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Dapple Dachshund: A Complete Guide to This Stunning Doxie Coat Pattern

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

The Dapple Dachshund is a unique and popular color pattern within the Dachshund dog breed known for its distinctive coat pattern. Dapple Dachshunds have a mottled or spotted coat that can come in a variety of colors, including black, chocolate, red, and cream. 

Dapple Dachshunds are a beloved breed for many reasons. They are loyal and affectionate companions that love to snuggle with their owners. In turn, owners go the extra mile in maintenance, with top-notch doggy shampoos and eye wipes, especially for the lighter Doxies.

However, it’s important to note that Dapple Dachshunds can be prone to certain health issues, such as deafness and blindness, so it’s important to do your research before bringing one home. Doxie experts like Alex Seymour, in his Dachshund Guidebook, offer valuable insight into the breed. 

Dapple dachshunds are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities. These long canines come in many varieties, from the rare English Cream Dachshunds to the long-haired Doxies. Even small and medium options are available for people who prefer one or the other.

If you are considering adding a dapple dachshund to your family, it is essential to do your research and choose a reputable breeder. This breed can be prone to specific health issues, such as back problems and eye conditions, so ensuring your dog comes from a healthy bloodline is essential.

Interestingly, what we call “dapple” in Dachshunds is known as “merle” in other breeds like Frenchies, Cardigan Corgis, Cattle dogs, and even Pitbulls. However, we get into the exact difference between the two terms shortly. 

Check out this heart-melting Blue Dapple Doxie puppy.

History of Dapple Dachshunds

Dapple Dachshunds, also known as merle Dachshunds, are a unique and popular variation of the traditional Dachshund breed. These dogs have a distinct coat pattern that is characterized by a mottled or speckled appearance, which can vary in color from black and tan to chocolate and cream.

Dapple vs. Merle: What’s the Difference In Dachshunds?

The terms “dapple” and “merle” are often used interchangeably when referring to a mottled coat pattern that has a light or dilute base with random dark patches. However, in the Dachshund breed, merle coloring or patterns are called dapple. 

Dapple Genetics

An academic study on 140 Dachshunds found that dapple in Dachshunds comes from a number of different genetic variations.

The genetics of dapple Dachshunds can be somewhat complex. In order to produce a dapple puppy, one parent must carry the dapple gene. 

To get more technical, the “dachshund gene” refers to a SINE insertion in the PMEL17 or Silver (SILV) gene. Since this gene only dilutes the eumelanin (black pigment), dogs with pheomelanin (reddish/yellow) pigment may not display the dapple (merle).

This explains why many red or light Dachshunds may not appear to be dapple at all. If two dapple Dachshunds are bred together, there is a risk of producing what is known as a “double dapple” puppy, which can sometimes have serious health issues such as blindness and deafness.

Despite these potential health concerns, dapple Dachshunds remain a popular and beloved breed variation. Their unique coat pattern and playful personalities make them a favorite among many dog lovers.

Types of Dapple Dachshund

Aside from double dapple Dachshund (where a Dachshund puppy inherits two sets of dapple genes and usually has a white base coat), there are other kinds of dapple.

A “hidden” or cryptic dapple Dachshund carries the dapple or merle allele (gene), but you can’t see it in the coat, so it may look like an ordinary Dachshund. They may have only a little merle patterning, making it hard to spot them. Cryptic or hidden dapple dachshunds can often look like Doxies with a “dilute” solid color like isabella, lilac, or apricot. This is also called Faux dilute dapple.

Classic dapped Dachshunds have very clear dilute coats with patches and spots or darker color. They can be red merles/dapple, or variations of chocolate and tan, or blue dapple. 

Harlequin dapple dachshunds are also called patchwork dapples. These Doxies usually have patches of multiple shades of the same or different colors. If there is no white coloring they are called “tweed” or but when they have a white base coat they are called harlequin dapple, like in the photo below of harlequin dapple Dachshund. Keep in mind that a lot of white can also mean the dog is a double dapple.

Physical Characteristics of a Dapple Dachshund 

What Do Dapple Dachshunds Look Like?

Dapple Doxies look like your everyday Dachshund, with the famous long body and short legs. The defining feature in dapple varieties is the mottled coat, with a darker base and lighter splotches and markings on top. 

They have a slightly long muzzle, and the top of their heads is slightly arched. They have a well-developed chest, even in the smaller miniature varieties. Their large, expressive eyes are hazel, blue, or brown, and they have large, floppy ears hanging on their face.

