Dachshund Temperament: A determined, loyal and feisty companion
Have you ever seen a Dachshund strut their stuff with their long body and short legs? These adorable pups, also known as "Wiener Dogs," have captured hearts for centuries with their loyal and fearless nature.
They make for excellent companions for families, singles, and even seniors. But before you bring one of these charming pups home, it's essential to understand their temperament and unique history. With their hunting roots and tenacious personality, Dachshunds may not be the ideal breed for everyone.
That's why it's crucial to consider potential health issues and lifestyle compatibility before bringing a Dachshund into your home. In this blog post, we'll dive into everything you need to know about the Dachshund temperament, so you can make an informed decision if you can give these furry friends the love they deserve and require.
Let's dive right in.
Dachshund History: Where do Dachshunds come from?
Dachshunds are a highly distinctive and easily recognisable breed of dog. Their unique elongated body and short legs have made them famous and beloved worldwide. However, it is noteworthy that the origins of Dachshunds can be traced back several centuries.
Dachshund-type dogs were initially bred in Germany in the 15th century. The word "Dachs" actually means "badger" in German, and "hund" means "dog". Dachshunds were specifically bred to hunt badgers, a common pest in Germany. Badgers were fierce predators, and they met their match in the Dachshund.
Their long and narrow bodies were ideal for going into burrows and flushing out badgers. The Dachshund was also bred to go for the kill specifically, and only the most ferocious dogs were selectively bred.
They became longer and thinner to adapt, with large, padded paws perfect for digging deeper into burrows. Additionally, Dachshunds were selectively bred to possess a powerful, resonant bark that could signal their owners of a successful prey catch.
But Dachshunds were not just good at hunting badgers. They were also skilled at hunting other small animals like foxes and rabbits. Their tenacity and intense nature made them one of the most effective hunting dogs. Dachshunds are no lapdogs, even though they might have their size.
Prince Albert imported the first Dachshunds into the UK at the beginning of the 19th century and gifted them to Queen Victoria. There are a lot of sketches and prints of Dachshunds dated as far back as 1840. The queen's undisputed favourite was a specimen called Waldman. With the queen owning a Dachshund, news spread quickly, and the Dachshund's popularity skyrocketed in the UK.
In the United States during World War I, Dachshunds were given the name "liberty hounds" due to anti-German sentiment. German Shepherds were renamed Alsatians as everything German was looked at with resentment. Despite this, the Dachshund remained a popular breed in the US. Unfortunately, there were also many reports of Dachshunds being killed by angry patriots at the time.
Some Dachshund owners showed a bit more humour. A sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that his little Dachshund Henry "is so patriotic he wouldn't eat Frankfurter sausage until we changed the name to "victorywurst."
In the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany, the official mascot was a Dachshund named Waldi. He was featured on posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise for the games, and the world forgave the little dogs.
Today, the Dachshund family has three coat types: wire-haired, long-haired, and smooth-haired. In addition, they come in both Miniature and Standard sizes, making them a versatile breed that can adapt to different living situations. Certain temperament traits are also more engrained in the different coat types.
The wire-haired Dachshund's coat was ideal for navigating dense undergrowth and protecting against thorns and brush.
The Dachshund was first registered with the UK Kennel Club in 1874, just a few years after the Club's founding in 1873.
Despite being initially bred for hunting, Dachshunds have become popular family pets across the globe due to their loyal, affectionate, and playful personalities. In addition, they are excellent companions for people of all ages, despite their hunting lineage.
The Dachshund's fascinating history and distinctive traits have made them a beloved breed among dog enthusiasts worldwide, as demonstrated by the following table of new registrations for the Miniature smooth-haired variety. In the UK, 15,308 Dachshunds were registered with the UK Kennel Club in 2022. The love for this breed is steady and real!
Source: UK Kennel Club https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/5724/quarterly-breed-stats-hounds.pdf May 2023
Now that we have a rough idea about their breeding history, let's dive into how your life with a Dachshund might look.
What is the Temperament of a Dachshund?
Refrain from judging a book by its cover. The Dachshund may be small, but they have a big personality and fierce determination.
Bred for perseverance, this breed is not to be underestimated. However, one must understand their confidence and faithfulness to appreciate them truly.
The breed standard advises that with its intelligence, liveliness, and courage, the Dachshund is a versatile and obedient companion.
So before getting one, make sure to dive into their temperament and determine if you're ready for this spunky breed.
Dachshunds are an alert breed renowned for their keen awareness of their surroundings. As natural watchdogs, they are quick to sound the alarm when they sense approaching footsteps.
However, their tendency to bark excessively can be problematic for apartment dwellers, particularly those with noise-sensitive neighbours. To minimise excessive barking, it is vital to provide the dog with physical and mental stimulation and train them to respond to the "quiet" command.
