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The Owner’s Guide from Puppy to Old Age

Choosing, Caring for, Grooming, Health, Training and Understanding Your Standard or Miniature Dachshund Dog

By Alex Seymour

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This book has been written to provide useful information on the Dachshund. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any animal medical condition consult a qualified veterinarian. The author and publishers are not responsible or liable for any specific health or allergy conditions that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application, or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources mentioned. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of the websites listed.

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Congratulations on purchasing this book. You’ve made a wise choice as many of the world’s top breeders have been involved in contributing to this book, and once you’ve reached the end, you will have all the information you need to make a well-informed decision whether or not the Dachshund is the breed for you.

As an expert trainer and professional dog whisperer, I will teach you the human side of the equation, so you can learn how to think more like your Dachshund and eliminate behavioral problems.

While this is an exceptional breed with unique and endearing qualities, it is imperative that you understand the things that make these dogs different and what they will need from you in care and companionship before you proceed. That is the purpose of this book. No matter how cute Dachshunds are, they must only go to the right people, to owners who can understand and take responsibility for the breed’s emotional as well as physical needs.

Dachshunds are fantastic companions, affectionate, intelligent, brave to a fault, and truly comical. However, they also can be willful and headstrong. The breed’s elongated physical form also can make them prone to a range of spinal issues. Fortunately, most back problems can be avoided by buying your dog from a healthy bloodline, keeping him fit and trim and using common sense with physical activities.

If you learn everything you can about Dachshunds, take a realistic look at your life and home, and decide this is the breed for you, you will never regret the decision. But being responsible in truly considering the ramifications of any pet ownership is a huge part of being a good owner.

If you don’t do the hard thinking first, before the fun starts, the dog is the one who will face the consequences of your bad choice, but, choose wisely and well, taking into consideration your needs and those of the Dachshund, and you will have one of the best canine companions you could ever hope to meet.

As a special thank you for buying this book we would like to give you even more value by giving you free access to some exclusive bonus interviews with expert Dachshund breeders.

This enables you to stay in touch after you have read the book and get even more useful and entertaining Dachshund advice and tips.


Go to this page on our website to download your free gift:


The top selling adult colouring book for Dachshund owners is available on Amazon and other good online bookstores. This makes for a memorable gift idea even if you are not personally into colouring for relaxation and enjoyment.

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In writing this book, I also sought tips, advice, photos, and opinions from many experts of the Dachshund breed. In particular, I wish to thank the following wonderful breeders, organizations, owners, and vets for their outstanding help and contribution:

United States and Canada Contributors

Vicki Spencer of Lorindol Standard Smooths and secretary of the Dachshund Club of America


Lorraine and Dave Simmons of Stardox Dachshunds


Andra O’Connell of Amtekel Longhair Dachshunds and former Dachshund Club of America Secretary from 1999-2006

Maggie Peat of Pramada Kennels

Tom Sikora of Koradox Dachshunds

Karen Scheiner of Harlequin Dachsunds

Sheila DeLashmutt of ZaDox Dachshunds

Carol "Jeani" McKenney of Tarabon Dachshunds


Sheila Paske of Storybook Dachshunds

Amanda Hodges of Teckelwood Dachshunds

Anne Schmidt of Stardust Dachshunds

Connie & Gary Fisher of Beldachs Between the Hills

Lucy Granowicz of Von Links Dachshunds

Kelly Denise Bensabat of Splendor Farms

Cyndi Branch of Willow Springs Dachshunds

Dianne Graham of Diagram Dachshunds


Lori Darling of Red Oak Dachshunds

Audrey Paul of Small Wonders Kennels

Cyndy Senff of Dynadaux Miniatures

Shirley Ray of Raydachs

Emma Jean Stephenson of EJ’s Miniature Dachshunds

Jerry Cerasini of Brownwood Farms

Debby Krieg of Daybreak Wires

Lynn Cope of Jeric’s Kennels

Midge Martin of Full Circle Dachshunds


Helen ‘Dee Dee’ Clarke of Deedachs Kennel

Joyce Wilson of Re:Joyce Dachshunds

Lois and Ralph Baker of Louie’s Dachshunds

Travis Wright of RoundAbout Dachshunds

Catherine Johnson of Peachtree Kennel

United Kingdom Contributors

Ian Seath, Chairman of the UK Dachshund Breed Council

Mandy Dance of Emem Dachshunds

Debbie Clarke of Tekalhaus Dachshunds

Susan Holt of Waldmeister Dachshunds

Nora and Paul Price of Samlane Dachshunds

Pat Endersby of Mowbray Dachshunds

Sue Ergis of Siouxline Dachshunds

Australia Contributors

Judy Poulton of Laurieton Dachshunds

Avril Osborne of Dachshund Dawgz

Chapter 1 – Meet the Dachshund

From their origin as hunting dogs to their popular acceptance as pets in the early 1900s, the intelligent, tenacious, and ridiculously brave Dachshund is one of the most popular of all companion breeds. Athletic, entertaining, and packed with attitude, this is a big dog in a little, elongated package.

Photo Credit: Andra O’Connell of Amtekel Longhair Dachshunds

The distinctive body conformation and hound-like head is testament to the Dachshund’s original purpose. Dachshund is a German word literally translating into English as “badger dog.” First mentioned in the 1500s, “Dachshunds” were dogs with the courage to go to ground with the vicious and ill-tempered badgers.

Hunters didn’t care about having purebred dogs for such a purpose. They only wanted dogs that would get the job done. They did, however, selectively breed their top performers and over time, the genesis of a purebred “badger dog” with ideal characteristics emerged.

