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The Wire-Haired Dachshund: The Wistful-Eyed Wiry Doxie With a Whopping Personality - PawSafe
Dog Breeds

The Wire-Haired Dachshund: The Wistful-Eyed Wiry Doxie With a Whopping Personality

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

If you’re a weiner or sausage dog lover, you may already know about the rare wire-haired Dachshund, also known as the Wiry Doxie. These cute and spunky little pups have a unique coat that sets them apart from other Dachshunds. What most obviously sets the wire-haired Dachshund apart is its unique wiry fur.

Caring for a wire haired Dachshund’s coat can be trickier than other Dachshunds. Their wiry fur is coarse, so it can easily tangle and form knots. To keep their coat looking fabulous, it’s important to use a gentle dog shampoo that won’t irritate their skin.

Now, let’s turn to our expert source, Vanessa Richie’s “The Complete Guide to Dachshunds: Finding, Feeding, Training, Caring For, Socializing, and Loving Your New Dachshund Puppy,” to help us give the best tips and advice on caring for your wire-haired Dachshund.

History of Wire-Hair Dachshunds

The history of the wire-haired Dachshund traces back to the 16th century when a little dog called a “Little Burrow Dog,” “Dacksel,” or “Badger Dog,” was first mentioned. These dogs had short legs and were great at hunting badgers. In fact, the name “Dachshund” means “badger dog” in German.

Originally, Dachshunds had smooth coats and came in different sizes. They were created by crossing a miniature French pointer called the Bracke with a vermin-killing Pinscher. Long-haired Dachshunds started appearing in woodcuts later in the 16th century.

Mentions of the wire-coated Dachshund dog breed can be found as far back as the 1790s. Most modern wire-haired Dachshunds were developed in the late 19th century by crossing smooth Dachshunds with German wire-haired pinschers and the Dandie Dinmont terrier.

Each type of Dachshund, whether smooth, long-haired, or wire-haired, was best suited for hunting in different terrains and climates. These dogs were strong and tough, capable of taking down badgers, foxes, and other small animals.

There were even very small miniature Dachshunds bred for hunting small prey like rabbits. Some of these miniatures were intentionally produced by crossing with toy terriers or pinschers.

As time passed, stricter criteria were adopted to maintain Dachshund’s specific traits. Breeders crossed the different coat types with other breeds to improve their characteristics.

Smooth Dachshunds were bred with miniature pinschers, long-haired Dachshunds with Papillons, and wire-haired Dachshunds with miniature schnauzers.

Today, the Dachshund has found its place as a beloved family pet. It has become one of the most popular hound breeds in America, known for its unique appearance and friendly nature.

The Physical Characteristics of the Wire-Haired Dachshund

The wire-haired Dachshunds have long bodies in proportion to their height. They are compact and have well-developed muscles, making them strong and agile. Their eyes are almond-shaped.

The wire-haired Dachshund has a distinct head and skull shape. They have a very long muzzle, which makes them dolichocephalic as opposed to short-nosed, brachycephalic breeds like pugs.

They usually have dark eyes, except for chocolates, where they can be lighter in color. In dapples, one or both eyes can have a “wall” eye, which means they may have a blue eye or a marbled look.

Coat and Color

The wire-haired Dachshund’s coat is short with a ‘harsh’ texture. It feels rough to the touch and gives them a distinctive appearance. Their coat also has a dense undercoat, which provides extra insulation.

Colors in the wire-hair Dachshund include:

  1. Red: Ranging from light to dark shades of red.
  2. Black: Solid black coloration.
  3. Chocolate: Solid brown coloration.
  4. Isabella: Diluted brown coloration, often with a grayish hue.
  5. English Cream: Pale, almost white coloration.
  6. Wild Boar: A mix of black, brown, and gray hairs, often giving a brindled appearance.
  7. Gray: Solid gray coloration.

Patterns:

  1. Dapple: A unique pattern characterized by patches of lighter or darker colors on a solid base color. This can occur in combination with any of the colors listed above and is called merle in other dog breeds.
  2. Brindle: Dark-colored stripes or streaks on a lighter base color, often seen in conjunction with the wild boar coloration.
  3. Piebald: Large areas of white or light coloration combined with patches of any of the colors listed above. This pattern can range from minimal to mostly white with small patches of color.

It’s important to note that the availability of specific colors and patterns may vary among individual wire-haired Dachshunds, as breeding and genetics play a role in determining their coat characteristics.

Wire-haired Dachshunds should not have any white on their coat except for a small patch on the chest, which, according to the breed standard, is permitted but not preferred.

