I’ve been searching forever for a safe backpack carry a Dachshund around the city or on a hike.
Note: although I was searching for a Dachshund carrier, the bags listed below will work as a small dog backpack carrier too.
I’ve seen almost every option available and tried several.
UPDATED: January 9, 2023
Almost all of the backpacks for carrying dogs I tried cause a Dachshund to sit upright, definitely or potentially (depending on the pack) putting stress on their fragile spine or causing then to sit in an abnormal position.
Even the backpacks that I think are safer for a Dachshund’s back are not ideal for a couple of reasons.
So what is one to do if they need a backpack to safely carry their Dachshund on a hike?
Unfortunately, Dachshund owners are left with having to choose between the lesser of evils.
Reasons Your Dachshund May Need to Be Carried
There are many reasons you may be looking for a Dachshund carrier backpack.
The top 5 reasons are below.
1) Senior Dogs Get Tired Easily
When my Dachshund Chester became a senior dog, he started to have trouble keeping up with us on walks and hikes.
His speed and mobility wasn’t what it used to be.
He had always lived a life of adventure though so I didn’t want to leave him home.
The best solution for us was to carry him along with us on hikes in a backpack.
2) Puppies May Not Be Ready
Besides needing their full round of shots before being exposed to germs on the trail, puppies will need to be carried on hikes until they are physically developed enough to hike themselves.
I started taking my puppy Summit with us as soon as her shots were finished.
I brought her along in a hiking dog carrier so that she could start getting used to the sights, sounds, and smells of the woods.
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I would occasionally set her down to sniff around and explore when we stopped for breaks.
When she was a little older, I would also let her “hike” a few hundred feet with us.
Because a puppy is smaller and has a shorter spine than an adult Dachshund, some bags that wouldn’t be safe for an adult Dachshund will work for puppies.
3) Pre-existing Injuries and Health Issues
Sometimes a dog is recovered enough from injury, or other health issue, to get out of the house but is still not physically up to hiking or walking long distances.
At least not for very long.
Carrying a dog recovering from an injury or illness still gives them mental stimulation, and can be helpful for reducing their energy/stress levels, while keeping them safe.
4) Your Dog Gets Tired
We all have to start somewhere.
Just like people, dogs need to get into hiking shape before doing long distances.
Any dog can get too tired on a hike, especially when they are still building up their fitness.
But maybe you don’t want to be stuck only doing short hikes until your Dachshund can hike further.
In that case, you can bring along a backpack that your dog can ride in when they start showing you they are too tired.
Of course, there is always a chance your dog could suffer an injury while hiking and need to be carried out.
I’ve had this happen.
Honestly, if it’s an emergency, I’m more concerned with carrying my dog out any way that I can so we can get help.
How safe the carrying mechanism is for my Dachshund’s back is way less of a concern in an emergency.
I’m not specifically addressing backpacks to carry your dog off the trail in an emergency in this article.
However, you can check out what I did the one time Chester hurt his feet and had to be carried out HERE.
What Makes a Backpack Safe for Carrying a Dachshund?
I used to work for a large outdoor retailer in the gear department so am a gear snob, and I have a Dachshund with back issues, and so I scrutinized the dog carriers for hiking listed in this article very closely.
In order for a dog carrier to work for hiking, I need it to be ok for my Dachshund’s back and also work for my needs.
The requirements for a backpack to be safe for a Dachshund’s back are:
- Doesn’t hurt them while they are being carried
- Is comfortable and secure so they don’t wiggle around and fall out
- Doesn’t put stress on their spine (ie. ideal of they are laying horizontal and their body is fully supported)
Safety for my dogs is the first priority but I can’t use a backpack to carry my Dachshund on hikes if I can’t carry some of my own hiking gear too or it’s uncomfortable.
Ideally, a Dachshund-carrying backpack would also be:
- Large enough to carry at least minimal hiking safety gear and snacks (I usually hike alone so there is no one else to carry the stuff)
- Not so large that it’s cumbersome on the trail
- Adjustable so I can fit the straps comfortably to my body
- Have a waist belt to help distribute the wait I’m carrying to my hips
I evaluated many different Dachshund carrier backpacks against these criteria and listed what I think are the most viable options below.