These included the keen tracking senses of a hound, short legs and long bodies to enter the badger’s den, and the bravery to face the cornered creature head on. The Dachshund is classified in the hound group or scent hound group in the United States and Great Britain, and as a dwarf breed are more susceptible to back disease than most other breeds, nevertheless they are generally recognized as a healthy breed. You just need to be sensible and don’t allow them to jump on and off beds or furniture.

Known in Germany today as the Dachshund, Dachsel, Dackel, and Teckel, and lovingly in the United States as a Doxie, hot dog, Weiner dog, or sausage dog, this is a unique breed with a fascinating and often challenging personality.

This book covers the two main sizes — standards and miniatures. Even then, each size comes in three different coat types, making six possibilities to choose from — as if it wasn’t hard enough already! Don’t worry — we are here to guide you with expert breeder advice along the way so you really get to know the Dachshund inside out.

Over 40 experienced breeders from all over the world have kindly given their time to answer questions and give their expert advice. You are about to benefit from literally hundreds of years experience of breeding and living with Dachshunds.

Breeder Vicki Spencer of Lorindol Standard Smooths is also secretary of the Dachshund Club of America, and she tells us why she chose this breed above all others: “I began actively showing Golden Retrievers in obedience and conformation in 1970. In 1994 I acquired a Dachshund puppy who became American Dual Champion, Canadian Champion, International Champion Cherevee Bad News Bear VC (Versatility Certificate) JE (Junior Earth Dog) CD (Companion Dog) titling in conformation, field trials, obedience and earthdog. Needless to say I was hooked.

“Why a Dachshund (especially since they are polar opposites from a Golden Retriever)? I love their intelligence, independence and tenacity. Even though they love their people to the nth degree and are extremely eager to please, they have a stubbornness that will keep you on your toes. Being tremendously intelligent, they have no problem questioning your orders if they feel you are being unreasonable. They are free thinkers who can and will figure out solutions to problems on their own. Their stubbornness will keep them on a problem until they do figure out a solution.

“Author Steven Rowley hit it right on the head in his book, ‘Lilly and the Octopus’ when he said, ‘By then I had all but given up trying to out-stubborn a Dachshund, an exercise in futility if there ever was one.’

“They love their people unconditionally, but can spot a phony in a heartbeat. Don’t bother about trying to trick a Dachshund. They will have you figured out in no time.

“A Dachshund is a hunting dog and should be able to work tirelessly in the field all day. They are fearless to the point of rashness and possess an amazing ability to follow a track. They are friendly and outgoing dogs, but will stand their ground to protect those who are fortunate to be loved by one. They love to play, but also are content to lay quietly by their owner’s side.

“Fearless, friendly, devoted and intelligent – I think that says it all.”

Want more reasons to choose a Dachshund?

Jerry Cerasini of Brownwood Farms says, “The reason I chose Dachshunds and still love and appreciate them every day is because I have never had a more loyal companion animal. My dogs love me to an extent I have never known from any other breed I have ever owned. This is paired with their ability to think for themselves. If I tell them to do something, they, unlike other breeds, look at me and decide if this is something they would like to do. If not I get a look that says, I don't think so, not today anyway. I love this attitude. I am sure it’s not for everyone, but I totally love this combination.”

The History of the Dachshund

Historical illustrations from the 15th-17th century show dogs much like Dachshunds used for various hunting purposes. The animals are described as having tracking abilities similar to hounds, but with a physical size and temperament more akin to terriers.

As the Dachshund developed as a distinct breed in Germany, their hunting skills expanded beyond their primary function as badger dogs. Dachshunds are excellent trackers, and are still used today to locate wounded deer. Packs of Dachshunds have been used to hunt wild boar, to go after fox and rabbit, and even to work as retrievers of waterfowl.

It is unclear exactly which breeds were used to cultivate the Dachshund as we know him today. A smaller Pointer, the Braque or Bracke, a progenitor of many modern hunting dogs, is part of the mix, as is the smooth-coated German Pinscher, popular for its vermin-killing skill.

Photo Credit: Cyndi Branch of Willow Springs Dachshunds.

The strongest ties, however, are to the now-extinct “turnspit” dog, a breed used throughout Europe to walk on a treadmill to power revolving roasting spits. Descriptions of turnspit dogs from the mid-1700s characterize them as animals with stubby legs and extended bodies. Their coats could be short or long, grizzled or spotted, and they had the unusual feature of crooked front legs.

Dachshund paintings from the 19th century show the same type of front legs, leading some canine historians to theorize that the only difference in a “turnspit” dog and a “Dachshund” was the owner and the animal’s purpose. Peasants owned turnspit dogs and noblemen owned Dachshunds.

Two different sizes of Dachshund developed according to function. Those (standard size) dogs weighing in a range of 30-35 lbs. / 13.61-15.88 kg were used to hunt badgers and wild boar, while (miniature size) dogs of 16-22 lbs. / 7.26-9.98 kg proved better suited for fox and hare.

Dachshunds were first imported into America in 1885, and the Dachshund Club of America was founded in 1895. The breed was added to the American Kennel Club field trials in 1935.

In the United Kingdom, the Dachshund was used as a working dog and was even part of royal kennels. We know the UK Dachshund Club was formed in 1881, so there is a long history to this wonderful dog.

These days of course the Dachshund is best known as a pet rather than working dog (although they are still used to track deer and other animals), but you can give your dog the opportunity to do what comes naturally by competing in Dachshund Field Trials and Earthdog events.

In America, the first Dachshund field trial was held in 1935 in Lamington, New Jersey with a total of 13 entries. Since then field trials have become wildly popular with many trials seeing 80 to 100 entries competing each day. The popularity of field trials is due largely to the Dachshund’s enthusiasm for hunting and owners enjoying watching their dogs do what they do best.

