The Dachshund

The Dachshund - the long and the short of it

The name Dachshund is of German origin and means "badger dog". Because of their long narrow build they are often nicknamed ‘the sausage dog'.

Dachshunds actually come in two sizes. The standard size was bred to scent, chase and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits.

Not surprisingly their appearance fits their job description as the dachshund is built for extreme digging. They are long bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs and unusually large and paddle-shaped paws. They have a deep chest like a greyhound, which provides increased lung capacity for stamina when hunting prey underground. The distinctive long nose gives it an increased area for detecting its prey.

There are three types of Dachshund which can be classified by their coats: short-haired/smooth, long-haired and wire-haired. Although commonly seen as black and tan or red, which ranges from copper to deep rust, there are actually have a wide variety of colours and patterns. Colours can be combined with brindle stripes, dapple spots or even piebald.   

Their temperament and body language give the impression that they do not know or care about their relatively small size - often quite happy to challenge larger dogs. One thing that stands out is that they are stubborn, which can make training them a challenge. They have a determination with prey-orientated activities that may make it difficult to get their attention back. They require patience, consistency and companionship - no good will come of leaving this dog alone too frequently.

It is hardly surprisingly that they are prone to spinal problems and the risk of injury may be worsened by obesity, jumping, rough handling or intense exercise which places greater strain on the vertebrae.