- What is a Dapple Dachshund?
- Are Dapple Dachshunds Rare?
- How Do You Get Dapple Dachshunds? Are They Purebred?
- Dapple Dachshunds at a Glance
- Dapple Dachshund Highlights
- History of Dapple Dachshunds
- Dapple Dachshunds Temperament
- Dapple Dachshunds Size and Appearance
- Dapple Dachshund Lifespan
- Potential Dapple Dachshund Health Issues
- Dapple Dachshund Exercise Requirements
- Dapple Dachshund Shedding and Grooming
- Training Dapple Dachshunds
- What Happens if You Breed Two Dapple Dachshunds?
- Breeders & Puppy Costs
Many people are drawn to certain breeds and colors of dogs based on appearance. They want a unique, beautiful, and distinctive dog as their companion. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s important that no matter what dog you pick, you make sure you’re buying from a responsible breeder or seller and that you know what you’re getting into.
These warnings apply to one of the most unique-looking sausage dogs available: the dapple dachshund. While dapple dachshunds are wonderful, healthy dogs, they need to be bred carefully to avoid disastrous health problems that can severely affect a dog’s quality of life.
What is a Dapple Dachshund?
Dapple dachshunds are simply dachshunds with a particular type of coat pattern. If you’ve ever seen a dog with mottled patches of color on a solid or double-colored coat, often with one or both blue eyes, you’ve seen a dapple. In other breeds of dogs, particularly herding breeds, this is called a merle pattern. In dachshunds, it’s called dapple coloring. A dapple dachshund may have many patches of different colors or only one, but it’s all caused by the same genes.
Although the dapple coat pattern is something that usually only affects a dachshund’s appearance, not their behavior or health, it is something to be aware of when breeding dachshunds. We’ll discuss what you need to know about owning and raising dapple dachshunds.
Are Dapple Dachshunds Rare?
If you’d seen any dapple or merle dog, you’ll understand their uniqueness. Even siblings from the same litter can have vastly different coloring and markings, so each dapple dachshund is distinctive. Some dapples don’t just have different-colored patches of fur – the skin underneath may also be slightly different colors. Because these dogs are so unique in appearance and because of some of the dangers in breeding for them, dapple dachshunds are somewhat rare.
A litter of dapple dachshunds is likely to get adopted quickly, and there may be a long waiting list for this type of puppy. There’s no easily available statistic for the number of dapple dachshunds in the country or even the world, but most breeders would consider this a rare coat pattern on a sausage dog. Be very wary of anyone selling rare dapple dachshunds, since if they are bred unethically, they may have substantial health problems.
How Do You Get Dapple Dachshunds? Are They Purebred?
Like most aspects of a dog’s appearance, dappling is a genetically inherited trait. A dachshund with a dapple parent might be dappled themselves. The dapple or merle gene is dominant, so a litter of puppies with one dapple parent has a 50% chance of inheriting the dapple pattern. Since dappling is a possible dachshund trait, a dapple dachshund may be a purebred – that is, they have no other breed of dog in their lineage.
However, dapple dachshunds are not “purebred” in the sense of only having dapple ancestors. In fact, it is a bad idea to breed two dachshunds with the dapple pattern together. The same goes for dogs of other breeds with the merle pattern.
Dapple Dachshunds at a Glance
|Other names||Dapple Doxie, Merle Dachshund|
|Height||8” to 9”|
|Weight||16 to 32 lbs. (standard) or 11 lbs. max (miniature)|
|Life Span||12 to 15 years|
|Coat||Smooth, wirehaired, or long|
|Coloring||Mottled patches of color on a solid or piebald coat|
|Brushing||1-3 times a week (dependent on coat length)|
|Grooming||Minimal to moderate|
|Temperament||Clever, stubborn, mischievous, playful|
|Good with other pets?||No|
|Good for new owners?||Yes|
|Tolerance to solitude||Moderate|
|Tolerance to heat||Moderate|
|Tolerance to cold||Low|
|Exercise needs||30-60 minutes per day|
|Tendency to gain weight||High|
|Average new puppy price||$2,500 and up|
|Average annual medical expense||$530|
|Average annual non-medical expense||$575|
Dapple Dachshund Highlights
- Some dappling patterns are clear and easy to see, while others are more subtle. However, if a dachshund puppy has even one dapple spot, it must be registered as a dapple dachshund.
