Featured Dog Breed: Dachshund
The standard size dachshund was developed to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was bred to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the United States, they have also been used to track wounded deer and hunt prairie dogs.
A typical dachshund is long-bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs. Its front paws are unusually large and paddle-shaped for extreme digging. It has skin that is loose enough not to tear while tunneling in tight burrows to chase prey. The dachshund has a deep chest that provides increased lung capacity for stamina when hunting prey underground. Its snout is long with an increased nose area that absorbs odors.
Dachshunds come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and kaninchen (German for “rabbit”). Although the standard and miniature sizes are recognized almost universally, the rabbit size is not recognized by clubs in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Dachshunds are playful, but as hunting dogs can be quite stubborn, and are known for their propensity for chasing small animals, birds, and tennis balls with great determination and ferocity. Many dachshunds are stubborn, making them a challenge to train.
Dachshunds are statistically more aggressive to both strangers and other dogs. Despite this, they are rated in the intelligence of dogs as an average working dog with a persistent ability to follow trained commands 50% of the time or more.
Dachshunds are burrowers by nature and are likely to burrow in blankets and other items around the house, when bored or tired. Mini dachshund displaying typical burrowing behavior
Dachshunds can be difficult to housebreak, and patience and consistency is often needed in this endeavor.
According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standards, “the dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is a serious fault.” Their temperament and body language give the impression that they do not know or care about their relatively small size. Like many small hunting dogs, they will challenge a larger dog. Indulged dachshunds may become snappy or extremely obstinate.
Many dachshunds do not like unfamiliar people, and many will growl or bark at them. Although the dachshund is generally an energetic dog, some are sedate. This dog’s behavior is such that it is not the dog for everyone. A bored, untrained dachshund will become destructive.If raised improperly and not socialized at a young age, dachshunds can become aggressive or fearful. They require a caring, loving owner who understands their need for entertainment and exercise.
Dachshunds may not be the best pets for small children. Like any dog, dachshunds need a proper introduction at a young age. Well trained dachshunds and well behaved children usually get along fine. Otherwise, they may be aggressive and bite an unfamiliar child, especially one that moves quickly around them or teases them. However, many dachshunds are very tolerant and loyal to children within their family, but these children should be mindful of the vulnerability of the breed’s back.
Life Expectancy: 14-17 years.
Health Concerns: The breed is prone to spinal problems, especially intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage. The risk of injury may be worsened by obesity, jumping, rough handling, or intense exercise, which place greater strain on the vertebrae. About 20–25% of Dachshunds will develop IVDD.
In addition to back problems, the breed is also prone to patellar luxation which is where the kneecap can become dislodged. Dachshunds may also be affected by Osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). The condition seems to be mainly limited to wire-haired Dachshunds, with 17% being carriers. A genetic test is available to allow breeders to avoid breeding carriers to carriers. In such pairings, each puppy will have a 25% chance of being affected.
In some double dapples, there are varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, including reduced or absent eyes.
Other dachshund health problems include hereditary epilepsy, granulomatous meningoencephalitis, dental issues, Cushing’s syndrome, thyroid and autoimmune problems, various allergies and atopies, and various eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal ulcers, nonucerative corneal disease, sudden acquired retinal degeneration, and cherry eye. Dachshunds are also 2.5 times more likely than other breeds of dogs to develop patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect. Dilute color dogs (Blue, Isabella, and Cream) are very susceptible to Color Dilution Alopecia, a skin disorder that can result in hair loss and extreme sensitivity to sun. Since the occurrence and severity of these health problems is largely hereditary, breeders are working to eliminate these.