Are Dachshunds the breed for you?



As with any breed, Dachshunds have their particular needs, traits and quirks. Those looking into owning a Dachshund should be fully aware of these before making contact with a breeder, as there are some really important factors to bear in mind.


It is a very common misconception that all Dachshunds have wonderful temperaments - this is simply not the case. In fact, quite often, the opposite is true and many factors play a role in how a Dachshunds temperament will develop and ultimately turn out to be


  • Dachshunds were originally bred to bark and 'react', to alert their owners (hunters) to prey and for their bark to be heard from underground. When fully grown they can be reactive towards other dogs and people they don't take a shine to, some Dachshunds much more so than others. A family member getting up from the sofa or running down stairs can create a reaction (a chorus of barking) in a particularly reactive Dachshund and extensive socialisation as a puppy is key. However, no amount of socialisation will stop them from barking and being reactive if it's within their nature or they are predisposed to do so. Each pup is different and if they are going to become vocal, it usually begins quite early on.


You cannot out-train or remove a breed trait


A lot of a dogs temperament is hereditary, so purchasing a puppy from a Dam (Mother) with a steady temperament is absolutely imperative. It is therefore useful, when possible, to see the proposed Dam long before she comes into season and is mated. However, in equal measure, a pups temperament is down to 'nurture', specifically between 0-16 weeks of age. 


As a puppy is with its breeder until 8 weeks old, it is extremely important that they are born and raised in an attentive, nurturing environment, as this is how they start to form positive bonds and associations. They will thrive from having consistent and continuous care from birth. It is then even more important that they are placed in a home that will continue to nurture them, as an individual and a breed. A good breeder will vet potential owners thoroughly before agreeing to sell them a pup, so that the puppy lives in a home suitable to their needs and will ultimately have the best temperament possible.


Dachshunds WILL NOT thrive in an unsuitable home and it is up to the breeder to decide which home and circumstances are best for their puppies and who they will offer a place on their waiting list to.


(As a side note: A Dam can be very different in temperament whilst pregnant or after giving birth, especially when strangers come to visit and handle her puppies. This is down to hormones and they can be more vocal due to their natural instinct of protecting their offspring. This shouldn't be confused with having a bad temperament. She could be very different once the pups are weaned).


  • Miniature Smooth Dachshunds are notoriously hard to toilet train and this can be a very real and big problem. They need to be taken outside every 20-30 minutes initially, moving up in 5 minute increments as the weeks pass, to ultimately being taken/let out every hour as an adult. They are not a breed that will be fully trained by 12 weeks like others you may have heard of or owned - if you have cracked it by 6 months then you are doing very well! Please do not expect, because you may have experience with dogs, that you will be the one to get on top of this quicker than most - you won't. It is a case of two steps forward, one step back. The back door may be wide open, the sun may be shining, your pup may have been playing outside for hours, but they will still come in and wee in the kitchen given half the chance. Do not under estimate how difficult this aspect can be, there are many, many adult Dachshunds not fully house trained and it's very rare for a Dachshund to ever be 100% on this front.


  • Due to the above, and many other reasons, Dachshunds are not the type of breed that can be left alone for extended periods of time, they crave company and can suffer terribly from separtion anxiety, which can lead to a very nervous, vocal, destructive, unhappy and anti-social dog. Even when you leave them to go to another room can start them off crying when young. Their humans are their pack, so being without them can have a huge impact.

As puppies, the total length of time they should be alone each day is 2 hours, moving up to a total of 4 hours per day as an adult. This does not mean 2 or 4 hours alone then someone popping in to see them/let them out to toilet then leaving again - its is 2 or 4 hours in total - I cannot stress this enough


Dachshunds absolutely cannot be left at home all day - no exceptions. they also cannot be left at home for half a day on a regular basis without provision being made for someone to care for them in your absence. They will become incredibly lonely and sad, and it will change their temperament and personality irrevocably. It doesn't matter if you work locally; your puppy/dog doesn't know where you are when you leave, all they know is that they are alone, regardless of how closeby you may be. It also doesn't matter how many weeks holiday you get each year, your puppy/dog will still be alone for all the other weeks - a dog doesn't have the mental capacity to understand that you will compensate for your absence at other times during the year. 