If you're looking for a jogging partner for long distances, there may be better choices than the Dachshund. Their little legs are better suited to shorter walks more frequently during the course of a day.
This physicality makes this dog perfect for people who have only 20mins-30mins breaks during the day to take their dog for a walk. A Dachshund should be exercised for around 1 hour a day. Being hunting dogs, additional mental stimulation like sniffing out hidden treats or snuffle mats are good exercises that stimulate a Dachshund's mind.
Training a Dachshund requires persistence and determination, as well as positive praise. Make training fun and show your Dachshund that behaving your way will make their life fun and rewarding. Use gentle training methods, or your Dachshund will stubbornly ignore you.
There is often the misconception that Dachshunds are hard to train. It's crucial to understand their breed history. Dachshunds possess a natural inclination for independence and problem-solving skills, which were necessary traits for their historical role in confronting badgers and foxes without human intervention.
Dachshunds aren't easy to train but are certainly trainable and obedient if you apply consistency, correct bad behaviour in a positive way straight away and include rewards like praise and treats in your training.
Some lines still have solid hunting instincts and might not be easily recalled once they pick up an interesting scent. Off-leash walkies aren't recommended near busy roads and intersections, as Dachshunds tend to have little road awareness.
A Dachshund puppy should never be dragged around on a lead while growing. Likewise, Dachshunds should never be allowed to run up or down stairs. All these activities can damage your dog's spine, and further below, we outline the potential health issues in the breed. Agility is also not recommended if it includes jumps from higher areas as all these activities can injure your Dachshunds back.
Dachshunds are incredibly loyal to their person. They bond strongly with their owner, and it's a genuine understanding of trust, protection and belly rubs. Dachshunds love cuddles and snuggles, so they will enjoy curling up next to you on a sofa or in front of a fireplace.
Dachshunds and children are an ambiguous topic. The Dachshund will definitely not suffer fools gladly. If a child pulls their tail or floppy ears, a Dachshund will warn the child with a growl, and if the warning isn't taken seriously, they might go for a nip. Therefore, a Dachshund isn't naturally recommended as a dog for very small children who don't understand boundaries.
If you plan on bringing a Dachshund into your home with very young children, supervise playtime and create an area for your Dachshund to retreat to if they're tired of interactions. Most accidents happen because children aren't taught how to approach a dog correctly.
However, Dachshunds are great with older children. They enjoy entertainment, and their mischievous nature will make you laugh out loud.
Despite their hard-to-train nature, all a Dachshund want is love and attention. They will follow you around the house and always check what's happening. They are not as attention-seeking as a Labrador or Golden Retriever as they have a bit of independence, but they will certainly give you their little heart expecting you not to crush it.
Let's dive into some common questions about this lovely breed.
Which Dachshund sheds the least?
The wire-haired Dachshund sheds the least of the three different coat types. All dogs shed coats to some extent so that all Dachshunds can leave a mess around the house. Due to the texture of the wire-haired being curly, the dead hair gets trapped and doesn't fall onto your carpet. That's why it's crucial to brush your Dachshund regularly.
Dachshunds are considered to be moderately love shedders. They usually blow their coat in the spring and fall seasons.
Can Dachshunds be left alone?
Dachshunds are wonderful companions that enjoy spending time with their humans and can be taught to become more comfortable with short periods of alone time gradually.
By providing them with toys, puzzles, and treats, you can help keep them entertained while you're away.
Dogs shouldn't be left alone for longer than 4-5 hours at a stretch. Even though Dachshunds are independent dogs, they don't enjoy being alone.
If you need to leave your Dachshund alone for extended periods, ensure they have everything they need to be comfortable and happy, such as food, water, and a cosy place to rest, like a crate. In addition, consider options like a dog walker or doggy daycare to provide them with some socialisation during the day.
It's essential to remember that every Dachshund is unique, so the amount of alone time they can handle will vary. The better you get to know your dog, the more you will learn how long they can tolerate being left alone. If you need more clarification, talk to your veterinarian or an animal behaviourist who can provide helpful advice and guidance.
Are Dachshunds hypoallergenic?
No, Dachshunds are not considered to be hypoallergenic. While no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, some breeds produce less dander through saliva and skin particles, which is humans' primary cause of allergies. However, Dachshunds are not one of those breeds and are considered moderate shedders.
That said, the wire-haired Dachshunds shed a bit less due to the texture of their coat as the fur gets stuck in them.
Smooth-haired Dachshunds shed, especially in fall and spring, can increase the dander in the home. This dander can cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to it.
If you or someone in your household has allergies and is considering getting a Dachshund, it's crucial to spend some extended time with the breed before deciding. You can try to borrow my doggy or walk some rescue Dachshunds in a local rescue centre.
