Dachshunds have been a family favorite since the beginnings of the breed. Being originally bred as small working and hunting dogs, they have been beloved for centuries, curling up on the hearth by a warm fire or in their owners lap after a long days work. Though tradition had dachshunds bred and trained as hunting dogs, they are now the fun-loving pets that most of us know them as today. The dachshund ranges in color from solid black with tan markings to reds, brindles, dapples, and piebalds, which are a mixture of colors. Dachshunds can have the traditional short coat, a wirehaired coat, or a longhaired coat.
Dachshunds came to North America sometime around 1800 and have remained pretty close to the original breed brought over from Germany and other European Countries. Eye colors range from blue to hazel to brown, sometimes with multi-colored eyes. Dachshunds are small dogs with the miniatures ranging from about 7-11lbs and standards ranging from about 17-35 lbs. Those in between 11 and 17 lbs are often called tweenies. Dachshunds range in height from about 5” to 9”.
Dachshunds are generally healthy animals and live 10-12 years with proper care. Some Dachshunds are particularly prone to demodectic mange, especially in the summer months and should be dipped at regular intervals (apx. every 1-2 months). Obesity can be a problem in this breed so a low fat diet may be in order for those who are infrequently active. Dachshunds are also prone to back problems and should be discouraged from climbing and jumping. All dachshund puppies should be regularly wormed, vaccinated, properly sheltered, and fed with a good diet for longer life.
Dachshunds are generally very active dogs, which were originally bred for hunting dogs. Dachshunds are believed to have come from the badger hunters of Germany, the name Dachshund meaning “badger hound”. They will naturally dig and hunt for cats, rats, or anything else if they are not properly trained to contain their natural instincts. They don’t necessarily need a large yard to run in, but it is preferable to have ample space for such an energetic dog. Any regular activity will keep their natural instincts and energy in check. As long as they are given adequate time and attention from their owners, they do fine in just about any setting. They love to play and need companionship of another dog if their owners will be away for a considerable amount of the day.
Dachshunds are very intelligent as well as active. They were bred for intelligence to outsmart their prey, and have been known to out smart their owners as well. They are also very social animals and need to be included in family activities as much as possible. They are both quick learners and very loyal animals that love to please their owners, so they can be trained quite easily. When properly trained a strong commanding voice is usually all the discipline needed. They have very good guarding instincts, are naturally territorial and possessive, so they are good watchdogs as well. Barking may need to be curtailed. They are generally good natured with children and are naturally protective over them, but they may try to bite unfamiliar children who are aggressive towards them.
Weeny-Jacks, which are a mix between Dachshunds and Jack Russell terriers are one of the newer designer breeds. They have much of the same qualities of dachshunds, but may have shorter backs and longer legs, which may diminish the back and other problems associated with purebred dachshunds. Dachshunds and terriers have much of the same hunting instincts, though terriers were generally above ground hunters and dachshunds would “go to ground” for their prey.
Cost of Dachshunds depends on registration status or show quality status. Good purebred pet quality Dachshunds sell for about $200 without papers to about $400 with papers. Purebred show or breeding quality puppies sell from between $500 -$1000, usually with papers. Dachshunds, being very sociable animals, are one of the most popular family pets today. Any family, even those in small apartment settings, has room for this small and fun-loving breed and will do well to choose one, regardless of the status or cost.