Dapple Dachshund Colors:

There are several types of dapple Dachshunds, including:

  • Double dapple – They have a distinct white base (mostly around the head, neck, paws, and sometimes the whole upper body). They typically have many health issues and should be avoided
  • Phantom dapple – Very little or no visible dapple markings 
  • Dilute dapple – They have a lighter coat color with a dapple pattern
  • Tri-color – They have black, tan, and white coats with a dapple pattern.

The dapple can have many colors like:

  • Red or isabella dapple with a dilute red base and darker chocolate or red marking – very rare since most are hidden;
  • Blue dapple – Gray-bluish base with dark gray or black marking;
  • Black and cream dapple with light markings; and
  • Chocolate like this pup:

How Big Does a Standard Dapple Dachshund Get?

Standard dapple Dachshunds are larger than miniature dapple Dachshunds. The standard size can weigh 16 to 32 pounds (7 to 14 kg) and grow up to 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm).

How Big Does a Miniature Dapple Dachshund Get?

Miniature dapple Dachshunds are smaller than standard dapple Dachshunds. Mini dapple Dachshunds weigh roughly 11 pounds, and grow up to 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) in height.

Coat Type

Dapple Dachshunds have a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain but they can also be long-haired dapple Dachshunds or wire-haired . They shed moderately and require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Dapple Dachshunds are prone to skin allergies and should be bathed regularly with a gentle shampoo to prevent skin irritation.

Personality and Temperament of Dapple Dachshunds

How Do Dachshunds Behave?

Dapple Dachshunds are known for their charming and affectionate personality. They are loyal, affectionate, social, courageous, and intelligent. These dogs are also known for their undying love for digging, relentless barking, and stranger danger, true to their hunting roots.

These dogs are playful and energetic, but they also enjoy cuddling and relaxing with their owners. They are great with children and make excellent family pets. However, they can be wary of strangers, so early socialization is essential.

Dapple Dachshunds are known for their strong prey drive and love to chase small animals, so it’s important to keep them on a leash or in a secure area when outside. They are also known for their tendency to bark, so early training is vital to prevent excessive barking.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Like all dogs, Dapple Dachshunds are prone to certain health issues. Their dapple genetics make them susceptible to blindness and deafness. According to research, dapple or merle gene carriers are 2.7% likely to get partial deafness and 0.7% chance of complete deafness.

This chance increases by 10% if double dapples are bred.

Some of the most common issues include:

  • Blindness or deafness.
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): This is a spinal condition that can cause pain, weakness, and even paralysis. Based on studies, Dachshunds are about 10 to 12 times more likely to develop IVDD, with 19 to 24 % experiencing the condition. 
  • Neurological issues like narcolepsy (falling asleep unexpectedly) and epilepsy.
  • Eye issues like Microphthalmia, where the eye is abnormally small .
  • Heart issues like valve disease. 
  • Joint issues due to their low-set bodies.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Cushing’s disease, where the body produces too much cortisol.
  • Obesity: Dapple Dachshunds, like all Dachshunds, are prone to obesity. This can lead to various health issues, including joint problems, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Dental problems: Dapple Dachshunds are prone to dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Regular dental care, including brushing and professional cleanings, can help prevent these issues.
  • Other issues like allergies, ear and eye infections, and stomach issues.

How Long Does a Dapple Dachshund Live?

Dapple Dachshunds have a lifespan of around 12-16 years. However, this can vary depending on various factors, including genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health. 

Care and Maintenance

What Should Dapple Doxies Eat?

It’s recommended that adult Dapple Dachshunds be fed twice a day, with portion sizes that are appropriate for their size and weight. This is because, despite being small, their deep chests slightly increase their GDV (bloat) risk.

 Their diet must be protein-dense (at least 25%) with vitamins, minerals, carbs, and fiber. Watch out for their weight because obese Dachshunds exert more pressure on their joints.

Exercise Needs

It’s recommended that they get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day and mental exercise like snuffle mats and food puzzles.

It’s important to keep in mind that Dapple Dachshunds have long backs and short legs, which can make them prone to back problems. As such, it’s important to avoid activities that put too much strain on their back, such as jumping or climbing stairs.

