Dachshunds are a very unique little dogs that over the years has found their way into the hearts and homes of many people. The breed originates from Germany where they were bred to hunt rabbits, badgers and wounded game. There's nothing these dogs like more than being out and about chasing down a scent, but they are just as happy to curl up on a sofa next to their owner at the end of the day. Dachshunds are intelligent, loyal companions and they love being part of a household.
However, they are known to be a little bit stubborn which means they are not the easiest dogs to train. Add to this the "hound" in these little dogs and the result can often be a Dachshund that chooses to ignore a recall command to go off after something that has taken their fancy. There are, in fact, 6 types of Dachshund and all of them boast being great, fun characters to be around.
Dachshunds have been around for a very long time with records of these little dogs dating back to the 15th century in their native Germany. With this said, evidence of similar dogs can be seen in art from the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Dogs much like the Dachshund have also been found in ancient artworks found in Mexico. Other evidence of similar dogs was found in Italy that date back to the first century AD.
Dachshunds were first bred in Germany and their job was to go to ground when animals like rabbits and badgers took refuge from the hunters of the day. They were also used to track down any wounded game. It was not until 1879 that a breed standard was set in Germany and then eleven years later in 1888, a breed club was founded.
It was Prince Albert who imported Dachshunds to the UK and they were soon to become popular not only in Great Britain, but in the United States as well. During World War I, Dachshunds fell out of favour thanks to their German origins, but luckily these charming little dogs soon gained favour again in many parts of the world thanks to their intelligence and loyal natures.
Height at the withers: Males 20 - 27 cm, Females 20 - 27 cm
Average weight: Males 9 - 12 kg, Females 9 - 12 kg
There is no mistaking a Dachshund for any other breed, although there are 6 varieties of these charming little dogs. Often called Sausage Dogs thanks to their short legs and long bodies, they are well muscled compact dogs that boast powerful front legs which are perfectly put together for digging. They boast long, almost conical shaped heads with a very slightly arched skull and their muzzle lacks a very prominent stop. They boast strong jaws and tight lips.
Their eyes are almond-shaped and medium in size and set obliquely. Dachshunds boast dark eyes, although chocolate coloured Dachshunds have lighter eyes and in dogs with dapple coats either one or both can be "wall eyes" which is acceptable as a breed standard. Their ears are set high and broad being moderately long with the forward edge of their ears touching a dog's cheeks. When Dachshunds are alerted by anything they carry their ears forward and outward.
Their mouth is well developed and powerful with teeth that fit tightly together. They boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Necks are long and muscular which dogs hold slightly arched and which run nicely into a dog's shoulders. Dachshunds carry their heads proudly forward which gives them these little dogs a very defiant trademark look.
Shoulders are broad with dogs boasting long shoulder blades and their front legs are well muscled and strong. A Dachshund's body is extremely well muscled and moderately long with nicely sloping shoulders and they have quite a level back with a slightly arched, short and strong loin. Their breastbone is prominent and dogs are well ribbed with slightly curved abdomens that allow enough clearance from the ground for dogs to move about freely.
Their hindquarters are powerful and well-muscled with dogs boasting a broad, full rump and long croup that slopes slightly towards their tail. Their upper thigh is strong and set at a right angle to a dog's pelvis while the well-muscled lower thigh is set at a right angle to a dog's upper thigh. Their front feet are broad, full and close knit with a dog's back feet being slightly narrower and smaller. Toes are closed with a distinct arch to each of them. Nails are strong and well placed with dogs boasting firm, thick paw pads. Their tail continues the line of a Dachshund's spine with dogs carrying them slightly curved.
When it comes to their coat, a smooth haired Dachshund has a short and dense one with the hair underneath their tail being coarser in texture. Their skin is supple and loose, but showing only a little or no wrinkles. Dachshunds can be any colour with the only exception being white. With this said, dogs can have a small amount of white on their chest although it is not encouraged. Acceptable colours include the following:
Once a Dachshund is fully mature, they are active little dogs and as such they love being out and about often tiring their owners out well before these dogs are ready to go home. With this said, they like nothing more than to curl up with their owners whenever they are given the chance. Dachshunds are renowned for being loyal companions that over the years have become popular family pets and companion dogs for this very reason.
