Dachshund Temperament & Personality
The Dachshund: the dog that has short legs and an elongated body that seems to lay flat close to the ground. Who would’ve thought that having that body used to be developed for hunting?
The Germans used to breed them to hunt badgers. And so the name, Dachshund, came from the words: dach, which means badger and hund, which means dog.
Sometimes referred to as the weiner dogs or sausage dogs, owners would adorably call them as doxies.
The first thing you’ll notice about the doxies is their weird shape that seems to be unproportioned and imbalanced.
Short legs. Long body. Flat.
The second thing you can’t just ignore is their pleading eyes. They have floppy dropped ears, long face, pointed nose, and smooth hair.
This appearance may slightly not come from a hunter’s body but much more from a pet.
At 15 months, your Dachshund can be classified as standard or miniature size by measuring their chest.
Naturally, a male doxy is larger than a female Dachshund.
Miniature Dachshunds are about 11 pounds and under while standard Dachshunds range from 16 to 32 pounds.
Their weight can come from 9 to 32 pounds for both males and females. Males are usually heavier than females.
A Dachshund stands at about 13 inches to 14.5 inches. Males have little inches over the females.
Their bodies can be anywhere between 21.5 to 25 inches.
A Dachshund may live for 12 to 16 long years. For healthy ones, they could live up to 20 years.
Dachshunds have very interesting behavior. As a scent dog who loves digging, your doxy would chase after any other animals, disregarding its size. You would find him sniffing every time. He would burrow everywhere in the house – from under the tables, bed covers, and to the blankets.
Dachshunds are naturally adventurous, curious, and at the same time, lively. Get used to them being very playful and possibly having a lot of energy.
A proud Dachshund is both clever and proud to the point it can be stubborn. Raising a Dachshund means showing who the pack leader is. If not, he will follow his own rules. With a mind of their own, they can be predictably unpredictable.
Have a bit of patience in training because it has the potential to disobey. But once you have trained a Dachshund properly, they are sociable with kids, visitors, and other pets.
As a loyal family dog that sticks to one family member, they can also be friendly to the family kids, but be cautious about visitors and strangers. They bark often and could have a loud one because of the barrel-type chest.
A Dachshund is so passionate about that one family member that it may not stand being away for a long time. A loyal dog like a doxy needs constant attention. So that when separation anxiety attacks, they tend to chew on things around to forget they’re alone. Or he may end up digging again. They can be destructive when they get bored.
They tend to be jealous, irritable, or quick to bite. These traits are not natural for Dachshunds until the symptoms of small dog syndrome come out. It usually happens when dog owners rather treat their dog like a baby instead of a leader.
Doxies wouldn’t mind challenging larger dogs. A study at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 reveals that Dachshunds are the most aggressive dogs. Results show that 20% of Dachshunds bite on strangers and some reports say that the lovely doxies attack their owners.
If you want to mold this unpredictable behavior, you might become the owner of one of the smartest and well-behaved doxy in town. You’d love his loyalty, energy, keenness, and sweetness. Being apart from your doxy might mean missing his constant sniffing and chasing over things that he smells.
Your doxy needs activities to stimulate their brain and to strengthen their short legs, as well as, tighten their muscles and tendons. They might need extra precaution over excessive jumping, running, and long walks as you know that their long body is unproportioned to their short legs.
While having short legs and an elongated back seems to hinder your doxy from agility activities, there are plenty of exercises they can still do.
Ideally, your Dachshund should have plenty of exercise between 25 to 45 minutes a day. The longest time should have a maximum of one hour. Over fatigue may exhaust your Dachshund. If you have plenty of time in the afternoon, do it twice a day.
For the good part, exercises are beneficial to your Dachshund. Here’s why…
- Exercises keep them busy and away from potentially destructive behavior.
- Adequate and proper ones keep them mentally stimulated and active.
- Exercises help them release their negative and positive energies.
- Exercises help them increase their focus.
- It extends your relationship further into a deep bond.