Famous Dachshund Owners

Dachshunds have certainly found their way into the company of the rich and famous and have, undoubtedly, made their opinions known to everyone. Famous Dachshund owners include:

• James Dean

• Marlon Brando

• John Wayne

• Clint Eastwood

• Doris Day

• Rita Hayworth

• Joan Crawford

• Elizabeth Taylor

• Napoleon

• Gandhi

• E.B. White

• William Faulkner

• Teddy Roosevelt

• John F. Kennedy

• David Hockney

• Frida Kahlo

• Andy Warhol

• Picasso

• George Stephanopoulos (ABC News)

• Sharon Stone

• Kelsey Grammar

• Thom Browne (fashion designer) and his partner Andrew Bolton (curator of historical fashion at MOMA)

• Jim Palmer — baseball hall of fame pitcher

That’s the history; now what can you expect of the modern day Dachshund? Lucy Granowicz of Von Links Dachshunds says, “Dachshunds are a very loyal breed that love people and thrive on attention. They are very smart and know just how to manipulate their owners. They also can be very funny in the things that they do. All three coats have their own distinct personalities.”

What Does the Dachshund Look Like?

In its modern form, the Dachshund is a muscular dog with a long body. He stands on short but sturdy legs with over-sized, paddle-shaped front paws that are ideal for digging.

The deep chest and tubular body accommodates a larger-than-average set of lungs. This allows the breed to hunt underground more efficiently and gives them a deep, sonorous bark, which they are able to sustain for extended periods.

Even with a recognized reputation for developing back problems, this is a strong and hardy breed with an average lifespan of 15 years.

One key advantage is that Dachshunds do not generally smell. A strong odour is not normal and may indicate a skin problem.

Kelly Denise Bensabat of Splendor Farms says: “The life expectancy of a Dachshund, miniature or standard, is usually 12-18 years of age, depending on quality of life, i.e. nutrition, wellness (dental, vaccination/heartworm) and genetics. Personally, I have owned, bred, and buried Dachshunds living to be 19 years of age and have two clients who have owned Dachshunds that lived to be 20!”

They Come in Three Sizes

There are three sizes of Dachshund: standard, miniature, and kaninchen (“rabbit” in German). The latter is not recognized in either the United States or the UK, but is accepted by the World Canine Federation, which has member clubs in 83 countries. Typical weight for the kaninchen is 8-11 lbs. / 3.6-5 kg, and they must have a chest circumference of 30cm or under at 15 months.

Dogs that fall between the standard and miniature are called “tweenies” and are increasingly favored as family dogs. These Dachshunds are often pet-quality animals from reputable breeders and are perfect in every other way except size and are thus not suitable for breeding programs or showing.


This is the largest sized Dachshund with a typical height of 8-9 inches (20-23 cm). A mature standard Dachshund weighs approximately 16-32 lbs. / 7.3-15 kg (USA breed standard).

Standards come in comes in three different coat varieties — shorthaired (smooth), longhaired, and wirehaired (as explained further in this chapter).


Miniatures are of course smaller in size when compared to standards. They must weigh a maximum of 11 lbs. / 4.98 kg (this is when they are 1 year old), and are usually 5-6 inches (13-15 cm) in height (USA breed standard).

Miniatures also come in the three different coat varieties — short-haired (smooth), long-haired, and wire-haired.

Note that compared to standards, as a general rule of thumb many minis don't like the rain — a lot of them prefer to be inside. Some breeders also believe they bark a LOT more, have a different temperament (not all, but many), and have more health issues such as with their teeth.

If you are now wondering which of the two sizes to choose, here is some help from Dianne Graham of Diagram Dachshunds: “I think size is a matter of where you live and your own personal taste. Some people like to cuddle with a lap full of miniatures while other folks like a standard to lay beside them when sitting on the couch.

“Smaller dogs can live in apartments with walks in local parks. Bigger dogs need a bit more room, but can be managed in smaller spaces, also.

“For older folks, smaller dogs may be the way to go. They are easier to pick up and transport than their bigger relatives.

“Families with young children may do better with standards. The bigger dogs are sturdier than miniatures and make great companions for kids.

“By the way, I have standard smooths and mini wires and can’t imagine life without either!”

The Three Distinctly Different Coat Types

Three coat types are present in Dachshunds: shorthair or smooth, longhair, and wirehair. The smooth and longhair varieties have been present since the 16th century. The wirehaired coat with a soft undercoat appeared around 1797. Longhaired Dachshunds have silky hair with short “feathers” on the legs and ears.

Short/Smooth-haired – Dense, short, smooth, and shiny requiring little maintenance.

Sue Ergis of Siouxline Dachshunds has chosen to concentrate on the miniature smooth-haired Dachshund (see her photo) because: “In 1993 after having spent the previous 20 years showing and breeding Basset Hounds I wanted a smaller hound breed to complement the Bassets, a breed that was game and hardy like the Bassets but a lot smaller. I first had a Standard Dachshund but as they are not much smaller than a Basset, I decided to go smaller with the Miniature. Basset Hounds have a smooth coat and as I'd tried a Dachshund with a long coat I wanted to go back to smooth coats again. Much easier to look after, no matting, no smell.

“I found it quite a challenge breeding the Miniature Smooths for the show ring. Breeding correct construction and soundness within the Kennel Club breed standard for Dachshunds, there is no coat to hide any faults so ‘what you see is what you get’ … the idea being that they have to be as perfect as possible! I was lucky enough to start off with some really good bloodlines, the result being that I have bred and owned 14 champion Min. Smooth Dachshunds. All this has made it great fun and such a lovely breed to live with.”

Sheila Paske of Storybook Dachshunds explains why she has chosen to concentrate on the standard smooth-haired Dachshund: “Simply because I personally like a larger dog. Both in the field and underground, both sizes excel, and in my experience the hunting skills of the two sizes are the same. Many people like a dog which can be carried, but I simply want ‘more’ dog.

