The Dachshund (pronounced DAHKS-hoond and commonly misspelled as Daschund) is a dog breed with a diverse range of characteristics. Dachshunds are small dog breeds with a long body, short crooked legs and large floppy ears. Dachshunds come in two sizes, three varieties of coat, many colors and patterns. The Miniature Dachshund stands about 12 inches tall at shoulder height and should weigh less than 11 pounds.
The Standard Dachshund stands more than 14 inches tall at shoulder height and usually weighs between 15 and 30 pounds. The breed comes in three different varieties of coat – Shorthaired (or smooth), Long Haired and Wire-haired.
The Shorthaired or Smooth variety is the most common and has a short dense and shiny coat. The Long Haired variety has a soft and sleek coat that is well fringed on the ears, chest, underside of the body, legs and tail. The Long Hair looks something like a small Irish Setter. The Wirehaired version has a short, dense, wiry outer coat with dense undercoat. This variety also has a beard, bushy eyebrows and ridges over the eyes.
Another area of diversification is the coat color and pattern. The most common colors are red (ranging from reddish blond to a deep rusty red) and a black with tan markings. Other two color combinations are chocolate. blue and fawn with tan markings on the head, chest and paws. Wirehairs quite often have a black and light hair mix called wild boar. The final area of diversification is the pattern on the Dachshunds coat. There is a dapple pattern consisting of lighter areas contrasting with a darker base color and a double dapple pattern which has varying amounts of white as well as the dapple pattern. Finally there is a brindle pattern with dark stripes all over the body.
The Miniature Dachshund and Standard Dachshund are the same breed and members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Hound Group.
The original breed was developed by German foresters to hunt badgers. The Dachshund gets its name from the German word ‘dachs’ meaning badger and ‘hund’ meaning dog. The exact origins of the breed are unclear but it is probably involved the Basset Hound and some terrier blood. Dachshunds became very popular as companion dogs and were recognized by the AKC as a breed in 1885. The advent of World War I meant a decline in the popularity of Dachshunds because they were a German breed. However they regained their popularity between the wars and didn’t suffer the same setback during World War II. Dachshunds remain extremely popular and were ranked 6th out of 154 dog breeds in 2005 AKC registrations.
Dachshunds or Doxies are playful and fun-loving small dogs who are similar to terriers in their inquisitiveness and need to be involved in everything. This breed is very attached to its owner and wants to be with him/her all the time – even in bed. Dachshunds are very adaptable to city life and even apartment life. Miniature and Toy Dachshunds do well in apartments. Standard Dachshunds must have regular walks and lots of companionship and /or other pets. This breed loves to play with other wiener dogs. Doxies are fine with older children but do not like the rough handling they may receive from a toddler. Dachshunds can be independent and stubborn and are difficult to housebreak and train. Socialization and training should be started when they are puppies and enforced through adolescence. Barking should never be rewarded. Training should be food-based and game oriented. Doxies won’t respond to any harsh training methods. The Long-haired variety seems to be more obedient and docile than the other two varieties of Dachshunds. This breed makes an excellent watchdog although they can be too ‘barky’. Dachshunds do fine with first-time or novices dog owners.
Dachshunds need a long and brisk walk every day. Standard Dachshunds can adapt to apartment living but should be walked both morning and evening. Caution must be taken to stop these dogs from jumping off of furniture and hurting their backs. Do not overfeed this breed as it will lead to back problems.
Short-haired Dachshunds need minimal grooming, have no ‘doggy odor’ and are light shedders. The Wire-haired and Long-haired Dachshunds will require regular brushing and some trimming and clipping. These dogs are still fairly light shedders and relatively free of ‘doggy odor’.
Dachshunds have a long life expectancy of approximately 15 years. Doxies are the most susceptible to back problems out of all dog breeds. Jumping, being picked up improperly, sitting up and begging and being overweight are all thing that can result in disk problems. Other common health problems are obesity, eye disorders such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy and progressive retinal atrophy, intervertebral disk disease, heart disease, seizures, hypothyroidism, and bladder or urinary stones. Prospective buyers should ask for the breeding parents Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) test results and also the Canine Eye Registry (CERF) recent ophthalmologists report for eye disorders.