When it comes to nose and nail color, in most cases, they are black. However, if the Dachshund is chocolate, tan or chocolate dapple, its nose and nails may be brown.

How big does a standard Wire-Haired Dachshund get?

The standard wire-haired Dachshund usually weighs over 11 pounds (5 kilograms), ranging from 16 to 32 pounds (7 to 14 kilograms). In terms of height, standard wire-haired Dachshunds stand at about 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 centimeters).

How big does a miniature Wire-Haired Dachshund get?

Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds are smaller in size. They typically weigh 11 pounds (5 kilograms) or less. Their height is around 5 to 6 inches (13 centimeters).

Temperament, Intelligence, & Personality of Wire-Haired Dachshunds

The most obvious difference between the wire-haired Dachshund and the smooth and long-haired Dachshund is its coat. However, survey data suggests that wire-haired Doxies have a unique temperament too.

Wire-haired Dachshunds are known for being outgoing and friendly. They enjoy meeting new people and are often sociable with others. However, it’s important to note that some (about a third) wire-haired Dachshunds can show aggression toward other dogs. 

That means that proper socialization and training are essential for them to get along well with other pets. Wire-haired Dachshunds are easier to train when it comes to house training. They catch on quickly to where they should do their business.

Proper exercise, mental stimulation, and attention are important to keep them happy and content. They love to sniff out treats, so invest in puzzle toys and snuffle mats.

Interestingly, wire-haired Dachshunds are less likely to suffer from separation anxiety. That means they may handle being alone without feeling overly anxious or distressed. 

On the flip side, wire-haired Dachshunds may be more prone to a fear response to noise and thunderstorms. Loud sounds can make them feel anxious or scared. Providing a safe and comfortable environment during such situations can help them feel more secure.

In terms of interactions with people, wire-haired Dachshunds are generally less likely to be nervous or fearful. They are often more comfortable and at ease around new individuals. 

According to their entry in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, wire-haired Dachshunds can sometimes display more brash and feisty behavior than other Doxies.

Mini wire-haired Dachshunds share some similarities with their larger counterparts. They are less likely to bark excessively or persistently. That is beneficial in a residential setting where excessive barking may cause problems.

Health and Lifespan Common Health Issues

All breeds are prone to some health issues, and the wire-haired Dachshund is no different. Some of the most common health issues that wire-haired Dachshunds may experience include:

Dental Problems: Wire-haired Dachshunds are prone to dental issues, such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gum infections. Regular dental care, including teeth brushing and professional cleanings, is important to maintain oral health and prevent complications. 

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): The condition affects the discs between the vertebrae in the spine. It can lead to back pain, hind limb weakness, and even paralysis. According to studies, IVDD is more prevalent in Dachshunds due to their long bodies and short legs. 

Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap slips out of its normal position. It can cause lameness and discomfort. Regular exercise and avoiding activities that put excessive joint stress can help manage this condition. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem. 

Allergies, Skin Issues, and Ear Infections: Wire-haired Dachshunds can be prone to allergies, manifesting as skin irritations, itching, and ear infections. Environmental allergens, such as pollen or dust mites, as well as food allergies, can contribute to these problems. 

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): DM is a progressive neurological disease that affects the spinal cord. It typically manifests in older Dachshunds, causing a loss of coordination in the hind limbs, difficulty walking, and eventually paralysis. While there is no cure for DM, supportive care and physical therapy can help maintain their quality of life.

Cushing’s Disease: Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disorder that can affect wire-haired Dachshunds. It occurs due to excessive production of cortisol, resulting in symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, weight gain, and skin problems. 

Heart Disease: Dachshunds may be susceptible to certain heart conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), where the heart enlarges and weakens. Regular veterinary checkups, including cardiac evaluations, can help detect and manage heart issues. 

Neurological Issues: Wire-haired Dachshunds can experience various neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, which causes seizures, and narcolepsy, where they have sudden episodes of falling asleep. These conditions require thorough evaluation and management by a veterinarian with experience in neurology.

How long does the wire-haired Dachshund live?

According to survey data , wire-haired Dachshunds live to be around 15.5 years old when they pass away from old age, making the lifespan typically up to 1This means they can spend many happy years as a part of your family, bringing joy and love to your home.

However, it’s important to note that certain health conditions can impact their lifespan. Cardiac conditions can sadly reduce their life expectancy. On average, Dachshunds with cardiac conditions pass away at around 9.4 years old.

Another health concern for wire-haired Dachshunds is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which affects the discs in their spine. Unfortunately, the mean age of death due to IVDD-related conditions is around 5.7 years old.