Although, they are intelligent, Dachshunds tend to have a mind of their own which in short means they are not the best in the obedience stakes. Their instinct to "hunt" also remains very strong and as such, a Dachshunds training has to start early paying particular attention to the "recall" command.
Dachshunds are not the best choice for first time owners and are better suited to people who are familiar with the breed and their needs. If not trained and handled correctly from the word go, these little dogs can become unruly and wilful which makes it hard for owners to manage them. However, in the right hands and a lot of patience, it is possible to overcome their stubborn streak always bearing in mind that if a Dachshund picks up a whiff of anything that's more interesting, they are liable to take off after it.
They can be a little wary of strangers and are always quick to let an owner known when there is anyone about. For such little dogs, the Dachshund boasts a deep bark which often surprises people when they first see them after having heard them bark. Another thing to bear in mind is that if a Dachshund is not given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation they quickly get bored and they will develop unwanted behaviours one of which is separation anxiety.
The Dachshund is known to be an intelligent little dog, yet they are not that easy to train thanks to the fact they have a mind of their own and are quite independent by nature. However, in the right hands and when they are given the right amount of positive reinforcement training from a young age as well as a lot of persistence and patience, Dachshunds can be trained although they would never be 100% obedient. The reason being the "hound" in them tends to get the better of these dogs and they are highly skilled at turning a "deaf ear" to a command when they off their leads.
Smooth haired Dachshunds are known to be good around children especially if they have grown up together. However, just like any other breed any interaction between the kids and dog has to be supervised by an adult to make sure play time does not get too boisterous.
Generally, they get on with other dogs and they rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards them. However, when it comes to smaller animals and pets, care needs to be taken when a Dachshund comes into contact with them and this includes cats. With this said, if they have grown up with a cat, they are generally more tolerant of them.
The average life expectancy of a Dachshund is between 12 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
One of the most concerning health issues seen in Dachshunds affects their spines due to the fact it is so long. With this said, the breed is known to suffer from its fair share of spinal injuries which is why it's essential that care be taken when sharing a home with a Dachshund puppy. Jumping up on furniture or running up and down stairs can cause a lot of damage to a Dachshund's spine so has to be avoided at all costs. Other health issues that affect the breed include the following:
As with any other breed, Dachshunds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Smooth haired Dachshunds are low maintenance in the grooming department thanks to their coats being so short. A quick brush over with a chamois leather keeps their coats gleaming. However, these little dogs love the one-to-one contact they get during a grooming session and it allows owners to check their dog's skin and to make sure there are no lumps and bumps developing anywhere on their body.
Puppies need to be taught that grooming is an enjoyable experience from an early age so they look forward to being brushed and don't get upset when their ears or feet are touched. It's a good idea to check a Dachshunds ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary.
Although small in stature, Dachshunds need to be given quite a lot of daily exercise for them to be truly happy, well balanced dogs. A minimum of an hour a day is necessary which means taking a dog out for a quick walk in the morning of 20 minutes or so, but in the afternoon, their walk needs to be longer and ideally it should be around 40 minutes or so. As previously mentioned, if not given enough exercise on a daily basis, these little dogs can develop some unwanted and destructive behavioural issues which includes suffering from separation anxiety.
They also like to be able to run around a back garden as often as they can so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be very secure bearing in mind that Dachshunds are incredibly good at digging their way out under a fence when the mood takes them, bearing in mind their front legs are designed for these little dogs to be expert diggers.
If you get a Dachshund puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Dachshund twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Dachshund, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Dachshund in northern England would be £20.39 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of April 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Dachshund and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Dachshund would be between £60 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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