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Dachshund Dog Care: Top Tips for a Happy Wiener Pup - PawSafe

Dachshund Dog Care: Top Tips for a Happy Wiener Pup

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Dachshund dog

Imagine a small dog with a long body and short legs that makes it look like a little sausage on tiny pillars. That’s your Dachshund, also lovingly referred to as the ‘wiener dog’ because of its unique shape. These little dogs hail from Germany, where they were bred over 300 years ago to hunt badgers. Their long, narrow build allowed them to dive into burrows while their tenacity made them excellent hunters.

You might think a dog with such a funny shape would be slow or awkward, but dachshunds are surprisingly energetic and agile. Despite their size, they have a bark that makes you think there’s a much bigger dog around. They’re proud little pups with a lot of personality packed into a compact frame.

The dachshund is not just a one-trick pony though, they are versatile and adapt well to different living situations. Whether you’re in a city apartment or a house with a yard, your sausage dog will make themselves right at home. They adore being with their people and are known for their loyalty. Plus, their playful nature and adorable look have captured hearts all around the world.

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History and Origins

Their history is as interesting as their shape. The first breed standard, which is a kind of official guideline for how the breed should look and behave, was written in 1879 in their homeland of Germany. This set the stage for what Dachshunds are today. By the time the Dachshund Club of America formed in 1895, Dachshunds were already making a name for themselves.

Interestingly, Dachshunds come in two sizes: standard and miniature. But regardless of size, these pups share the same tenacious spirit of the hunting dogs they were bred to be. They are versatile and adaptable, fitting into a variety of roles beyond just hunting companions.

Besides their prowess in the field, these dogs are known for their distinctive appearance. Their long, low silhouette and friendly faces make them favorites both in the show ring and as family pets. And it’s not just their looks; Dachshunds have a charm and character as unique as their bodies – spirited, curious, and sometimes stubborn, but always endearing.

Their appeal is widespread, from the top ranks of dog popularity lists to the hearts of their owners around the world. With such a diverse and rich background, it’s no wonder Dachshunds have captivated so many.

Physical Characteristics

Black and tan smooth coat Weiner dog Dachshund standing outside

Dachshunds are easily recognizable with their long bodies and short legs. They come in different sizes and three coat types, each available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Coat Types and Colors

Smooth Coat:

This is your classic Dachshund with a short, shiny coat. It’s the easiest to maintain — just a quick brush and you’re good to go!


These Dachshunds have a coarse, thick coat and bushy eyebrows. They’re a bit more rugged and have a terrier-like personality to match.


Elegant and flowing, the longhaired variety requires more grooming to prevent tangles.

When it comes to colors, you can find Dachshunds in black, chocolate, dapple (a sort of mottled pattern), brindle (stripes), sable, piebald (white with patches), and even double dapple (more complex patterns). They can wear one solid color or sport a mix!

Size Variations

Standard-sized Dachshunds tip the scales at 16 to 32 pounds (about 7 to 14.5 kilograms). They’re a handful, but in a good way.

Miniature Dachshunds are the tinier cousins, usually weighing under 11 pounds (that’s less than 5 kilograms). They are perfect for a lap-size snuggle.

Both come with the same adorable features — just in different-sized packages!

Body Structure

Your Dachshund is a sturdy little machine. They have this long body (think about a hot dog bun) and these short, muscular legs. It gives them a distinctive silhouette that’s tough to miss.

Despite the short legs, they’re pretty strong and fast. The body is built like an athlete’s — lean and muscular — so it can be surprising just how powerful their appearance is.

Remember, Dachshunds were bred to hunt, so they still have that determination and sturdy build. It’s part of their charm. They may be small, but they don’t act like it!

Dachshund Temperament and Personality

long-haired Dachshund dog on stairs next to flowers

When you’re eyeing a Dachshund as a furry addition to your life, knowing their temperament is essential. These pint-sized pups pack a punch of personality in a small frame; they’re clever, devoted, and brimming with an infectious zest for life.