- In turn, it makes your Dachshund happy, adventurous, keen and fulfilled.
While not all dog exercises would be fit for your doxy, there are plenty of appropriate exercises that can help you achieve these benefits.
A daily walk is an essential exercise for every dog. Start with 5-minute formal on-lead walks daily when your Dachshund is still a pup. This activity allows toning the legs and muscles to prepare for long walks in the park when they grow up a bit.
Note that walking is better than letting your doxy pup run around the garden daily, especially when unguided. Running is more prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease, which is a common health problem for Dachshunds.
Socializing is another great exercise for your doxy to release their energy. Getting used to other dogs, pets, kids, and visitors is one of the purposes of socializing.
It’s fortunate enough if your Dachshund came to you when he’s still a puppy. You’ll have plenty of time to mold his behavior towards children and visitors.
Train him with appropriate gestures so that they may pick up your commands, especially when in front of other people.
A great substitute when walking out is impossible; the treadmill stimulates their concentration. It helps them to focus and walk slowly with fewer distractions.
Start with a slow speed until you find them getting used to the platform. From there, you can let them proceed. Don’t leave them there without getting comfortable with the equipment.
Use food and treats as this reward works for doxies most of the time. Also, do not let your doxy spend a longer time on the treadmill as it can stress him out. A five-minute treadmill exercise two times a day is enough.
Dachshunds love to do anything for their owners. Playing fetch games is one way for them to show off.
Not only does it give more time for you to bond, but it also boosts their chasing instincts as a hunting canine. It’s a game that most dogs enjoy because it releases their energy.
Having short legs tires your Dachshund easily. However, it doesn’t mean that they cannot enjoy swimming or boost endurance to strengthen their muscles and legs.
With extra precaution, you need to watch out for your beloved doxy when swimming because fatigue may cause them to drown. To avoid this, you can gear them up with a life vest and let them swim when they can.
How Much Exercise to Give Dachshund Pups
Dachshund pups do not need excessive walk time. The exercises listed above are more appropriate for an adult doxy.
There are toys more appropriate for Dachshund pups. Mental stimulation exercises are as tiring as physical exercises.
For Dachshund pups, you can eventually add 5 minutes of walk every month as they grow by starting at 5 minutes in the first month.
How Much Exercise for Elder Dachshunds
If you are increasing exercise time for growing doxies, you need to reduce exercises for older Dachshunds. An elder Dachshund may have active younger years, but due to their spine, they are prone to back problems.
Even when aging, they need to be physically active and mentally stimulated. Walk them out at a shorter time. Some exercises still work for them like hydrotherapy, mental stimulation, and swimming.
All these exercises are still beneficial, but you have to reduce them.
Dachshunds can have destructive behavior, so they need to be trained. What you want is a doxy that follows the house rules and obeys on command. You can mold their behavior by teaching them manners either outside or at home or when socializing.
Here are some behaviors you want to avoid:
- Pulls the leash
- Excessive digging
- Too much barking
- Aggression towards other dogs, kids, and visitors
- Housebreaking accidents
- Damaging things inside the house
If you want to own a Dachshund, you need to have determination and patience when it comes to training. You must earn respect by showing them who the pack leader is. When properly trained, your Dachshund will become your best friend and a good follower.
Why Your Dachshund Loves to Do Things for You
- He feels secure when he knows that someone is in control.
- He’s proud that he understands what you command.
- He loves getting the prize.
- He loves the attention and appreciation he’s getting.
Walking with the Leash
One great benefit of walking with your doxy is that it gives you both enough time to bond and build trust with each other.
While walking with your doxy without the leash may take more time to train, it is still possible. Be aware that your doxy can get easily distracted with the scents around. You might find them chasing after something worth going after.
It is advised that when using a leash you can stop walking until they notice that you both stopped. For this reason, they tend to be more focused. They might find ways where you can resume walking again. Meanwhile, you can still use a retractable leash to manage their usual sniffing and provide better control.
