Dapper Dachshunds: Delightful, Daring, and Downright Adorable!

The only Dachshund 101 guide you will need! Read these 12 facts about the adorable, sausage-shaped dog, and challenge yourself not to go out and adopt one right away.

Dec 19, 2023By Jessica Montes
dapper dachshunds delightful daring downright adorable

Meet the Dachshund, small in size but big in personality. The lovingly nicknamed “wiener dog” has captured hearts beyond its home country of Germany and has global enthusiasts. Let's take a closer look at the breed’s appearance, behavior, health concerns, and place in popular media.

Dachshunds Come From Germany

Brown dachshund
Photo courtesy of Dominika Roseclay

The German word dachshund translates into “badger dog.” Why? Because these little guys have been bred to hunt badgers since the 16th century. But the breed standard recognized today began with German foresters in the 1700s. Dachshunds could easily track a badger’s scent, follow them into a burrow, and spend hours wearing down an animal for their owners. Once captured, the human caretakers were interested in the badgers’ pelts for clothing.

Because of this persistent hunting style, Dachshunds developed into fearless fighters. Their physical appearance reflects their initial purpose of chasing down and defeating sharp-toothed badgers.

Facts Behind That Unique Appearance

Photo courtesy of Dominika Roseclay

There are other physical traits –besides the elongated body– that make Dachshunds recognizable. ​​The wiener dog physique also features short legs, a broad chest, and a strong, muscular build. Dachshunds are dolichocephalic and have longer snouts and wedge-shaped heads, which give them excellent eyesight and sense of smell. They also have oblong, flappy ears that frame their furry faces.

A standard Dachshund is about eight to nine inches tall and weighs between 16 to 32 pounds. The American Kennel Club also recognizes a toy Dachshund that measures five to six inches at the shoulder and weighs less than 11 pounds. They come in several shades including cream, red, and black with tan. Dachshunds can also have spotted, freckled, or multicolored coats.

Dachshunds Come in Different Varieties

Longhaired dachshund
Photo courtesy of Tyler Sherrington

Aside from the standard variety, there are two other coat types: the long-haired and wire-haired Dachshund. As the name reveals, the long-haired variety has a full coat of straight fur. It is usually longer on the chest, belly, and tail. They also grow these soft locks on their ears, making them look extra fluffy.

Then, there is the wire-haired Dachshund named after its tougher, tighter coat. It may not have the longhaired variety’s silky tresses or the standard’s sleek fur, but it does have key features. They are notable for their furry faces complete with bushy eyebrows, a mustache, and a beard. A wire-haired Dachshund’s ear hair is also shorter than the rest of its body, and its tail has thick, stiff fur that ends in a point.

Dachshunds Have Lively Personalities

Dachshund smile
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cooper

Although Dachshunds are hunting dogs, they have affectionate and loving personalities. They are friendly with other dogs, good with children, and open to meeting strangers. Even though they have more watchdog tendencies, these dogs equally love letting loose and playing with their owners. Compared to other breeds, Dachshunds also have average energy levels and enjoy training sessions and learning new skills.

They do show one potential problem: Dachshunds of all varieties bark. They are extremely vocal dogs and use their voice to protect themselves and send messages to others. These wiener dogs are not for those who want or need a quiet canine breed. An ideal owner will remain unbothered by the Dachshund’s frequent barks and howls.

Dachshunds Need Exercise and Training

Dachshund leash
Photo courtesy of ​​TranStudios Photography & Video

Despite having short legs, Dachshunds need daily walks. Two outings each day, or one hour of walking, is the sweet spot to keep them at a healthy weight and help maintain their muscular, little chests. Weenie dogs also need regular playtime that stimulates their minds and prevents boredom. A bored Dachshund is more likely to engage in negative, destructive behaviors––a common behavioral problem in a bored hound.

In addition, these dogs are highly trainable once they brush off their independent and stubborn nature. You’ll have the most successful training sessions if you load up on treats, positive reinforcement, and patience. Once trained, they make wonderful outdoor assistants. As dogs with excellent scent skills and a strong prey drive, you can easily train them to help you hunt or engage in breed-specific dog sports.

What to Know About Dachshunds’ Grooming Needs

Wirehaired dachshund
Photo courtesy of Alberto Alciuffo

The amount of grooming a Dachshund needs depends on its coat type. Standard dogs have minimal shedding and need a bath and coat trim once or twice a month. The long-haired variety needs a fur brushing every other day to prevent matting. Lastly, the wire-haired Dachshund needs to be brushed twice a week with special attention to its face. Similar to humans, its eyebrows, mustache, and beard need monthly or regular trimming to prevent overgrowth.

As all varieties have tummies close to the ground, check their underside after a day of outdoor play or a walk. Wipe down or brush the area to get rid of any dirt, debris, or dust bunnies that may have clung on.

