Things you should know about dauchshunds
Mischievous and affectionate, the dachshund—sometimes known as a “wiener dog,” “sausage dog,” or, to fans of redundancy, “hot dog dog”—inspires fierce devotion among its owners.
These long-bodied, tiny-legged companions have particular needs for optimal health and happiness. Here’s a primer for anyone considering bringing a doxie home, or looking to cultivate a better relationship with one they already have.
The American Kennel Club classifies the dachshund as a hound—but these dogs also share qualities with terriers, including a penchant for hunting and digging. They’re a hearty breed with a typical lifespan of 12–16 years.
They can vary quite a bit in size—a miniature dachshund is 11 pounds or less, while a standard dachshund can weigh up to 32 pounds. Which variety you bring home can have a big impact on matters like how much food you’ll buy and how easy it’ll be to bring them on trips. If you get a dachshund puppy, you won’t be 100% sure how large they’ll grow—sometimes a purported mini ends up a “tweenie,” on the larger side.
Dachshunds come in three coat types—smooth, wire-haired, and longhaired—each of which has its own grooming needs.
Any dog will need your love and attention, and dachshunds—while they may be small—require plenty of human companionship and stimulation. If you bring one home, make time for bonding, walks, and play. Says Guyan, “they’re not a dog to get and then go to work for eight hours a day.” If your schedule does keep you out of your home for that long, someone should visit to walk and play with your dachshund during the day.
Take care if you have young children, for the wellbeing of the dog (whose back is delicate) and the children (because an improperly trained dachshund may snap at a youngster who approaches in the wrong way). It’s important that kids are taught not to play rough with dachshunds, who are low to the ground. A dachshund could feel the need to defend themselves against a child who makes a move that seems threatening—even inadvertently. Taking the time to train both parties on mutual respect is key to living happily with this breed.
Having said that, many dachshunds do have a strong prey drive and like to focus on a goal, even if it’s not the one you have in mind. They also tend to be courageous and faithful. Their boldness, protectiveness, and powerful voices make them good guard dogs; an intruder who hears your dachshund’s forceful warning might suspect that you have a much larger canine sentry. Sylvia, who owns a 14-year-old longhaired dachshund named Mikko, says he “is a terrific watchdog”—an ability that may seem incongruous given his compact dimensions. “It’s hilarious,” she says, “because he’s so small, and has such a big personality.” There are tales of dachshunds imprudently taking on, for example, bears—and somehow scaring them away.
Even if they’re not going after badgers or moles, many dachshunds will find an outlet for their instincts. Says Vicky, the owner of a 12-year-old dachshund named Kate: “she will always be a hunter, and will chase a cat if she can get it to run.”