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Dogs as Pets: The Dachshund

Introduction:

Choosing a dog to become a family member is a big decision. You must determine whether you want a mix-breed dog or a pedigreed one. A mix-breed dog is exactly what it implies, more than one breed of a dog mixed together. A pedigreed dog is one breed only with nothing but that breed in the pedigree going back for generations. What size is right for you? Should you buy a long-haired dog or a short-coated one? A big dog or a small dog? In this series, we will examine pure-bred breeds only. So far, we have looked at several breeds. This time we will examine the Dachshund as a pet.

The Dachshund

Without a doubt, the Dachshund is one of the most recognizable breeds of dogs. Today they rank as the 12th most popular breed of dog in the United States (American Kennel Club Registrations), and are members of the Hound Group. The breed name is German, meaning “badger dog.” Obviously, the dog was originally bred to dig into the badger’s den, thereby driving the animal out. The Dachshund dates back as far as 600 years.

The Dachshund comes in two sizes, standard and miniature. The standard stands between 8 to 9 inches in height and weighing 16 to 32 pounds, while the miniature is 5 to 6 inches in height and weighing no more than 11 pounds.

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They come in three coat varieties, smooth-coat, long-coat, and wire-coat. They are very low to the ground on very short legs. The Dachshund has a long muscular body with a tail that is set in continuation of the spine. His head tapers to the tip of the nose, being neither too wide or narrow. The Dachshund has a drop ear of moderate length. One-color Dachshunds come in red and cream. Two-color Dachshunds come in black, chocolate, gray (blue), and fawn with cream or tan markings over the eyes, sides of the jaw, the inner edge of the ear, on the paws and around the anus.

A delightful little dog that is energetic and playful, they are no shrinking violet. They are courageous. After all, they were bred to hunt and run the badger, a very vicious animal, out of its den. Dachshunds are affectionate with their humans, are good with kids, make good watchdogs; willing to warn their humans when strangers are around, and make very good companions. They do have a tendency to bark though.

The Dachshund’s coat requires little grooming. As a moderate shedding dog, an occasional brushing to remove dead coat and bathing will suffice. Like any breed, regular brushing of the teeth as well as trimming the nails and checking the ears makes grooming the Dachshund fairly easy and quick. The long-coat variety will require more frequent brushing, and the wire-coat variety will need to be plucked or hand-stripped several times a year; with his beard and eyebrows requiring occasional trimming.

Exercise is required to keep the dog healthy. Walking the Dachshund daily should provide the exercise necessary. Due to the long back and short legs, he should not be allowed to jump or climb stairs. Avoiding this will help protect the dog’s back.

The breed has a tendency to become overweight. Therefore, it is important to feed a nutritionally balanced diet with proper portions. Your veterinarian can help you select the dog food that is healthy and balanced for your dog.

Dachshunds are independent and a bit stubborn, so they can be a bit of a challenge to train. Trying to force them will not end well. They do best with reward-based training. So patience will be necessary for training them.

Generally a healthy breed, they can live up to 16 years, but like all breeds, there are health issues to look out for. The most common in this breed is intervertebral disk disease, a risk of bulging or rupturing of the disk which can cause pain, partial loss of limb function, and paralysis. They can develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma. Other conditions to look out for are heart disease and epilepsy. Regular trips to a qualified veterinarian will help diagnose any of these conditions early.

If you have decided that the Dachshund is the breed to join your family, the next step is to find a puppy. Backyard breeders are never recommended. All breeds have a national breed club. The Dachshund Club of America is the best place to start. You will be able to find a reputable breeder in your area who will give you a better chance of obtaining a healthy puppy. Also, you can go to the American Kennel Club website for help in locating Dachshund breeders.

If a Dachshund is in your future, you will enjoy years of a loving companion!

Kathleen Knowles
Contributing Writer


Explore other breeds Kathleen has covered here.

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