When describing typical dachshunds you have to mention some obvious features: they’re small and elongated dogs with short legs.
Breed characteristics were determined over 100 years ago. Since then many changes have been made through breeding. Today standards have been set forth by the German Dachshund Club (DTK) and the American Kennel Club.
Dachshunds by any name are still loveable.
Dachshunds are referred to by many different names: wiener dog, frankfurter, German sausage dog, or hot dog. Some people spell their name dachshunds, others spell it doxsunds, but the correct spelling is Dachshund, which I’m told is German for badger dog, except the name for this special breed in Germany is a Teckel in Northern Germany and a Dackel in Southern Germany.
Originally, all dachshunds were short-haired and smooth-coated. The wirehaired and longhaired varieties were developed through selective breeding.
Besides the different hair types commonly associated with the breed, they are also further categorized by size. In the United States, these recognized categories include Standard (over 16 pounds) and the Miniature (11 pounds or less, at less than one year of age). In Germany, dachshunds have 3 sizes: Standard, Miniature (dwarf) with a chest up to 14 inches around, and Rabbit Dachshund with chests measuring up to 12 inches around.
Besides the size categories, dachshunds are further categorized by hair type.
Smooth or Shorthaired dachshund’s coat should be short, thick, shiny, and smooth.
Wirehaired dachshund’s entire body is covered with a completely (except for the muzzle, eyebrows, and ears) uniform, close-fitting dense, wiry coat, interspersed with finer, shorter hairs. A beard should grow on the chin. The eyebrows are bushy. The hair on the ears is shorter than on the body and almost smooth
Longhaired dachshunds differ from the shorthaired variety in only one respect: their hair is longer.
Typical negative factors
Besides common physical characteristics, there are also some common breed characteristics that can have negative consequences if you’re not aware of them before bringing home a dachshund and if you don’t follow some sound obedience training.
- Dachshunds are typically suspicious toward strangers when not socialized enough. To overcome the behavior, extensive desensitizing training is needed.
- They can be scrappy around strange dogs, no matter what the other dog’s size. That means they will pick fights with anyone.
- They are hunters and they may kill other animals in your yard, including birds, squirrels, raccoons, possums, chipmunks, and rabbits. If you’re squeamish about real-life natural events, don’t get a dachshund, or be prepared to always walk your dog on a leash. My wife always rattles the back door before letting the dogs out to give the wildlife a fighting chance of escape. Never let your rabies vaccination lapse as these encounters could result in some severe consequences. Dachshunds are friendly to adults and children that have manners, other dachshunds, even a few other dogs, and maybe the family cat, but everything else is prey.
- Stubbornness almost to a fault
- Clever definitely to a fault, lively and courageous.
- They have notorious housebreaking difficulties. Dachshunds can be difficult to housebreak and will probably require crate training to master. Male dogs are more likely to mark inside if they become agitated by some outdoor noise. Neutering does not seem to reduce this trait.
- Dachshunds will commonly dig holes in the lawn (evidently then can smell things buried in the soil–so they dig up the soil in search of this elusive prey).
- Excessive barking at strange sounds (even not so strange, and particularly at sounds that you can’t hear)
- Longhaired dachshunds require regular brushing/combing
- Wirehaired dachshunds require regular clipping/trimming
- A distinctive doggy odor, especially if the anal glands accidentally get expressed through overexcitement or fear (not a pleasant experience)
- Serious back/spinal problems, more likely to show up in their middle-age years.
Now that you know the negative characteristics, you should know that there are energetic dachshunds and just as many placid, easy-going dachshunds. While many are hard-headed, there are just as many sweet-natured ones that will melt your heart. They come in serious versions and good-natured goofballs. Some are introverted and others have never met a stranger.
Typical good factors
Here’s a list of other typically good characteristics commonly found in our beloved dachshund:
- They come in a variety of sizes, but all are in small sizes.
- More often than not, they are comical and entertaining
- Compared to other dog breeds, the dachshund doesn’t need a lot of exercise, but runs at break-neck speeds throughout the house for no reason whatsoever and then sleeps for an hour under a carefully arranged blanket, oblivious to everything around them.
- They make a keen watchdog, but don’t do so well at being guard dogs. Not many people are afraid of a barking dachshund unless you happen to be facing one face-to-face.
- They are typically sociable with other family pets, especially other Dachshunds. In fact, most dachshund owners have more than one. Some dachshunds create little games they play with each other that you will never understand.
- Dachshunds typically live a long time, which can be a comfort, yet they will totally break your heart when they’re gone because their personalities have become such a big part of your life.
If you’re seriously considering a dachshund, the best advice is to look at adopting one that needs a new home. Because of the dog’s popularity, there are plenty of dachshunds available for adoption. Check our Dachshund Rescue page for recommendations on organizations in your area of the country.
When you acquire a puppy, you’re acquiring the potential of what he one day will be. So typical breed characteristics are very important. When you acquire an adult, you’re acquiring what the dachshund already is—a much safer bet.
Read on: Are you a dachshund person?