The Complete Guide to: Dachshunds
Loyal and one of the friendliest family dogs you can find, Dachshunds have enough playfulness to up the fun factor in any home. They’re perfect for one-person households too, with their tendency to bond firmly one-on-one. Here’s more on the dashing Dachshund.
The Dachshund name quite literally means “badger dog”, because, you guessed it, they were originally used to hunt badgers and other similar sized prey. They originated in Germany, where records of Dachshunds date back to the Middle Ages. They were generally put to work in forested areas, and are experts at boldly pursuing their prey, even into dense undergrowth and tighter spaces.
Their little muscular frames and short legs were refined in the breed over the centuries to allow them to track their quarry in difficult terrain, but this also made them attractive lapdogs. In the early 19th century, the UK saw more and more prized pet Dachshunds, especially among the gentry.
This popularity only grew as the decades progressed, and they are now a firm fixture in households across the globe. Because of their sweet nature, they are viewed as brilliant family dogs - even in homes with small children. Dachshunds are also popular at shows, thanks to their sparky intelligence and eagerness to please.
The thing that sets the Dachshund apart from other dog breeds is the fact that it comes in a few distinct varieties. One point of differentiation is their coat, which is either Long, Smooth, or Wire. The other is their size, which is defined, in the UK, as either Standard or Miniature. However, the miniature variety should not be below 4.5kg (10lbs) in weight or, ideally, above 5kg (11lbs).
What all varieties share, however, is the same proud stature; long, low bodies; and short legs. You’ll also see the intelligence in their eyes and friendly faces. When it comes to grooming needs, it depends a little on the type. Smooth Dachshunds need the least amount of work. Wire-haired types have little beards, and bushy eyebrows, along with dense coats that need periodic stripping. Long-haired dogs have flowing locks that easily pick up detritus, upping the grooming maintenance needs.
The UK Breed Standard states that All Colours are permitted with no white, save a small spot on the chest. However Pied, Tricolour and the dilute colours of Isabella and Blue are highly undesirable.
Sociable, outgoing and fun, there’s more than a few good reasons to love a Dachshund. It’s said that temperaments do vary a little depending on the type, butyou may find that your variety of Dachshund doesn’t quite fit this theory, so it’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule.
As a guide, you’ll find that your Dachshund is probably stubborn, clever, and even naughty given the opportunity. This adds to the playfulness, but also means you’ll need to keep working hard with your training. They are also noisy little companions, prone to barking, which all goes back to their hunting heritage.
If the adage is anything to go by, their bark is most definitely worse than their bite, however. They are wonderful around little children, love to play games, exert their cognitive abilities, and run about.
Their hunting instinct is what makes a Dachshund so special and fun. It also results in digging, barking and a desire to attack small prey. That might make you reconsider trying to acquaint your dog with a small pet.
Their unique stature and long, low hanging bodies make them susceptible to slipped disks, which in turn can cause paralysis. To keep them happy and healthy, stay well away from jumping activities, and that includes running up and down the stairs.
Here are a few great things you can try with them though:
- Short bursts of exercise – this goes for socialisation too, because longer spells of these kinds of activities can wear young dogs out. Short walks and time spent with a variety of people will help them develop into a well-rounded companion.
- Lead training – to get the most from your Dachshund, you’ll need to be firm, kind and patient. Their exuberance can bubble over, especially when on walks. Train them to move properly on the lead using positive training methods.
- Crate training – if a Dachshund happened to be living in the wild, they would naturally build their home in a cosy den. That’s one of the reasons why crate training is important for Dachshunds. They relish a place to call their own and retreat to when needed.
- Basic commands –Building in lots of general obedience training will help build character and limit bad habits. “Heel”, “sit” and “stay” will work towards balancing out their more mischievous side. You can start from an early age. Patience, and positive reinforcement, is the best way forward.
Treats can be an effective way of encouraginggood resultsin Dachshunds, but it’s important to keep an eye on their weight. Healthier treats like boiled chicken will help, as well as rewarding your dog through affection and positive reinforcement.