What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Dachshund Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
Curious, lively, charming, and brave, the Dachshund is similar to a terrier in his demands to be in on everything.
This comical clown loves to play games and has a great sense of humor. He is a loyal little dog, very attached to his family, and he firmly believes that sleeping under the bedcovers is in the Dachshund Bill of Rights.
Dachshunds attract devoted followers who would never consider having any other breed. Indeed, Dachshunds are often kept in pairs, which is A-OK with them, since they seem to recognize and prefer being with other "wiener dogs".
They're usually good with other family pets, too, though they can be jealous when they want attention and they can be possessive of their toys. You need to put a firm stop to the first signs of jealousy or possessiveness so that these don't become bad habits.
Though the Dachshund makes a great house dog, he does need his daily walks (on-leash! Dachshunds are chasers who will take off! -- and plenty of companionship. Loneliness will lead to excessive barking.
You'll also hear his sharp, persistent bark when people approach, for most Dachshunds are alert watchdogs who do not take kindly to strangers intruding on their domain. Again, you need to put a stop to overt signs of suspiciousness, lest this progress to nastiness.
Though bright and clever, Dachshunds like to do things their own way. In other words, they're stubborn. Cheerful praise and treats should be offered freely, as Dachsies are proud little dogs who resist force. They become irritable when pushed too far, and they may respond defensively (growling or snapping) if jerked around, handled harshly, or teased.
Other behavioral problems? Well, the Dachshund's hunting and tunneling instincts may lead to holes being dug in your garden. Also, housebreaking may go slowly, as many Dachshunds don't like to go outside in cold or wet weather. A covered potty yard is recommended, if possible.
In general, Miniature Dachshunds are more active than the larger Standard Dachshunds. Comparing the three coat varieties:
- Wirehaired Dachshunds tend to be the most energetic, the most mischievous, and the most obstinate (probably stemming from their strong terrier heritage).
- Longhaired Dachshunds tend to be the quietest and sweetest-natured (probably stemming from their spaniel heritage).
- Smooth Dachshunds are most apt to attach themselves to one person and are often more aloof with strangers.
But remember, these are just generalities!
If you want a dog who...
A Dachshund may be right
If you don't want to deal with...
- Scrappiness toward strange dogs, especially larger dogs
- Chasing and hunting instincts (chipmunks, birds, etc.)
- Notorious housebreaking difficulties
- Potential for excessive barking
- Potential for digging holes
- Excessive suspiciousness toward strangers when not socialized properly or made to behave
- Worries about the serious spinal problems that afflict 1 out of every 4 Dachshunds and can result in paralysis
A Dachshund may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of Dachshunds
If I was considering a Dachshund, I would be most concerned about...
- Barking. Dachshunds are very alert and often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. This is not a "yard dog" who can be left outside unsupervised.
- Scrappiness toward strange dogs. Dachshunds can be overly feisty toward strange dogs, and because of their size, this can be dangerous and must be stopped early. Fortunately, Dachshunds are usually very good with other pets in their own family – especially other Dachshunds! Read more about a dog's attitude toward other dogs
- Housebreaking. As a behavioral consultant, I would put the Dachshund on my Top 20 List of "Hard to Housebreak." Consistent crate training is mandatory. A doggy door leading out to a covered potty yard can be very helpful in persuading a Dachshund to go outside when it's raining. Read more on housebreaking your Dachshund.
- Mind of his own. Dachshunds are free thinkers. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. They can be manipulative, and some are downright obstinate. In small doses this can be amusing and harmless, but you do need to show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. However, you also need to be careful when correcting Dachshunds. If you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, in my experience this breed is more likely than most other breeds to growl or snap. The long and the short of it is....
You must teach your Dachshund to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No."
My book Teach Your Dog 100 English Words, gives you a unique vocabulary to use with your dog AND teaches my Respect Training Program. Your dog will look at you when you speak and do what you say. Not just when he's hungry for a treat or feels like it. But all the time. Because he respects you.
- Grooming. Longhaired Dachshunds need brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles, and some minor trimming. Wirehaired Dachshunds need regular clipping.
- Shedding and doggy odor. All three Dachshund coats shed, though the wirehaired sheds less than the other two. But Dachshunds are not hypoallergenic dogs at all, and many individuals have a noticeable doggy odor. If you think your dog is shedding excessively, changing his diet will probably help.
- Finding a healthy one and keeping him healthy. Many Dachshunds live a good long life, but unfortunately 1 in every 4 Dachshunds will become crippled or paralyzed in middle age from disk disease. The vertebrae in their long back has simply been stretched to the breaking point and is genetically weak. Dachshunds can also suffer from epilepsy, eye diseases, urinary diseases, heart disease, itchy skin conditions, and more. To avoid these problems, you need to buy your Dachshund from a person who can pass the "14 Family Companion Guidelines" in my book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams. If they're not following these guidelines, it's a big risk to buy a puppy from them.
Once you have your puppy home, you need to keep him healthy by following the 11-Step Health Care Program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life and seldom need to visit the vet, this is the book for you. How to prepare healthy meals, getting only the right vaccinations (not the ones that are either useless or risky), preventing fleas, ticks, and heartworm safely, getting dangerous (to dogs) products out of your home, healing or improving current health issues, and much more. This is my best book, and bargain priced, too!
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