Some Dachshunds Suffer from Intervertebral Disc Disease

Happy dachshund
Photo courtesy of Alfo Medeiros

These hotdog-shaped pups are not immune from breed-specific illnesses. Unfortunately, some Dachshund health concerns are due to their size and adorable body structure. A common illness among this breed is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Dachshunds make up 40-75% of all IVDD cases. With this condition, the discs between a dog’s vertebrae harden, making it more difficult and painful to turn, bend, and flex.

A vet can diagnose the condition and may use X-rays or MRIs. Treatment involves restricting movements like jumping from elevated spaces and walking up or down stairs. Mild cases may only need pain medicine and muscle relaxants. More intense IVDD symptoms require surgery. IVDD is not reversible, and recovery options for older dogs or severe cases are limited, but it can be managed.

How Owners Can Prevent This Health Issue

Dachshund flower
Photo courtesy of Nadia Vasil'eva

Another health issue among Dachshunds is weight management. As a smaller breed, they are more prone to becoming obese if not monitored. This is why daily exercise and feeding them healthy dog food breeds are crucial for maintaining a Dachshund’s health. Keeping the standard variety in the 16 to 32-pound range puts less stress on their knee joints and prevents back issues, such as IVDD.

Dog obesity is 100 percent preventable. You can ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life by staying fit together! Some ideas include frequent walks and making balanced meals.

Chiweenies: aDachshund Mix Sensation

Photo courtesy of 101 Dog Breeds

Sometimes, Dachshunds are mixed with other dogs to create adorable “designer breeds.” One tiny powerhouse combo is the “Chiweenie” that results from breeding a Dachshund with a Chihuahua. It is believed that this variety was created in the 1950s and reached international attention in the 1990s. These breeders were interested in preserving the Dachshund's signature look and minimizing issues with back pain.

Chiweenies inherit their small frame from their Chihuahua parents. They stand six to 10 inches tall and weigh between five to 12 pounds, although even more petite pups have been reported. Chiweenies have tiny dog syndrome and are relentless barkers, as well. If you can tolerate their vocal behaviors, you get a companion for years. These mixed-breed canines can reach their 15th or 20th birthday, which is one benefit of owning a small dog.

Meet the Golden Dox!

Golden Dox
Photo courtesy of 101 Dog Breeds

If you thought Dachshunds couldn’t get any more lovable, prepare yourself for the Golden Dox. These are Golden Retriever and Dachshund hybrids with a dangerous amount of cuteness. As a mix of two playful breeds, the Golden Dox makes for a super friendly, active, energetic, and easily trainable pet companion. Like the Dachshund, they are great hunters, trackers, and watchdogs.

In terms of appearance, they take after the Golden Retriever size. They are twice as large as Standard Dachshunds and stand 18 to 25 inches tall and weigh about 41 to 65 pounds. Golden Doxs resemble long-haired Dachshunds that have a longer, sleek coat all over their bodies. These dogs also vary in fur color and can inherit the Golden Retriever’s signature yellow shade.

Dachshunds: a Beloved Breed

Adele dachshund
Photo courtesy of Nylon Magazine

Something about the Dachshunds’ signature sausage look makes you want to bring these adorable pups home with you. They are so lovable that they ranked No. 9 on the 2023 American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs. The Dachshund’s adoration in popular culture goes back thousands of years to Queen Victoria’s reign in England. Other famous Dachshund owners include the musicians John Legend, Adele, David Bowie, and George Harrison.

They are favorites in the world of dog shows as well. Since 1930, this breed has won in the Westminster Dog Show Hound category 10 times. Most recently, a long-haired Dachshund named Burns won in 2019 and competed for Best in Show.

These Dogs Take on Charitable Causes

Wiener nationals competition
Photo courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course

Dachshunds are by no means one of the fastest dogs in the world, but they still race for a cause. Since 1996, Wienerschnitzel, the hot-dog serving fast food chain, has held an annual Wiener Nationals competition. This all-Dachshund match involves having sausage-shaped doggies running 50 yards as quickly as possible. Past winners have made it to the finish line and beat the challenges of distractions, other dogs, and running in a straight line in as little as five seconds. Beenie Vonweenie took home the prize this year with a time of 6.8 seconds.

The Wiener Nationals are yearly fundraisers for the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. Over the past three decades and 26 competitions, the event has raised over $300,000 for this Southern California-based no-kill shelter. They are set to hold the race again in 2024.

Dachshunds: A Tail-Wagging Legacy

Dog Costume
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to their sausage-shaped appearance and quirky personalities, Dachshunds bring joy and laughter to their owners and the friendly faces they encounter on the street. From their roles as hunters to their popularity among famous figures, the Dachshund continues to be a delightful and adored furry friend. They prove that big personalities can come in petite sizes.

Jessica Montes
By Jessica Montes

Jessica is a California-based writer, journalist, lover of animals, and vegan of 17 years. Growing up, she owned parakeets, fish, a rabbit, and a red-eared slider turtle. She currently has a black cat named Marty and a tabby named Jellybean. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, camping, and roller skating to funky tunes.