PLEASE NOTE THAT MY WAITING LIST IS FULL UNTIL 2023 AND CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Miniature Smooth Dachshunds have become hugely popular over recent years and have been one of the Kennel Club's '10 most popular breeds' since 2017, previously being in the top 15 for many years before this. There were 7008 puppies born and registered with the KC in 2018, and 8375 in 2019. Unfortunately, a large number of these puppies will not have been bred and raised responsibly, and I would hazard a guess that the same amount of unregistered Mini Smooths are bred and sold each year, if not more.
The three questions that I am asked most often are:
"We feel we are ready for a puppy now, can you help?"
"How long is the wait for a puppy?"
"Can I be added to the waiting list for your next litter"
It is firstly very important to explain that if timing is your main focus, there is no doubt that you could bring a Dachshund puppy home within a few days of starting your search, or at least secure one. The market is saturated with Dachshund pups and there are a number of pet selling websites and social media groups advertising them on a daily basis. It would be wise to appreciate, however, that the process of obtaining a puppy via this route, and the journey that you will embark upon if you choose to, will be a completely different experience than if buying a puppy from a reputable and knowledgeable breeder.
'Getting a puppy from a reputable breeder' and 'getting a puppy quickly' are two elements that don't go hand in hand. If there is a puppy for you straight away and/or the breeder has no waiting list, please question why, as any reputable breeder will be sought after.
Nonetheless, if timing and getting a puppy straight away (or in the very near future) are deciding factors for you, there are no shortage for sale, you won't need to look very far.
But if you place more importance on:
....then there will be a bit of a wait for your puppy, only you can decide what the most important factors are for you.
For those who do choose to take the more 'thorough route', I believe it would be useful to explain the waiting list process that a breeder like myself (and many others) operate, and to share certain aspects of breeding that go on behind the scenes, that most buyers are generally unaware of unless they have come from a breeding background themselves. These insights are intended to broaden your knowledge on the process, so you can take the information into account when trying to find your puppy. I hope it helps in some way.
A Dachshund bitch come into 'season' roughly every 8-9 months which lasts for 3 weeks. If mated, which would take place around half way through her season, she is pregnant for 9 weeks. The puppies then remain with the breeder for at least 8 weeks. Therefore, from the point a bitch starts her season, to the point that the puppies can leave the breeder for their forever homes, is around 5 months.
Miniature Dachshunds generally don't have big litters, the breed average is 4 puppies per litter (6-7 per litter for Standard Dacshunds), however, on they can have more or less than this.
A bitch's season rarely arrives exactly when expected. It can be up to a month or two earlier or later than predicted, as many factors can affect its arrival; the time of year, other bitches within the household and their reproductive cycle, the bitch's health, diet, environmental factors etc. Therefore, until their season arrives, it's impossible to predict when puppies will be born and therefore ready for new homes. It is also impossible to predict litter size until the bitch is scanned at four weeks after mating (and even then, the numbers can decrease), the sex of pups she is carrying and quantities of each.
Also, with a vast majority of matings, a breeder can't be certain of the colours the pups will be. A thorough breeder will know the colour genetics of their breed and of their individual dogs, and what colours 'could' be produced from the union of two parents, but won't know how many (if any) of each colour coat until birth. With regards to Dachshunds, each mating will only have the potential of producing pups in certain colours, this is dependent on the colour of both parents and what colour dogs are within their pedigree, and therefore what colours they may be 'carrying'.
I receive a number of emails from enquirers with very specific requests, such as;
"We are looking for a Shaded Red dog puppy in July".
Unfortunately breeding is never, ever this exact - it would be similar to saying "we want to have a baby boy next February". We all know that reproduction in humans doesn't work this way, and it is no different for the canine species.
In fact, it is much trickier when mating dogs, and very easy to miss the optimal timing if inexperienced, as there is no regular monthly possibility of conception. A bitch can only concieve once every season, which is usually once per year. Her season often comes with little or no warning, and for only a few days during this time is she fertile, which a breeder has to blindly predict by her behaviour or take her to the vet every day of her season for blood tests to ascertain ovulation.
If the bitch fails to concieve or loses her litter, it can be up to a year before she can be mated again, depending on when her next season arrives - therefore a 3-4 day fertility window in a 12 month period doesn't leave much room for manoeuvre.
