Breed Introduction: Dachshund Dog
Dachshunds are scent hound dog breeds who were bred to hunt badgers and other tunnelling animals such as rabbits and foxes. Today their versatility makes them excellent family companions, show dogs, and small-game hunters. Regardless of their size, dachshunds are a delightful addition to any family, which is why they have ranked near the top of most popular dogs lists since the 1950s. Their cute appearance and lively disposition have inspired many affectionate nicknames for the breed, including wiener dog, hot dog, sausage dog, Doxie, Dashie etc.
Their short legs enable them to dig and manoeuvre through tunnels to corner and even fight badgers and other animals, while their large chests give them plenty of “heart” for the fight. Dachshunds are brave, but they can be somewhat stubborn, and have an independent spirit, especially when hunting.
The Dachshund was created in Germany where it was known as the badger dog, ‘dachs’ refers to badger and ‘hund’ refers to dog. Badger was not Dachshund’s only prey. It was also used on den animals such as foxes, and packs of Dachshunds trailed wild boar. Those early Dachshunds varied greatly in size. The dogs used on badgers and boar weighed 30 to 35 pounds. Dachshunds used to hunt foxes and deer weighed 16 to 22 pounds, and smaller 12-pound Dachshunds hunted hares and weasels. For a brief time in the early 20th century, 5-pound Dachshunds were used to bolt cottontail rabbits.
In the 1800s, Dachshunds started being bred more as pets than hunters, especially in Great Britain. They were a hit in royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria, who was especially fond of the breed. Due to this trend, their size was gradually reduced by about 10 pounds. Eventually, an even smaller version – the miniature dachshund – was bred.
1. Dachshunds can be stubborn and difficult to housebreak. Dog crate-training is recommended.
2. Dachshunds are intelligent dogs, with an independent nature and playful spirit. Because of this, they can be mischievous. Be patient, firm, and consistent when training them.
3. Because they were bred for hunting, they can exhibit some behaviours that are related to that. They were designed to dig into badger burrows, and that instinct may lead them to dig up your dahlias instead. They were bred to be tenacious in the hunt, and this instinct may lead them to be relentless in pestering you for a treat. They were bred to not only hunt but kill their prey; in your household, the “prey” most likely will be your Dachshund’s toys and he will effectively “kill” them one after the other.
4. Dachshunds have loud, deep barks for a dog their size – and they do like to bark!
5. Dachshunds are bred and shown in two sizes: Standard and Miniature. Standard Dachshunds of all varieties (Smooth, Wirehair, and Longhair) usually weigh between 16 and 32 pounds. Miniature Dachshunds of all varieties weigh 11 pounds and under at maturity. Dachshunds that weigh between 11 and 16 pounds are called Tweenies’.
6. Dachshunds have a lot of stamina and energy. They love to take a walk or play outdoors with other dogs, and they like to hunt and dig. They are also active inside the house and can do well in small living quarters so long as they get a moderate amount of daily exercise. Walking your dog for about 30-60 minutes is about right.
Occasionally, when time is short, a game of fetch will meet their need for activity. They are not suited to living outdoors or in a kennel, but should live in the home. Dachshunds can injure their backs jumping on and off furniture, so get a ramp or steps and teach them to use it if they want up on the sofa or bed. When you hold a Dachshund, always be careful to support his rear and his chest. Dachshunds can learn quickly if properly motivated. Use positive reinforcements such as food rewards or a favourite toy to hold their attention, and keep training sessions short. The Dachshund will quickly become bored if made to repeat the same exercise over and over, so make obedience practice fun and interesting. Housetraining can sometimes be a problem with this breed.