Options for Carrying Your Dachshund in a Backpack
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. That means that I get a small commission on any qualified items you purchase.
My Top Backpack Choices for Carrying a Dachshund
The Timbuk2 Muttmover is my first choice for carrying a Dachshund, with a few catches.
I first discovered the Muttmover a few years ago and got excited about the carrier style.
Timbuk2 happily sent me one I could check it out.
Note: The photos above are for their original carrier but the new model positions the dog the same so I left them in the article for you to see.
The Timbuk2 dog backpack used to come in two models – the original Muttmover (shown above) and the Muttmover Light.
Both of the earlier models have been discontinued, but it’s possible you can find them on a closeout sale or used online, so I wanted to mention them.
The current Tumbuk2 dog dog backpack is called the Muttmover Luxe.
It’s a little larger than the original Muttmover so there is more room inside and it’s significantly smaller than the Muttmover Light so it’s not as cumbersome.
There are two different holes on the side of the pack – an upper and lower one.
The lower hole allows shorter dogs to comfortably stick their head out of the bag.
It also allows dogs to be carried horizontally across your back so that they are in a natural laying down position.
By laying sideways – instead of vertically – the bag offers even support along the length of a Dachshund’s spine.
The front panel on the backpack zips completely open to lay flat so your dog can easily step in instead of having to struggle to slide their body inside.
This is the best pack I have found so far for safely carrying a Dachshund for hiking.
So what is the catch?
The Muttmover is still not ideal for several reasons (it’s definitely more suited to walking around a city).
- Although the shoulder strap length is adjustable, the width between them (where they connect to the backpack) is not and the straps are set a bit to narrow to be comfortable on a long, steep trail for me.
- There is a waist strap but it’s just a strap of webbing, not a padded hip belt, so the bulk of the weight can’t be transferred from your shoulders to your hips well.
- Although there are small pockets for snacks and a bit of water, there is not enough space to pack hiking necessities like an extra jacket, first aid kit, headlamp, and an other-than-cell-phone camera.
There are also a couple of other considerations about the pack to be aware of.
First, Even the low head hole was a bit too high for my Dachshund Chester.
He kept coughing because the fabric put pressure on his throat.
I put a towel in the bottom of the bag to raise him up and it was perfect but you may have to take this extra step.
Chester is about 14 inches long from his shoulder blades to base of tail.
The bag is 13.8 inches wide so I thought he would just fit. It turns out I didn’t think about his chest adding a couple of inches to his length.
He fits in the bag because the sides are flexible but it is a little snug for him.
If your dog is under 20 lbs, or is less than 14 inches from the front of the chest to butt, this backpack carrier will probably work for them.
In summary, the Timbuk2 Muttmover:
- Allows a Dachshund to lay horizontally so it’s the safest option for their backs
- Is 13.5 inches wide (ie, Max Dachshund length), 9.5 inches deep at the bottom, and 18.7 inches tall
- Is ideal for Dachshunds weighing under 15 lbs (the max limit is 20 lbs.)
- Has a hole on the side for your dog to stick their head out
- Has a Ripstop Nylon fabric inside that is easy to wipe clean
- Has a few small pockets, but they are only suitable for keys, wallet, snacks, and a few other small supplies
- Includes collapsible, folding water dish for your pup
- Has adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps
Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack
I thought the Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier backpack looked cool and had potential but I was concerned about it putting pressure on a Dachshund’s spine.
I decided to give it a try though and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
I bought the first version of the pack to try but Kurgo reached out and sent me the updated version before I had a chance to try it.
I heard that the first version had some issues with sagging against a person’s back under the weight of the dog.
The new version has two small stabilizer bars inside to make it more supportive.
I found the Kurgo G-train to be acceptable for carrying a Dachshund in our case.
Our case was hiking for less than an hour with a dog that weighed 11 lbs (and is 14 inches long from shoulders to base of tail).
