Updated: June 4, 2022
My First Dachshund
I became a Dachshund owner kind of by accident.
I knew nothing about the Dachshund breed.
I didn’t do any research before agreeing to take him from an ex-roommate that couldn’t keep him.
I didn’t know anyone else who had a Dachshund so I had no experience with one.
I was clueless as to what I was getting myself into.
How I Became a Dachshund Breed Expert
Some might say I’m obsessed:
I can say that there isn’t much I don’t know about Dachshunds.
I’d even dare to call myself a “Dachshund breed expert” on occasion.
I may not have chosen a Dachshund in the beginning but now I can’t imagine living without one.
They will steal your heart with their love, devotion, and silly antics.
As the saying goes – “They’re like chips. It’s hard to have just one.”
However, I DO wish I knew some of the things I know now from the start.
Knowledge is power and it makes for a happy healthy life for both you and your Dachshund.
Top 21 Things Every Dachshund Owner Must Know
1) Dachshunds Are Hunting Dogs
Dachshunds are scent hounds to be exact.
This means that they are they are controlled by 2 things: their nose and their belly!
2) Dachshunds Smart and Curious
Dachshunds were bred to hunt mean animals that live in burrows.
They were bred to not back down or give up in the face of a threat.
A Dachshund will keep at any problem in front of them until they solve it.
3) People Often Say, “Dachshunds Train You”… and It’s for a Reason
Dachshunds are strong-willed and want their way how and when they want it.
My Dachshunds Gretel and Summit are very treat motivated.
4) Dachshunds Live for a Long Time
The average Dachshund lifespan is 14-16 years old.
If you own a Dachshund, be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
5) Dachshunds Bark Often and Loudly
Also, the pizza delivery guy may think you have a Rottweiler behind that door. Just sayin’ 🙂
You’ll have to work to train a Dachshund to stop barking and keep it under control in most cases.
This is what some of our readers have to say about it:
“You will never need another doorbell. Earmuffs, perhaps, but no doorbell.” – Deci, Dachshund owner
“They’re big barkers. They bark and bark and bark and then bark some more.
6) Dachshunds Can Be Picky About Weather
Many Dachshunds have what I like to call Wet Belly Syndrome.
That being said, I am a huge proponent of NOT letting them refuse to go out in inclement weather.
7) Dachshunds Are Notoriously Hard to Potty Train
I didn’t consider my Dachshund Chester 90% potty trained until he was 7!
This might be the #1 reason Dachshunds get surrendered to shelters.
There IS hope though.
I was able to potty train my Dachshund puppy in about 6 weeks.
Do keep in mind that their potty training might slip when they become a senior dog.
You also might want to keep this natural, pet-safe urine and odor remover on hand.
8) Most Harnesses and Jackets You Find in the Pet Store Will Not Fit Your Dachshund
Jackets that fit their deep chests may be too short to cover their back.
Jackets and harnesses long enough for them may drown them in fabric around the neck and chest.
Harnesses may not fit right because of the Dachshund’s prominent breast bone.
The chest strap on my Dachshunds always slides off to the left or right.
Because the fit is a little off, the harness may put too much pressure on their delicate windpipe.
Finding a jacket or harness to fit your Dachshund may take some trial and error.
Read our review of the Velpro Choke-Free Harness for more info.
These are the only ones I’ve found that fit well and don’t chafe them.
Read our review of these great harness for active Dachshunds for more details.
9) Dachshunds Are Prone to Back Injury
Dachshunds are genetically prone to a condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
IVDD is a hereditary disease and your dog will either have or not.
For more information on IVDD, read my article The Truth About Dachshunds and Back Problems.
You can read more about how I keep my Dachshund from jumping off our furniture HERE.
On the other hand, they are not fragile beings that should be kept inactive.
Just know your dog’s limit and try to prevent UNNECESSARY jumping from high objects.
10) Support a Dachshund’s Back When You Pick Them Up
Make sure your friends and relatives know how to properly pick up and carry a Dachshund too.
The first groomer I took Chester to picked him up by his chest and left this back legs dangling.
I about had a heart attack.
11) Dachshund Are Prone to a Few Other Health Issues Too
Besides IVDD and back or neck issues, Dachshunds are prone to some other health issues too.
