About Dachshunds – What are they really like?
If you're thinking of taking on a dachshund as a family pet, it's important, as with all breeds of dog, to do a little research to find out about dachshunds and what they're really like before you take the plunge.
As a Dachshund Rescue organisation, we often find ourselves looking for new homes for dogs surrendered from families who are surprised by the behaviour of their cute new sausage dog and discover that they're too challenging and/or don't fit in with their family or environment.
This is often because they hadn't taken the time to research and find out about dachshunds before making a decision to own one.
Of course, it's easy to be attracted to their small size, cute good looks, and quirky behaviour, and it's true that dachshunds are a popular breed, we see them all the time on tv and films ,and in advertising campaigns.
They're almost always portrayed as happy, friendly dogs which of course appeals to many dog owners. So what are they really like?
Getting to know as much as possible about the typical dachshund personality before you decide, is very important.
So, if you're considering a dachshund as a family pet, from a rescue or otherwise, congratulations on being in the right place. The very fact that you're here, suggests that you are taking the time to research what you need to know before committing to caring for a dachshund. Be sure to read on though, to get the full picture.
Hopefully, the information presented here will help you make the right decision for you, your family, and of course the dog.
Where do dachshunds come from?
Although Dachshund is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the short name Dackel or, less commonly, by Teckel. Originally from Germany, they were bred to use scent to trail and hunt small animals, including badgers.
Being a short-legged, long-bodied hound breed, earns them the common nickname of sausage dog or wiener dogs.
It is important to note that these dogs are descendants of hunting dogs and therefore much of their hunting instinct is still hard-wired into today's domesticated Dachshund.
They have a high prey drive, ( watch out Squirrels!), and an amazing nose for scenting. They can also, at times, demonstrate a hound's cry when involved in a chase.
Dachshunds are indeed a unique breed, often described as a large dog in a small dog's body, they have real character, and are intelligent, lively, and courageous to the point of rashness. They can sometimes be intimidated by larger dog breeds so it is very important to socialise them from an early age if possible.
In general, they are thought to be a noisy breed, with some types being noisier than others. They can become persistent barkers, so you do have to work hard with them as puppies to ensure that they know when to be quiet.
Dachshund Types & Coats
Generally speaking, there are 6 different types when it comes to dachshunds.
The Standard Smooth-haired, the Standard long-haired, and the Standard wire-haired, with miniature versions of each.
The standards ( the biggest of the 2 groups) were the ones bred to hunt badgers and the miniatures were then introduced to hunt smaller burrows for rabbits and stoats, etc.
There are 3 coat types in each variety;
This is a guide to the general characteristics of each type:
The Smooth-haired: They are often mischievous, energetic and very intelligent, and need strong boundaries. Smooths are perhaps more “one person” or “one family” dogs, not always as outgoing as the other groups.
The miniature smooths do not always do well in busy households especially if there are young children around.
The Long-haired: They are usually quite laid back and the easiest to manage of the types, often very tactile & loyal. This applies to both the Standard & Miniature.
The Wire-haired: Typically, wires, both Standard & Mini, are the most extroverted and active. Often described as a bit of a comedian, the wires are the ones with the highest prey drive. The wire is the one that usually has retained much of his ancestor's hunting instincts
Dachshunds are active dogs and will take as much exercise as you can give them, they may have little legs but this does not hinder them.
They can be strong-willed and take time and commitment to look after.
They may be small but they need mental stimulation and exercise or they can become naughty and destructive.
The miniatures are often thought of as potential lapdogs, mainly because of their small stature, however, it is important to remember that once they reach adulthood, they will take as much exercise as you can throw at them when they are fit.
Obedience & Attention
Dachshunds are not noted for their obedience and can become quite deaf when it suits them, however with patience they can become extremely loyal little dogs.
Most Dachshunds love human company so much that they find it very difficult to be left alone, as a result, many suffer from separation anxiety. They'll demand attention, so you'll need to commit to spending time with them.
Your Home Environment
So we know then, that each dachshund type has certain behavioural characteristics and so is perhaps better suited to certain home and family situations.
If you're considering taking one on, think about the home & family environment you'll be bringing the dog into and then consider what type of temperament and type of dachshund will be best suited to it.
Buying a Dachshund
One thing you must do when considering buying a dog from a breeder is do some research to establish if they are reputable. Unfortunately, there are still some around who are purely profit driven and care little for the animals.
When buying a dog from a breeder as a puppy, you’ll have the opportunity to train and influence its behaviour from scratch.
If you’re considering buying or adopting a dachshund from a friend or previous owner, i.e. not a breeder, it’s important that you find out as much information as possible about how the dog has been treated, the sort of environment it’s lived in, and any behaviours it has established etc. before you take it on.
Adopting a Rescued Dachshund
When adopting a dachshund from a rescue organisation, it’s usually true that they’ll come to you with some established behavioural traits, and these will vary, depending on the reason why they’re being re-homed, and their life experiences so far.
Either way, given the nature of the breed, you’ll need some patience and persistence to work with the dog so that it settles well into your home and with your family.
This is an important consideration for you and your family before deciding to adopt.
All dachshund rescue organisations will put the interests of the rescued animal first. Each of them will have criteria that you'll have to meet in order to be considered for the adoption of a rescued dog.
Most rescue organisations, if you’re adopting a dachshund from them, will offer behavioural training support and advice to assist in helping the dog settle into its new environment, and sometimes continued support throughout the life of the dog.
Rescue organisations always have the best interest of the dog at heart so they are keen to ensure that a dog finds a new “forever” home to be sure that everyone is happy and the dog can settle into a permanent place.
One or perhaps two notable advantages of adopting a dachshund from a rescue organisation are cost and the fact that you’ll be contributing to a worthy cause.
Dachshund rescue organisations are usually devoted to the breed, have a great deal of breed-specific knowledge & experience, and volunteer their time to re-home animals that find themselves in difficult situations.
Dogs are typically priced at well over £1,000 from breeders in the UK. You’ll find that most rescue organisations do charge an adoption fee to help towards their costs, but it will usually be a lot less.
So, in summary, adopting a dachshund can be a good idea, as long as you’re prepared to spend the time to do the “work” to help it overcome any “problem” behaviours it may have developed. Which is not too dissimilar from taking a dog from a breeder or other previous owner really. You’ll save yourself some money, be supporting a worthy cause, and give a dog a second chance of finding a loving home & family.