Dachshund dog breed information and advice

This dog breed guide provides you with information you need to look after a Dachshund, from puppy to adult. Exercise, diet, grooming and their temperament are included which helps you to prepare for bringing a Dachshund home.

Dachshunds may be small and cute, but they will surprise you with their fearless attitude and big personality. Don’t be fooled by their little legs, this breed loves lots of walks and playing games.

Dachshund facts

Lifespan 12-16 years
How much £1100-£2000
Size 20-28 cm Standard, 12.5-17.5 cm Miniature
Weight 9-12 kg Standard, 4.5-5 kg Miniature
Grooming weekly brushing
Temperament fearless, stubborn and loving
Colour dapple, blue, silver, black, black and tan, chocolate,
chocolate and tan, tan, cream, blue and tan, red,
chocolate and cream
Exercise 45-60 minutes a day, split into two walks



Dachshund insurance

As fearless as a Dachshund is, they are not exempt from health issues or injuries. Cover your Dachshund with dog insurance which can help cover the cost of vet bills for surgery and medication. It can also help with any ongoing expenses and vet visits.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank puppy insurance can be taken out from as young as 8 weeks old. Don’t worry, we also cover older dogs if you take the policy out before your dog’s 8th birthday. Our insurance can insure your dog as long as you keep renewing the policy without a break.

How to care for a Dachshund

When looking after your Dachshund, you’ll need to think about their health care. Regular vet check-ups and vaccinations are important but don’t forget that their diet, exercise, training and grooming routine can all affect their health.

Dachshund puppies need to be fed small amounts, 3-4 times a day. This can be reduced to 2 meals a day for adult dogs. It’s easy for Dachshunds to become overweight and as they’re small dogs, they only need to be fed a small amount of food. Follow the feeding guidelines on the food packaging to make sure you aren’t over or underfeeding your dog.

Short, smooth-haired Dachshunds don’t need grooming as often as wire-haired and long-haired ones. Brushing your pet weekly will stop the fur from matting. It also helps to cut down on shedding.

When grooming your dog, check its eyes, ears and teeth to make sure there are no signs of infection. Give their eyes and ears a gentle clean using a damp cloth. You’ll need to brush your dog’s teeth daily, with a soft bristle toothbrush and dog toothpaste, to prevent gum disease. Don’t use human toothpaste as it’s toxic to dogs.

You may think that Dachshund clothing is just for appearance, but there is a more important reason for your dog to have its own clothes. Jumpers and coats will keep your dog warm during the colder months. And help to keep them clean when the ground is wet and muddy.

Most people think that small dogs don’t need much exercise. Dachshunds were bred for running after badgers and foxes. They are used to lots of exercise and should be walked for 45-60 minutes per day, split into two walks. Exercise will help to keep your dog fit and at a healthy weight.

They are an independent breed and not always obedient. However, they were bred for hunting so can be trained with patience and dedication. Dog training classes are a good place to socialise your dog and pick up tips. By socialising your dog from a young age, they will learn not to fear other dogs.

Puppies are easier to house train than adult dogs, so start their training early. Give them the chance to go to the toilet in the chosen toileting area regularly. This can be either a puppy pad or in the garden.



Temperament and behaviour

Dachshunds have a bold temperament despite being a small dog. They are curious and have the instinct to hunt, so they are not always the most obedient dog. However, they do become attached to their family so won’t stray too far from their side when out of the house. Generally well-behaved, keep an eye on them when they’re alone in the garden as they do like to dig and could easily escape under fences.

Your neighbours may complain of barking if you leave your dog at home alone. Barking when alone is a sign of unhappiness, not bad behaviour. Dachshunds like to have company and they love to cuddle, so make sure you have plenty of time to show them affection.

Common health problems

The most common, well-known health issue linked to this breed is a bad back. But there are other conditions that you should also be aware of.

This condition affects the bones in the dog’s back (vertebrae). Intervertebral discs are pads between the vertebrae. These pads can bulge, rupture or slip out of place. This causes pain for the dog and they will not want to move. It can also cause paralysis, where your dog will be unable to move at all.

Strict cage rest will be needed with drugs to reduce the inflammation and pain. In some cases, surgery will be needed to sort the problem. It’s common for dogs to suffer from IVDD more than once in their life.

PRA is a hereditary disease that affects the dog’s sight. It leads to cataracts and blindness over months or years. Early signs of the condition include poor vision at night, nervous dogs in low lighting and big pupils. If a cataract develops, the eye will look cloudy.

Currently, there is no treatment available for this condition, but blind dogs can live happy lives for their full life expectancy

LD is a form of epilepsy that is inherited. It’s a progressive condition, meaning it gets worse over time. Affected dogs have myoclonic seizures, which are brief jerks or shudder movements. They are usually awake during these seizures, but it can also happen when they are asleep.

The seizures are brought on by flashing lights, sudden movements or sounds that are close to the dog’s head. Affected dogs may struggle walking in sunlight. The condition is most common in the miniature wire-haired Dachshund.

Medication can be given to help reduce the seizures, but the condition is not curable. It’s not usually fatal, but it can lead to other health problems such as blindness and dementia.



Do Dachshund shed?

All three of the Dachshund coats shed, but the wire-haired sheds the least. Brushing your dog regularly will reduce the amount of fur that falls out. It will also help to keep their coat clean and healthy.

How long do Dachshunds live?

The average life expectancy for a Dachshund is 12-16 years. This is the same for miniature Dachshunds. Their lifespan is affected by their diet, exercise and health problems. Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from back, heart and joint problems.

What were Dachshunds bred for?

Dachshunds were bred to track down badgers and foxes and flush them out of their burrows. Miniature Dachshunds were bred to fit in smaller rabbit holes. Despite this, they’re not aggressive unless they feel threatened. They become attached to their owners and can become protective of them. Socialising your dog will help stop this from happening and becoming a problem.

Do Dachshunds have back problems?

Due to their short legs and long body, Dachshunds are prone to back problems. Jumping and climbing stairs puts pressure on their back. Stair ramps and dog stairs are designed to help Dachshunds get around and stop them from jumping. The best way to lift a Dachshund is to put one hand under their chest and the other hand around their rear end.

Is a Dachshund right for you?

This fearless, lively little character will melt anyone’s heart. With big puppy-dog eyes and a huggable body, who doesn’t like a lap dog? This breed is best suited to someone with a lot of love and time to share with them. They may act tough, but they’re sensitive and gentle and should be handled with care.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon.

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Garosi L & Rusbridge C (online) Lafora disease. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://vetstream.com/treat/canis/diseases/lafora-disease

Bagley R, Garosi L & Scott H (online) Intervertebral disk: type 1 herniation. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/canis/diseases/intervertebral-disk-type-1-herniation

Vetstream Ltd (online) Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://vetstream.com/clinical-reference/canis/owner-factsheets/progessive-retinal-atrophy-(pra)

Vetstream Ltd (online) Intervertebral disk herniation or slipped disc Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/clinical-reference/canis/owner-factsheets/intervertebral-disk-herniation-or-slipped-disk