Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Miniature Dachshund
Average Cost to keep/care for a Miniature Dachshund
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Dachshunds are native to Germany and they boast a long and interesting ancestry. They were originally bred to hunt badgers, rabbits and to track wounded deer. The Miniature Dachshund is the smaller of the two types with the Standard Dachshund being the larger dog. Today these charming short legged dogs are among the most popular companion dogs and family pets both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Miniature Dachshunds are always a big hit at dog shows too thanks to the charming looks and kind, affectionate natures.
Miniature Dachshunds, like their larger cousins like to be kept busy and once they are fully mature, they love being out and about which usually sees an owner tire out a lot faster than their small canine companions. They are highly adaptable although not the best behaved when it comes to obedience more especially if the "hound" in them takes over and they decide to go off exploring an interesting scent. With this said, Miniature Dachshunds are the perfect choice for people who lead less active lives and who would like to share their time with a loyal, loving and devoted small canine companion at their side.
Dachshunds have always been highly prized in their native Germany for their courage, tenacity and hunting skills. They earned themselves an excellent reputation for being able to track wounded deer as well as to slip down small holes when prey went to ground. In their native Germany, the Dachshund is classed by their chest circumference rather than their size which establishes what size hole a dog can get down when going after any prey.
There is some evidence of similar dogs depicted on tomb and cave walls that date back thousands of years and which were discovered in both Egypt and South America. With this said, the dogs we see today are thought to have originated in Germany over 400 years ago when they hunted either alone or in packs tracking larger prey which included wild boar and deer. They were bred to be hardy, courageous dogs capable of chasing their quarry through thick undergrowth. Their short legs did not deter the Dachshund from covering a lot of ground at speed.
They were given their name Dachshund which translated means "Badger Dog", although they are also often referred to as "Sausage Dogs" or the "Wiener Dog". They first appeared in the UK in 1840 when the Royal Family bought some Dachshunds back to England with them so they could use them on pheasant shoots on larger estates. The first Dachshund to be exhibited was in 1859 after which time they became a popular choice of companion dog and family pet throughout the land with the added bonus being that Queen Victoria was a big fan of the breed.
The Miniature Dachshund came about through careful and selective breeding using only the smallest examples of the breed. With the advent of the First World War, their popularity dropped due to the breed's German connection. However, thanks to the efforts of dedicated breed enthusiasts these charming, loyal little dogs did not vanish altogether. Today, they are among the most popular small dogs both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to their charming, loyal natures and the fact they are such intelligent dogs.
Today, Dachshunds are extremely popular in the UK and they come in 6 varieties which includes the Miniature Dachshund and they can have three types of coat being the smooth-haired, wirehaired longhaired.
Height at the withers: Males 13 - 18 cm, Females 13 - 18 cm
Average weight: Males 3.6 - 5.0 kg, Females 3.6 - 5.0 kg
The Miniature Dachshund is a very striking looking dog with short legs that accentuate the length of their well-muscled, compact bodies. Their heads are long and when seen from above they seem conical in shape without being too narrow or too broad. They only have a slight stop and their muzzles are only slightly arched. Their lips are tight with dogs having extremely strong jaws.
Their eyes are medium in size and a lovely almond shape being set obliquely on a dog's head. Their eye colour is usually dark with the exception of chocolate coloured dogs where the colour is that much lighter. Dapple coated dogs can have either one or two "wall" eyes which is acceptable as a breed standard. Their ears are set high without being set too far forward. They are broad and moderately long being well rounded with the forward edge just touching a dog's cheek.
The Miniature Dachshund has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are well muscled, long and nicely arched with no dewlap, merging gracefully into a dog's shoulders which allows a Dachshund to carry their heads proudly forward. Shoulder blades are broad, long and placed firmly on a dog’s strong rib cage. Their front legs are extremely well muscled and powerful.
