A big personality in a small body is a popular way of describing the Dachshund.
Their long-bodied features make them instantly recognisable and lends them the nickname of ‘sausage dog’.
Dachshunds are of German origin and were originally bred to hunt badgers. It’s why their name in German means 'Badger Dog'. Their long, low bodies made it easier for them tunnel down into badger setts or chase their prey through thick undergrowth.
They were first introduced to the UK in 1840 when members of the Royal family brought them over to help hunt pheasants. It was said that Queen Victoria was very fond of the breed and this helped increase their popularity.
They come in two sizes: standard or miniature size. Miniatures as you would expect are smaller than standard Dachshunds.
Dachshund temperament and characteristics
Dachshunds have big, bold personalities and are a popular choice for dog lovers. They’re intelligent and affectionate and love being part of a household.
Many of their personality traits can be traced back to their hunting ancestry. Because they were first bred and trained to hunt animals like badgers they have a lot of courage and aren’t easily intimidated.
They’re known for their loud bark which is one reason why they make good guard dogs but they can can sometimes sound aggressive and confrontational.
Their bark developed as a way of telling hunters exactly where they were when underground flushing out prey.
They make great family pets and are loyal and protective towards their owners. They are good with children if treated properly and socialised correctly. Their size makes them a good choice for anyone living in a smaller house or flat.
Some people can find them strong-willed, stubborn and difficult to train but as smart and intelligent dogs they need strong and consistent training.
For a small breed they have lots of energy and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. As a pack animal they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time and can easily become bored, lonely and stressed.
Dachshund colours, shapes and sizes
Dachshunds come in standard and miniature size. Miniatures are noticeably smaller with an average height of 13-18cm. Standard Dachshunds are taller, and normally reach a height of 20-22cm.
Dachshunds come in a variety of colours and four sets of coat textures that include:
All Dachshunds need their coats brushed at least once a week but depending on the coat length and texture, more grooming may be needed. Dachshunds are moderate shedders but the amount will again depend on the coat.
Short and smooth-haired Dachshunds need their coats brushing once a week to keep them in good condition. They don’t have much of an undercoat and won’t need as much grooming compared to long or wired-haired coats.
Wire-haired Dachshunds are recognisable by having longer hair around their eyes and mouth which will need trimming. They have a double coat and may shed more depending on the season. They will often need their coat brushing several times a week.
Long-haired Dachshunds have an undercoat, and shed the most. Their coats will need more brushing and grooming than all others.
Dachshund coats come in a variety of colours that include:
Black and tan
Black and cream
We insured thousands of Dachshunds in 2021 and found that the cost varies a little depending on their size and coat type.
When you get your pet insurance quote you're asked to choose your dog's breed from a list. With Dachshunds there are an astonishing nine different types to choose from, but the cheapest to insure was simply 'Dachshund' with an average annual premium of £519.19.
Here’s the average annual pet insurance cost for all the other types of Dachshund:
Long haired – £583.23
Smooth haired – £545.33
Short haired – £464.03
Wire haired – £542.78
Long haired – £580.73
Smooth haired – £476.13
Short haired – £584.53
Wire haired – £566.36
In 2021, the average pet insurance premium for all breeds was £474.77, so although long-haired seem to be a little more expensive than short-haired, Dachshunds are pretty close to the average, no matter what variety you have.
Dachshund health conditions
The distinctive shape of Dachshunds has been deliberately enhanced by breeders. Their long, stretched out-back made it easier for them to move through underground tunnels hunting out badgers. Today, it means they are more susceptible to back problems than other breeds.
One common condition in Dachshunds is intervertebral disc disease or (IVDD). One-in four Dachshunds may be affected by the condition at some point in their lives according to the charity Dachshund Health UK.
Intervertebral disc disease is an age-related, degenerative condition which means it will get worse over time. The condition typically requires surgery.
In 2021, IVDD was the third most common claim across all types of Dachshund and it can be very costly to treat if surgery's needed. We paid 250 claims at an average cost of £1,792.66 for this condition in Dachshunds in 2021.
Signs of IVDD to look out for include:
Yelping (when held or unprovoked)
Neck or back pain
Holding the neck low
An unwillingness to jump or climb
lameness in one of the four limbs
Arching of the back
You can help prevent spine problems by ensuring your pup doesn’t regularly jump off furniture or run up and down flights of stairs. When handling Dachshunds, take care to support the back, keeping the spine horizontal.
Our Complete policy has up to £6k cover if your pet is lost or stolen.
Despite their small size, Dachshunds need regular exercise. They’re perfectly capable of running which is a great outlet for such an energetic breed.
One hour or exercise each day is recommended for standard Dachshunds while 30 minutes is enough for miniatures. Dachshund puppies need five minutes of exercise for every month of their age. Puppies shouldn’t be over-exercised as this can lead to joint damage when they’re still growing.
Because Dachshunds are susceptible to back problems, it’s important to watch their weight. An overweight Dachshund will have too much strain placed on their small legs which can lead to back issues.
A well-balanced diet will keep them at a healthy weight and prevent too much pressure being placed on their back and joints. Any unexpected weight gains may be a sign of more serious conditions and you should speak with your vet as soon as possible.
Keeping ears clean is important for the overall health of Dachshunds. They have low hanging ears which don’t get as much air circulation compared to other breeds. Moisture can build up which provides the ideal conditions for ear infections to develop. It’s good to check their ears each week to make sure they remain clean and free from any dirt.
Frequently asked questions about Dachshundss
When do Dachshunds stop growing?
A standard Dachshund normally stops growing at 12 months but they will continue to fill out and put on weight until they’re 18 months. For some Dachshunds this can continue up until the age of two.
Why are Dachshunds so small?
Miniature Dachshunds developed through selectively breeding the smallest Dachshunds. The miniature Dachshund was the perfect size for chasing into small rabbit holes and flushing out smaller prey.
Do miniature and standard dachshunds have different personalities?
No, not really.
Both share the same characteristics of being smart, energetic and stubborn. But some people believe that smooth, long-haired and wire-haired Dachshunds do have different personalities.