- Although dapple is sometimes referred to as a “coloring,” it’s more properly called a pattern. Dapples come in many colors, including red, chocolate, black, tan, cream, and more.
- Since the dapple trait is dominant, one parent must be dapple for the puppies to have this coat pattern. Two non-dapple parents will never have dapple dachshund offspring.
- Red dapple dachshunds may have subtle dappling patterns that disappear as they grow. Thus, all red dachshunds must be checked carefully as puppies to record any dappling.
- Dapple dachshunds come in every size and coat length, but miniature smooth and long-haired dapples are the most frequently bred as pets.
History of Dapple Dachshunds
Dapple dachshunds were bred for the same purpose as all dachshunds: to hunt burrowing animals. The breed originated in Germany as a working breed meant to capture badgers, hares, and other animals in their tunnels. As with most breeds that originated as working dogs, appearance was less important to the bloodline than stature and behavior, so dachshunds come in many different colors and patterns. Dapple is simply one pattern among several, including solid colors (any except white), bi-color, tri-color, and brindle.
Dapple Dachshunds Temperament
If you were hoping that dapples would be less stubborn dachshunds, you’re out of luck – they’re just as headstrong as sausage dogs with other types of coats. These are independent, courageous little dogs who don’t seem to know their own size. Occasionally, this can get them in trouble, since they may attempt to take on dogs who are much larger than they are. Although dachshunds don’t tend to be aggressive, they are cautious of strangers, both human and canine. Their loud, deep bark and general wariness make them excellent guard dogs.
Despite their stubbornness, dachshunds are famously loyal dogs, and they may bond especially strongly to one person in the household. This doesn’t mean they won’t cuddle with other humans in the house, but they may tend to follow one person around like a little shadow. Dachshunds are both intelligent and playful, so they benefit from puzzle toys and plenty of playtimes.
Finally, it’s important to note that while dachshunds can learn to get along with other dogs, they may have a hard time with other pets like birds, rabbits, or hamsters. Remember that dachshunds were bred to hunt small animals, so they have a strong prey drive. If you have a small animal in your house, a dachshund may think of it as prey and chase it, or worse. That’s not to say a dachshund can never live peacefully with another small pet, but it’s a risk.
Dapple Dachshunds Size and Appearance
Officially speaking, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two sizes of dachshund: standard (16-32 lbs.) and miniature (under 11 lbs.). In practice, however, they can fall in between 12 and 15 pounds as well. Dapple dachshunds can fall into any of these size categories.
Appearance, of course, is where dapple dachshunds differ from others of the breed. They’ll either have one main coat color or combination (often red or black and tan) or more rarely, they may be piebald, which is a pattern of white and dark colors. The dapple pattern will occur on top of those base colors and may appear as lighter-colored patches, often with darker speckles. Sometimes, one or both eyes may be light blue. This truly distinctive coat pattern is the reason dapple dachshunds are so popular.
Dapple Dachshund Lifespan
Like all dachshunds, dapples tend to live between 12 and 15 years.
Potential Dapple Dachshund Health Issues
As long as your dachshund isn’t a double dapple – that is, both parents are also dapples – they should have no more susceptibility to health problems than other types of dachshunds. Unfortunately, the breed as a whole does tend to have some health issues. Some are due to the dachshund’s unusual shape, specifically their small legs, long spine, and short rib cage. Dachshunds are especially prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a spinal condition that causes slipped or herniated discs. The result of this disease can be a pain, limited mobility, and even paralysis, so it’s important to protect your dachshund’s spine.
