The Dachshund is an alert, lively, and active breed. These beautiful, spunky dogs tend to be protective of their families, making them vigilant watchdogs. And though they may be small, Doxies have big personalities.
The Dachshund's famously long body and short legs earned the breed the humorous nicknames "hot dog" and "wiener dog." But the elegance and beauty of these little dogs are no joke.
Coat and Coloring
The Dachshund has three coat types: shorthaired, longhaired, and wirehaired. The shorthaired coat is sleek and shouldn't be too thick. The hair of the longhaired type is longest on the ears, chest, and tail. The wirehaired variety has a short, rough, tightly uniform outer coat with a finer, somewhat softer undercoat. The wired hair covers the whole body and creates distinctive facial furnishings.
The breed comes in various colors—including solid or bicolor combinations of light and dark black, red, and tan shades. Brindle and dapple patterns are also possible, with some dapple Doxies having blue eyes.
Distinctive Physical Traits
It's easy to recognize Dachshunds by their long-backed bodies, pointy noses, and short (but powerful) legs.
The Dachshund is a friendly, affectionate breed that loves to be surrounded by family. These pups prefer to be in on the action rather than left alone outdoors.
Thanks to their hunting dog lineage, Doxies often bark, scratch at the ground, dig, or chase wildlife. They're also sometimes suspicious or fearful of strangers—especially if they're trying to avoid being picked up, which can cause discomfort to their long bodies if not done properly.
Though some evidence suggests the breed was present in Greece, Egypt, China, and Mexico, many experts believe the Dachshund originated in 15th-century Germany. Originally bred to hunt badgers, Dachshunds also successfully hunted larger game.
The shorthaired (or smooth) variety is the original breed in the Dachshund family. But breeders later focused on creating wirehaired and longhaired types, as well as miniaturized sizes of all three.
To develop the wirehaired type, breeders likely crossed shorthaired Dachshunds with hard-coated terriers and wirehaired pinschers—such as the Schnauzer, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, German Wirehaired Pointer, and Scottish Terrier.
The origin of the longhaired type is less clear. Some experts speculate that shorthaired Dachshunds occasionally produced puppies with longer hair. Another theory proposes that the longhaired variant came from crossing shorthaired Dachshunds, various small land and water spaniels, and the German Stoberhund.
The Dachshund came to the United States in 1885 and received American Kennel Club recognition that same year.
Dachshunds thrive on a high-quality dog diet formulated for their age and size. Take care not to overfeed these pups, as any excess weight strains their backs—potentially leading to disc problems.
The Dachshund is a clean breed, with little or no smell.
The shorthaired variety needs only occasional brushing, whereas brushing requirements for a longhaired Dachshund depend on coat thickness. Thicker coats benefit from more frequent brushing to keep hair free from tangles and control the moderate shedding. Lastly, wirehaired Doxies do best when their coats are combed a couple of times a week and hand-stripped several times a year.
To reduce your dog's chance of ear infections, check their ears regularly and clean them as needed to remove wax build-up and debris. Nail trims should also be part of every pup's grooming routine.
And don't forget those teeth. Good dental hygiene will support your dog's overall health. So, in addition to professional cleanings, establish an at-home dental care program that includes regular teeth brushing and veterinarian-recommended dental chews.
Not every activity is appropriate or safe for Dachshunds due to their unique build. For instance, you should avoid long runs, hurdling fences, and vigorous swims. That said, this active breed is always eager to get out and have some fun in other ways.
In fact, Doxies need regular exercise to stay in shape and build the muscles needed to protect their backs. Just steer clear of activities that involve jumping or climbing stairs to prevent injuries.
With their keen sense of smell and strong prey drive, Dachshunds may choose to pick up a scent and follow it rather than obey instructions. So, patience is a virtue when training this independent breed. A kind tone and positive, reward-based approach are the best tools for training these sensitive dogs.
Dachshunds tend to be protective of their family and territory. Socializing them as puppies will ensure they develop into well-mannered adult dogs.
Dachshund Genetic Health Conditions
Cone-Rod Dystrophy (CRD) is an eye disorder resulting in degeneration of the retina at the back of the eye at a young age, causing progressive vision loss.
Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIA (MSP IIIA) is a disease of progressive incoordination, first in the pelvic legs and later progressing to all four legs. Leg movements become erratic when walking and affected dogs have difficulty balancing.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a disease of fragile bones and loose joints.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disorder that results in degeneration of the light sensing retina at the back of the eye, leading to progressive vision loss and eventual blindness. Cone-rod dystrophy 1 (cord1-PRA) is one form that has a wide age range for clinical onset, from 6 months to 10 years old. The associated genetic risk variant has been identified in Dachshund breed types and the English Springer Spaniel.
Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) is a skeletal disorder characterized by shortened limbs and abnormal early degeneration of the spinal discs, or intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which predisposes to disc herniation.
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 1 (NCL1) is a neurological disease, with typical signs of rapidly progressing vision impairment, ataxia (uncontrolled movements), and behavioral changes, such as anxiety, sound sensitivity, and inability to recognize familiar individuals.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes sudden attacks of sleep due to the brain's inability to regulate REM sleep.
Knowing if your Dachshund is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
The Terrier Group ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. They are often characterized as feisty and energetic dogs whose sizes range from fairly small to much larger.