A Miniature Dachshund has a long and well-muscled body with nicely sloping shoulders and a reasonably level back that flows from the wither to their slightly arched loin. Their breast bone is prominent with a slight depression on each side of it. They have well developed ribs and a slight tuck up which adds to a dog’s athletic appearance and which also adds enough ground clearance. Loins are strong, short and muscular and their rumps are strong, broad and full.
Croups are full and extremely well-muscled sloping slightly towards the tail. They have a strong pelvis and extremely powerful, well-muscled back legs with lower thighs being short and set at a right angle to their upper thighs. Their front feet are broad and deep being close knit, straight or a little turned out while their back feet are narrower and smaller in size. Toes are close with a very distinct arch to each of them and dogs have very strong nails as well as firm, thick paw pads. Their tails continue from the line of a dog's spine with a slight curve in it.
When it comes to their coat, the Miniature Dachshund can either have a short, smooth coat, a long coat or a wirehaired coat. A smooth coated dog has short hair all over their body with the hair on the underside of their tails being that much coarser. On a longer coated dog, the hair is that much longer on their body and more especially on their ears, bellies, legs and underside of their tails. They have supple, loose but close-fitting skin with very little or no dewlap or wrinkles. The accepted Kennel Club breed colours are as follows:
When Miniature Dachshunds move, they do so with purpose having a free and flowing gait. They have a tremendous amount of power in their hindquarters which can be clearly seen when viewed from the side. When seen from the front or the back, their legs move parallel to each other with the space between them being the width of a dog’s hips and shoulders respectively.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and any faults would be judged on how much they affect a Miniature Dachshund's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Male Miniature Dachshunds should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is also worth noting that a dog may be a little taller or shorter and they may be slightly heavier or lighter than set out in their breed standard which is provided as a guide only.
The Miniature Dachshund is a very intelligent little dog and one that boasts a tremendous amount of courage which at times can prove their downfall. They are extremely loyal characters that form strong bonds with their owners and families. They may be small in stature, but the Miniature Dachshund is an energetic dog and as such they like nothing more than to be out and about doing something. They have a tremendous amount of stamina which means they are quite happy to be given as much exercise as possible when they are fully grown.
Being so intelligent, they also need to be given a lot of mental stimulation every day for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. With this said, a Miniature Dachshund is quite happy to relax and chill out when they are tired. The old adage of a “tired dog being a good dog” is never truer than when describing a Miniature Dachshund.
They can be quite wilful which means they can be a little disobedient when the mood takes them which is why their training has to begin as early as possible paying particular attention to the "recall" command. It's also important for puppies to be well socialised from a young age and it should include introducing them to as many new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they mature into well-balanced adult dogs.
They can be quite vocal especially when there are any strangers about or when they don't like something that's happening in their environment. They have quite loud barks, considering their small size and will be quick to warn their owners if anything is amiss. Although friendly by nature, they tend to be aloof and wary of strangers, although rarely would a Miniature Dachshund show any sort of aggression towards a person they don't know preferring to keep their distance and bark until they get to know someone.
Because they form such strong bonds with their owners and more especially with the person who usually takes the most care of them, these little dogs really do not like being left on their one for any length of time. If they are, they are more than likely to suffer from quite severe separation anxiety which can see dogs developing unwanted and quite destructive behavioural issues around the house. This includes chewing on furniture and anything else they find which is how dogs alleviate stress levels. They can be quite difficult to house train, but with a lot of patience and understanding, a Miniature Dachshund can be taught to be clean around the home and to do their "business" outside.
Although they make great companions, the Miniature Dachshund is not the best choice for first time owners because they can be quite challenging to train, all thanks to the fact they have such a strong stubborn streak in them. They are best suited to people who are familiar with the breed or have already owned a similar type of dog and in households where one person usually remains at home when everyone else is out of the house.
Miniature Dachshunds are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they can be harder to train and if allowed, these little dogs can quickly become wilful and therefore harder to live with and manage.
