Temperament: Alert, Cheerful, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Lively, Out-Going, Playful, Responsive
Life span: 17
Weight: 5 kg
Breed Group: Hound Dogs
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The Dachshund (pronounced as “daks-hoont”) is a small-sized hound dog that originated in Germany where it is as Dackel or Teckel. In the USA, it is called the Weenie Dog or Wiener Dog (hotdog) because of its long, narrow build and low clearance to the ground. It is one of the most easily identifiable dog breeds. It is used for hunting badgers (“Dachs”), rabbits and other animals that burrow to the ground. It is also used to track wounded game such as deer. It has a long conical head with a slightly arched muzzle, almond-shaped eyes, well-rounded ears that fall flat to the cheeks, long muscular neck, long narrow body, and four short thick legs. It also has unusually large paddle-shaped front paws used for digging prey in burrows. The tail continues the line of the spine but slightly curved and tapers to the end. It is carried low to the ground when the dog is at rest and carried not too high when it is excited or in motion. A typical Dachshund has a broad and deep chest for increase lung capacity when going after prey deep underground.
There are three sizes of Dachshunds: standard, miniature, and rabbit-size or “kaninchen”. In the UK, only the standard and the miniature are recognised by the Kennel Club, while the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognises all three. The miniature subtype Dachshund has an average height of 13 – 18 cm while the toy size Dachshund has an average height of 10 – 15 cm at withers. An adult miniature typically weighs 4.5 - 5 kg while the kaninchen weighs 3.5 kg to 5 kg. In addition to weight and height, some kennel clubs classify the breed according to chest circumference.
Dachshunds are also classified according to their coat: smooth-haired, long-haired and wire-haired. The smooth-haired variety has a dense, short and smooth coat. It has coarse-textured hair on the underside of the tail, loose and supple skin but fitting closely all over without dewlap with little or no wrinkles at all.
The Dachshund comes in all colour varieties except white, with different markings. The dominant colour is red (from copper colours to deep rusts), followed by black and tan. The dapple pattern is light coloured patches over a darker shade of coat with neither colour dominating. Chocolate or chocolate dapple Dachshunds have a brown nose and brown nails while the rest of the colour varieties have a black nose and black nails. Light-coloured Dachshunds can have light brown, amber, or green eyes. Dapple or chocolate dapple Dachshunds can have eyes of two different colours.
The origin of the Dachshund is shrouded in mystery because there are no written records as to how and when the breed exactly developed. Authorities and experts don’t even agree on their findings regarding the exact origin and makeup of the Dachshund. Some experts say that it is a cross between the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Pinscher, and the Bracke or it may even be a cross of a short Bruno Jura Hound and a Pinscher. Others believe it may be a cross of a miniature French Pointer and Pinscher or it may have descended from the St. Hubert Hound or the Basset Hound. Whatever the origin, one thing is for sure: that the long-haired and the wire-haired Dachshunds evolved from the short-haired variety.
Engravings and mummified dogs dating back to Ancient Egypt feature long-bodied, short-legged hunting dogs which led experts to believe that the Dachshund ancestor was originally developed in Egypt. However, the modern Dachshund is a product of German breeding technique. The breed’s lineage is a mix of German, French, and English hounds and terrier-type dogs. The Dachshund was first referenced in a hunting book written by Johann Friedrich von Flemming in 1719 who called the breed “Dachs Kriecher” (badger crawler). Old-style Dachshunds were larger and heavier than today’s version, weighing between 14-18kg. Every part of the Dachshund’s body was specifically designed and bred into the dog for different purposes: the flap-down ears serves to protect against grass seeds, dirt, and other foreign debris from entering the dog’s ear canal. The curved tail is for the dog to be spotted easily in tall grass as well as for pulling the dog if it becomes stuck in a burrow. The large front paws are for extreme digging, the pointy muzzle is for tracking smell inside burrows while the short legs and long narrow body is for the dog’s ability to run after prey in burrows.