Behavioral Traits

Your Dachshund is a bundle of energy and play. They adore toys and engaging in games with their human companions. Interactive playtimes are not only enjoyable but also a way to bond with your spirited little friend.

Curious and Independent

Their inquisitive nature means they’re often exploring and may come off as independent. This trait stems from their history as scent hounds. If something piques their interest, they’re likely to follow their nose, so keeping them leashed during walks is wise.


You might notice a stubborn streak in your Dachshund, but this is just a sign of their strong will. Consistent training and a gentle but firm approach can help manage this trait.

Affectionate Companions

Dachshunds are known for their affectionate demeanor, often forming strong bonds with their families. They love to cuddle and will happily curl up next to you or on your lap.


Your Dachshund won’t shy away from expressing themselves. Their barking can alert you to strangers or simply be a way to communicate their desires and feelings.

High Energy Levels 

These dogs are more energetic than their small stature might suggest. Regular walks and playtime are essential to channel their energy positively. They especially enjoy activities like chasing a ball or navigating through tunnels, which cater to their instinctual digging and hunting behaviors.


According to studies by Dr. Deborah Duffy, if not properly socialized, some Dachshunds can show signs of aggression, especially toward strangers or unfamiliar dogs. Early socialization and positive reinforcement training are key to fostering a well-adjusted dog.

Training and Socialization

Close up dapple chocolate long hair mini Dachshund puppy

Training your Dachshund is not just about learning commands; it’s about creating a mutual understanding and a strong bond. Dachshunds are intelligent and, with proper training, become highly trainable companions. Their bright minds make them great at learning tricks and following commands, which can be especially helpful if you have children or other pets.

Building the Bond

  • Be patient and consistent.
  • Create routines and provide structure.
  • Make training a fun and rewarding experience.

Understanding Your Dachshund

Remember, although you may treat your pet like family, they are still dogs and perceive the world differently. They react to what works for them, not necessarily what you might expect.

Effective Training Techniques

  • Motivate your Dachshund with positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise.
  • Use commands consistently to avoid confusion.
  • Be a leader; set rules and boundaries, but always be kind.

Socialization Tips

  • Introduce your Dachshund to various people, animals, and environments early on.
  • Encourage positive interactions in controlled settings.
  • Help your Dachshund feel secure in social scenarios by rewarding calm behavior.

Reducing Unwanted Behaviors

  • Redirect barking to more appropriate activities.
  • Ignore demanding behaviors; reward patience instead.
  • If your Dachshund gets too excited, calm them with a gentle voice and gentle petting when they settle.

Health Concerns

Healthy red short coat Dachshund running and leaping in air

When you bring a Dachshund into your life, be aware that while they’re packed with personality, they also come with a few health concerns. Your sausage dog’s long body is adorable, but it can be a bit of a challenge health-wise.

Behavioral Conditions

Your little friend might show a feisty streak. These pups sometimes have a tendency to express more aggression towards other dogs or people.

Cardiovascular Conditions

Listen up for heart murmurs, as Dachshunds can develop Mitral Valve Disease, which might have a genetic link.

Dermatological Conditions

Itchy skin can be a bother for some Dachshunds due to Atopic Dermatitis, and those with unique color patterns might experience Color Dilution Alopecia, leading to hair loss.

Endocrine Conditions

Your buddy could be at risk for Diabetes Mellitus, needing careful diet management, or Cushing’s Syndrome, where the adrenal glands are affected.

Gastrointestinal Conditions

Ouch! Pancreatitis and Bacterial Cholecystitis are more common in Dachshunds and can cause painful digestive issues.

Hematological/Immunological Conditions

Blood disorders like Haemophilia A and von Willebrand’s Disease could also be on the cards due to genetic factors.

Metabolic Conditions

Pass on the extra treats; these dogs can easily become overweight, amplifying other health problems.