Miniature Dachshunds have a high prey drive which is a trait that is deeply embedded in a dog's psyche and why it is important to only let a dog run off their leads in safe and secure areas. It is also worth noting that Miniature Dachshunds are "hounds" and therefore have an incredible sense of smell so if they do pick up an interesting scent, the chances are they would quickly be off to investigate what is at the other end turning a deaf ear to a "recall" command.
Miniature Dachshunds are playful by nature having very comical personalities. They enjoy playing interactive games, but care should always be taken when playing with them when they are young just in case a dog damages their spine by slipping over.
Miniature Dachshunds are highly adaptable being just as happy living in an apartment in town as they would be living in a house in the country, but it's important they be given enough daily exercise when old enough to prevent them becoming obese which can seriously impact a dog's overall health and wellbeing.
Miniature Dachshunds form extremely strong bonds with their owners and as such they hate being left on their own for long periods of time which is why as previously mentioned they are better suited to households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out.
Miniature Dachshunds like the sound of their own voices with some lines being more predisposed to barking excessively than others. The good news is that they are very intelligent and therefore can be taught that persistent barking is not acceptable and that it crosses a line, but this needs to be gently done when a Miniature Dachshund is still young being careful not to be too harsh because it could have an adverse effect rather than a positive one.
Miniature Dachshunds with their long bodies and short legs are not natural swimmers and therefore care should always be taken when a dog is anywhere near water just in case they fall in.
Miniature Dachshunds may be small, but they are extremely good watchdogs and would quickly let an owner know when there are strangers about or if something they don't like is going on in their environment.
The Miniature Dachshund is an intelligent dog, but they are known to be notoriously difficult to train thanks to the fact they have a mind of their own. They also boast having a very strong prey drive which means that even when well trained, they might decide to turn a deaf ear to a recall command preferring to go off chasing an interesting scent they've picked up. As such care should be taken as to where and when a Miniature Dachshund is allowed to run off their leads. It is also worth noting that using an extendable lead is never a good idea when exercising a Miniature Dachshund and it is far better for them to wear a harness rather than a collar which would put too much pressure on a dog’s throat and neck
It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of early socialisation which should begin as soon as a dog has been fully vaccinated. Their training must start early too and it must be consistent as well as fair so that a dog understands what an owner expects of them. Miniature Dachshunds need to know their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household or they might start to show a more dominant side to their nature. This can result in them being even more wilful and disobedient, making these little dogs that much harder to live with. The thing to bear in mind is that the chances of training a Miniature Dachshund to be a Guide Dog would be asking a little too much of these adorable and highly intelligent little dogs.
The key to successfully training a Miniature Dachshund is to keep a training session as interesting as possible and not to make it too long. It is easier to keep one of these clever little dogs focussed if the session is that much shorter and without too much repetition. They are sensitive dogs by nature and therefore they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training which would not achieve any sort of good results. They do respond well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these smart little dogs. However, it's important not to pamper a Miniature Dachshund too much because they could end up developing a condition known as "Small Dog Syndrome" which often happens when a dog gets their own way a little too often.
Miniature Dachshund puppies can be a little hard to house train, but with patience and perseverance they can be taught to do their business in the right place. Puppies need to be taught the basic commands right from the word go and they also need to be taught that wearing a harness and walking on a lead is a pleasant experience from an early age too. The best way to do this is to make it into a fun game that a puppy would enjoy and therefore they would be happier to interact when asked to "come" when they are on a lead.
The first basic commands a Miniature Dachshund puppy should be taught once they have settled in are as follows:
Miniature Dachshunds thrive in a family environment where the children are slightly older and who therefore know how to behave around such a small dog. They are not the best choice for families where the children are younger because they prefer living in a quieter environment. As such any interaction between toddlers or younger children and a dog should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things don't get too noisy or boisterous which could end up with a dog getting a bit snappy.