It’s important to be mindful of their back health, avoid activities that strain their spine, and provide proper support and care to minimize the risk of complications.

Non-IVDD neurological conditions, such as seizures or other neurological disorders, can also affect their lifespan. On average, Dachshunds with these conditions pass away at around 9.7 years old.

Remember, these numbers are averages, and individual wire-haired Dachshunds may live longer or shorter lives depending on various factors.

Care and Maintenance

How to Groom a Wire-Haired Dachshund

To keep your wire-haired Dachshund looking and feeling good, here are some grooming tips:

Brushing

Use a slicker brush to comb their fur once a week gently. It helps remove tangles and keeps their coat in good condition.

Trimming

Trim the hair around their ears, paws, and bottom to prevent it from getting tangled or dirty. It’s important to keep these areas neat, tidy, and hygienic.

Ear Care

Clean their ears gently with special cleaning wipes for dogs. That will help prevent ear infections and keep their ears healthy.

Nail Care

Trim their nails regularly using a guillotine dog nail clipper. Be careful not to cut too short, as it can cause injury.

Dental Care

Take care of their teeth by brushing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Don’t use products intended for human use. Another great idea is to add a canine mouth rinse to their water bowl.

Hand-stripping

Wire-haired Dachshunds need a specific grooming technique called handstripping. See the video below for guidance.

https://youtu.be/8lTLmQ4I080

Exercise Requirements of a Wire-Haired Dachshund

Wire-haired Dachshunds have exercise requirements essential for their overall health and well-being. Here are some important points to consider regarding their exercise needs:

Regular Physical Activity: Wire-haired Dachshunds require daily exercise to keep them mentally stimulated and physically fit. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily to meet their needs. That can include activities such as walks, playtime, and interactive games.

Moderation is Key: While exercise is important, avoiding overexerting your wire-haired Dachshund is crucial. Due to their long backs, they are more prone to spinal issues and injuries. Be mindful of activities that involve jumping or excessive strain on their back, such as high jumps or long staircases.

Adapt Exercise to Their Size: Wire-haired Dachshunds come in different sizes, including miniature and standard. Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise according to their size. Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds may need shorter exercise sessions of 15 to 20 minutes, while an active standard wire-hair Doxie may need 30 to 45 minutes.

Mental Stimulation: Provide your wire-haired Dachshund with mental stimulation and physical exercise. Engage them in interactive games, puzzle toys, and training sessions to keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

What is a Good Home for a Wire-Haired Dachshund?

Deciding if the wire-haired Dachshund is the right dog for you depends on your lifestyle. Here’s some information to consider:

Personality and Energy Level

Wire-haired Dachshunds are generally more extroverted and active than other Dachshund varieties. They have a playful and lively nature, making them a good fit for families or individuals who enjoy an active lifestyle and are willing to provide regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Miniatures for Less Active Owners

All the miniature Dachshund varieties, including wire-haired ones, can make ideal pets for those who are less active. If you’re looking for a small and affectionate companion but prefer a less demanding exercise routine, a miniature wire-haired Dachshund can be a great match for you.

Apartment Living

It’s important to consider that Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, can be prone to barking. If you live in an apartment complex or have close neighbors, excessive barking may cause issues. However, you can sometimes manage and minimize this behavior with proper (and early) training and socialization.

Consideration for Their Back Health 

Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, have long backs susceptible to injury. It is important to be mindful of activities that can strain their back, such as jumping from heights or climbing stairs excessively.

Grooming Commitment 

Wire-haired Dachshunds have a distinctive coat that requires regular maintenance. Their wiry fur needs brushing at least once a week to prevent matting and keep it clean. They may also require the occasional visit to the doggy parlor.

Children and Other Dogs 

When properly introduced and socialized, dachshunds can get along with children and other pets. A study conducted from 1987–1991 reported 2719 behavioral problems in dogs, and when it came to Doxies, they found a lower risk of behavior problems.

However, more recent data suggest that Dachsunds may be predisposed to aggression toward other dogs and humans. That supports the survey results that wire-haired Doxies are more likely to be aggressive toward other dogs. It’s better not to keep two dogs of the same gender together and invest in early socialization.

What Should a Wire-Haired Dachshund Eat?

Wire-haired Dachshunds need a well-balanced diet that suits their age, weight, and activity. Not giving them too much food is crucial, as they can gain weight easily.

It’s best to feed them high-quality dog food with enough protein, fat, and nutrients to keep them healthy. This will help them stay in good shape and have plenty of energy. Make sure they always have access to fresh water so that they can stay hydrated.