“As for what a new owner can expect — This is an independent, energetic, loyal and friendly breed. They make amazing family companions and are wonderful with children. In my experience, once you have owned a Dachshund, you’ll never want to be without one — at least one, as they do very well in a home with more than one. Housebreaking is a matter of consistency and perseverance, but is not an insurmountable task.”

Longhaired – Soft and straight with feathering on underparts, ears, behind legs and tail where it forms a flag. Regular grooming is necessary.

Debbie Clarke of Tekalhaus Dachshunds has chosen to concentrate on standard longhaired Dachshunds (see Debbie’s photo) because “They have fabulous temperaments, easy to live with, no health issues, are the best of the varieties for families and mix very well with other breeds (we had Rottweilers with them and now have a rescue crossbreed from Mauritius).”

Wirehaired – A short, harsh coat with a dense undercoat covers the body. There is a beard on the chin, eyebrows are bushy but hair on the ears is almost smooth. They don’t molt and a wire coat will typically need stripping (not clipping) twice a year, which is explained in the chapter on grooming.

Shirley Ray of Raydachs: “I choose to breed only 1 size (standard) and 1 coat variety (wire) and have been for almost 25 years. I personally believe for a person to truly put everything you can into it is to breed only 1 coat and 1 size. Researching pedigrees and knowing all the dogs and their traits in that pedigree is very important. I also do not cross coats. Some people will breed a wire to a smooth thinking they will get better coats. This is not necessarily so. Many of the smooths have been crossed with longs in the past. The longhair gene can remain in the pedigrees for many many generations. So, when you cross a wire and smooth you can get a very fuzzy cotton type coat. This cannot be stripped out. Looks like a poodle type coat. As the coat is clippered it can become very light, almost white in color. They also can have the longhair ear set. So, I don't believe in crossing coats.”

Cyndi Branch of Willow Springs Dachshunds focuses on the miniature wirehaired (see Cyndi’s photo below) as a result of: “When my husband and I met our first wirehaired Dachshund in Austria 25 years ago we were instantly captivated — it was love at first sight. She was friendly, outgoing and playful. We find the wires to be affectionate, determined and very good natured. Combine that with their beards and bushy eyebrows and you will smile every time you look at them. We were drawn to the miniature size because we like to be able to take our dogs with us everywhere we go.”

Which to Choose?

There is no such thing as the best type as each of the six varieties has its own fans and there is undoubtedly a Dachshund to suit everyone's preference of coat, color, and size. You may however be wondering which is the most popular combination out of the six.

In the United States, we can’t say for sure because the American Kennel Club does not divide Dachshunds by size, so there is no record of which size has the most registrations. Vicki Spencer of the Dachshund Club of America says, “In terms of coats, for years it has been smooth coats, followed by longs and finally wires, but wires and longs are certainly becoming more popular. In terms of size, I would guess the miniature smooths because as Breeder Referral for DCA, I get far more calls looking for miniature smooths than any of the other size/variety combination.”

In the United Kingdom, the Kennel Club does have the numbers and they show the mini-smooths way out in front in terms of numbers being registered.

Most Popular Colors

There are seven colors and five patterns found in Dachshunds. For instance, one of the most popular is the black-and-tan marking similar to the coat of a Rottweiler. It is possible for Dachshunds with different coat colors and patterns to be born into the same litter depending on the genetics of the parents.

According to the American Kennel Club, the following is a complete listing of possible Dachshund colors and markings.

• black (considered non-standard color)

• black and cream

• black and tan

• blue and cream

• chocolate (solid chocolate considered non-standard color)

• chocolate and cream

• chocolate and tan

• cream

• fawn

• fawn and cream

• fawn and tan

• red

• wheaten

• wild boar


• brindle

• dapple

• sable

• brindle piebald

• double dapple

• piebald

You should be very careful of any breeders offering “rare colors” such as double dapple. Breeding dapple to dapple is not something responsible breeders do. Offspring of two dapples may be blind, may lack eyes, or may be deaf. If they appear normal, they will still carry the genes that may cause this to occur.

The dominant color for the breed is red, followed by the black and tan combination. Reds can range from a light copper color to deep rust, with dark hairs present on the back, face, and edge of the ears.

Amanda Hodges of Teckelwood says: “The most popular color for a Dachshund depends on which size and which variety. I think it would be reasonably accurate to say red is the most popular color for standard longhairs. I’ve found people usually want a black and tan in miniature smooth Dachshunds – unless they only want a red or some pattern. I see more wild boars in wirehairs at the show ring. I’ve found many people want a red or a cream in miniature longhairs – but, again, if they want a black and tan or one of the patterns, they won’t consider anything else.”

Photo Credit: Kelly Denise Bensabat of Splendor Farms with an English Shaded cream and a Pale EE Cream

Eye Color

Eyes are typically a dark brown color. Dachshunds with light colored coats have eyes that are light brown, amber, or green. Dapple Dachshunds may have eyes of two different colors. It is also possible for blue or partially blue eyes to be present in the breed, but this is considered an undesirable trait.

The Dachshund Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home is fun, even if the memories you’re making include epic, puppy-generated messes! Young Dachshunds are a huge responsibility no matter how much you love them, and they take a lot of work. Dachshund pups are curious and they often will have short, chaotic bursts of energy for around 10 minutes until they calm down again!

The first few weeks with any dog is an important phase that shapes the animal’s adult behavior and temperament. Every new pet owner hopes to have a well-mannered, obedient, and happy companion.

Puppy proofing, house training, grooming, and feeding aren’t the sole requirements. Critical socialization must also occur, including crate training. These measures prevent problem behaviors like whining, biting, or jumping.

