The dachshund’s body type is unmistakable, with its long back and short legs. However, if you adopted your dachshund from a shelter or a foster home, you may not know its exact lineage. Thus, you might not know whether your doxie is a standard or miniature dachshund.
What is the Main Difference Between Standard and Miniature Dachshunds?
Of course, the main difference between miniature and standard dachshunds is simply size. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two sizes of dachshunds. Miniature dachshunds weigh less than 11 pounds, and standard dachshunds weigh between 16 and 32 pounds. Although the AKC differentiates dachshunds only by weight, other countries use height or even chest circumference. Miniature dachshunds are usually 5 to 6 inches tall at the shoulder, whereas standards are usually closer to 8 or 9 inches tall.
Obviously, that leaves a sizeable gap between 11 and 15 pounds and about 6 to 8 inches in height. These are sometimes unofficially called “tweenie” dachshunds. Although the AKC doesn’t recognize this size, other countries do. The World Canine Federation, which sets dog show standards for mainland Europe, simply says that all dachshunds with a chest circumference of 35 cm (about 13.8 inches) or more are standard dachshunds. However, because tweenies aren’t considered show-quality dogs in the United States or the United Kingdom, many pet dachshunds fall in this category.
Finally, the World Canine Federation also recognizes a very small size of the dachshund as a rabbit or kaninchen (in German) dachshund. These are sausage dogs of approximately 8 to 11 pounds. In the US, you might hear them referred to as “toy” or “teacup” dachshunds, but this isn’t an official classification. For the most part, dachshunds in the US are classified as either standard or miniature. To determine which your dog is, all you need to do is put them on a scale. However, you’ll want to wait until they’re at least one year old and considered an adult dog, as, before that, they may still be growing.
Comparison of Full-Grown Dachshund Sizes
Here’s a look at the average sizes of the three main types of dachshunds. While males may be slightly larger than females, the difference is small enough not to matter.
|Sizes||Standard Dachshunds||Tweenie Dachshunds||Mini Dachshunds||Rabbit Dachshunds|
|Weight||16 to 32 pounds||11 to 18 pounds||Less than 11 pounds||8 to 11 pounds|
|Height||8 to 9 inches||6 to 8 inches||5 to 6 inches||Up to 6 inches|
|Chest circumference||At least 13.7 inches||12 to 13 inches||11.8 to 13.7 inches||Less than 11.8 inches|
Although size is the primary difference between miniature and standard dachshunds, there are a few other minor differences as well.
|Factors||Standard Dachshunds||Mini Dachshunds|
|History||16th century||18th-19th century|
|Purpose||Hunting badgers and fox||Hunting rabbits and squirrels|
|Popularity||10th most popular in the US||10th most popular in the US|
|Coat||Smooth, long-haired, or wire-haired||Same as Standard|
|Coloring||Solid color, bi-color, brindle, wild boar, piebald, or dapple||Same as Standard|
|Temperament||Stubborn, alert, affectionate, playful||Same as Standard|
|Health||IVDD and other back problems; obesity; PRA; epilepsy||Same as Standard|
|Trainability||Hard||Same as Standard|
|Exercise||45 to 60 minutes a day||30 to 45 minutes a day|
|Life expectancy||12-14 years||13-15 years|
|Grooming||Depends on coat length||Depends on coat length|
|Price||$450 and up||$650 and up|
Who is a Miniature Dachshund Best For?
Although there’s no one perfect owner for a miniature dachshund, some people may be more suited to this size of this dog breed. A miniature dachshund is great for a small family with older children or even a single adult. Dachshunds may initially be suspicious of other dogs, but they can learn to get along with them. However, they may look at small pets like birds or rodents as prey, so if you have these in your home, another breed may be best for you.
Miniature dachshunds are better apartment and city dogs, simply because of their smaller size. It’s easier to give them the exercise they need even without a yard. Overall, if you’d prefer a lapdog to an exercise companion, the miniature dachshund is more your speed.
Who is a Standard Dachshund Best For?
The only problem with miniature dachshunds is that their size means they are a bit more fragile than larger dogs. Additionally, you have to be very careful to avoid injuring their backs. This means a larger, sturdier standard dachshund is a better choice for families with young children. You’ll still have to teach your children to play nicely with your new dog, but a standard dachshund will be more easily able to deal with playful, active children.
Apartment dwellers can still keep a standard dachshund, but they do need more space and exercise than their miniature brethren. Thus, if you’d like a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle, the standard dachshund is your best bet.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: History and Original Purpose
The standard dachshund originated in Germany in the 1500s, where it was bred to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals. In German, “dachshund” literally means “badger dog.” Since badgers have sharp teeth and claws and burrow into the earth, any dog bred to hunt them needs to be courageous of temperament and able to dig into badger holes. The original dachshunds, which were a bit bigger even then today’s standard dachshunds, were able to do this with long bodies and strong digging legs. As the years progressed, the breed began to be used to hunt other animals like fox and rabbits.