The best time to potty train your Dachshund is when they are still small and have not developed stubbornness.
Giving them too much freedom in the house means they can poop wherever they want.
The first thing you should do is to confine or restrict them from getting to every little place in the house. You can use a crate, a pen, or small gates to confine them in one place. They should know that it’s the only place for them around the house.
That means they will be there every time unless it’s playtime or tricks training time. From there, you can put a litter box so they know where they’re only allowed to poop.
Second, they must know the only places they can go apart from their space. You can walk them to these places daily. That is giving them access to these places. You can also place a door where they can poop on their designated poop yard.
Or, take them to their poop yard first thing in the morning and during the evening before their nap time.
Training your doxy how to interact can be challenging. One, you know they can be stubborn. Two, they can get distracted easily.
The first thing you should train them is respect towards your commands so they know how to behave when there are other pets, kids, or visitors.
They should also get used to other pups, kids, and people in as early as six weeks until they’re grown up. It pays to let them be exposed to environments with people and other pets so they can relax.
Doxies that grow with other pups can have manageable behavior.
You should make sure that they are adapting proper body language so they address the right movement when interacting.
You can opt them to have occasional visits at dog care houses to let them interact with other dogs. A good dog care facility should have creative socializing and training programs that can help your doxy behave socially.
Preventing Him from Jumping
For Dachshunds, jumping can be stressful to their spine. Frequent extending of their spines can stress the discs and may lead to Internal Vertebrae Disc Disease. Because your doxy is naturally active, you must train them not to jump, especially to high places like beds and chairs.
Clicker training is best to train your Dachshund from accessing higher places. Teach them how to use the ramp. Let them know through the clicking signals if they get rewarded.
Reducing Excessive Barking
Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate. For hunting dogs, excessive barking could mean that they want to be vocal about the presence of a stranger or prey.
To stop him from barking, you need to find out what they’re barking at and let them know that you acknowledge what they’re trying to express.
Your Dachshund can be suffering from emotional stress when they can’t release their energy, are always left alone, and have frequent lack of attention to activities. Emotional stress can lead to destructive behavior that may result in excessive barking.
Here are some ways to calm your doxy:
- Using commands
- Touching his ears
- Bark collars (although this can be the last resort)
The most effective way is to find out why your dachshund is barking.
Hunt training could be the most exciting training for Dachshunds because it’s an opportunity for him to show and practice his wit and hunting skills.
When your dog gets used to basic commands, it would be easy for you to train them for hunting.
Here are some scent and tracking games to try on your Dachshund that would help them boost their hunting skills:
- Find the treat/ toys
- Hide and seek
- Find all the treats hidden in the house
- Scent trails
- Outside tracking
Hunting/ Mental Exercises for Dachshund
As a naturally stubborn hunting dog, you need to be creative and come up with exercises to tone your doxy’s muscles and legs and sharpen their hunting prowess. There are specific exercises that can wake their sniffing senses up and sharpen their mind.
A flirt pole always stimulates their curiosity. These urges to catch never fail. A flirt pole has a long handle with a rope that has a lure toy attached to its tip. Lure your doxy to chase the toy hanging on the other end.
Make sure that they follow a command they’re familiar with. Prevent them from destroying the toy. Do not forget to reward them for doing a good job.
Place treats under rags anywhere or a snuffle mat and let them find the treats.
Not that they would only love what’s hiding beneath the rags, their hunting instincts using his nose will also become satisfied.
Treat dispensing toys
Puzzle toys hide treats that can be found by sniffing and dispensed by flipping and moving until the treats fall out.
It helps your Dachshund to think more, and get hints through smelling and finding a way to get their prize.
Some time in Germany in the 1500s, people raised Dachshunds to hunt badgers. Documents dating way back in the 16th century prove their existence as earth dogs or badger creepers.
They have amazing hunting skills. 30-35 lb Dachshunds would hunt for boars and badgers. Those doxies around 16 to 22 pounds come after foxes. And those under 12 lbs. chase after weasels and hares.