To achieve these goals, you must understand the breed with which you’re working. You will need to train him to understand that you are above him in the pecking order and teach him some basic house rules, and you will be rewarded with a companion for life.

If you don’t have the time to spend working with your Dachshund in the areas that will make him a desirable companion, ask yourself if this is really the time in your life to have a pet.

Also, bear in mind that you are also your Dachshund’s companion. This is not a one-sided relationship. What is your work schedule? Do you have to travel often and for extended periods? Only purchase a Dachshund if you have time to spend with him.

Initially you will need to devote several hours a day to your new puppy. You have to housetrain and feed him every day, giving him your attention and starting to slowly introduce the house rules as well as take care of his general health and welfare. Remember too that treating Dachshunds like babies is something many owners succumb to and this is not at all good for them.

Certainly for the first few days (ideally two weeks) one of your family should be around at all times of the day to help him settle and to start bonding with him. The last thing you should do is buy a puppy and leave him alone in the house after just a day or two. Left alone all day, they will feel isolated, bored, and sad, and this leads to behavioral problems.

As well as time, there is a financial cost, not just the initial cost of your puppy. You also have to be prepared to spend money on regular healthcare, as well as potential emergency money in vet’s bills in the case of illness as well as equipment such as crates, bedding, and toys.

DID YOU KNOW? Research shows many dogs have intelligence and understanding levels similar to a two-year-old child. They can understand around 150 words and can solve problems as well as devise tricks to play on people and other animals.

Personality and Temperament

So what defines your Dachshund’s character? One factor is his temperament, which is an inherited trait, and another factor is the environment in which your Dachshund grows up. In a dog’s life, the first few months are deemed really important. When the time comes that he becomes separated from the litter, his reactions and responses to the world around him are a reflection of how he has learned the essence of socialization.

There is no denying the benefits that your Dachshund gets from being introduced early to other dogs and humans along with different noises and smells. When a dog learns how to feel comfortable in whatever type of surrounding he is in, feelings of fear and anxiety can be eliminated. Otherwise these feelings can cause a dog to display undesirable behavior such as aggression.

Although all dogs are individuals, Dachshunds have well-known personality traits you should understand before you bring one of these single-minded little dogs into your home. Dachshunds are incredibly strong willed. It will take effort on your part to assume your proper role as leader of the pack.

By breeding, Dachshunds are hunters and trackers. They are exceptionally talented at detecting and following scents, ignoring all commands to the contrary. Always keep your Dachshund on a leash in an open area!

This ability does, however, translate to outstanding performances chasing and finding balls and other toys and a great affinity for participation in field trials and agility competitions.

Dachshunds can also be inveterate diggers. They will go under fences, uproot flowerbeds, and rip up carpet in their conviction that something is down there they must uncover. Always keep Dachshunds in a fenced area with footing buried at least 12 inches / 30.48 cm. Dachshunds enjoy having their own sandbox where they are allowed to dig to their heart’s content.

Although Dachshunds can suffer from back problems, these are truly athletic dogs. They like to move and exercise. Most “bad” behavior is actually an expression of abject boredom. If you are a sedentary person, this may not be the breed for you. You should exercise caution with allowing Dachshunds to play in such a way that they jump excessively, shake their necks, or round sharp corners suddenly. All such activities can lead to spinal ailments.

Anne Schmidt of Stardust Dachshunds: “They really should have a fenced area to run, putting them on a tie outdoors is not safe (they tangle due to their short legs) and can lead to frustration. Stairs do not hurt standard sized Dachshunds, it helps build their core muscles which makes their backs stronger. What they should NOT do is jump off high furniture (your bed) and run circles indoors. Running outdoors on grass is not a problem!!

Vicki Spencer of Lorindol Standard Smooths adds: “Dachshunds are not foo-foo dogs, they are active hunters who when bred correctly can run, climb and play with no qualms. IF they are bred correctly (ribbing twice as long as the loin to support the back) and IF they are kept at a correct weight a Dachshund should not experience back problems. My dogs hunt, climb, jump and run and I have been fortunate to not have experienced a back problem in the almost 30 years I have owned Dachshunds.”

Make no mistake: regardless of any other personality traits, Dachshunds see themselves as the center of the universe. They like to have the spotlight and are quite good at taking it for themselves. They want and need your attention and will get it, one way or another – even if it means they’re going to get yelled at.

Lorraine Simmons of Stardox Dachshunds adds: “In the thirty-six years I have had Dachshunds I have found that the temperament or personality can be different in all three coats as well as the sizes. For example, The Long Hair Dachshunds have a softer sweet personality whereas the Wire Hair can have a Terrier type personality. The Smooth Hair Dachshunds are in the middle of the other two. They can be sweet and mushy as well as independent. In the smooths the males tend to adore you more than the females. Females tend to be more independent.

“The minis tend to have a mini dog type personality which can be busier and more active than standards. Standard Dachshunds tend to have more of a larger dog personality. Dachshunds are scent hounds. They can be stubborn. They need to learn you are the pack leader.”

Andra O’Connell of Amtekel, a former (1999-2006) Dachshund Club of America Secretary, says that the temperament of the Dachshund varies slightly between the coats: “The longhair (my variety) is typically the easy going, laid back variety probably from the Spaniel influence that produced the long hair. The wire coats are thought to be the ‘clowns’ and have a bit more terrier influence while the smooth are perhaps somewhere between the previous two. The Dachshund is small in stature and big on personality. They are a big dog in a small body (no one has informed them that they are indeed a small dog!). They were bred for the tenacity of the hunt and there should be no shyness in this breed. They should also not be aggressive or mean. The Dachshund should be a great family dog who can hunt all day and be peaceful on the couch or with children at night.”

Getting Along With Other Pets

Dachshunds are typically good with other pets in the family, but may develop jealousies and grudges depending on the dynamics of the household.