Additionally, dachshunds are prone to Progressive Retinal Apathy (PRA), a condition where cells in the eye break down, eventually leading to blindness. While there is no cure for PRA, your dachshund can continue to live a happy life using its other senses to navigate the world. However, these health issues are yet another reason why it’s important to only buy from reputable, experienced breeders. These breeders will be able to give you full health reports from the dog’s parents, and they’ll know how to carefully match breeding pairs to greatly lessen the likelihood of inheriting genetic health conditions.
Finally, the dachshund’s small size and high food drive mean that they’re prone to obesity. Since being overweight can further stress a dachshund’s spine, it’s especially important that you watch their diet and give them plenty of exercises. You can prevent many joint and back problems by helping your dachshund maintain a healthy weight.
Dapple Dachshund Exercise Requirements
Although exercise is an important part of keeping your dachshund at a healthy weight, it’s also vital to remember that a dachshund’s legs are very short, and thus a little bit of walking goes a long way. About 30 minutes of exercise a day will probably suffice, so if you like to go on long walks or runs, consider buying a dachshund backpack to carry your doxie after their legs get tired. Also, keep in mind that jumping up and down from furniture and other objects can cause back strain and potential injuries, so make sure your dachshund has a ramp or stairs to use.
Dapple Dachshund Shedding and Grooming
Dapple dachshunds may be long-haired, short-haired, or wire-haired, and how much time you spend on grooming depends greatly on the length of their fur. A short-haired or smooth dachshund will require little coat maintenance, only the occasional brushing, and bathing. A long-haired dachshund will require much more care, including more frequent brushing (2-3 times a week) to remove any tangled or matted fur and a blow-dry after bathing. Wire-haired dachshunds will require professional grooming 2-3 times per year to have their undercoats stripped.
No matter the length of a dachshund’s fur, they will shed a moderate amount. However, since the long-haired dachshund has much longer fur, it may seem like this type sheds more than the others. Other grooming tasks include trimming nails, brushing teeth, and cleaning ears – all fairly standard for dogs of this size.
Training Dapple Dachshunds
Unfortunately, the dachshund’s stubbornness comes into play when it comes to training them, and dapple dachshunds are no exception. Although this breed is very intelligent and food-motivated, they don’t have the innate desire to please that breeds like beagles or border collies do. That can make training difficult, including housebreaking. The keys to training and patience and consistency. Although you want to limit your dachshund’s treat intake somewhat, remember that they’ll do just about anything for a treat and use that to your advantage.
Keep training sessions short and fun. If you’re getting tired and frustrated, your dachshund certainly is, too, so it’s better to take a break and try again later. Always use praise and positive reinforcement. Additionally, crate training can help with the housebreaking process. When done properly, your dachshund will view their crate as a safe, comfortable space in which to rest. This will keep them from using the bathroom inside the house while you’re gone. Although you should never leave a dog in a crate for more than a few hours at a time, it can be a useful tool when housetraining.
What Happens if You Breed Two Dapple Dachshunds?
A double dapple (called a double merle or homozygous merle in other breeds) is a dachshund with two dapple parents. This type of dog will have large patches of pure white fur along with the dapple pattern. Unfortunately, having two copies of the dapple gene doesn’t just affect the dog’s appearance – it affects the dachshund’s health, as well, most notably its eyes and ears. A double dapple has a very high likelihood of having hearing loss or being completely deaf, along with blindness or missing or damaged eyes.
This is why it’s unethical to breed two dapple dachshunds. Some unscrupulous breeders will do so in order to try to create rare and valuable puppies to sell. Well-meaning but uninformed background breeders may do this accidentally. Remember that not all dapple dachshunds have an obvious color pattern – some may have a single, small splotch, and in some dapple dachshunds, it’s only present when they’re puppies.
