 15th century in Germany. They were originally bred to hunt badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, hence their name, which means “badger dog” in German.

The earliest evidence of dachshunds can be found in engravings and paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, depicting dogs with long bodies and short legs that resemble the modern breed. However, the first written references to dachshunds appear in the 17th century, when German foresters and hunters began to breed them more consistently and selectively for their hunting abilities.

Dachshunds were bred to have different sizes and coat types to suit different hunting purposes and terrains. The standard size was used for hunting badgers, foxes, and wild boars, while the miniature size was used for hunting rabbits and other small game. The smooth coat was suitable for going underground, while the wirehaired coat was more resistant to weather and thorns. Later, the longhaired coat was developed by crossing smooth dachshunds with spaniels or setters.

Dachshunds were also bred to have different colors and patterns on their coats, such as solid red, black and tan, chocolate and tan, dapple (merle), brindle, piebald, sable, or blue. Some of these colors and patterns were associated with certain regions or hunting clubs in Germany. For example, the dapple pattern was favored by hunters in Thuringia, while hunters in Bavaria preferred the piebald pattern.

Dachshunds became popular not only as hunting dogs but also as companion dogs for nobility and royalty. They were especially favored by Queen Victoria of England, who owned several dachshunds and helped increase their popularity in Great Britain. They were also admired by artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso, E.B. White, William Randolph Hearst, and John F. Kennedy.

Dachshunds were brought to the U.S. as early as 1885 when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but increased in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. To prevent them from being ostracized during World War II, they were temporarily called badger dogs in the U.S. They remain extremely popular dogs to this day.

Dachshunds are now one of the world’s most diverse and versatile dog breeds. They can be found in many countries and continents, participating in various activities such as hunting, agility, obedience, tracking, therapy, or simply being loyal and loving pets. They have also inspired many cultural icons such as toys, cartoons, movies, books, and songs. They are truly a remarkable breed with a rich history and a bright future.

Dachshund happily running toward the camera with a ball

What Do Dachshunds Look Like?

A dachshund is a dog breed of hound and terrier ancestry that originated in Germany. The breed was named dachshund, meaning “badger dog” in German, because they were developed to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals.

Dachshunds come in two sizes: standard and miniature. Standard dachshunds weigh between 16 to 32 pounds and measure 15 to 19 inches in height at the shoulder. Miniature dachshunds weigh 11 pounds or less and measure 13 to 15 inches in height at the shoulder.

Dachshunds also come in three coat types: smooth, wirehaired, and longhaired. Smooth dachshunds have short, sleek coats that require minimal grooming. Wirehaired dachshunds have coarse, wiry coats that need regular brushing and trimming. Longhaired dachshunds have soft, silky coats that need frequent brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles.

Dachshunds can have various colors and patterns on their coats, such as solid red, black and tan, chocolate and tan, dapple (merle), brindle, piebald, sable, or blue. Some dachshunds may also have green eyes or drop ears.

What is the Temperament of a Dachshund?

Dachshunds are known for their curious, friendly, and spunky personalities. They are very loyal to their owners and can be very affectionate with family members. They are also very intelligent and trainable, but they can sometimes be stubborn and independent. They may not always listen to commands or recall well, especially if they are distracted by something more interesting.

Dachshunds are also very alert and vocal dogs that make excellent watchdogs. They will bark at anything that catches their attention or seems suspicious. They may also chase or dig after anything that moves or smells interesting. They have a strong prey drive and may not get along well with other small animals or cats unless they are socialized from an early age.

Dachshunds are generally good with children if raised with or introduced to them properly. However, they may not tolerate rough handling or teasing well and may snap or bite if provoked or hurt. They may also possess their toys or food and guard them from anyone who tries to take them away. Dachshunds should always be supervised around young children or children with little dog exposure.

Dachshunds can be friendly with other dogs if they are socialized from an early age or introduced to them gradually. However, some dachshunds may be aggressive or dominant towards other dogs of the same sex or size. They may also try to challenge larger dogs or assert their authority over them. Dachshunds should always be supervised for interactions and introductions with other dogs.

Dachshund on a leash side profile

Common Health Issues In Dachshunds

Dachshunds are generally healthy dogs that can live up to 12 to 16 years on average. However, like any dog breed, they are prone to certain health issues that owners should be aware of and prevent if possible.