If a Miniature Dachshund has been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on with other dogs although if they feel threatened in any way, they will stand their ground even when faced with a much larger dog. As such care should be taken when out in places where other dogs are often taken by their owners. Care also should be taken when a Miniature Dachshund is around cats or other small animals and pets because their high prey drive might just get the better of them with disastrous results. In short, any contact should be avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Miniature Dachshund is between 14 and 17 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Dachshunds boast long lifespans when they are well cared for and fed a good quality, nutritious diet while being given the correct amount of daily exercise. However, because they are what is known as a "dwarf breed", they are prone to suffering and developing back problems which includes a disorder known as IVDD. There are health issues that are considered as being "health priorities" by the breed council which are as follows:
Other conditions reported in the breed include the following:
A Dachshund's conformation is all-important and any sort of exaggeration can seriously and negatively impact a Mini's overall health and wellbeing. Minis have a gene responsible for their short legs which is a naturally occurring development that happened thousands of years ago and the Dachshund is one of the breeds that over time evolved from dogs that were around so long ago.
Although short-legged and with an odd conformation, Miniature Dachshunds like their larger cousins are more than capable of taking as much exercise as an owner can give them. But with this said, it is crucial for Minis to be bred responsibly for the breed to continue to enjoy good health. As such any exaggerations and departures from the Kennel Club breed standard are frowned up and any breeder who attempts to exaggerate any physical features of a Miniature Dachshund should be avoided at all costs.
Miniature Dachshunds would have been vaccinated before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to ensure their pets are given their follow up shots and the schedule is as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A survey carried out several years ago established that neutering male Dachshunds put them at more risk of developing IVDD with dogs undergoing the procedure under 1-year old being at greater risk. As such, the risks should be weighed against the benefits before deciding whether to neuter a male Dachshund and when the procedure should be carried out.
When it comes to female Miniature Dachshunds, the situation is more complicated because the health benefits often outweigh the risk of health issues developing. With this said, the research concluded that it depends on what age the procedure is carried out on a Miniature Dachshund and the risk of them developing any health issue and as such when it comes to neutering and spaying it is best to wait until a Miniature Dachshund is fully mature although in males, vets often advise avoiding neutering a dog altogether.
Miniature Dachshunds are prone to putting on too much weight with obesity being a real problem in the breed. It is essential that owners keep a close eye on a dog's weight and to adjust their calorie intake and amount of daily exercise they are given if a dog starts to put on weight. Carrying too many pounds can seriously and negatively impact a dog's overall health and wellbeing. It could even shorten their life spans by several years.
Miniature Dachshunds are prone to developing allergies which includes problems that affect their skin. There are many things that can trigger an allergic reaction and finding them can often prove extremely challenging. The most common triggers include the following:
Miniature Dachshunds whether smooth haired, longhaired or wirehaired should be DNA tested for PRA-cord1, an inherited degenerative eye disorder that affects a dog's retina. The test is available through the Animal Health Trust
Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds should be DNA tested for Lafora Disease which is a type of epilepsy that affects the wirehaired variety of the breed. The test is available through the Wirehaired Dachshund club
It is worth noting that there is a lot of research being carried out into Back Disease seen in the breed, but for the moment there is no test available in the UK.
On 1st January 2010, the Kennel Club made it known that puppies produced where both parent Dachshunds are dapple could no longer be registered with the club because of the health issues associated with the dapple gene namely impaired hearing and vision.
It is also worth noting that Dachshund parent dogs of the same type can also produce puppies with different coat types which can be registered with the Kennel Club as being to the type their coats most closely resembles. However, the proviso does not include interchanging Dachshunds of two different sizes and all registrations must be done in writing by post.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club Assured Breeders to use the following schemes for their stud dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
As with any other breed, Miniature 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, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The timing of when a Miniature Dachshund puppy is introduced to their new home is all important because for the first few days and nights, things are going to seem very strange for such a young dog. In short, it's best to arrange for them to arrive when people are going to be around for the first week so a puppy is never on their own. Miniature Dachshund puppies are adorably cute, but it's important to treat them with respect and care more especially as the chances are a puppy would want to sleep for longer periods of time.