Musculoskeletal Conditions

Their distinctive shape puts them at high risk for Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), affecting the spine, and they could suffer from Patellar Luxation, causing kneecap issues.

Neoplastic Conditions

A scarier prospect is an increased chance of Mammary Neoplasia and Hemangiosarcoma, two types of cancer that demand immediate attention.

Neurological Conditions

Also, keep an eye out for signs of Epilepsy, as it’s known to run in the breed.

Ocular Conditions

Your Dachshund’s eyes need to be cherished; conditions like Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy could impair sight.

Renal and Urinary Conditions

Your Dachshund may be more likely to develop Urolithiasis, or bladder stones, especially if he’s a he.

Reproductive Conditions

If you’re thinking of babies for your baby, Dystocia could complicate the birthing process because of their narrow hips.

Dachshund Grooming Needs

Caring for your Dachshund’s coat is key to keeping them happy and healthy. Here are some tips based on the type of Dachshund you have:

Smooth Coats

  • Routine: A quick daily brush with a soft-bristle brush adds shine to your smooth Dachshund’s coat.
  • Extra Shine: Sometimes, a bit of baby oil on your hands, brushed gently onto their coat, can give it extra luster.

Long-Haired Coats

  • Routine: Brush and comb your long-haired Dachshund often to prevent tangles and remove loose hair.
  • Bathing: Bathe them occasionally, using dog-specific shampoo and conditioner.
  • Tools: A pin brush and a flea comb are great for keeping their coat neat. A stripping knife can be used carefully to control loose hair without damaging the outer coat.
  • Special Areas: Pay attention to the armpits and leg feathering, where tangles often form.

Wire-haired Coats

  • Routine: Wire-haired Dachshunds often require less grooming, but a pin brush or hound glove helps maintain their coat.
  • Tools: If their coat looks untidy, use a stripping comb to thin out the guard hairs gently.
  • Beard and Eyebrows: Keep their distinctive beard and bushy eyebrows neat with regular combing.

General Grooming Tips:

  • Remember to trim the hair between their toes and under the tail for cleanliness.
  • Always use dog-specific toothpaste for oral hygiene.
  • A grooming table can make the process easier for you and more comfortable for your Dachshund.

Best Dachshund Diet and Nutrition

When feeding your Dachshund, striking the right balance is key. You want to provide a nutritious diet tailored to their size and needs without overfeeding. Here’s how to get it right.

Choose Quality Food 

Most commercially available premium foods will meet your Dachshund’s dietary requirements, covering the essential proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, and vitamins. For puppies, opt for kibble made for their growth stage. If they are under 3 months, you may moisten it for easier consumption.

Avoid Overfeeding

Dachshunds love to eat and will rarely turn down food, so it’s up to you to regulate their portions, preventing obesity. Start by following the portion guidelines on the dog food package, adjusting as necessary for your individual dog’s activity level.

Gradual Diet Changes 

If you need to switch foods, do it slowly. Mix a bit of the new food with their current one, gradually increasing the new food’s proportion over several days. This helps avoid digestive upsets.

Limit Table Scraps

Table scraps should not be a staple of their diet as they can lead to nutritional imbalances. Feeding occasional leftovers should be okay, but make them a small part of a meal and avoid foods that are too rich.

Feeding Schedule

Puppies generally require three meals a day, whereas an adult Dachshund can transition to one or two meals. Consistency in feeding times helps maintain their digestive health.

Costs of Ownership

When you’re thinking about getting a Dachshund, it’s super important to consider your budget, not just for the initial cost but also for the long haul. Here, we’ll break down what you can expect to spend on your new best friend.

Initial Costs

  • Puppy Price: Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to over $1,000 for your puppy, depending on things like pedigree and the breeder’s reputation.
  • Supplies: You’ll need to grab some basics like a bed, toys, a collar, and a leash. Set aside around $50-200 for these.
  • Veterinary Care: Your new pup will need shots and a check-up, maybe setting you back $100-300.