Although the listed weight limit for the pack is 25 lbs, I have heard from people that the pack doesn’t perform quite as well, and the pack doesn’t potentially fit as well, for dogs that are over 16 lbs.
I can’t speak to that personally though.
Gretel was able to sit in the pack like she would at home – with all 4 paws on the floor – and seemed comfortable.
She didn’t squirm around until I set the pack down or stopped and she thought it was time to get out.
While she did start to slump a little inside the pack and lean against the side, the curve it created in her spine didn’t worry me much because she could easily reposition herself if she was uncomfortable.
It would be tight but I do feel like she could curl up inside the pack to sleep if she wanted (but I think she’s too worried about missing the action to not look out).
This video shows what it looks like inside and how she sits in there.
The backpack was comfortable for me to carry and had some space to carry other stuff inside.
It has a removable, washable pad in the bottom and a waist strap to help support the load.
However, there is not enough space to carry everything I would on a day hike.
I wouldn’t take this pack out for more than a 1-2 hour casual hike without bringing someone else with me that could carry the bulk of our supplies.
One thing to note is that the divider between the backpack compartment and your dog’s space is flexible so the more supplies you put in the back, the less space your dog has.
Again, this backpack is not 100% ideal but it’s one of the best options I’ve found for safely and effectively carrying a Dachshund.
It’s a significantly better option than the Muttmover for me but not for my Dachshund because she can’t lay horizontally in it to fully support her spine.
Still, I think it’s less harmful to the spine than some other options.
In summary, the Kurgo G-Train:
- Is 12.9 inches wide (ie, Max Dachshund length), 10 inches deep at the bottom, and 21.7 inches tall
- Is ideal for Dachshunds weighing under 16 lbs (the max limit is 25 lbs.)
- Allows a Dachshund to support themselves by putting all 4 feet on the bottom
- Has enough space inside that a Dachshund can shift their body into a comfortable position
- Has a hole at the top for your dog to stick their head out and a mesh windows on one of the sides (although they are not useful if there is something in the pocket)
- It has a removable, washable pad in the bottom and a waist strap to help support the load.
- Is comfortable to wear
- Has a separate compartment, and small pockets to carry more supplies and gear than the Muttmover (but still not as much as a true backpack)
- Has an adjustable sternum and waist strap
Other Options I’ve tried and What I Think About Them
Your Regular Backpack
During one of our trips to Colorado, we had to carry Chester on the steep and rocky parts of the 14er mountains we hiked.
I posted a picture of my hubby carrying him in a regular backpack and a lot of people asked me about it.
The pack was an Osprey Talon 44.
Carrying your Dachshund in a regular backpack is not ideal. It’s what we had though so we made it work.
I put all of the stuff I needed for hiking in the bottom of the Osprey pack.
We stuffed a blanket in on top of our stuff and then we put another blanket on top of that and fluffed it so it created a bit of at a slope inside the pack.
When Chester laid on it, his upper body was propped up to peek out of the bag and his lower body rested against the other side of the pack.
Set up this way, it did offer a bit of back support.
However, I could see an obvious curve in his spine when he was sitting and his back seemed a little sore when we took him out.
It wasn’t ideal but it worked good enough for that trip.
You don’t know for sure until you try sometimes, but I wouldn’t carry an adult Dachshund again this way unless it was an emergency.
I would, however, consider carrying a small puppy this way.
The K9 Sport Sack is probably the backpack I get asked about most by Dachshund owners.
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I had my opinion about the dog backpack carrier but gave it a try anyway just to confirm my suspicions (they kindly sent me one to test out).
The original model was just a bag for your dog.
Later, seeing the need to be useful for hiking, K9Sportsack started developing other models that included various configurations of extra storage.
I’ll discuss those briefly at the end of this section but because all bags are based off the original model, and that is where your Dachshund will go, this analysis is for the dog-only carrying model.
The #1 thing about this backpack carrier – which is stating the obvious – is that a dog has to sit upright in the bag.