Even if you can’t engineer a total peace agreement with the resident feline, détente is an option. Don’t force the animals to interact or to spend time together. When the puppy first arrives, put the little dog in its crate and allow the cat to check out the new member of the family. Expect caution and vocal disapproval.

Supervise all interactions and do this in neutral territory. Reinforce good behavior with treats and praise. Don't over-react to aggression or “trash talking.” At this stage, the puppy is likely the one in need of rescuing from potential sharp-clawed swipes.

Separate the animals with a firm “no” and try again later. Understand this can go on for several weeks until your pets reach some form of agreement whose terms only they will comprehend.

As for other kinds of animals, exercise reasonable caution and use your judgment. For instance, never let any dog play with a rabbit. Remember, by breeding, Dachshunds are hunting dogs.

Midge Martin of Full Circle Dachshunds says: “I have had cats and dogs together for many years. Introducing a new animal into the mix is always a challenge. Bringing in a cat, one must be prepared for fireworks, but hope that none occur. The first consideration is that the cat has to have an escape hatch. Dogs will chase…it’s their nature, so you have to be sure that the cat cannot be cornered anywhere. Most cats have claws, so you must be sure to supervise any early interaction.

“Yes, Dachshunds are hunters, but they learn about the comforts of the couch early. If you have more than one dog, try to introduce each one to a new cat or dog individually. Pack mentality can take over if there are numbers, so careful introductions and supervision are key.

“The same rules apply for bringing in a new puppy or older dog. Introduce individually…usually the new one on a leash with the new family. Gradually allow for sniffing and play until the newcomer and longer residents are comfortable with each other.”

Are Dachshunds Good With Children?

Dachshunds do make for a good family pet, especially as they are so loyal to their owners, although they do best around children when they are raised with them as a puppy.

Adult dogs that have not been exposed to babies may find their crying and sudden movements unsettling. Until the dog is socialized with the baby and understands, it may be best to keep them separated.

Even if you do not have children, it’s advisable to expose your dog to children during puppyhood to prepare the animal to behave correctly during any future encounters. Supervise these meetings to ensure the children are kind and respectful with the puppy, but do not isolate the dog. Being good around children is a critical part of any well-behaved dog’s repertoire of manners.

If you do have children, teach them to interact with all animals in a gentle and proper way. Regardless, you should not leave a young child unsupervised with a dog regardless of breed or perceived nature. If a child hurts the dog by pulling its ears or tail or even biting the creature, don’t blame the dog for reacting. Ideally I would suggest waiting until your children are 4-5 years of age, when they are old enough to understand the Dachshund’s disposition and to respect his boundaries. With very young children, I guess instead of the miniature size I’d consider perhaps the more sturdier standard sized Dachshund.

Photo Credit: Audrey Paul of Small Wonders Kennels

Travis Wright of RoundAbout Dachshunds says: “We have twin three year-old daughters and a teenage son, so are very familiar with the challenges of balancing the needs of children and mini wires. Fortunately, we’ve found that with close supervision and training, doxies and even young children can be good friends. Socialization, for both puppies and children, is critical. We start early — introducing the puppies to the kids, and the kids to the puppies. We don't tolerate rough or aggressive play from either, and explain to our girls that dogs like ‘nice touches.’ When puppies get too rough with the girls or mouth their fingers when teething, we respond with a firm, ‘No!’ Soon enough, all parties seem to get the point. Now, the girls are experts at lead-training our RoundAbout babies!

“For prospective owners with young children, I'd encourage them to select a puppy from a breeder who has socialized her/his dogs with children of all ages. This helps to make sure the puppy is confident enough around children to tolerate their odd sounds and movements. Likewise, temperament is key — a shy, reserved, or anxious puppy should never be considered for a home with children. When inviting a puppy to live in a home with children, it is important to have a crate or other safe space for the puppy to retreat to when the kids become too much! And, young children and dogs should never be left unsupervised.”

Vicki Spencer of Lorindol Standard Smooths: “I retired as an elementary teacher and for years my Dachshunds would come to my class and interact with my students. They helped me teach science and math and listened as students read to them. I have adults who tell me they still remember the lessons the Dachshunds taught them. I couldn’t have asked for more patient, sweet helpers than my standard smooths.”

Male or Female?

The only time gender is important is if you are intending to breed the dog. Otherwise, focus on the individual Dachshund’s personality. In too many instances, people want female puppies because they assume they will be sweeter and gentler.

No valid basis exists for this assumption. Don’t use such a misconception to reject a male dog. The real determining factor in any dog’s long-term behavior is the quality of its training in relation to its place in the family. Consistency in addressing bad behaviors before they start is crucial.

Female dogs coddled as puppies display more negative behavior and greater territoriality than males. Consider this factor with a grown Dachshund, especially in a rescue situation.

The greatest negative behaviors cited for male dogs are spraying and territorial urine marking.

In the case of purebred purchase, having the animal spayed or neutered is a condition of the purchase agreement. Breeders make pet quality animals available because they do not conform to the accepted breed standard. Such dogs are not suitable for exhibition or for use in a breeding program. Spaying and neutering under these circumstances protects the integrity of the breeder’s bloodlines.

The common “wisdom” holds that female Dachshunds are more loyal and affectionate, but males are less problematic to keep. There seems to be no basis however to “prove” these assertions. Both genders can be excellent companions and both can be stubborn and difficult. This would seem to indicate the Dachshund personality is a matter of equal opportunity.

Maggie Peat of Pramada Kennels says that new owners should not be focused on male vs. female: “I believe the most important aspect besides general health of a puppy is their temperament. It needs to match the household. So many owners want female puppies, but in many situations a neutered male is a much better fit.”