How to Groom a Dapple Dachshund 

  • Dapple Dachshunds have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. Brush them at least 2 to 3 times a week to prevent mats and tangles in their long coats.
  • Monthly baths with a gentle canine shampoo.
  • Trim their nails with a guillotine nail cutter and clean their ears with a dog solution at least monthly or bi-weekly.
  • Brush their teeth twice a week and use a dog rinse for oral health.

Training a Dapple Dachshund

Training a dapple dachshund can be a fun and rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, but they can also be stubborn and independent at times.

It is important to start training your dapple dachshund as early as possible. Remain consistent in training aspects like crate training, socialization, and obedience training.

Are Dapple Dachshunds Suitable for Homes with Children?

Dapple Doxies are even-tempered, friendly, and affectionate and, as such, are great around children. However, no dog should be left alone with a child to prevent either of them from getting hurt. Some Doxies have short tempers and can be snappy with kids, especially if they are not familiar with them.

Do Dapple Dachshunds Get Along with Other Animals?

Dapple sausage dogs are generally good with other animals, but it depends on the individual dog’s temperament and socialization. However, they have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable to live with small animals such as birds, hamsters, or rabbits. It is important to supervise their interactions and keep them separated if necessary.

Where to Find Dapple Dachshunds


Adopting a dachshund can be a great option for those who want to give a loving home to a dog in need. When looking for dapple dachshunds for adoption, there are a few options to consider:

  • Dachshund Rescue of North America – This organization rescues and rehomes dachshunds across the United States and Canada. They often have dapple dachshunds available for adoption.
  • Petfinder – This website allows you to search for adoptable pets in your area, including dapple dachshunds. You can filter your search by breed, age, and location.
  • Local Shelters – Checking with your local animal shelters can also be a good way to find dapple dachshunds who need a home.

Rescue Centers

Rescue centers are another option for those who want to adopt a dachshund. These organizations specialize in rescuing and rehoming dachshunds abandoned or surrendered. Some rescue centers that may have dapple dachshunds available include:

  • Dachshund Rescue of Los Angeles – This organization rescues and rehomes dachshunds in the Los Angeles area. They often have dapple dachshunds available for adoption.
  • Midwest Dachshund Rescue – This organization rescues and rehomes dachshunds in the Midwest region of the United States. They often have dapple dachshunds available for adoption.
  • Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue – This organization rescues and rehomes dachshunds across the United States. They often have dapple dachshunds available for adoption.


Breeders can be a good option for those looking for a specific breed. When looking for dapple dachshund breeders, it is important to do research and find reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.

When looking for a breeder, it’s best to contact a reputable organization such as the Dachshund Club of America to find an ethical breeder. Be wary of breeders that breed for color rather than health or temperament.

Suitable Home for a Doxie Dachshund 

  1. People living in smaller spaces (keep in mind these dogs can be prone to barking and may annoy neighbors);
  2. Adult supervision where there are young kids in the home;
  3. Households where no one has any pet allergies;
  4. People with a mildly active lifestyle (daily walks and playtime are a necessity); and
  5. Homes without smaller pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are dapple dachshunds more prone to health issues?

Dapple Dachshunds may be more susceptible to eye and ear issues like deafness and blindness, especially if they’re double dapple(both parents were dapple and both passed down the dapple gene). They’re also prone to Doxie health issues like back problems, obesity, and dental issues.

What is the rarest coloration for a dapple dachshund?

The rarest coloration for a dapple dachshund is a piebald dapple with a white base color with dapple patches. This coloration is not recognized by all breed standards, but it is still a popular and sought-after color among dachshund enthusiasts.

How much should I expect to pay for a dapple dachshund puppy?

The cost of a dapple dachshund puppy can vary depending on several factors, such as the breeder, location, and pedigree. On average, a dapple dachshund puppy for sale can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3,000. It is important to research and find a reputable breeder to ensure you are getting a healthy and well-bred puppy.

Do dapple Dachshunds shed?

Like all dachshunds, dapple dachshunds do shed. However, their shedding is not excessive and can be managed with regular grooming. Brushing their coat regularly can help remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Are dapple Dachshunds hypoallergenic?

No, dapple dachshunds are not hypoallergenic. They still produce dander and can cause allergies in people sensitive to pet allergens. However, their short, smooth coat makes them easier to groom and can help reduce the amount of dander they produce.

Final Thoughts

The dapple dachshund is a unique and charming breed that makes a great companion for those willing to put in the time and effort to care for them properly. With proper training and socialization, these dogs can make great family pets and loyal companions. 

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.