Spending time with Dachshunds before getting one can help you determine whether or not you may have an allergic reaction to them. Moreover, maintaining regular grooming of your Dachshund and cleaning your carpets and sofas can help reduce dander in the home, potentially alleviating allergy symptoms.
Dachshund Temperament in a nutshell
Despite their small size, they are confident and courageous dogs.
Dachshunds form strong bonds with their owners and are highly devoted.
They have a high energy level and are playful by nature.
Dachshunds are quite vocal and can often bark, especially if not properly trained or socialized. However, with consistent training and socialization, this behaviour can be managed.
They are prone to back problems due to their long spine, resulting in costly veterinary bills and requiring extra care to prevent injury.
Dachshund fun fact
A Dachshund was the first breed of dog to be cloned in the UK after their owner won a competition. The first successful cloning took place in 2005 in South Korea and resulted in a cloned Afghan Hound.
The winner of the competition cloned their Dachshund "Winnie" and called the clone "Mini-Winnie". Winnie and Minnie Winnie get on splendidly.
Potential health issues in the Dachshund breed
As with most pedigree breeds, Dachshunds can be susceptible to some breed-specific health issues. Their long body is a prominent health concern to many vets. Apart from that, Dachshunds are generally a healthy breed if acquired from a responsible breeder.
However, Dachshunds seem to have more potential health issues than other breeds. As a future owner, there are conditions you should be aware of to spot signs early and follow up with adequate treatment.
Most medications are dosed based on body weight, which gives a Dachshund an advantage over an Akita Inu. So smaller breeds generally amount to lower medical bills.
The following health issues have been linked closely to the Dachshund breed:
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Dachshunds are at a higher risk for IVDD due to their long backs and short legs. Intervertebral disc disease occurs when the cushion between the bones in a Dachshund's spine ruptures or bulges out, resulting in severe pain, nerve issues, and even paralysis. To prevent this condition, it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight for your Dachshund, avoid allowing them to jump from high surfaces such as furniture, and use a harness instead of a collar while taking them for walks.
Obesity: Dachshunds are prone to obesity due to their low activity levels and love for food. They are even listed in the top 10 breeds to be prone to obesity. Obesity can lead to many health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. Therefore, ensure regular exercise and a healthy diet with proper portion control.
Dental Problems: Dachshunds are prone to dental problems due to their small snouts and overcrowded teeth. Establishing a regular dental care routine and scheduling annual dental checkups with a veterinarian is essential to prevent potential issues.
Eye problems: Dachshunds are susceptible to eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal degeneration. Buy from a breeder who has done clinical eye screenings on their Dachshunds and all Progressive Retinal Atrophy DNA testing.
Allergies: Dachshunds can develop allergies to food, fleas, and environmental factors such as pollen and dust. Allergies can cause skin irritation, itching, and ear infections.
Lafora Disease: Lafora disease is a rare genetic disorder affecting dogs' nervous systems. It causes seizures, muscle stiffness, and cognitive decline and is a required test when breeding Dachshunds to ensure that the puppies do not inherit the disease from their parents. Miniature Wired Dachshunds are highly prevalent, and up to 20% can be affected.
As a potential future responsible owner, you must ensure your Dachshund receives regular checkups with your veterinarian and follows a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and preventive care measures. Taking all steps can help your Dachshund live a healthy and happy life for years.
Conclusion: Is the Dachshund the right breed for me?
Based on the temperament traits of the Dachshund, this breed is suitable for people who understand their confident and faithful nature and are ready for a spunky companion. They are vigilant dogs, making excellent watchdogs, and are not to be underestimated, as they were bred for perseverance.
However, excessive barking can be a challenge in apartment living, and proper mental and physical stimulation is necessary to prevent this.
While not suitable for long-distance jogging, Dachshunds are perfect for people with short breaks during the day for walks. Exercise should be around an hour daily, including mental stimulation, to keep their minds active.
Training a Dachshund requires persistence and determination but can be achieved using positive praise and rewards. They are trainable and obedient but require consistency and patience. While they may have strong hunting instincts, they can be recalled with proper training.
Dachshunds bond strongly with their owner and are incredibly loyal, making them an excellent choice for those who don't have time for a larger, more energetic dog. However, while they are great with older children, they are not recommended for younger children who may not understand boundaries.
Despite their challenges, a Dachshund wants love and attention, and they will follow their owner around the house, always curious about what is going on.
In summary, if their temperament matches your lifestyle and you can take care of this bundle of joy, it may be time to take the plunge and get a Dachshund of your own.
Owners' voices about their Dachshund
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Dachshund Summary Breed Info box* Standard size Dachshund
4kg - 5kg
Tendency to drool
Tendency to bark
Tendency to dig