It’s not known exactly when the miniature dachshund classification came into being, but these smaller dogs were first bred to hunt rabbits and squirrels. It’s likely that the original standard dachshund breed was crossed with smaller dogs like terriers. In England, the dachshund breed slowly turned from a working dog into a companion. The first dachshunds brought from England to America in the 1870s were pets rather than hunters.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Popularity
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find statistics on the popularity of miniature vs. standard dachshunds. According to the official AKC poll, dachshunds of all sizes were the 10th most popular breed in the US in 2020. They have remained around this level of popularity for the last few years, as well.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Coat and Coloring
Both standard dachshunds and miniature dachshunds come in the same variety of coat lengths and colors. Smooth dachshunds with short hair are the most common, but long-haired and wire-haired dachshunds are also popular. Long-haired dachshunds have soft, wavy fur that grows longer, particularly around the ears, legs, and tail. Wire-haired dachshunds also have longer fur, though it’s coarser and tends to grow around the muzzle and eyebrows.
Dachshunds of all sizes can come in solid colors, most notably red, but also black, chocolate, fawn (also called Isabella), cream, wheaten, and blue. They can also come in two colors. The most common combination is black and tan, but the following combinations are also possible:
- Black and cream
- Blue and tan
- Chocolate and tan
- Blue and cream
- Fawn and tan
- Fawn and cream
- Chocolate and cream
Finally, dachshunds can also come in a number of coat patterns, including wild boar, brindle, dapple, and piebald. Although both standard and miniature dachshunds can come in any of these colors, it seems to be easier to find the less common colors and patterns – including dapples, English creams, and blues – in miniature rather than standard dachshunds. More miniature dachshund breeders seem to focus on the coloring and appearance of the dachshund than standard breeders.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Temperament
There appears to be no difference in personality when it comes to miniature and standard dachshunds comparison. Both have the same stubborn, loveable temperaments. Dachshunds of all sizes are renowned for being alert, affectionate companions who often show great loyalty to their owners. Neither size of dachshund seems to know it’s a small dog, and they’ll often show great bravery in the face of much larger threats. However, this also means they can get themselves into trouble on occasion.
Dachshunds are lively, moderately active pets. They may initially be suspicious of other dogs in your household, but they can easily learn to be part of a pack. However, they may take time to warm up to human strangers. Also, keep in mind that both standard and miniature dachshunds are very vocal dogs – even the smallest have loud, surprisingly deep barks, and they bark very frequently. If you don’t have a high tolerance for barking, this isn’t the breed for you, no matter the size.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Health Concern
Unfortunately, both miniature and standard dachshunds are prone to certain health problems. Because of their unusual body proportions, they often have back trouble, including a condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is a condition very similar to slipped or herniated discs in humans and can cause back pain, reduced mobility, and even paralysis. A dachshund may be genetically prone to these problems, but they can also be the result of injury.
A 2015 study showed no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of IVDD in standard vs. miniature dachshunds. The largest differences were seen in age (older dachshunds were more likely to have back problems) and hair type (wire-haired dachshunds were least likely to suffer from IVDD). The standard, smooth dachshund had the highest incidence of IVDD. However, dogs that got plenty of exercise were less likely to show these problems.
The same goes for other common dachshund health problems – standard and miniature dachshunds seem to have them at approximately equal rates. Some of these problems include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Patellar luxation
- Cushing’s syndrome
Finally, obesity is a significant risk for dachshunds, since they are highly food-motivated and excess weight can put stress on the spine, increasing the risk of joint and back problems. This is a danger for both miniature and standard dachshunds.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Trainability
Unfortunately, neither standard nor miniature dachshunds are particularly easy to train, and there doesn’t seem to be any difference between the sizes. If you’re a small person, you’ll be better able to physically control a miniature dachshund – on a leash, for example – but the smaller dog isn’t going to be any less stubborn. Although Dachshunds are intelligent, they’re also independent thinkers, without the eagerness to please certain herding dogs. Thus, they’re likely to set their own rules.
Of course, this doesn’t mean obedience training is impossible, just that it takes a bit more time and patience. Remember that dachshunds are food-oriented, so they’ll do just about anything for a treat. With their health in mind, keep the treats small, but you can still use their love of food to your advantage. Keep training sessions short and positive. Dachshunds are also sensitive to the emotions of their owners, so if you become frustrated, so will your sausage dog. It’s better to take a break and come back to training later.
