4 Genetic Traits That Make Dachshunds Great Hiking Companions

Hiking with small dogs is becoming more popular and Dachshunds are one of the best small breeds that make great hiking partners.

Originally bred to be hunting dogs, their athletic ability and tenacity was bred into them.

Dachshunds also have several physical characteristics and traits that allowed them to excel at their job of hunting small animals, like rabbits and badgers, and digging them out of their hole.

4 Genetic Characteristics That Make Dachshunds Great Hikers

1) They have great lung capacity

Dachshunds, because of their deep chest, have a larger lung capacity compared to most dogs it’s size.

This larger lung capacity means that they can breathe in more oxygen so they don’t get tired and winded as easily.

2) They can cover a lot of ground

They were bred to track animals through the woods and alert hunters to there whereabouts.

This required them to follow an animal scent, sometimes for miles and up and over many obstacles.

My Dachshunds are 10 lbs and can easily hike up to 7 miles in a day (we worked up that distance using this training technique). Sometimes our hikes even go as far as 12 miles.

The original job of a Dachshund, who was bred as a hunting dog, was to run through the woods chasing small prey.

While many Dachshunds never hike over 5 miles, I know of a few that have hiked over 15 miles in a day and two miniature Dachshunds that have run a marathon.

3) They are very motivated

One of a Dachshund’s primary hunting strengths is their smell – the ability to pick up a scent and literally run with it.

When a Dachshund locks onto a scent, it’s like their brain turns off and they go into super athlete mode to follow it.

Note: this trait can also mean they will choose a scent over stopping when they are exhausted so it’s your responsibility to watch for signs your Dachshund is getting too tired from hiking.

4) Those feet were built for scrambling

Part of a hunting Dachshund’s duty was to track critters to their hole and then dig to get to them.

Their feet are literally built for this job, which means they are also built for hiking.

Their paddle-like paws help spread their weight out more evenly on the ground surface to give them more traction.

Their webbed feet and talon-like nails dig into the dirt and also help with traction.

They also have front dew claws (unless they were removed) that provides extra traction and helps to stabilize the wrist joint when their are climbing or running at speed.

While they are not exactly the same, it helps to think of them as your dog’s thumb or big toe.

Dachshunds have tough, thick, durable, paw pads that can stand up to rough ground and rocks.

Dachshund standing on a rock slope

These features make it easier for a Dachshund to grip onto, and climb up and over things, on the trail.

How to Hike With a Dachshund

Whether you are a new Dachshund owner, are searching for a small dog that will love to hike and camp with you, or want to exercise your Dachshund more to help him or her reach their ideal weight, these resources can help get you started.

If your Dachshund is under 12 months old, read about why it’s important to wait until your puppy is fully developed before taking them on a hike.

Once you’re ready to introduce your Dachshund to the sport of hiking, the tips in this article will help get you started. I compiled this list based on my 15+ years of hiking with my wiener dogs.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about hiking with small dogs I receive.D

Some people don’t think small dogs can hike so they always have a lot of questions when they see me on the trail with my Dachshunds.

stubborn Doxie who digs it’s heels in when you tug on the leash, check out these 12 reasons your Dachshund might refuse to walk.

If you’re plans involve hiking with a friend and their dog, especially if it’s one your Dachshund hasn’t met before, consider these tips for hiking with multiple dogs in a group.

Disclaimer: always check with your veterinarian before starting a new exercise routine with your dog.


I’ve helped introduce many Doxies and their owners to hiking over the years.

Owners sometimes start out being concerned – wondering if their Dachshund will like it or do well.

In almost every case, they are surprised at how easy their Dachshund makes it seem and how much they like it.

I’m never surprised since hiking is natural for most Dachshunds. As you have seen, they are literally build for it!

Read More: 25 Dachshund Facts Every Owner Should Know

4 reasons a Dachshund's genetic traits and characteristics makes them great hiking dogs

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.


  1. Lost my Doxie last June to bladder and kidney cancer.I know have a 14 teen week old Doxie that is a long haired black one, fiesty little guy yet.

  2. I am having a very hard time potty training. We have tried many things. But we would like any suggestions that would help
    Us. Thank you. Jill and Gary

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