Some lucky Dachshund owners have discovered the joy of watching a Dachshund race.
A typically Dachshund race is a distance of 50 feet, so the Dachshund’s don’t run very far.
The races are funny and interesting to watch.
Some Dachshunds literally run circles and never make it to the finish line, some plod along like they are only competing against themselves, and some are trained athletes that take off like a rocket.
But most people believe that Dachshunds are not well-suited for running long distances due to their short legs, long backs, and their susceptibility to spinal issues.
But is a Dachshund really incapable of running a long distance?
UPDATED: originally published December 2015
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, just a passionate Dachshund owner who has been studying the breed for almost 20 years and hikes and runs with her Dachshunds.
Recognizing the Risk
The truth is that Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), the disease that leads to brittle spinal disks and that can lead to disk rupture and paralysis, is primarily caused by genetics.
But what is also true is that:
- Almost all Dachshunds have at least 1 copy of the gene that causes IVDD because it’s related to the long and low shape (source)
- Only a fraction of those – approximately 25% – will have an issue in their lifetime ranging from pain to paralysis
- Besides genetics, environmental factors like pet obesity, lack of muscle-toning exercise, spay/neuter status, and diet likely play a factor in disk herniation
- There is no reliable test for IVDD so the only way to know if your Dachshund will hurt their back, and has IVDD, is diagnosis after an injury.
The takeaways here are that:
- All Dachshunds have some level of disk degeneration but only a fraction of those will have any issues
- There is no way to tell if your Dachshund will suffer a spinal injury until they do
Now, you can take two approaches to this information based on your own dog, your personal preference, your tolerance of risks, and what kind of quality of life you want your Dachshund to have.
If your Dachshund has been diagnosed with IVDD, it’s not a good idea to run with them but it may be ok to run with your Dachshund if they haven’t.
If you have visions of going for a run with you Dachshund by your side, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian first.
What is the Furthest a Dachshund Has Run?
Back in 2015, I was introduced to Catra Corbitt, known as dirtdiva333 on Instagram, who was an ultrarunner and ran with her Dachshund TruMan.
TruMan first ran a 26.2 mile marathon and later went on to be the first Dachshund to run a 50k (just over 31 miles)!
Catra says, “TruMan has come a long way in two years since I… adopted him. He could not walk around the block because he was afraid of the world . Now he’s running wilderness trails with me. He was reborn through running.”
TruMan continued to run long distances and lived a long, good life.
He even ran 20 miles with his Brother BaXter at the age of 14!
Catra also once said to me, “Just because a Doxie is small does not mean they can’t do epic shit.”
You know am 100% behind that statement. I always tell people, the size of the dog doesn’t necessarily determine what it can and can’t do.
Since meeting Catra and TruMan, I’ve met a few other people who run long distances with their Dachshunds.
A member of the Adventureweiner Dachshund Club I founded, Keith, regularly runs marathons with his long-haired Dachshund Bella.
She’s run 5 full marathons and approximately 40 half marathons.
Keith’s Daughter said, “A lot of people laugh when they find out Bella is running in the race too. For some reason their opinions seem to change when Bella and dad finish in front of them.”
There are several other people in our Dachshund club that regularly run 3-10 miles with their Dachshund.
So the answer to how far a Dachshund can run is as far as they are capable of and potentially up to 30 miles.
You might be thinking, those running Dachshunds must have superpowers, but how far can a normal Dachshund run?
How Far Can the Average Dachshund Run
The average Dachshund is not a well-trained athlete like TruMan and Bella.
The truth is, the average Dachshund doesn’t run. But the average Dachshund can run.
My first Dachshund helped me to train for a marathon.
While my high-mileage training days were close to 20 miles, I was only comfortable running with him for up to 8 miles during shorter training runs.
I do occasionally come across other Dachshund owners that run with theirs too.
The typical distance I hear Dachshund’s running with their owners is 3-5 miles.
A lot of Dachshunds at least run when they play though – zooming around the yard or house – or when they are off leash.
Some of those, like my Dachshund Gretel, even have IVDD.
While I don’t encourage her to run, after talking with my vet and deciding I don’t want to treat her like breakable glass, I let her be a dog for quality of life.
As long as she is setting her own pace and limits, I let her run around if she wants too.
I doubt she ever runs over a mile in a day (hiking is different though – she is 12 and can still hike 14 miles).
The general belief is that Dachshunds shouldn’t’ participate in endurance activities such as running because their legs are short, they don’t have enough energy, and they could hurt their back.
But I know that running is not inherently bad for Dachshunds and have both personal, and observed, proof that Dachshunds can run a long distance.
With that being said, it may not be possible for your Dachshund to do it based on their health, whether they have IVDD or other mobility issues, or you are too uncomfortable with the risk.
If you are inspired to try running with your Dachshund, it is best to consult with a veterinarian before your Dachshund starts a new exercise routine.
Also remember that it’s up to you to pay attention to whether your Dachshund enjoys running, if they are getting tired during the run, and determine if it’s an activity you are comfortable with.
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.