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Dapple Dachshund: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

dapple dachshund portrait

Dapple Dachshund: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

The Dapple Dachshund is a gorgeous color pattern with multicolored merle- or brindle-like splotches. They could be full dapple patterns or have large areas of dapple. Some puppies from one merle parent will have a puppy with just a small spot, though that is still considered dapple.

Breed Overview


14 – 19 inches (standard); 12-15 inches (miniature)


16 – 32 pounds (standard); under 11 pounds (miniature)


12 – 16 years


Solid red, black, and tan, red and tan, merle

Suitable for:

Families with older children


Devoted, playful, curious

Dapple Dachshunds are not unlike the other colors in standard or miniature Dachshunds. The color pattern only affects the dog’s look and may contribute to some health problems, but otherwise, a Dapple Dachshund is just like other Dachshunds.

Dachshund Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


The Earliest Records of Dapple Dachshunds in History

Dachshunds are known as “badger dogs” or “hole dogs” for their ability to scent, chase, and flush out burrow-dwelling animals like badgers. Though there are paintings and references to badger dogs in medieval times, this could refer to the type of dog and not a Dachshund specifically.

There are differences in opinion as to when Dachshunds were bred for the purpose of hunting burrow-dwelling animals, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) states that the dog was bred in the 15th century. The Dachshund Club of America recognizes the breed dating back to the 18th or 19th century.

The original Dachshunds were larger than modern standard Dachshunds and had longer legs, but they were selectively bred to emphasize the dwarfism that we see today. The different varieties, including the standard and mini Dachshund, long-, short-, and wire-haired Dachshunds, and dapple or piebald patterns, arose through centuries of breeding. The dapple pattern is believed to have been introduced in the 16th century.

Dapple Dachshund
Image Credit: appleboxcreative, Shutterstock

How Dapple Dachshunds Gained Popularity

In the UK, Dachshunds were first introduced in 1840. They were brought back for hunting by the Royal Family, and Queen Victoria was fond of the breed. This helped them become more popular among the public. The Dachshund’s small size made it suitable for small living spaces, despite its hunting background.

Dachshunds have been traditionally viewed as a symbol of Germany because of their heritage. As a result, their popularity declined during World War I and World War II. The stigma was short-lived, however, and Dachshunds regained their popularity quickly. In fact, the late Queen Elizabeth, known for her fondness for corgis, kept a “Dorgi,” or cross between a corgi and a Dachshund.

Now, Dachshunds are viewed as a positive symbol of Germany. In 1972, a Dachshund named Waldi was the official mascot of the Olympic Games in Munich. This was not only because of the connection to Germany, but because Dachshunds represent the resistance, tenacity, and agility of Olympic athletes.

Formal Recognition of the Dapple Dachshund

The Dachshund was officially recognized by the AKC in 1895, with the Dachshund Club of America as the official AKC Parent Club for the Dachshund. They’re part of the Hound Group, which includes possible ancestral breeds like basset hounds and beagles.

The dapple is one of the recognized color patterns, but the double dapple, a mix between two Dapple Dachshunds, is not the breed standard. This is due to the significant health problems that can arise from the genes that create the dapple pattern.

In addition, most major American cities have local Dachshund clubs, including New York City, Portland, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Along with keeping Dachshunds as pets, they’ve been popular for Dachshund races that are similar to greyhound races.

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Top 5 Unique Facts About Dapple Dachshunds

1. Double Dapple Is a Big No-No

Dapple Dachshunds come from the merle gene in one parent. Breeding two parents with the merle gene, an intent to create more Dapple puppies, can have significant health repercussions. Double Dapples are more likely to have vision and hearing loss, including reduced or absent eyes, full deafness, malformed ears, and congenital eye defects.

Double dapple dachshund puppy in bed
Image Credit: Bela Tovissy, Shutterstock

2. Dapple Dachshunds Have More Health Problems on Their Own

Even with one merle parent, Dapple Dachshunds are prone to health problems like skin cancer, blindness, deafness, and progressive retinal atrophy. Dapple Dachshunds may also be born missing an eye or ear. Other health problems are not coat-specific, such as intervertebral disc disease and osteogenesis imperfecta.

3. Dachshunds Are a Favorite of Writer E.B. White

He’s famously quoted as saying, “Being the owner of Dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Someday, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the Dachshunds and why he can’t be trained and shouldn’t be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a Dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred, I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do.”

4. Dapple Dachshunds Are More Likely to Have Heterochromia

The merle patterns common to collie-type dogs also have links to their blue eye pigment. Like the spotting on the coat, the eye coloration is often uneven. Mixed shades of amber, blue, and green may appear in varying depths. In many instances, Dapple Dachshunds will show two completely different eye colors: one brown and the other a vivid blue.

5. A Dapple Dachshund Only Needs One Patch

No two Dapple Dachshunds are alike, as their variegated coats have almost no limit to the pattern potential. And a dog doesn’t need multiple patches for us to consider them a Dapple Dachshund. All it takes is a single minor patch to qualify unless the coat is primarily white, indicating a Double Dapple dog.


Does the Dapple Dachshund Make a Good Pet?

Dachshunds are playful but known for their stubbornness. Their hunting heritage comes from their prey drive and desire to chase animals and toys. They can be aggressive with strangers and other dogs, merely tolerate children, and are quite vocal. Housetraining is difficult, especially with males or intact dogs.

That said, they are fiercely loyal to their owners. They may experience separation anxiety and destructive behaviors to relieve the stress of being alone. Though difficult to train, it’s important that Dachshunds have strict boundaries, discipline, and plenty of socialization to alleviate aggressive tendencies.



The Dapple Dachshund is a unique and attractive color pattern that occurs in the breed. Otherwise, the Dapple Dachshund shares all the traits of the standard dachshund, including a loyal personality, incredible stubbornness, and a desire to play and chase small animals.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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