Regular visits to the vet are important for wire-haired Dachshunds. The vet might recommend a specialized diet if they have any health issues like allergies. They can guide you on the best food choices and portion sizes for your furry friend.

Where to Get a Wire-Haired Dachshund?

Adoption

Adoption is a wonderful option if you want to give a loving home to a wire-haired Dachshund in need. Organizations are dedicated to rescuing and rehoming Dachshunds, including the wire-haired variety. Here are a couple of places where you can find wire-haired Dachshunds available for adoption:

Dachshund Rescue of North America: They rescue and find homes for Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, all across the United States and Canada. You can visit their website to learn more about their adoption process.

Dachshund Adoption Rescue and Education (DARE): DARE is a non-profit organization specializing in rescuing and rehoming Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, in several United States. Check out their website for more information on adopting a wire-haired Dachshund.

Rescue Centers

Rescue centers are a great place to start when looking to adopt a wire-haired Dachshund. These centers often focus on Dachshunds and can provide valuable information about the breed. Here are a few rescue centers that may have wire-haired Dachshunds available:

Southern California Dachshund Relief, Inc.: This non-profit organization rescues and rehomes Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, in Southern California. Visit their website to learn more about their adoption process.

Midwest Dachshund Rescue: They rescue and rehome Dachshunds, including wire-haired ones, in several states across the Midwest. Check their website for more information on adopting a wire-haired Dachshund.

Doxie Rescue of Bucks County: This non-profit organization rescues and rehomes Dachshunds in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, including wire-haired ones. Visit their website to find out more about adopting a wire-haired Dachshund.

Finding a Good Breeder

Finding a reputable breeder is crucial if you’re looking for a wire-haired Dachshund puppy. A responsible breeder will have knowledge about the breed, take good care of their dogs, and ensure the puppies are healthy and well-socialized.

Start your search by contacting local breed societies like the Dachshund Club of North America, as they can guide you to ethical breeders who prioritize the health and temperament of their dogs.

When buying a puppy, be sure to vet the breeder thoroughly. Ask for genetic health tests to ensure the puppies are not prone to common health issues like degenerative myelopathy.

Visit the breeder to meet their dogs and see if they are healthy, living in a good environment, and have a friendly nature to pass on to their pups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are wire-haired Dachshunds good dogs?

Wire-haired Dachshunds are friendly, alert, and full of energy. They are also known for their intelligence and loyalty. However, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique, so it’s essential to spend time with a wire-haired Dachshund to see if their needs and personality match with your family.

Are wire-haired Dachshunds rare?

Wire-haired Dachshunds are not considered rare but are less common than smooth-haired and long-haired Dachshunds. Each coat variety has distinct characteristics, and the wire-haired variety has a dense, wiry coat that sets them apart.

Do wire-haired Dachshunds shed?

Yes, wire-haired Dachshunds shed, but they are fairly low-shedding compared to other breeds. Their wiry coat helps trap loose hairs, so you might find less hair around your home. However, regular brushing is necessary to keep their coat healthy and prevent matting. Increasingly, some breeders may cross them with a Poodle for a more hypoallergenic coat to create the Doxiepoo.

What is another name for a wire-haired Dachshund?

Wire-haired Dachshunds are sometimes called wire-haired Doxies or simply wire-haired wieners or the wire-haired sausage dog.

Are wire-haired dogs expensive? 

The cost of a wire-haired Dachshund can vary depending on the breeder, location, and the dog’s pedigree. Generally, wire-haired Dachshunds can be more expensive than smooth-haired or long-haired Dachshunds due to their unique coat.

Are wire-haired Dachshunds good with children?

Wire-haired Dachshunds can be great companions for children when properly trained and socialized. However, it’s important to supervise interactions between dogs and young children to ensure safety for both. Teaching children how to interact properly and respect dogs is also essential.

How long do wire-haired Dachshunds live?

Wire-haired Dachshunds have an average lifespan of around 12 to 14 years. Providing them with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and proper veterinary care can help promote a long and healthy life. Each dog is unique, and genetics, overall health, and lifestyle can influence their lifespan.

How much do wire-haired Dachshunds puppies cost?

The cost of a wire-haired Dachshund puppy can vary depending on the breeder, location, and the dog’s pedigree. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $2000 for a wire-haired Dachshund puppy. A miniature wire-haired Doxie will set you back anything from $400 to $3000.

Final Thoughts

Wire-haired Dachshunds are energetic and intelligent and require regular grooming and moderate exercise. Wire-haired Dachshunds can fit families well but may require supervision around younger children. They may also be aggressive with other dogs and tends to bark a lot. However, they are great companions, each with a unique personality.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

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.