Ongoing Costs

  • Food: Quality dog food isn’t cheap, and since Dachshunds can be prone to obesity, you’ll want to get good stuff. Budget $20-60 per month.
  • Health Care: Yearly vet visits, vaccines, and flea prevention can add up to $200-600 annually.
  • Grooming: Even though they’re low-maintenance, Dachshunds still need regular nail trims and baths, which could run you $30-500 a year, depending on if you DIY or go pro.
  • Insurance: If you opt for pet insurance, this can be $200-600 per year.

Lifelong Costs

  • Emergency Care: Accidents happen, and Dachshunds have back issues. An emergency fund or insurance is key; emergencies can cost $200-5,000+.
  • Age-Related Care: As your Dachshund gets older, they may need special care or medication, potentially thousands over their lifetime.

Exercise Requirements

When you’ve got a Dachshund, you’re hanging out with a dog that’s got a lot of pep! Your little buddy has energy to burn and is super playful. Even though they look like they’re built for chill times with their short legs, don’t let the shape fool you – they were bred for hunting. That means your Dachshund pal loves to stay on the move!

Here’s what you should know to keep your Dachshund healthy and happy:

  • Daily Walks: Aim for at least 30 minutes daily. It doesn’t need to be all at once, so feel free to break it up into a couple of shorter strolls.
  • Safe Spaces to Play: They’re into sniffing and exploring. Yard playtime is awesome if you’ve got the space. Just watch out, as they can be diggers.
  • Games: Fetch or tug-of-war? You bet! These games are solid for getting in some fun exercise.
  • Watch the Jumps: Keep in mind, due to their long spines, it’s best to limit activities that involve a lot of jumping.

Remember, exercise isn’t just about keeping the body fit, it’s also perfect for keeping your dog’s mind sharp. Mix things up to keep it interesting for both of you.

If you ever wonder about the exact needs of your particular pup, just ask your vet. Every Dachshund is unique, and your vet can give you the lowdown on what’s best for yours.

Choosing a Dachshund

When you’re looking to add a lovable Dachshund to your family, finding a reputable breeder and considering your family dynamic are essential first steps.

Selecting a Breeder

It’s important to choose a breeder who is knowledgeable and ethical. Look for breeders affiliated with recognized organizations like the American Kennel Club. They should prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs and be transparent about their breeding practices. A visit to the breeder’s facility is a must; it allows you to see the conditions in which the puppies are raised and to meet the parents of your future pet. You can find reputable breeders through networks such as the Dachshund Club of America.

Consider asking the breeder about:

  • Health clearances and vaccinations;
  • The puppy’s lineage and any genetic health concerns; and
  • Socialization and early training practices.

Considerations for Families

Dachshunds can make a delightful family pet, but they require consideration regarding their compatibility with your household. Known affectionately as “wiener dogs” due to their long bodies, they’re brave and energetic, which makes them suitable companions for families. However, due to their hunting instincts as badger dogs, they might require supervision around small children to ensure interactions are gentle and respectful.

When introducing a Dachshund to a family with children, make sure to teach your kids how to handle the dog properly to avoid back injuries, a common concern for this breed. Look for a puppy with a temperament that matches your family’s lifestyle, be it active or more relaxed.

Interesting Facts and Popularity

Hey, did you know the Dachshund, often called a wiener dog or doxie, is super popular, especially in America? They’re like canine celebrities.

Why Are Dachshunds So Popular?

  • Unique shape: Their long bodies and short legs are definitely unusual. They look a bit like a hot dog, right?
  • Energetic personality: These pups are playful and full of energy, making them fun to be around.
  • Good for various homes: Whether you have a house with a yard or just an apartment, these dogs can fit into different lifestyles.

