Dachshund: Squatty body and so much more

Dachshund History

As one of the most popular dog breeds, Dachshunds may be small in size, but they are huge in personality. Originally developed for work below ground, the Dachshund was bred in Germany in the early 1600s for their ability to effectively hunt badgers. The breed name literally translates to “badger dog” in English. The success rate of this dog breed led to the development of two different sizes in order to focus on different prey. Dogs weighing 30-35 pounds hunted badgers and wild boar, and dogs 16-22 pounds tracked foxes and hare. Today these identify the standard Dachshund. A miniature-size Dachshund is distinguished by its weight of 11 pounds or less. There are also three varieties of Dachshund – smooth-coated, longhaired and wirehaired.  The American Kennel Club first recognized this smallest member of the Hound Group in 1885, and the Dachshund has continued to rank in the AKC’s top 15 U.S. dog breeds based on registration statistics. A Dachshund can live between 12 and 15 years with proper care and regular visits to the veterinarian.

Playful and Charming

The Dachshund has a playful quality that matches his cute appearance for an almost instant attraction with humans. Owners find it utterly impossible not to be charmed by this low, long-bodied dog with short legs and a friendly disposition. Often compared to a hotdog in his appearance, the Dachshund has earned many affectionate nicknames, including wiener dog or Doxie.

Though he will primarily develop a significant bond with one person, when the Dachshund is properly socialized, he can learn to interact with the entire family. The high intelligence of the breed is balanced by its inherent stubborn behavior. Patience is key for training this quick-learning dog breed and should include positive reinforcement for best results.

It is important to know that a Dachshund has an inherent instinct to be protective of his territory, which includes his humans. If a dog senses an intrusion or threat, he will voice his concern with his deep bark, which makes him an ideal watchdog. This defensive nature is also a good reason to be aware of how he interacts with other dogs and small children.

Moderate Activity Level

The Dachshund is energetic and always looking for adventure. Even though this breed is the ideal size for either living in urban centers without yards or on acres of property, daily exercise is important. A Dachshund is not designed to be a running buddy, but the dog is perfectly suited for a rigorous game of fetch and a walk around the neighborhood. Playing inside will also help release some of his energy.

Be sure to keep him from jumping on and off furniture and other high places, because the dog’s shape makes him susceptible to back injuries. Specially designed steps or a ramp can help him safely climb up or down.

Nutritional Needs

The Dachshund’s skeletal structure cannot support excessive weight gain, which can cause back strain. Maintaining a healthy weight and feeding a high-quality dog food diet is a must for this breed in order to maintain optimal joint and bone support, as well as overall muscle tone.

Early detection is always a best defense, especially with health challenges faced by the Dachshund. Banfield Pet Hospital lists these as some of the more common Dachshund health issues.

  • Glaucoma
  • Periodontal Disease
  • IVDD – Intervertebral Disc Disease
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