The Dachshund is an independent, lively, courageous and loyal hound. Its independent nature makes it quite stubborn and a challenge to train. It has a strong prey drive and has a tendency to go after small animals like birds, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other similar pets. It also loves to chase tennis balls with extreme resolve. It has a notorious credibility to chase after strangers and other dogs more than any other canine breeds. Like other small hunting dogs, the Dachshund will challenge larger canines and will not back out if it is threatened. Barking is dog-dependent; some Dachshunds tend to bark a lot, not to mention very loud, while others rarely bark at all. This loyal breed is devoted to its owner and tends to bond to a single member of the family, particularly to the one who feeds it. It is, however, aloof towards strangers and may tend to bark or growl towards other people it is not familiar with. It will not do well if left alone for long periods of time and may develop separation anxiety which could lead to destructive behaviour and unruly such as profuse barking, digging, and chewing on everything it can sink its teeth on, including furniture.
The Dachshund is not a breed for everyone, least of all, a breed for first-time pet owners. It needs an owner/trainer who knows how to handle an independent, most of the time stubborn, and aloof breed. Proper training and socialisation from an experienced handler is of utmost important in order to raise a well-balanced dog. A Dachshund that was not raised, trained, and socialised properly may become aggressive or fearful and can become a problem dog. It is also notoriously difficult to housebreak, so training requires a lot of patience and consistency. A Dachshund needs proper motivation and positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or his favourite toy to keep it focused on training, which should be short sessions to keep it interested. Repetitive training will quickly make it bored so it is best to keep the exercise fun and interesting.
All Dachshund varieties are low-maintenance breeds, but the smooth-haired is the easiest to maintain among the three coat types and is the most popular variety in the United States. The Dachshund sheds moderately and doesn’t need to be bathed often. It does not have a doggy odour like other breeds. The smooth-haired coat can be cleaned with baby wipes and wet tissues to keep it clean. Pay special attention to the pendulous ears since these types of ears are prone to infection and fungus. Inspect the ears for excessive wax or gunk. Wipe the inner ears clean with a moist cotton ball on a regular basis (do not use a cotton swab) making sure that the ears are fully dry after cleaning. The nails should be trimmed once a month and the teeth brushed at least twice a week.
The average lifespan of the Dachshund is 12 to 15 years. Being a short, long dog, the Dachshund is prone to spinal problems, particularly intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Being overweight, strenuous exercise, and jumping places a lot of strain on the dog’s vertebrae which can worsen the problem. If a Dachshund suffers from IVDD, it is given anti-inflammatory medications and confined to a crate or may go under surgery if the case is more serious. The Dachshund is also prone to various hereditary diseases such as patellar luxation, vision and hearing loss, malformed ears, congenital eye defects, hereditary epilepsy, granulomatous meningoencephalitis, teeth problems, Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, autoimmune problems, skin allergies and atopies, and various eye conditions. The Dachshund is also more likely to develop a congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus.
Exercise requirement is on the moderate side. This breed has plenty of energy and stamina to go around all day but it is not recommended to have strenuous physical activity because of its long, narrow body outline which is prone to spinal injury. Walking and playing outdoors are some of the best activities that make the Dachshund happy. It is quite active inside the house and will do just fine in a small home or even in an apartment provided that it gets it daily exercise requirements. Short walks or a game of fetch for twenty minutes on a daily basis is the ideal amount. The Dachshund is not a kennel dog and will not do well living outside. The smooth-haired type also will not tolerate extreme cold.
The Dachshund may not be the best choice as a household pet, particularly to a home with children. It needs proper introduction, socialisation, and training at a very young age so that it will get along well with children and other animals. An improperly trained and un-socialised Dachshund may become aggressive and may bite children it is not familiar with, especially if the dog gets startled. It is one of the small breeds surveyed with the most number of bites and attacks on other dogs and humans. However, a well-trained, well-socialised Dachshund and behaved children will get along fine.