By Victoria Swanson — One of many Dog Breeds blogs on SmartLivingNetwork.com
The Dachshund (German for “badger dog”) were originally bred in 16 the century Germany to hunt badgers and other burrow dwelling critters. Later, in the United States, they were often used to hunt prairie dogs. They are still often used as a reliable hunting dog today, but are more commonly a companion dog. Dachshunds are extremely popular, as evidenced by their listing as the 8th most popular breed of 2011, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The Dachshund comes in three different sizes: Kaninchen (meaning, “little rabbit”), Miniature, and Standard. The AKC and the United Kennel Club are the only two clubs that fail to recognize the Kaninchen for breed standards because of their tiny frame and low weight (8-10 lbs.). The Miniature is also quite small (usually weighing in at less than 11lbs), while the Standard is bigger an weights between 16 and 32 lbs. The most common Dachsunds fall somewhere between the Miniatures and the Standards and are known as “Tweenies.”
The Dachshund is often described as “a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long.” They're a compact and muscular breed with a long, narrow body and short, stubby legs. Their long drop ears, pointy tail, and protruding snout are distinctive characteristics of this breed. They also have a notably deep chest.
There are three coat varieties: smooth (short and smooth), long-haired (long and silky), and wire-haired (long and wiry with bristly facial hair). Colors vary and include red, cream, black, chocolate, blue, and fawn, with some colors including spots that are tan in color. Additionally, there are a number of patterns, including dapple, brindle, piebald, and the salt-and-pepper coloring, called “wild boar.”
Dachshunds are a spirited and determined, some would say single-minded, scenthound! They are notoriously stubborn and can be extremely difficult to train. They're actually considered one of the most difficult breeds to potty train, so extra patience will be needed on the part of a Dachshund owner.
These dogs can also be quite aggressive, being quick to nip at strangers, children, and sometimes their owners. They're also known for their loud, high-pitched and will need early training to help keep these aggressive behaviors under control. They're also known to suffer from severe separation anxiety and prefer to be with their owners rather than left behind. Also, because of their strong prey drive, the Dachshund will require a fenced-in yard. For the same reason, they can be difficult to train off a leash unless done so at a very young age - no later than 8 weeks.
After reading the above section, you may be wondering if the Dachshund is the dog for you, but don’t be alarmed! Dachshunds, including my beloved Izzy, can be just as good-natured, fun-loving, and friendly as other breeds. They are intelligent, but they choose when to listen and when not to. They love playing fetch and chasing squirrels. And they're very affectionate. With early obedience training and socialization, you can have a well-rounded and happy “wiener dog.”
Dachsunds possess a moderate to high activity level.This little breed can be a nonstop burst of energy, so an active and playful owner will be a great match for the Dachshund! My Izzy requires a daily walk or run (about 30-45 minutes), as well as a 30 minute game of playing “fetch” in our backyard. If a Dachshund doesn’t have an outlet for their energy, they can become destructive. Avoid this sort of behavior with a variety of outdoor activities. Wiener races, Earthdog trials, and some agility competitions are fun, active sports to play with your “wiener dog.”
Potential health issues include epilepsy, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disc disease, obesity, patellar luxation, eye problems, dental issues, Cushing’s syndrome, and various allergies. Dachsunds usually live around 13 years.
I have trained many breeds, but I have a very personal experience training a Dachshund – my very own Izzy! I adopted Izzy from a shelter when she was only two-years old. I was drawn to her great personality (and the fact that she was potty trained - always a plus!). I taught Izzy many commands, including "sit," "stay," “roll over,” spin, “high five,” and, my personal favorite, “Bang!” (She plays dead for this one).
Dachshunds have a reputation as being extremely difficult to train, but it can be done! She even won first place in a talent competition over a Border Collie. The judges told me that they understood how difficult it can be training a Dachshund, and they were very impressed with how well Izzy listened and responded to me. My “little rabbit” has a wonderful personality and temperament. She is an energetic and spirited little girl, but she's also a certified therapy dog that loves making children laugh. Oh yeah, one last thing: She's always eager to dish out doggie kisses!
Consider looking for a Dachshund through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe
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