Do You Buy a Puppy or Rescue an Adult Dachshund?

People love puppies for all the obvious reasons. They are adorable, and the younger the dog when you buy him, the longer your time with your pet. At an average lifespan prediction of 15 years, Dachshunds are long lived in relation to their size.

If you do find an adult dog in need of a home, longevity shouldn't be a “deal breaker” in welcoming the animal into your home. As you will learn, Dachshunds have a long adolescence that extends as much as 18 months. For this reason, many people prefer to purchase an adult dog. Sadly, many young Dachshunds are surrendered to rescue groups.

I am a huge advocate of all animal rescue organizations. The numbers of homeless companion animals in need of a home stands at shocking levels. To give one of these creatures a “forever” home is an enormous act of kindness. You will be saving a life.

Regardless of the dog you choose, please support rescue organizations. Such groups are always in need of donations and volunteer hours.

When you do take in a rescue dog, find out as much as possible about the dog’s background and the reason for its surrender. Dachshunds are often given up for issues with digging, barking, and aggression toward other dogs.

If these problems are a consequence of environment or treatment, however, it may be possible to correct them. Additionally, pets living with the elderly are frequently surrendered when their owner dies or goes into a care facility. The animals are homeless, but perfectly well-behaved.

Sheila DeLashmutt of ZaDox Dachshunds: “Dogs and especially Dachshunds are loveable additions to families but they are not our children! We disrespect them by not allowing them to fully be the creatures they were intended to be. Dogs need a ‘job to do’ in order to be fulfilled happy companions. People create ‘problem dogs’ that fill shelters by asking them to fulfill human emotional needs! Many dogs are asked to be in alpha positions because humans do not understand the nature of the pack. A family is the ‘pack’ to the dog and the dog needs to understand their JOB in the pack. Truly, the only way dogs achieve the respect they deserve is when we allow them to be the creatures they were created to be.

“Now I don’t mean to put you off, but consider some factors please before you make this enormous decision. Just think of how awful it would be for a rescued Dachshund to be abandoned again because his owners could not cope!

“This isn’t a way of getting a cheap Dachshund and going in with that mentality is so wrong. Even rescue centres may charge an admin fee but on top there are vaccinations, veterinary bills, worming, spaying or neutering to consider. Can you really afford these?

“Many rescued Dachshunds will be suffering the after effects of mistreatment. The poor thing may be unused to much human contact. He might not be housetrained. He may have all sorts of behavioral problems. Can you deal with these? You will need to be an exceptional owner with plenty of time and patience but of course you will truly be rewarded in the long term by saving a Dachshund’s life.”

Should You Get One or Two?

When you’re sitting on the floor surrounded by frolicking Dachshund puppies, your heart may tell you to go ahead and get two. Listen to your head and not your heart! Owning one dog is a serious commitment of time and money, but with two dogs, everything doubles: food, housebreaking, training, vet bills, boarding fees, and time.

I would suggest pacing yourself. Start with one dog and put off buying a second for the future. Multiple Dachshund ownership is quite common, but especially if you are a first-time owner, you need to get accustomed to the Dachshund personality before taking on more than one.

Photo Credit: Shirley Ray of Raydachs

Maggie Peat of Pramada Kennels believes that new owners should get ONE puppy at a time: “My goal is for the puppy to bond with the new owners not each other.”

Chapter 2 – Dachshund Dog Breed Standard

The breed standard provides the main blueprint for a number of dog attributes that include a dog breed’s physical appearance, his unique moves, and the type of temperament that each breed is expected to have. Created and laid down by the breed societies, dogs that are purebred (pedigree) have their registrations kept by the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club (in the UK). Registered dogs in a show are usually guided by the rules of the AKC and the Kennel Club and are judged with relation to any ideal attributes. Breeders approved by the Kennel Clubs have consented to breed puppies based on strict standards of breeding. They simply do not just mate any available male or female (sire or dam).

Photo Credit: Catherine Johnson of Peachtree Kennel

These standards are also aimed at diminishing or even eliminating some genetics that cause illnesses that affect the breed. The Kennel Clubs in your country are the best place to start when you are looking for a puppy. Even if a dog has no registration at the Kennel Club, it doesn’t make him a bad dog. Get to know the breed standard before you go out and do some puppy visits so you know what you can expect to see in a well-bred Dachshund.

The breed standard in this chapter has been formulated by the Dachshund Club of America. It is produced verbatim for reference purposes and was established in its current form as of March 1, 2007.

In this book, we have been privileged to have received help and contributions from many members of this club. Vicki Spencer, club secretary, tells us more: “The Dachshund Club of America (DCA) is one of the oldest breed clubs in the American Kennel Club dating back to 1895. We currently have over 1,000 members dedicated to promoting and supporting this wonderful breed through sponsoring Dachshund related events which include conformation shows, field trials, earthdog, agility, obedience and rally trials. DCA also financially supports medical research being conducted for the benefit of Dachshunds. Once a year DCA sponsors a national lasting two weeks, offering competitions in all of the above venues plus sponsoring seminars on improving and protecting the breed.“

Dachshund Breed Standard USA

General Appearance: Low to ground, long in body and short of leg, with robust muscular development; the skin is elastic and pliable without excessive wrinkling. Appearing neither crippled, awkward, nor cramped in his capacity for movement, the Dachshund is well-balanced with bold and confident head carriage and intelligent, alert facial expression. His hunting spirit, good nose, loud tongue and distinctive build make him well-suited for below-ground work and for beating the bush. His keen nose gives him an advantage over most other breeds for trailing. NOTE: Inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Bred and shown in two sizes, standard and miniature; miniatures are not a separate classification but compete in a class division for “11 pounds and under at 12 months of age and older.” Weight of the standard size is usually between 16 and 32 pounds.