Because the Germans wanted them to get deeper, they bred the Dachshund to have elongated backs, with unusual large paddle-shapes paws that could dig deeper into the burrows.
They had a fantastic sense of smell. Because of this, the AKC would classify them as hunters for both over and under the ground.
Around the 1800s, people started raising them as pets. The breed even became popular after Queen Victoria became fond of the doxies. The trend led to Dachshunds having a smaller build, which have now become the miniature ones.
The breed reached America in 1885 and was acknowledged by the AKC the same year.
The breed had rough times when their owners had loyalty issues on World War 1 that led to the Dachshunds getting stoned. U.S breeders imported them so that when the same fate happened in World War II, the Dachshund’s population was not as bad as WWI.
Today, even for their stubbornness, you’ll see the Dachshunds as one of the most popular dog breeds. It ranks 6th in AKC. Europe and France still acknowledge them as hunting dogs.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Perhaps one of the common problems that may develop because of their body’s unusual proportion is the IVDD. Prevent your doxy from getting this disease by toning exercises. However, you still have to watch your dog, especially when trying to access high places.
To relieve the stress in their spines, make sure that you carry them from both the front and rear.
Crowding of the teeth in your doxy’s jaw can be a result of Chondrodysplasia.
Increase their teeth defense from plaques, cavities, and trap foods through regular brushing. Professional help can help you if your Dachshund becomes stubborn with teeth cleaning.
One thing to watch out for is obesity. They can have heavier weight because of their body. Make sure to feed your Dachshund just enough. Do not overfeed them as obesity may result in further health problems.
Also, regular exercises help them burn those fats. Make sure they have plenty of exercises daily.
It happens when the adrenal glands of your Dachshund produce more cortisones than necessary.
These hormonal issues can lead to increased appetite, accidents in urinating, unusual and excessive drinking, and weight gain. You may mistake these symptoms for aging problems. Bring them to the vet when these signs occur.
Oral medication can help your doxy with this disease. Worse case scenarios can lead to removing their adrenal glands.
Cancers or Tumors: Anal Sac Cancer, Liposarcoma, and Mammary Gland Cancer
Dachshunds are prone to cancers and tumors in their skin.
Check your doxy’s skin and see if lumps start developing anywhere.
Anal sac cancer develops in a dog’s rectum or anus and is often malignant. It can be invasive and may spread throughout the body. Caused by a hormonal imbalance in the parathyroid, you can treat it by surgery.
Liposarcoma is a malignant and invasive tumor that may occur in the liver, bone, spleen, or lungs. It occurs mostly on older Dachshunds. You can spot this with a lack of appetite, eating difficulties, uncomfortable movements, and lumps.
Like humans, dogs can also suffer from mammary gland cancer. It pays to check your female doxy’s breasts to see if lumps are developing. The most common treatment for this is surgery.
A common problem for Dachshunds is having neurological seizures. It is somehow genetic. It can also be a result of head accidents. When this happens, make sure to bring your doxy to the veterinarian.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
When your Dachshund is bloated with sudden air twists, they won’t be able to get rid of the air. That may result in shock. This situation is an emergency. When they’re salivating continuously but unable to vomit, you should bring them to the vet immediately.
Canine Diabetes Mellitus
You can treat this rare disease through insulin injections and a proper diet. You can spot this with excessive drinking and urination, along with weight loss, even if your Dachshund has a big appetite.
Double dapple Dachshunds can have more problems. When you breed two double dapple Dachshunds, you must test the pup if both parents are BAER tested.
One common problem for Dachshunds is glaucoma. This problem most likely occurs in older Dachshunds. Surgery is the best treatment to restore sight.
When your Dachshund’s liver cannot eliminate toxins found in the bloodstream, they can have a portosystemic shunt. A special diet and medication can treat this condition.
Dachshunds are prone to digestive issues like gastroenteritis, which are a result of dietary issues and parasites. Dachshunds can be very sensitive to changing food diets. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can be dangerous. Make sure that you take care of your doxy’s diet properly.
