Not all Dachshunds will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Dachshunds, you should expect to see a health clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), certifying that the eyes are normal.
Health clearances are not issued to dogs younger than 2 years of age. That’s because some health problems don’t appear until a dog reaches full maturity. For this reason, it’s often recommended that dogs not be bred until they are two or three years old.
Dachshunds have a lot of stamina and energy. They love to take a walk or play outdoors with other dogs, and they like to hunt and dig. They are also active inside the house and can do well in small living quarters so long as they get a moderate amount of daily exercise. Two half-mile walks a day (about 10 minutes each) is about right. Occasionally, when time is short, a game of fetch will meet their need for activity.
They’re not suited to living outdoors or in a kennel but should live in the home. Dachshunds can injure their backs jumping on and off furniture, so get a ramp or steps and teach them to use it if they want up on the sofa or bed. When you hold a Dachshund, always be careful to support his rear and his chest.
Dachshunds can learn quickly if properly motivated. Use positive reinforcements such as food rewards or a favorite toy to hold their attention, and keep training sessions short. The Dachshund will quickly become bored if made to repeat the same exercise over and over, so make obedience practice fun and interesting.
Housetraining can sometimes be a problem with this breed. A Dachshund may not see the need for eliminating outside. Patience and consistency are musts. Crate training helps as well.
Beyond housetraining, crate training is a kind way to ensure that your Dachshund doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t. Like every dog, Dachshunds can be destructive as puppies. Crate training at a young age will also help your Dachshund accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized. Never stick your Dachshund in a crate all day long, however. It’s not a jail, and he shouldn’t spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he’s sleeping at night. Dachshunds are people dogs, and they aren’t meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.
The Dachshund excels as a watchdog, but he can be noisy. Minis, in particular, can be yappy. Keep this in mind if your Dachshund will be living in an apartment or condo community.
Recommended daily amount: 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups of high-quality dry food a day
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
The Smooth Dachshund’s coat is short and shiny. Single-colored Smooth Dachshunds often are red or cream, perhaps with some black hairs. Two-colored Smooth Dachshunds usually are black, chocolate, wild boar (grizzled), gray (blue) or Isabella (fawn) with tan or cream markings. Dappled Dachshunds have a dappled (merle) pattern in their coats, with light and dark colored areas in even distribution (neither the light nor the dark predominates). Whereas dark eyes are required and little or no white hair on the chest is acceptable for solid- and parti-colored Dachshunds, partially or wholly blue eyes and a large amount of white hair on the chest both acceptable for the dappled Dachshunds. Other color patterns are brindle, in which there are dark stripes all over the body, and sable, where there is an overall dark overlay of hair.
Wirehaired Dachshunds have a very different coat from the Smooth Dachshunds. They have short, thick, hard hair on the topcoat with a softer undercoat. The hard topcoat hair is found everywhere on the body except for the jaw, eyebrows, and ears. While all the colors found in the Smooth Dachshund are acceptable for the Wirehair, the most common color is wild boar.
Longhaired Dachshunds have glistening, slightly wavy long hair which gives them an elegant appearance. They come in the same colors found in Smooth Dachshunds.
Light-colored Dachshunds usually sport light gray, light hazel, green or blue eyes, rather than the various shades of brown. They can also have eyes of two different colors; in rare cases, such as the double-dapple coloration (in which varying amounts of white coloring occur over the body in addition to the dapple pattern), Dachshunds can have a blue and a brown eye.
Dachshunds are a low-maintenance breed. They shed, but not excessively. Unless they’ve rolled in something that smells bad, they generally don’t need to be bathed often and are free of doggie odor. Smooths can be wiped with a damp cloth between baths to keep them clean. If you live in a location that is cold in the winter, your Smooth Dachshund may need a sweater when he goes outside.
Wirehaired Dachshunds require regular brushing, and they’ll need to have their coats “stripped” two to three times a year to look their best. Ask the breeder from whom you got your Wirehaired Dachshund or your groomer to show you how to do this.
Longhaired Dachshunds must be brushed regularly to prevent mats from forming. They need to be bathed more often than the Smooth Dachshund, and you must blow-dry them afterward for their coat to look good.
For all varieties and sizes of Dachshunds, you need to pay special attention to their droopy ears, which can be a breeding ground for fungus, bacteria, and mites. Moisten a cotton ball with an ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian and wipe the ears out weekly. Don’t go any deeper than the first knuckle on your finger and never stick a cotton swab into your dog’s ear.
Other grooming needs include nail care and dental hygiene. Trim your Dachshund’s nails once or twice a month. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. The earlier you introduce your Dachshund to nail trimming the less stressful the experience is.
Brush the teeth at least two or three times a week — daily is better — to remove tartar and bacteria. Start when your puppy is young so he’ll be used to it.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.