Fast Facts:

  • Short-legged superstars: Their little legs weren’t just a quirky feature. They were bred to dig into burrows and chase out animals.
  • Big hearted: They may be small but they have a lot of love to give.

How Popular Are They?

The Dachshund ranks pretty high in America in terms of popularity. They’re one of the top 30 most popular dog breeds around. Want to know more about what makes them so loved? Take a peek at this info on Dog breeds and their behavior.

Lifespan and Development

When you’re thinking about getting a Dachshund, you’ll want to know how long your new pup might be around. On average, these little dogs have a pretty good lifespan.

Many Dachshunds live between 12 to 16 years. That’s quite some time for you to enjoy their company!

When you first bring home a Dachshund puppy, it’s like they’re tiny little balls of energy. Puppies of this dog breed go through a bunch of development stages super fast. Before you know it, they’re all grown up! But remember, just like us, every dog is unique.

Keep in mind, your Dachshund’s lifespan can be influenced by their health and genetics. To help them live a long, happy life, regular check-ups with the vet and a healthy lifestyle are key.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Puppyhood: 0-1 year (They grow up so fast!)
  • Adult: 1-7 years (Prime time!)
  • Senior: 8+ years (Golden years!)

It’s kinda cool that within their lifespan, dogs, including Dachshunds, experience similar stages of life just like people.

From the playful puppy days to their more laid-back senior years, you’ll see your Dachshund change and grow.

Other dog breeds can have different lifespans and growth rates, but as a Dachshund owner, you can help your dog have the best life possible.

Keep them active, feed them well, and give them lots of love. That way, you and your long-bodied buddy can make the most out of every year together!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, you’ll find answers to some of the top questions you might have about Dachshunds. These include costs, care requirements, and their general health.

How much do Dachshund dogs typically cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to over $3,000 for a Dachshund puppy.

The price often reflects factors such as the breeder’s reputation, location, and the dog’s lineage.

Are Dachshunds considered high maintenance pets?

Dachshunds are moderate maintenance dogs.

While their grooming needs might not be high — especially for the short-haired variety — they do require regular exercise. They are also known for being stubborn, which can make training a bit of a challenge.

What’s the expected lifespan of a Dachshund?

A healthy Dachshund can live between 12 to 16 years.

Proper care, good nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups can help ensure your Dachshund lives a full life.

Can Dachshunds have long hair, and if so, what does it look like?

Yes, Dachshunds can have long hair.

Long-haired Dachshunds have silky, slightly wavy fur that’s longer on their neck, chest, ears, and underbody. They’re quite the charmers with their elegant appearance.

What is the general temperament of Dachshunds?

Dachshunds are playful and energetic with a good dose of stubbornness.

They’re known for being loyal and affectionate with their families, but they can be wary of strangers, making them excellent little watchdogs.

How healthy are Dachshund dogs overall?

Dachshunds are generally healthy, but they’re prone to certain conditions like intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) due to their long backs.

Weight management and avoiding high-impact activities are important for their overall health.

Final Thoughts

Dachshunds, with their distinct long bodies and short legs, have won hearts worldwide. They’re not just cute; they’ve got a personality that’s as big as their bark.

Remember, these little dogs need your love and a bit of extra care, especially for their backs. Because of their unique shape, they can have some health hiccups, like with their spines.


Regular walks keep your Dachshund fit. But avoid activities that make ’em jump too high or strain their backs. Games that keep them on the ground are a win-win.


Watch their weight since extra pounds can hurt their backs. A balanced diet is key. Think quality dog food, the right portions, and not too many treats, no matter how much they give you ‘the eyes.’

Health Check-Ups:

Regular check-ups with a vet can catch things early. Dachshunds can be prone to issues like intervertebral disc disease, which affects their spine. Early detection can make a big difference.

Your Pup’s Environment:

Make it Dachshund-friendly! Keep their stuff within short-legged reach and have ramps or steps so they can climb on the sofa without the damage of jumping.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.