The Dachshund “look” is hard to miss: low, long and short with a vigorous and muscular body that somehow stays solid and balanced in spite of its squat frame. Its elongated, convex head is erect and alert with ears that hang low and a pair of friendly oval eyes. The base of the neck slopes down to a protruding chest and a tighter abdomen, and the tail follows the line of the back. Dachshunds come in three varieties— smooth, longhaired and wire-haired—and colors can vary from solids of red, tan or yellow or combinations of chocolate, black and gray (among others).
Dachshunds may look cute and cuddly, but they are tirelessly energetic, clever and curious—some might even say “intense.” Always up for a walk, run or a game in the park, they can easily get bored when left to their own devices for too long. Sometimes, that can involve chewing things.
Though very loyal to their owners, Dachshunds can take time to warm up to other people. The benefit, however, is that their (sometimes) relentless barking at the sign of strangers makes them an extremely handy—and compact—guard dog.
Dachshunds, true to their hunting lineage, love the outdoors. With a decent-sized yard to run around, they will frolic: chasing small animals, fervently barking and possibly digging a few holes. They will also be happy in an apartment (they are among the most popular city dogs), but require lots of play, interaction and regular walks to stay in physical and mental shape.
Dachshunds are proud and bold. With proper attention, positive reinforcement and training, they will surprise you with a lovable and dependable temperament. They thrive with single people or families with older children. Very young children could lack the necessary patience and maturity required with Dachshunds.
Dachshunds are prone to back problems, due to their long spine and short rib cage. If allowed to jump down from a bed or couch, they can easily slip a disk. For this reason, it is also important to hold them properly, supporting their full frame. (Warning: You’ll find most Dachshunds will resist being picked up).
Also, be sure to ration their food appropriately: Dachshunds can gain weight quickly, causing more back problems and other issues.
A healthy Dachshund can live as long as 16 years, providing years of fun and companionships.
A breed dating back to at least the Middle Ages, Dachshunds—coming from the German dach, which means “badger,” and hund, which means “dog”—were used widely in 17th century Germany as hunting dogs. Their short, sleek frames and an incredible sense of smell allowed them to hunt above ground, below ground and track animals for days at a time. Various sizes were developed over the years—i.e., smaller Dachshunds for hunting foxes and larger Dachshunds for hunting boar—and in 1895 the Dachshund Club of America began to promote the breed in the U.S.