Getting to Know Your Dachshund

This week in our series on Getting to Know Your Dog Breed we are featuring the Dachshunds, the “weiner dog” breed. They are among America’s favorites, ranked # 13 by the AKC.

Life expectancy:  12 to 15 years

Color & Size:  Dachshunds come in a variety of flavors, miniature and standard and various shades of red being the most prominent, but they can vary from cream to black to chocolate, brindle and dapple. They also can be smooth-coated, wire-coated and long-haired.

Miniatures stand about 5” – 6” and weigh under 11 lbs, while standard Dachshunds weigh 16-32 lbs and stand around 8”-9”.

Origins:  The Dachshund was originally bred to hunt badgers by squeezing into the badger tunnels, which accounts for the Dachsund’s short legs and long bodies. They originated in Germany and have been around for at least 500 years. While they may still be used for hunting in Europe, in the US, they are mostly found as family pets.

Personality: Dachshunds are spunky little dogs with big personalities. They are known for their determination, which can sometimes be interpreted as stubbornness. They make good family pets and are good with children as long as they receive regular training and exercise. Just because they are small doesn’t mean they don’t need a couple of good walks or hikes a day.

They make good watch dogs and are known for their “big bark in a small body” personality.

Health Issues:  Due to their long backs, Dachshunds are prone to back and vertebra problems. To avoid back injuries, you should keep them from bounding up and down  stairs and from jumping on and off furniture. You need to be careful with their exercise due to their back issues, so it’s important to keep them at a healthy weight. You also need to be mindful of their back when you pick them up and be sure to support them properly.

They are also prone to a condition called bloat (as are many deep-chested breeds). This is a serious condition where the stomach twists around and requires immediate vet treatment.

Fitness/energy level:  While Dachshunds are small, they are energetic and need a good amount of exercise. Running probably isn’t their sport, but hiking is great for them as is agility. In addition, as with most dogs, you have to keep their brain exercised too, so mental stimulation games are essential to prevent destructive behavior.

Native foods for Dachshunds:  Native foods for Dachshunds are foods  found in Germany and include wild boar (or pork), pheasants, fish such as salmon or carp, fruits such as apples and lemons and tubers such as sweet potatoes and turnips.

Good Foods to Feed: Based on the Dachshund’s origin, here are a few foods that contain some of the key ingredients that the original Dachshunds would have likely eaten. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather provide ‘food for thought’.

Fun facts about the Dachshunds:

Dachshund comes from the German word dach, or “badger”, and hund, which means “dog.” 

Not surprisingly, Dachshunds love to dig, so if you have a lovely flower garden, be forewarned.

Waldi was the first official Olympic mascot created for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich


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