One of the most common health issues that affect dachshunds is intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), which is a condition where the disks between the vertebrae of the spine degenerate or rupture and cause pain, inflammation, nerve damage, paralysis, or even death. IVDD is more likely to occur in dachshunds because of their long backs and short legs, which stress their spines more. IVDD can be caused by trauma, genetics, obesity, aging, or jumping on or off furniture or stairs. A veterinarian can diagnose IVDD through physical examination, x-rays, or MRI scans.

IVDD can be devastating for both you and your dog, but it is not a death sentence. Many dogs can recover from IVDD with proper treatment and care. Some dogs may need lifelong management and support for their back problems. Some dogs may also need a cart or wheelchair to help them move around if they are paralyzed. However, you can still enjoy a happy and fulfilling life with your dachshund with love and patience.

Other Health Issues in Dachshunds

Besides IVDD, dachshunds may also suffer from other health issues that owners should be aware of. Some of these are:

  • Dental issues: Dachshunds are prone to dental problems such as plaque, tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. This is because they have small mouths and crowded teeth that are hard to clean. Dental issues can cause bad breath, pain, infection, and systemic diseases. To prevent dental issues, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily or use dental chews or toys. You should also take your dog to the vet for regular dental check-ups and cleaning.
  • Eye problems: Dachshunds are susceptible to eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), dry eye syndrome (KCS), cherry eye (prolapsed third eyelid gland), entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids), ectropion (outward rolling of the eyelids), distichiasis (abnormal eyelashes), corneal ulcers, or conjunctivitis. Eye problems can cause vision loss, pain, irritation, and discharge. To prevent eye problems, you should check your dog’s eyes regularly and keep them clean and free of debris. You should also avoid exposing your dog to bright sunlight or dust. You should take your dog to the vet if you notice any signs of eye problems, such as redness, swelling, cloudiness, squinting, or excessive tearing.
  • Skin issues: Dachshunds may develop skin issues such as color dilution alopecia (hair loss due to dilute coat colors), acanthosis nigricans (darkening and thickening of the skin), seborrhea (excessive oil production), atopic dermatitis (allergic skin inflammation), pyoderma (bacterial skin infection), or fungal infections. Skin issues can cause itching, scratching, licking, hair loss, odor, or scabs. To prevent skin issues, you should groom your dog regularly and use mild shampoos and conditioners. You should also avoid exposing your dog to allergens or irritants such as pollen, dust, fleas, or chemicals. You should take your dog to the vet if you notice any signs of skin problems such as flaking, scaling, redness, or sores.
  • Cardiac diseases: Dachshunds may suffer from cardiac diseases such as degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), pulmonic stenosis (PS), or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Cardiac diseases can affect the function and structure of the heart and cause heart failure, arrhythmias, or fainting. To prevent cardiac diseases, you should feed your dog a balanced diet and avoid obesity. You should also exercise your dog moderately and avoid overexertion or stress. You should take your dog to the vet for regular heart check-ups and screening tests. You should also monitor your dog for any signs of cardiac problems such as coughing, panting, lethargy, weakness, or collapse.
  • Stomach issues: Dachshunds may experience stomach issues such as food allergies, bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Stomach issues can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, pain, or weight loss. To prevent stomach issues, you should feed your dog a high-quality diet that suits their needs and preferences. You should also avoid feeding your dog human foods or table scraps that may upset their stomach. You should also feed your dog small meals throughout the day and avoid feeding them right before or after exercise. You should take your dog to the vet if you notice any signs of stomach problems, such as blood in the stool, vomiting, or loss of appetite.

These are some of the most common health issues in dachshunds, but they are not the only ones. Dachshunds may also suffer from thyroid problems, seizures, allergies, incontinence, obesity, and parasites. You should always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s health or behavior.