For a puppy to be ready in July (for example), it would need to be born in May and conceived in March, therefore the bitch would need to be coming into season at roughly the end of February (a 5 month time frame, as mentioned above). However, as said previously, it's impossible to accurately predict when a season will arrive until it does, which is the first issue.
We also have no idea what gender or colour puppies the bitch will have until she gives birth. We will be aware of the genetic colour possibilities, but the rest is a guessing game until the big day.
It's really important to appreciate that a litter of Dachshunds is very different from a litter of Labradors, for example. Labradors generally have big litters, most often the pups are all the same colour and many prospective owners get a choice from a number of puppies as there are many within the litter of the same sex. Dachshund litters are much smaller, typically we could have 1 black and tan boy, 1 black and tan girl, 1 red girl and 1 red boy, leaving the options very limited.
If you are contacting a breeder within the 5 month time frame mentioned above, i.e. you are hoping for a puppy straight away or within the next few months, the bitch will already be pregnant or have had her puppies, and the likelihood is that a reputable breeder will already have people waiting. Being responsible, they would rarely breed when there is no one waiting, throwing 'caution to the wind' that all puppies will find good homes quickly. It's too much of a risk and this type of breeder likes to be confident about the homes their puppies are going to and have built a relationship with the owners prior to their birth.
With reproduction of any species, things can go wrong, and do so more often with dogs than, for example, humans, as there are more puppies conceived and born therefore more chances of problems. A bitch can fail to conceive or she can reabsorb her puppies before 6 weeks gestation (bitches generally don't miscarry, their pups are reabsorbed back into their system and vanish overnight without a trace). Sadly, pups can be born dead or with defects, some of which are obvious at birth, some which don't come to light until a few weeks old. Devastatingly, whole litters can die within the first 2-3 weeks of being born for various reasons, or the bitch can suffer complications and become very ill and hospitalised, or worse still, can die which will obviously impact the puppies.
The list of what 'could' occur during pregnancy and rearing is extremely long.....
and unfortunately, a breeder cannot guarantee anything.
My own waiting list tends to be quite fluid in nature. Personally, I add 4 prospective owners to my list per litter planned, going on the loose assumption that there will be 4 pups in each litter. Therefore, if I plan 3 litters in one year, I would take 12 prospective owners onto my list. When a litter are born, naturally there is a large element of
'first come, first served', however, if those at the top of my list have specific requests and I don't have what they have hoped for in that litter, they would then wait for the next litter (or go elsewhere) and I would move on to offering a puppy to those further down my list.
Waiting lists can also change frequently - people can drop off due to circumstances (e.g. moving home, having a baby, working longer hours, affordability, buying a puppy elsewhere) or the prospective owner may decide to wait, after letting them know a litter is due, as the time of year doesn't suit their plans.
I cannot stress enough that the more flexible you are with regards to the colour and/or sex you are looking for, the quicker you will have your new friend.
A really important point to bear in mind is that if you are interested in a Dachshund puppy, but possibly not straight away, please do not put off contacting a breeder until nearer the time - make contact well in advance and advise of when you are hoping to obtain a puppy, even if it is some time in the future. So often, I hear from people who have been looking into the breed for 12-18 months, but due to the timing not being right for them to introduce a puppy into their lives, they don't start the ball rolling with a breeder. The sooner you make contact, go through the vetting process and are added to a list, the more chance there will be of a puppy at the time you want one.
Another common mistake, when someone enquires as to how long my waiting list is and I then tell them a rough time frame, they often respond with "Great! I will contact you nearer the time". What possibly isn't appreciated, however, is that the list won't be empty at that point, there will be many enquiries between now and then, with people who want to proceed with the process of being vetted, visiting and being firmly added, extending the list further. Most breeders will have a loose forecast of their breeding plans for the next 18-24 months, and with each litter born and puppies allocated to those waiting, new people will gain places as everyone moves up the list and spaces open up. Places can't be saved on the off chance that someone who enquired 6-9 months ago may get back in touch.
On a final note, if you are firmly on a waiting list with a breeder and you change your mind or buy elsewhere - out of courtesy, let the breeder know. Whilst your name has been on their list, they will have been putting off many other suitable enquirers and saving your space. If you no longer require a puppy, make the breeder aware, so that they can allocate a space to another person.