Dachshund Description: The Dachshund has three different sizes: the standard weighs approximately 20 pounds, the miniature weighs 10 pounds, and the toy comes in at about 8 pounds. The height of the Dachshund varies between 5 and 10 inches. Three coat types also occur in this dog: the smooth-haired, the wire-haired, and the long-haired. The coats of Dachshunds are generally found to be black and tan or red, although there are many other color variations. The Dachshund is well known for its long body and short legs. The breed has a long, narrow muzzle and long, floppy ears. These are muscular and energetic dogs. Dachshunds are also called the Wiener Dog or Sausage Dog and are called the Teckel in Germany.
History: As mummified dogs very similar to the Dachshund have been found, it is possible that its origins go back to ancient Egypt. However, today's Dachshund is more easily traced to breeders in Germany. Using hounds and terriers, these breeders produced a hunting dog recognizable as a Dachshund by the early 17th century. The short legs allowed the dog to follow game into underground dens. The dog was used not only to hunt badgers and rabbits below ground, but also as pack dogs to hunt wild boar.
Temperament: Because the smooth-haired Dachshund was bred with other dogs to obtain the various coats, there are behavioral differences between the three types of Dachshund. The smooth-haired Dachshund is a confident, lively, and dominant dog. It has a reputation of being a barker. The introduction of Spaniel blood has caused the long-haired Dachshund to possess a gentler disposition. To form the wire-haired Dachshund, breeders used the Dandie Dinmont and Schnauzer. This is also a dominant dog, although more tranquil and queter than the foundation stock.
Dachshunds are affectionate dogs that enjoy being with the family. They are good with children, especially older ones. It should be remembered that these dogs have strong hunting instincts and care should be observed as regards cats and other small pets.
Health Issues: Considering the length of the Dachshund's back, it is no surprise that this is the largest health problem with this breed. Trouble with spinal discs will be worsened if the dog becomes obese, so it is imperative to maintain a proper weight. Dachshunds can also suffer from heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, and thyroid problems. Some of the color variations also experience hearing and vision disorders.
Grooming: The smooth-haired Dachshund is the easiest to groom, and an occasional brushing is all that is necessary. The long-haired dog, of course, will require more care to keep the coat tangle free. A twice year stripping is required for the wire-haired Dachshund. As excess hair can sometimes grow between the toe and foot pads, the owner should clip this as necessary.
Living Conditions: The Dachshund, while originally a hunting dog, is now used mostly as a companion. As such, it is best kept in the house with the family. Dachshunds are perfectly happy living in an apartment and do not require a yard. However, Dachshunds do need a long walk every day for their physical and mental health.