Head: Viewed from above or from the side, the head tapers uniformly to the tip of the nose. The eyes are of medium size, almond-shaped and dark-rimmed, with an energetic, pleasant expression; not piercing; very dark in color. The bridge bones over the eyes are strongly prominent. Wall eyes, except in the case of dappled dogs, are a serious fault. The ears are set near the top of the head, not too far forward, of moderate length, rounded, not narrow, pointed, or folded. Their carriage, when animated, is with the forward edge just touching the cheek so that the ears frame the face. The skull is slightly arched, neither too broad nor too narrow, and slopes gradually with little perceptible stop into the finely-formed, slightly arched muzzle, giving a Roman appearance. Lips are tightly stretched, well covering the lower jaw. Nostrils well open. Jaws opening wide and hinged well back of the eyes, with strongly developed bones and teeth. Teeth-Powerful canine teeth; teeth fit closely together in a scissors bite. An even bite is a minor fault. Any other deviation is a serious fault.

Neck: Long, muscular, clean-cut, without dewlap, slightly arched in the nape, flowing gracefully into the shoulders without creating the impression of a right angle.

Trunk: The trunk is long and fully muscled. When viewed in profile, the back lies in the straightest possible line between the withers and the short, very slightly arched loin. A body that hangs loosely between the shoulders is a serious fault. Abdomen - Slightly drawn up.

Forequarters: For effective underground work, the front must be strong, deep, long and cleanly muscled. Forequarters in detail: Chest - The breast-bone is strongly prominent in front so that on either side a depression or dimple appears. When viewed from the front, the thorax appears oval and extends downward to the mid-point of the forearm. The enclosing structure of the well-sprung ribs appears full and oval to allow, by its ample capacity, complete development of heart and lungs. The keel merges gradually into the line of the abdomen and extends well beyond the front legs. Viewed in profile, the lowest point of the breast line is covered by the front leg. Shoulder blades-long, broad, well-laid back and firmly placed upon the fully developed thorax, closely fitted at the withers, furnished with hard yet pliable muscles. Upper Arm - Ideally the same length as the shoulder blade and at right angles to the latter, strong of bone and hard of muscle, lying close to the ribs, with elbows close to the body, yet capable of free movement. Forearm-Short; supplied with hard yet pliable muscles on the front and outside, with tightly stretched tendons on the inside and at the back, slightly curved inwards. The joints between the forearms and the feet (wrists) are closer together than the shoulder joints, so that the front does not appear absolutely straight. The inclined shoulder blades, upper arms and curved forearms form parentheses that enclose the ribcage, creating the correct "wraparound front." Knuckling over is a disqualifying fault. Feet - Front paws are full, tight, compact, with well-arched toes and tough, thick pads. They may be equally inclined a trifle outward. There are five toes, four in use, close together with a pronounced arch and strong, short nails. Front dewclaws may be removed.

Hindquarters: Strong and cleanly muscled. The pelvis, the thigh, the second thigh, and the rear pastern are ideally the same length and give the appearance of a series of right angles. From the rear, the thighs are strong and powerful. The legs turn neither in nor out. Rear pasterns - Short and strong, perpendicular to the second thigh bone. When viewed from behind, they are upright and parallel. Feet-Hind Paws - Smaller than the front paws with four compactly closed and arched toes with tough, thick pads. The entire foot points straight ahead and is balanced equally on the ball and not merely on the toes. Rear dewclaws should be removed. Croup- Long, rounded and full, sinking slightly toward the tail. Tail - Set in continuation of the spine, extending without kinks, twists, or pronounced curvature, and not carried too gaily.

Gait: Fluid and smooth. Forelegs reach well forward, without much lift, in unison with the driving action of hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow the long, free stride in front. Viewed from the front, the legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward. Hind legs drive on a line with the forelegs, with hock joints and rear pasterns (metatarsus) turning neither in nor out. The propulsion of the hind leg depends on the dog's ability to carry the hind leg to complete extension. Viewed in profile, the forward reach of the hind leg equals the rear extension. The thrust of correct movement is seen when the rear pads are clearly exposed during rear extension. Rear feet do not reach upward toward the abdomen and there is no appearance of walking on the rear pasterns. Feet must travel parallel to the line of motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short, choppy movement, rolling or high-stepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going are incorrect. The Dachshund must have agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed.

Temperament: 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.

Special Characteristics of the Three Coat Varieties: The Dachshund is bred with three varieties of coat: (1) Smooth; (2) Wirehaired; (3) Longhaired and is shown in two sizes, standard and miniature. All three varieties and both sizes must conform to the characteristics already specified. The following features are applicable for each variety:

Smooth Dachshund: Coat - Short, smooth and shining. Should be neither too long nor too thick. Ears not leathery. Tail - Gradually tapered to a point, well but not too richly haired. Long sleek bristles on the underside are considered a patch of strong-growing hair, not a fault. A brush tail is a fault, as is also a partly or wholly hairless tail. Color of Hair - Although base color is immaterial, certain patterns and basic colors predominate. One-colored Dachshunds include red and cream, with or without a shading of interspersed dark hairs. A small amount of white on the chest is acceptable, but not desirable. Nose and nails-black. Two-colored Dachshunds include black, chocolate, wild boar, gray (blue) and fawn (Isabella), each with deep, rich tan or cream markings over the eyes, on the sides of the jaw and underlip, on the inner edge of the ear, front, breast, sometimes on the throat, inside and behind the front legs, on the paws and around the anus, and from there to about one-third to one-half of the length of the tail on the underside. Undue prominence of tan or cream markings is undesirable. A small amount of white on the chest is acceptable but not desirable. Nose and nails-in the case of black dogs, black; for chocolate and all other colors, dark brown, but self-colored is acceptable.

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