Knowing this, or after discovering this, some people plan to take their puppy/dog to work with them. Anyone thinking of doing this must seriously consider the type of job they do and the implications of taking a puppy or dog with them, as quite often, when thought about properly, it is unrealistic. A puppy of any breed won't just sit quietly whilst you work, they will need lots of attention, they will need to be taken out to the toilet every 30 minutes, they will have accidents in the workplace and they may also be vocal and/or reactive. Imagine taking a young toddler to work, whilst in the process of toilet training, and taking a puppy would be very much the same.


  • Miniature Dachshunds don't like cold, wet or windy weather, they will point blank refuse to take a step outside for the toilet in these conditions unless you go too (and even then it is a 'hit and miss' as to whether they 'relieve' themselves, no matter how long you stand out there).


  • Recall can leave something to be desired if they spot or smell something that takes their fancy, regardless of how fantastic they were previously. They are scent hounds and any new scent will interest them.


  • Up until 9 months of age, Dachshunds should only be walked for 5 minutes per month of age (eg. 3 months = 15 minutes walking per day, 4 months = 20 minutes walking per day). Over walking can cause deformity of the bones in the legs and lead to future problems. 


  • However, contrary to popular belief, once fully grown they can walk for miles and miles - they will 'out walk' you! Short legs do not equal short distances and they are very fast and extremely powerful when on the move.


  • Having two Dachshunds is a great idea, but buying two pups at the same time is not. No reputable breeder will sell you two together, for various reasons. Firstly, 'Litter Sibling Syndrome' can be a real issue, secondly, they can bond with each other and not their family, so if they ever need to be separated, they cannot cope without each other. Lastly, being so difficult to toilet train, having two can be impossible. If one regresses, so will the other. It's better to buy one puppy, develop a strong bond and get on top of training, then introduce another, even a 6 month gap can work perfectly well. As a breeder and an experienced Dachshund owner, even I wouldn't attempt keeping two from the same litter/same age.


  • IVDD is an extremely common condition (please see seperate page). No breeder can tell you it won't happen to the puppy you buy as there is no definitive health test available. As someone interested in the breed, please make sure you are fully aware of this disease before starting your Dachshund journey. Any breeder you contact should also be able to answer any questions that you may have on the subject. If they can't, they don't know the breed well enough and buying a puppy from them will be a huge risk. It is by far the most prevalent, deeply concerning condition within the breed and is as common as cancer within humans (1 in 4).


  • Dachshunds are great with kids as long as they have been used to them from a young age. Our pups are raised with our 4 children which makes a huge difference to their personality and, when they leave us, they are extremely confident and tend to always love children, even if they don't live with them in their forever home.


  • They are also fine with cats, as long as they have been used to them from a young age. They can be introduced at an older age but it will take more time to adjust. Generally it is the cat who is more 'put out' than the dog!


  • Dachshunds are hounds and they do act as such, they aren't lap dogs or handbag dogs. Small does not equal easy, this is certainly true with a Dachshunds - you get a lot of dog for the size!


  • Many websites state that Dachshunds are a suitable breed for those who live in flats or apartments, this is only partly true. Yes, they can live in smaller spaces, however, their home must have direct access to some sort of private outside space and not just a 'small courtyard which is down 5 flights of stairs', or a large park nearby. As previously mentioned, they are extremely difficult to toilet train, so putting on shoes, jacket, collar and lead, grabbing keys etc to then carry a pup/dog down stairs to a communal courtyard or across a road to get to a park, every 20-30 minutes initially (hourly as an adult) hail, rain or shine, is not feasible or realistic. Neither is it fair for the pup/dog to have no personal, safe and enclosed outdoor space where it can roam around freely. Time spent outside in the garden is essential for a pup, for learning and development.