The other thing to bear in mind is that there are bound to be a few "accidents" when a puppy first arrives home and that they should not be told off, but rather encouraged to do their "business" outside or on a puppy training pad. Puppy-proofing a home and garden well in advance is essential to keep a new arrival safe and it's important to set up a quiet area for a puppy making sure it is not too out of the way because they need to know they are not alone and that there is someone around. The area just needs to be away from a lot of traffic which might end up preventing a puppy from napping when they want to.
Some people like to keep their puppy safe by putting them in well-made dog crates with plenty of bedding in them while other owners set up a playpen with a nice cosy dog bed for a puppy to snuggle up in when they want to sleep in between bouts of boisterous play. If there are any children around, it's important they be taught not to disturb a puppy when they are sleeping and to leave them alone when they are eating too.
Miniature Dachshunds can be a little harder to house train, but with patience, understand and perseverance, these little dogs can be taught to go to the toilet outside. It can just take a little longer than with other breeds. When a puppy gets it right, it's essential to reward them with lots of praise without being too loud about it. Puppies need to go to the toilet more frequently than older dogs so it's important to note when they do need to go and to make sure someone is around to let them out into a back garden or take them for a quick walk to do their business.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that need to be purchased well in advance of a puppy's arrival and this includes the following:
All puppies are very sensitive to loud noises so it is important to keep the volume of a television down and not to play music too loudly either because it could frighten a Miniature Dachshund puppy and prevent them from napping as they should during the day.
Reputable breeders would always ensure their puppies vaccinated before they are sold, but as previously mentioned, it is up to their new owners to make sure they are given their follow-up shots at the right time which should be as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
When Miniature Dachshunds reach their golden years they slow down in many ways and they might start showing their age with more grey hairs appearing on their faces and more especially around their muzzles. Apart from a change in their appearance a Miniature Dachshund's personality might change too and this includes on how quick they are to respond to a command or when their names are called. The reason for this is that many older dog's hearing is not as good as it once was. Other changes to watch out for in a Miniature Dachshund when they reach their senior years include the following:
Smooth coated Miniature Dachshunds have dense short coats and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats looking good and to remove any dead hair. A wipe over with a chamois leather will keep a nice sheen on their coats too. Dogs with long coats are a little higher maintenance and need more in the way of brushing to prevent any tangles or knots forming in their coats paying particular attention to the hair around a dog's ears, on their legs and underbellies which is finer and therefore more prone to getting tangled and matted.
They shed throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and loose hair from a dog's coat. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Having the right grooming tools helps keep an Mini's coat and skin in top condition. The tools needed to keep a dog's coat looking good are as follows:
The Miniature Dachshund is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. Once a puppy is fully vaccinated, they can be taken out for short 5-minute walks building up the time they get exercised over a period of time. When a Miniature Dachshund puppy is around 5 months old they can be taken out for longer 15-minute walks a day and at 6 months, the time can be increased to 25 to 30 minutes. It is extremely important not to "over-exercise" a Miniature Dachshund puppy because it could end up doing them a lot of damage not only to their feet, but to their toplines and general development too.
Mature dogs can be given anything from 30 to 40 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time in a safe and secure environment as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Miniature Dachshund would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, alert little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and get into all sorts of trouble bearing in mind that Miniature Dachshunds are extremely good "diggers".
With this said, Miniature Dachshund puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Miniature 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 eaters, but this does not mean you can give them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog 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.
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
If you are looking to buy a Miniature Dachshund, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Miniature Dachshund in northern England would be £22.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.92 a month (quote as of August 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Miniature Dachshund and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Miniature Dachshund would be between £50 to £80 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 well-bred pedigree puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Miniature Dachshunds are an extremely popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Miniature Dachshunds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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