Taking Care of Your Dachshund
You want to give your Dachshund a comfortable and healthy life. If you’re willing to provide your doxy time and effort, it should not be a problem to exercise proper training, care, and necessary health care.
Nutrition and Feeding Your Dachshund
Give your doxy an adequate amount of dry food from ½ to 1 ½ cups daily. Do not overfeed them because it can lead to obesity.
In the first year, you can change their puppy food to adult dog food. It should be gradual as they have a sensitive stomach, especially when transitioning. Mix the new food with at least 1/8 of the usual daily portion of their existing food. Gradually add new food daily.
Color Coat and Grooming
Their colors may vary from black, strawberry blond red to shades of deep auburn, chocolate, gray with some tan for the wire-haired ones, or golden blond to shades of platinum.
They may have dual colors of black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, or black and crème, chocolate and crème, or blue and crème.
Any of these shades could come from their variety of coats: smooth, long, or wired.
Smooth-haired Dachshunds have soft, shiny, and short coats.
Wire-haired Dachshunds have a short, hard, and thick coat. The undercoat is softer. You can spot the top and hard coat everywhere except on the ears, eyes, and jaws. Wire-haired doxies can only have the shade of wild boar or similar.
Long-haired Dachshunds can have long and wavy hair.
For short-haired doxies, they need less bathing. A few wipings would do. Wire-haired ones need regular brushing and trimming two to three times a year. Giving regular baths to long-haired doxies would help them develop beautiful hair. Make sure to blow the hair dry.
They need tooth brushing two to three times a week. If they’re still a puppy, you can train them to brush daily.
Trim their nails up to twice a month so you can prevent their nails from growing too long.
Remember that your Dachshund should always be clean. Train them to be clean when still young so that they are able to get used to it.
Children and Pets
Teach your kids to treat your Dachshund well, and to carry them with precaution, especially on their front and rear.
Your Dachshund can get used to your kids but not with other kids.
Let your doxy socialize with other pets and other people while they’re still young so you can mold their behavior. A Dachshund can be stubborn and may have occasional urges to bite. You can prevent them from developing these negative traits with proper social training, and giving them occasional time in pet care facilities.
Rescue Groups for Dachshunds
While it’s too early to say that you may need to bring your doxy to rescue groups, here’s a list of where you can send them and allow them to have the care they need.
- Midwest Dachshund Rescue
- Diamond Dachshund Rescue of Texas
- Dachshund Rescue of Houston
- Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue
- Southern California Dachshund Rescue
- Almost Home Dachshund Rescue Society
- Dachshund Adoption, Rescue & Education (DARE)
- The Dachshund Rescue
- Florida Dachshund Rescue
- Southern States Dachshund Rescue
- Dachshund Rescue of North America, Inc
Here are some communities that can help you with your Dachshund.
- National Miniature Dachshund Club
- Dachshund Club of America
- Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia
- Metropolitan Baltimore Dachshund Club
Dachshund Trivia and Additional Info
Here are some fun facts that you may not know yet about this breed.
- Britain successfully made the first dog clone, which is a Dachshund, named Winnie.
- The first mascot of the Olympics was a Dachshund, in 1972.
- They live longer than other pure breeds.
- There were two Dachshunds documented as the “World’s oldest dog.” Chanel lived for 21 years while Scolly lived for 20 years.
- The word or name of the meat delicacy “hotdog” came from Dachshund sausage.
- Dachshunds have races too.
- Even if it stresses them, they love jumping out of their owner’s arms.
- They are the smallest hunting breed.
- They have a huge appetite in a small stomach.
- They won’t likely listen when they spot their prey.
- The earth dog hunting games, which make them go through tunnels and specially made trial burrows, have become a trend for Dachshunds.
- Hunters used to moderate doxies’ long floppy ears to prevent debris and grasses from getting inside their ears while hunting under the burrow.
Well, if this excites you, you should absolutely get a Dachshund to brighten up your home life!