When it comes to housebreaking, dachshunds are again notoriously difficult to train. Here, consider using a crate as part of the process. Going to the crate shouldn’t be a punishment – it should be a chance for your dog to rest and relax. Dachshunds will quickly learn not to make a mess in their crates, so you can leave your dog in the crate when you have to step out of your house for an hour or two. Of course, no dog should be left in a crate all day, but when used properly, crates can greatly reduce the chance of potty accidents when you’re not there to take your dachshund outside.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Exercise and Activity Levels
Because of their larger size, standard dachshunds do need slightly more exercise per day – think 45-60 minutes instead of 30-45 minutes. However, activity levels may also depend on the personality of the dachshund. Some may simply need more activity to tire out than others. Since a standard doxie is larger, they’re going to need more room to run and play. This will be a bit easier if you have a fenced yard, meaning that standard dachshunds are more suited to houses and suburban or rural areas, whereas miniature dachshunds are slightly better suited to apartment and city living. However, the difference isn’t large.
Remember that all Dachshunds have short legs, which means that a little bit of running goes a long way. If you’re a fan of hikes or long walks, a standard dachshund will be able to keep up with you a bit better, though this breed still isn’t the best jogging companion. If you want to take your mini doxie on outdoor expeditions, consider buying a dachshund carrier backpack to give your furry friend’s legs a break. Miniature dachshunds will definitely tire out quickly on long walks.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Life Expectancy
In general, small dogs live longer than large dogs. This means miniature dachshunds, on average, live slightly longer than their standard counterparts. However, the difference isn’t a big one. A standard doxie lives an average of 12-14 years, whereas a mini doxie lives an average of 13-15 years. Remember, though, that there are no guarantees. The health of the individual dog has much more bearing on their life expectancy than their size.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Grooming and Shedding
Size isn’t a factor when it comes to dachshund shedding or grooming, other than the fact that standard doxies have a bit more fur to shed or groom. Instead, the determining factor is hair length. All dachshunds shed a moderate amount. However, this shedding will be far more noticeable from a long-haired or wire-haired doxie simply because of the length of fur.
Of the three coat types, smooth requires the lowest maintenance. These short-haired doxies only require brushing once a week, if that, and you can simply wipe them down between baths if they get dirty. Long-haired dachshunds require more brushing to keep their coats clean and tangle-free, perhaps 2-3 times a week. Wire-haired dachshunds require something similar, though you may also need to take them to a groomer to have their coats stripped a few times a year. Overall, dachshund grooming is easy to do yourself, though you can always employ a professional groomer if you’d rather someone else take care of it.
The other issue for dachshund grooming, whether miniature or standard, is to check your doxie’s ears for foreign objects or signs of irritation. A dachshund’s floppy ears can sometimes harbor bacteria, mites, fungus, or other debris, so it’s important to check them regularly. Swabbing the dachshund’s outer ear with a cotton ball once a week is probably sufficient. Additionally, don’t forget the types of grooming that all dogs need, including nail trimming and teeth brushing.
Miniature Vs. Standard Dachshund: Cost
The price of a dachshund puppy will vary greatly by breeder and location. For example, buying a purebred, AKC-registered dog will cost quite a bit more than adopting a fostered dog from a shelter. That said, miniature dachshunds do tend to cost a bit more than standard doxies. A standard dachshund puppy starts at about $450 and goes up from there, sometimes up into the thousands of dollars for a show-quality dog. Alternatively, a miniature dachshund will start around $650 and can go as high as $3,000 or more.
However, when it comes to adopting a dog from a foster home or shelter, there’s not much difference in cost between the sizes. A miniature dachshund might cost a little bit more because small dogs tend to be more in demand, but regardless, the price will be lower than purchasing from a breeder. We always recommend adopting instead of shopping whenever possible.
Are miniature dachshunds less prone to back problems than standard dachshunds?
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that any particular size of purebred dachshund has fewer back problems. However, mixed breed dachshunds gain some protection from back and joint problems from their hybrid genetics. In general, hybrid breeds tend to have fewer health problems than their purebred counterparts, so consider looking at these dogs, as well.
How big will a mini dachshund get?
Officially, a dog is only considered a miniature dachshund if it weighs under 11 pounds. However, if you aren’t buying from a reputable, ethical breeder who has paperwork to prove the dog’s lineage, be aware that you might get a puppy that grows larger. There’s no way to tell from looking at a puppy (of less than a year old) whether they’re a miniature or standard dachshund. You’ll need to look at the dog’s parents to know for sure.
Are mini dachshunds yappier than standard dachshunds?
Dachshunds of all sizes are very vocal dogs. They bark often and surprisingly loudly. There’s no evidence that mini doxies bark more frequently than their standard counterparts, but because they’re smaller, their barks will be of a higher pitch. However, the dachshund’s relatively large chest means that their bark isn’t as “yappy” like other small dogs.
The difference between standard and miniature dachshunds is almost exclusively in their size and weight. In terms of coat, coloring, health, personality, ease of training, and grooming, they’re largely the same. There are slight differences in exercise needs, price, and life expectancy, but there are other factors that have more influence over these variables than size. Above all, choose a dachshund whose size and temperament fit your lifestyle. That way, your sausage dog is sure to be a lovable companion for you and your family.