I’ve been searching FOR-EVAR for a backpack to safely carry a Dachshund around the city or on a hike.
Note: although I was searching for a back for Dachshunds, what I found would be my recommendations for any small dog. Especially if they had back issues.
I’ve seen almost every option available and tried several.
Almost all of them 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 to safely carry their Dachshund on a hike?
Unfortunately, Dachshund owners are left with having to choose between the lesser of evils.
Note: this updated article was originally published August 13, 2015
Reasons Your Dachshund May Need to Be Carried
There are many reasons a Dachshund may need to be carried.
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.
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 carried her in a bag 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 them.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The requirements for a backpack so be safe for a Dachshund’s back are not many:
- 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 pack if I can’t carry some of my own hiking gear 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
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 Choices for Carrying Dachshunds
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. They happily sent me one so I could check it out.
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.
Besides being the safest and most supportive for the dog, there is room to carry a small amount of hiking supplies like water and snacks.
So what is the catch? The Muttmover is still not ideal for hiking a lot of 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 no waist belt for extra support so the bulk of the weight can’t be transferred from your shoulders to your hips.
- 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 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, it will probably work for them.
The larger version of the backpack is bigger overall, it doesn’t just accommodate a slightly larger dog.
The bag is almost so big it was cumbersome for me and it sagged in the back, causing Chester to be kind of off-kilter when laying in it.
The plus is that the larger bag is a good option for taller people or people with a larger frame.
The minus is just that meaning that this bag may be needed to fit a larger dog but it won’t fit a smaller person well.
Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack
I thought the G-Train Dog Carrier backpack looked cool and had potential.
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 (the red one) 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 4s 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 do that.
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.
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 in almost all respects except that it’s not designed for a Dachshund to lay horizontally in it.
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.
I posted a picture of my hubby carrying him in a regular backpack. 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 that. Then we stuffed another blanket in and fluffed it so it was kind of at a slope.
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.
It wasn’t ideal but it worked.
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.
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 K9Sportsack is probably the backpack I get asked about most by Dachshund owners.
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I had my opinion about the bag but gave it a try anyway just to confirm (they kindly sent me one to test out).
The #1 thing – 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 K9Sportsack 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 K9Sportsack could work for some Dachshunds. Well, I know it does because I know a few people who use it.
I personally would not recommend it 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).
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
I get asked a lot about the Ruff Rescue Pup Traveler small dog carrier too.
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I haven’t tried it so I can’t give a solid opinion. However, looking at it, I have some reservations.
It’s great that it allows a Dachshund to lay horizontally and it supports their body throughout the whole length.
I’ve seen some photos with it being worn on the front with the person also wearing a backpack. I’m happy that there is potential to use a regular backpack with this.
My main reservation is that a dog can’t move around in it to adjust themselves and it looks like it causes their legs to be held in an unnatural position.
I do think this dot carrying sling has a potential, and I may try it out myself sometime, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it to carry a Dachshund at this point.
I think it definitely has potential at least for an emergency evacuation tool, although I worry that it would be too big and bulky to regularly carry inside my hiking pack for “just in case.”
As you can see, I am very picky so I haven’t found a solution for carrying a Dachshund that I think is ideal. It seems that the dream bag I covet does not exists.
Well, not yet? I’m currently assembling my ideal Dachshund carrier backpack from several different parts and bags.
In my dreams, someone will discover me and agree to fund the formal design and manufacture of it so that you all can have one too.
If you know any rich investors who love Dachshunds let me know. Ha, ha.