Country of Origin The Dachshund (pronounced dak-sund; also known as a ‘Teckel’) originated in Germany in the sixteenth century. They were bred and trained to chase down prey, such as a badger (Dachshund means ‘Badger Dog’) or fox, enter its burrow, kill it, and retrieve it. The Dachshund was recognized as a distinct breed in 1910 and has gradually increased in popularity to become a favored pet. Famous Dachshunds include Picasso’s dog Lump, who may have inspired some of his works, and Waldi, the first Olympic Mascot and symbol of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Size There are three different sizes of Dachshund. The standard Dachshund has a chest girth of at least 35 cm (13.75 in) and maximum weight of 9 kg (20 lbs). The Miniature Dachshund has a chest girth of 30-35 cm (11.75-13.75 in) and weight up to 4 kg (9 lbs). The Toy Dachshund (not formally recognized) has a chest girth smaller than 30 cm (11.75 in) and weighs 3.5 kg (8 lbs). All Dachshunds have an arched muzzle, almond shaped eyes, round ears, and straight tail. They are recognizable by their long, flat bodies and short legs. Writer H.L Mencken famously referred to them as ‘a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long.”
Coat and Color The Dachshund coat may be smooth, long, or wire-haired. All have distinct appearance. Colors can be reddish-brown, black, tan, chocolate brown, deep chestnut in reddish-brown, and black and tan. The hairs on the wire-haired Dachshund should lie flat and be as hard as possible.
Character Dachshunds are energetic, brave, intelligent and independent. They are quite happy, even clownish, and can behave mischievously on occasion. The Dachshund greatly enjoys interacting with humans and is quite friendly and outgoing at home. Dachshunds make fine companions and are not typically used as hunters.
Temperament The Dachshund is somewhat reserved around strangers and may bark at them, but forms a strong bond with family. It can be too courageous around larger dogs. Dachshunds are bold and outgoing, enjoying attention and frequently seeking adventure. They get along well with known children but may behave aggressively towards unknown children. Wired-haired Dachshunds tend to be more lively and outgoing then smooth-hairs; miniature Dachshunds may also be more reserved.
Care The smooth- and long-haired Dachshund should be brushed occasionally to remove dead hairs. Long-haired Dachshunds are prone to tangles, so they should be groomed more often. The coat of the wire-haired Dachshund should be plucked twice a year. Dachshunds live 12-15 years.
Training Long-haired Dachshunds are slightly easier to train than smooth- or wire-haired Dachshunds, however all varieties need firm and consistent training because they have minds of their own. The Dachshund is also sensitive and should be corrected gently, lest it become cowed and afraid.
Activity The Dachshund needs a small amount of exercise; medium length walks or a fair amount of play in the yard should be sufficient. Dachshunds may tire easily so exercise should be spaced out throughout the day. Dachshunds can live comfortably in an apartment, but it is best if they get an occasional view of the wild. Frequent jumping and running should not be allowed as it may cause back problems.