Some of the most common are:
- Dental Disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Patellar luxation (dislocated knee cap)
- Alopecia (baldness) due to color dilution or skin allergies
Dachshunds, like many other breeds, are prone to several different health issues.
Check out this article to see the 11 of the Most Common Health Issues in Dachshunds.
12) Have a Backup Plan for Medical Expenses
The three most frequent medical issues I’ve seen with Dachshunds are:
- The need for back surgery, or expensive physical rehab, due to the IVDD mentioned above
- Teeth cleaning and extractions
- Bowel obstruction from eating things they shouldn’t
My Dachshund Chester needed surgery to remove a blockage twice.
13) Dachshunds Are Prone to Obesity
The nickname “sausage dog” may be cute but your Dachshund should not actually look like one!
A Dachshund will ALWAYS tell you they are starving.
Obesity is rampant in Dachshunds and can exacerbate IVDD.
It can also bring on other serious medical conditions like diabetes.
If in doubt, check out this body conditioning chart.
14) Dachshunds Are Energetic and Need Plenty of Exercise
But they are bred to be hunters, remember? They are bred to be active dogs.
Most Dachshunds I know took to hiking 3 – 5 miles their first time out.
I’ve hiked up to 10 miles a day, three days in a row, with Gretel.
I know many Dachshunds who compete and excel in athletic events such as agility.
Although not typical, TruMan the Doxie ran a whole marathon (over 26 miles!).
Besides needing exercise to stay physically healthy, it will keep them mentally happy.
Summit loves this squeakie ball and would probably chase it endlessly if I let her.
15) Dachshunds Have a High Prey Drive
It can be hard to find a stuffed squeakie toy that they won’t destroy in a few minutes.
These are the toys that have lasted more than a day (and sometimes months) around our house:
- ZippyPaws Hide and Seek Burrow Toy – fried chicken
- ZippyPaws Hide and Seek Burrow Toy – Milk and Cookies
- These latex squeaker balls.
16) Dachshunds Love to Dig
Flower beds beware!
Badgers and rabbits live in the ground so hunters like Dachshund were bred to dig.
Their paddle-like feet, strong nails, and determination make them naturals.
I know plenty of Dachshunds that are not diggers. Just be aware that yours might be.
That means they could destroy your lawn, dig up your flowers, or dig under the fence to escape.
This SmellyMatty Brain Teaser can help to satisfy their digging instinct indoors.
One of our readers had this to say about a Dachshund’s tendency to dig:
While many Dachshunds love to dig, some don’t. Others can be discouraged from doing so regularly.
17) Look Before You Sit
Dachshunds love to burrow under blankets (read this article to learn why Dachshunds love to burrow).
18) Dachshunds Will Steal Your Heart
Their clownish antics and silly looks will melt your heart.
Dachshund owners will tell you they’re like potato chips – it’s hard to have just one.
You’ll want to keep a quality camera handy to capture all of the silly, precious moments.
Check out these related articles:
19) Dachshunds Are Fiercely Loyal
Dachshunds are loyal to their people.
They will be protective of their family members and sometimes one particular member of the family.
This is what some of our readers had to say about a Dachshund’s Velcro nature:
20) Dachshunds Are Very Social
They are very social and can be unhappy when bored and alone.
One way to help fulfill their desire to be social is to find a dog meetup group near you.
21) Prepare Yourself For a Lot Fun
Be prepared for wiener jokes. Dachshund owners love a great pun.
You will also hear a lot of the same comments over and over if you hike with your Dachshund.
Random people will run up to you on the street to tell you about theirs out home.
There are many Dachshund clubs and meetup groups around the country you can join.
I have become good friends with several people who belong to my Dachshund Club in Seattle.
Dachshunds aren’t just a pet, they’re a lifestyle!
You can hear all of the above plus more directly from other Dachshund owners on our Facebook page.
Every dog breed has a set of typical characteristics that make them who they are.
Dachshund may certainly be more challenging than some breeds but are less challenging than others.
I LOVE, LOVE Dachshunds but they are not a breed for everyone.
Are you a Dachshund owner? If you have something to add to this list, please do in the comments.