That position puts pressure on a Dachshund’s spine.
The bag is slim and fits close though so there is a bit of support in that a dog probably can’t completely slump down.
It does allow a curve in the spine though, which can become a pressure point.
There isn’t any significant support to the side of the bag but there is marginal support for the dog’s body if the wearer is leaned forward like when riding a bike.
I carried Chester in the K9 Sport Sack a few times and it did work.
He didn’t seem uncomfortable or seem more sore after.
The longest I carried him in it was 2 hours though.
I think the K9 Sport Sack could work for some Dachshunds.
Well, I know it does because I know a few people who use it.
I personally would not recommend this backpack to carry a Dachshund, and would never use it to carry a Dachshund that has IVDD or prior back problems (the couple people I know that use it said their dog never has).
In fact, when I recently talked with a brand representative at the Superzoo pet product trade show, he agreed that a Dachshund should only ride in this pack for an hour or so because of the back issue.
However, I’m including it on this list since I know several Dachshund owners that use it for short hikes and scooter rides and really like it.
The original design of the K9 Sport Sack, now called the Air, had no way to carry your things in addition to your dog.
The company has since developed several options that make this pack more useful for hiking and longer adventures.
Three options to add storage to this pack are:
- To wear the K9 Kompanion Shoulder/Hip Dog Supply Pack in addition
- Buy the PLUS model that has a small backpack attached to the outside
- Buy the Knavigate with a compartment attached to the bottom of the pack, internal frame, and added hip belt.
Kurgo K9 Rucksack
This backpack is similar to the Kurgo G-Train in regard to how your dog sits in it – they can support themselves by sitting on all fours.
It doesn’t have the fiberglass supports like the G-train so the bottom is more likely to sag under weight but I didn’t have an issue with an 11 lb. dog inside.
This bag isn’t among one of my top picks because it provides very little extra storage.
Since I was primarily searching for a backpack to carry a dog while hiking, that rules this one out for me.
However, it would be perfectly fine when walking around an urban area.
Ruff Rescue Gear Sling
While a sling, not a backpack, I frequently get asked a lot about the Ruff Rescue Pup Traveler small dog carrier.
The company claims it’s “IVDD safe” but I’m not sure I agree. It’s pretty darn close though.
Yes, it holds a Dachshund horizontally and supports the core of their body, but it still doesn’t hold the spine completely straight – as you can see, there is a slight curve around my belly.
I suspect this curve wouldn’t be so pronounced if the person wearing it had a flatter stomach.
It also isn’t possible for a Dachshund to shift around into a position that is comfortable for them.
There are extensions that help support the chest (harness-like piece) and rear (sling-like piece).
Gretel wasn’t wiggling like she was uncomfortable, but I only carried her in it for about 15 minutes at a time.
I had a little more confidence that she was comfortable when I lightly placed my hands underneath her feet.
As with the above backpacks, there is no perfect solution for carrying a Dachshunds.
This sling is a good option for emergencies on the trail though.
A really great thing about it is that it is meant to wear on your front so you can still carry out your own backpack.
It’s lightweight and packable so I plan to carry it with me on hikes so I can carry Gretel out in an emergency without my arms getting exhausted.
As you can see, I am very picky, and carefully scrutinize any dog carrier backpacks that look like they might work for Dachshunds, so I haven’t found the perfect solution yet.
However, I do think all of the packs I’ve listed are some variation of “might be good enough” for your dog and use.
Sadly, the dream bag I covet does not exist. Well, not yet anyway.
I’m currently working on assembling my ideal Dachshund carrier backpack from several different parts and bags.
If I ever finish it, I will come back and write DIY instructions for it.
I’ve been asked many times why I don’t sketch and manufacture my own Dachshund carrier backpack to sell but I don’t think people realize how much time and money goes into that.
Time and money I absolutely do not have.
So unless, by some miracle, a brand finds me and agrees to work with me as a designer, while providing all the funding and manufacturing behind it, it’s just not going to happen.
If you know any rich investors who love Dachshunds let me know. Ha, ha.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.