The author of the text below is unknown, however it is a very accurate portrayal of the breed:


Why you DON’T want a Dachshund


1. They bark. They can’t help it. It’s in their genetic makeup. They are bred for hunting, and when they are hunting, they use different types of barks to communicate with the hunters. They will bark to alert you to any changes in their environment, from a burglar right down to a bird landing in their garden. They will bark to communicate with you and with other dogs. You can contain the barking with lots of training, but you won’t eliminate it. So, if you live somewhere where a barking dog will cause problems, you don’t want a Dachshund.


2. They dig. If they can see daylight on the other side of a fence, most of them will dig to try to get to it. If you don’t have solid fencing that reaches right down to the ground, expect some holes. There are exceptions, but if you are super proud of your garden and the thought of holes upsets you, you don’t want a Dachshund.


3. They are agile. Way more agile than they look. Do not for one minute be fooled that because they are small and cute, that they don’t get around. They CAN and will jump on the furniture, your lap, get up on your bed, find a way out of the back garden and more. If you don’t want dogs on the furniture or on your lap, you don’t want a Dachshund.


4. They can become overweight - easily! Most Dachshunds love their food and will put on weight very quickly if you don’t watch their diet. This is worse for Dachshunds than it is for most dogs because of their backs. So, if you like to feed your dog ‘people food’, or extra treats, you don’t want a Dachshund.


5. They need to be indoors. Not all the time, but lots of the time. They need to be the centre of attention, and love to spend time with you and your family. If you want a dog simply to live in the back garden or in a kennel, you don’t want a Dachshund.


6. They are not easy to housetrain. Most Daxies get it, given careful training and patience. If it’s raining or cold outside, you’ll probably find that your little princess won’t step foot outside to go. They will whine to come into the house if left outside, but they won’t do it to get out! They can be housetrained, but they are not easy, so if the idea of accidents bothers you and you have a pristine white carpet, you really don’t want a Dachshund!


7. They chew. If they can see something, it belongs to them. They have incredibly strong jaws and teeth and love to use them. You will need to be super-vigilant about what they can get to, especially as a puppy, and if you can’t bear the thought of losing your favourite Jimmy Choo’s, then you don’t want a Dachshund.


8. They have delusions of grandeur. They have no idea of their size in relation to other dogs. They will happily pick on big dogs in the park to protect you. They were bred to hunt badgers in their sets and have courage that far outweighs the size of their bodies (and their brains!). They are incredibly loyal, so they will protect you and their territory from anything, no matter how big the dog. If you don’t like the sound of that, you probably don’t want a Dachshund.


9. They are incredibly stubborn. They learn quickly but they are not perfect – what they don’t want to hear and don’t want to see doesn’t exist. Some dachshunds do incredibly well at obedience but be aware that it is ALWAYS on their terms. They also have selective hearing, so no matter how well trained, if you want a dog that you can walk off the lead, you probably don’t want a Dachshund.


10. They want to spend time with you. Obsessively. They will be under your feet, on your lap, in your bed, in front of the fridge when the door opens, in the loo with you. If you like your own space, you don’t want a Dachshund.


11. They can be OCD. They like it their way, and that’s about all kinds of things – where they put bones, what food they eat, what time you come home, about where furniture should be, what cushions are allowed on the couch – anything. If you aren’t prepared to spend time reassuring them, you don’t want a Dachshund.


And now, if you’ve come this far and you still think that you might want a Dachshund after reading all of the above, this is why. They are one of the most interactive breeds with huge personalities and so much character. Every single one is unique and a whole lot of fun. Who can resist those big brown eyes and that deceptively sad face? They are loyal and protective of those they love and one of the most affectionate breeds out there – always ready for a cuddle with a waggy tail and a wet sloppy kiss. They are people magnets – when you walk a Dachshund you have to be prepared to meet new people. They are addictive, once you’ve had one, you will probably end up with at least one more and will also be ruined for owning any other breed ever again. They are funny and will make you laugh, more than they make you cry.


If you’ve read all this and you are still keen, then you probably do want a Dachshund!


**Please note that all dogs are different and your Dachshund may exhibit one or ALL of the characteristics above – this is a generalised outline of the breed, intended for basic information purposes only**


Author unknown

Pelirroja Dachshunds

Di Handy





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