Long haired Dachshund puppy laying down
Pixabay – Long Haired Dachshund Puppy

Caring for a Dachshund

Dachshunds are not high-maintenance dogs, but they do require some basic care to keep them healthy and happy. Here are some tips on how to care for a dachshund:

  • Feed your dachshund a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs and prevents obesity. Avoid overfeeding or giving too many treats or table scraps. Consult your veterinarian for the best type and amount of food for your Dachshund.
  • Always provide your dachshund with fresh water, and ensure they drink enough to stay hydrated. Avoid giving them caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary drinks that can harm their health.
  • Groom your dachshund regularly according to their coat type. Smooth dachshunds need minimal grooming, just a weekly brushing and occasional bathing. Wirehaired dachshunds need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and clean. Longhaired dachshunds need frequent brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles. You may also need to trim their nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth regularly to prevent health problems.
  • Exercise your dachshund daily to keep them fit and mentally stimulated. Dachshunds are active dogs that need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. You can take them for walks, play fetch, or enroll them in agility or obedience classes. Avoid activities that put too much stress on their backs, such as jumping, climbing stairs, or running on hard surfaces.
  • Socialize your dachshund from an early age to make them friendly and confident around other people and animals. Expose them to different situations, sounds, sights, and smells in a positive and safe way. Reward them for good behavior and correct them gently for bad behavior. Avoid punishing or scolding them harshly, as this can make them fearful or aggressive.
  • Train your dachshund using positive reinforcement methods such as praise, treats, toys, or clickers. Dachshunds are smart and eager to please, but they can also be stubborn and independent. Be patient, consistent, and firm with your commands and expectations. Avoid repeating commands or giving in to their pleading eyes. Set clear boundaries and rules for your dachshund and stick to them.
  • Provide your dachshund with a comfortable, safe environment that meets their needs and preferences. Provide them with a cozy bed, toys, chew items, and a crate or kennel if they like it. Keep them indoors when the weather is too hot or cold or when loud noises or fireworks are outside. Keep them away from hazards such as poisonous plants, chemicals, wires, or small objects they can swallow or choke on.
  • Visit your veterinarian regularly for check-ups, vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick prevention, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and dental care. Follow your veterinarian’s advice on preventing or treating any health issues that may affect your dachshund. Seek immediate veterinary attention if you notice any signs of illness or injury in your dachshund.

Where to Buy a Dachshund

If you are interested in getting a dachshund as a pet, you have two options: buying from a reputable breeder or adopting from a rescue organization.

Buying From a Dachshund Breeder

Buying from a reputable breeder can ensure that you get a healthy and well-bred puppy that matches your expectations and needs. However, you should be careful not to buy from irresponsible breeders who may breed unhealthy or poorly socialized puppies for profit.

To find a reputable breeder, you should do some research online or ask for recommendations from trusted sources such as veterinarians, dog trainers, or other dachshund owners. You should also visit the breeder’s premises and meet the parents and littermates of the puppy you want to buy.

Adopting From a Rescue

Adopting from a rescue organization can be a rewarding and humane way of getting a dachshund as a pet. You can give a second chance to a dachshund that may have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or surrendered by its previous owner. You can also save money on the initial cost of buying a puppy and support the rescue’s work of helping more dogs in need.

Wirehaired Dachshund sitting on mowed grass next to a road
Pixabay – Wirehaired Dachshund


If you are looking for a dog that can make you smile and keep you company, you can’t go wrong with a Dachshund. They are smart and faithful friends that have a lot of personality in their small bodies. They may have been hunters in the past, but they are also happy to cuddle on the couch or play in the yard. No matter what your lifestyle is, a Dachshund can fit right in and become a part of your family.

More Dog Breeds

If you’re interested in learning about similar dog breeds, check out:


How long do Dachshunds live?

A well-cared-for Dachshund can live for up to 16 years, with the average life expectancy being 12–16 years. They have one of the longest predicted lifespans of any dog breed.

How to pronounce Dachshund?

The correct pronunciation of Dachshund is “daks-hund” or “daks-uhnd,” not “dash-hound” or “dox-sund.” The word comes from German and means “badger dog.”

Do Dachshunds shed?

Yes, Dachshunds do shed, but the amount and frequency depend on their coat type. Smooth-coated Dachshunds shed moderately year-round, wirehaired Dachshunds shed lightly but need regular stripping or clipping, and longhaired Dachshunds shed more than the other two types and need daily brushing.

Are Dachshunds hypoallergenic?

No, Dachshunds are not hypoallergenic. They produce dander (dead skin cells) and saliva, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. However, some people may be less allergic to certain coat types than others.

Are Dachshunds smart?

Yes, Dachshunds are smart and have a keen sense of smell. They were originally bred for hunting badgers and other small animals and still retain their hunting instincts today. They are also loyal and loving companions, but they can sometimes be stubborn and independent.

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