They may be little, but dachshunds are full of spunk and curiosity. Learn more about the dachshund and what makes it unique.

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Hound
  • Height: 8–11 inches (standard); 5–7 inches (miniature)
  • Weight: 16–32 pounds (standard); up to 11 pounds (miniature)
  • Life Expectancy: 13–15 years

Often known as a hot dog, wiener dog or sausage dog, the dachshund is a short, elongated breed known for its keen sense of smell and friendly personality. The name means “badger dog” in German.

They are great hunters above and below the ground and are one of the most popular dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics.

There are 2 sizes of dachshunds (standard and miniature) and 3 coat types:

  • Standard smooth, longhaired and wirehaired
  • Miniature smooth, longhaired and wirehaired

The coats come in 15 colors and combinations. The eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped with dark rims. The ears are rounded, set near the top of the head and hang downward near the cheeks. The head slopes into an arched muzzle with tightly stretched lips.

2. Where They Came From

Documentation of the dachshund breed dates to the 15th century. The name was designated 2 centuries later to describe the smooth and long coat varieties. The wirehaired coat type was added in 1890.

While the breed was being developed, there were 2 popular sizes. Dachshunds weighing 30–35 pounds hunted badgers and boars, and smaller dogs of 16–22 pounds hunted foxes and rabbits.

The AKC added the breed in 1885. The Dachshund Club of America was formed in 1895.

Be forewarned: Dachshunds are diggers. By: Denis Babenko (Top: Eduardo Lopez Coronado)

3. How Friendly Are They?

Dachshunds are clever, curious, amusing, lively and playful. They adapt well to new environments and are described as brave and affectionate companions.

They are devoted to their families and good with older children. They’re also good with other pets when properly socialized.

With all that said, dachshunds can be difficult to train, including house-training. Because of their hunting instincts, you’ll need to supervise your dachshund around small animals that might be seen as prey. (If you have a rabbit, for example, you’ll definitely want to provide proper socialization and supervision when your pets are together.)

Dachshunds also can be prone to digging. This video shows Molly, a miniature longhaired dachshund, hunting gophers:

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

MEDIUM: Daily walks and playtime are good exercises for dachshunds. The dogs are prone to spinal injuries, so don’t allow your dachshund to jump down from any height. This breed is active indoors and does well in apartments.

Grooming Needs

LOW: The amount of grooming required depends on the coat. Regular brushing and bathing when needed is recommended for any breed, but longhaired and wirehaired dachshunds will require more coat care. Wirehaired dachshunds should get a professional trimming twice a year.

Smooth coats can be wiped down with a moistened towel.

Clip the nails and brush the teeth regularly, and check the ears for discharge, dirt and debris.

Health Problems

HIGH: There are several health problems to consider with this breed:

  • Spinal disc problems/paralysis
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Tendency to become overweight
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Hemangiosarcoma (aggressive blood vessel tumor)

Dachshunds with smooth coats are easier to groom. By: Nikolai Tsvetkov

5. Where to Adopt One?

Dachshunds end up in shelters and rescues every day. The breed is one of the most popular dogs, but many people get their dachshund based on popularity or looks without considering the breed’s specific needs.

Start with our adoption search first. However, if you decide to contact a breeder, please review our warning signs of a puppy mill to ensure the breeder you select is reputable.

Additional Resources

* * *

Get Free Recall Alerts! Sign up now to Petful’s twice-monthly email newsletter, and you’ll also get our FREE pet food recall alerts. You’ll be among the very first to know about recalls. Click here to sign up now (it’s free).


Popular From Petful



Join the Conversation