If someone tells you they have a rare dapple or white dachshund to sell, always do your homework to make sure you aren’t buying a double dapple. Otherwise, you may end up paying top dollar to an unethical breeder for a dog with serious health problems. However, a dog with only one copy of the dapple gene shouldn’t have any of the health problems associated with a double dapple.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Any purebred dog is likely to be expensive, and since dapple dachshunds are desirable and somewhat rare, they’ll often be more expensive than dachshunds with other coat patterns. Prices will range from $2,500 to $3,500 and even higher. Remember that it’s especially important to buy from a reputable, ethical breeder when it comes to dapple dachshunds. You want to be sure that you aren’t buying a double-dapple puppy who may have serious health problems, including blindness and deafness. Whenever possible, ask to meet the parents of the litter to ensure that both aren’t dapples.
Here are some reputable breeders of dapple dachshunds:
- Normandox AKC Miniature Dachshunds (Bakersfield, CA) breeds both short- and long-haired dapple and piebald mini doxies. They don’t have a waiting list, so contact the owner and check the website to find out about new litters.
- Dapple Doxie (Johnstown, CO) ships dapple dachshund puppies anywhere in the US. They only breed miniature dachshunds, though they have dapple, piebald, and English cream litters in both short and long hair.
- Rockin L Dachshunds (Walsh, CO) is a BBB-accredited business with many miniature dachshund dams and sires in several colors of dapple. All puppies are CKC registered and require a $350 deposit.
- Daisy-Hill Dachshunds (Fairfield, ME) is co-owned by a veterinarian and veterinary nurse practitioner, so they take the health of their mini doxies very seriously. They test all their puppies for PRA and seizure disorders before adopting them out.
- MyGaDachs (Augusta/Atlanta, GA) is a small, family-owned breeder with two dapple females for breeding. Keep an eye on their upcoming litter page for more information.
- Full Circle Dachshunds (Los Angeles County, CA) only accepts deposits for its miniature dachshunds after litters are born and posted on Facebook. However, you can contact them directly to learn about future litters.
Of course, you can always check dachshund rescue organizations, foster homes, and shelters. However, because dapples are relatively rare, it might take a long time before you find one. But if you keep your eyes open, you might just get lucky!
Can You Breed Two Dapple Dachshunds?
In case it’s not already clear, you should never breed two dapple dachshunds. Their offspring would have a 25% chance of being a double dapple with serious health problems.
What Is A Double Dapple Dachshund?
A double dapple dachshund has two dapple parents and has received two copies of the dapple gene, sometimes called the merle gene. Puppies that have two copies of this gene have eyes and ears that don’t develop properly, leading to lifelong health problems including blindness and deafness. Eye problems can include microphthalmia (eyes that are too small), walleyes, eye deformations, or eyes that are missing altogether. Ear problems include hearing loss, ear deformations, or missing ears.
How Do I Know if a Dachshund is a Double Dapple?
Double dapple dachshunds will have much more white in their coats than other kinds of doxies. All or mostly white dachshunds are likely to double dapples. There is a rare type of coloring called piebald that involves patches of white and solid colors like brown or black. However, if someone is trying to sell you a “rare” white dachshund, always investigate the lineage of the puppy and ask for a health screening. Double dapples also typically, but not always, have light blue eyes.
Do Single Dapple Dachshunds Have the Same Health Problems?
Fortunately, the majority of dapple dachshunds out there are single dapples, and they have no specific health problems beyond the conditions that any dachshunds are prone to. Your single dapple dachshund should live a long and happy life.
Can I Adopt a Double Dapple Dachshund?
Yes, you can, but you must be careful in how you go about it. Remember that it’s admirable to care for an adult double dapple, but you want to do your part to discourage the irresponsible breeding of new double dapple puppies. You’ll almost certainly be adopting a special needs dog with vision and/or hearing loss, so make sure you’re ready for this challenge. Consult with a well-established rescue organization like Life With a Double Dapple Dachshund to make sure you know what you’re getting into and how to properly care for your new pet.