Origin of the Dachshund

This article contains Affiliate Links.  Please review our Disclaimer for details.

The dachshund breed originated in Germany in the 1500s. The breed obtained the name “Dachshund” in the early 1600s. The dachshund breed’s main purpose was to hunt down badgers by chasing them into their underground burrows.

Dachshund Origin and History

The badger was considered a major pest for eating the crops people grew.  Hunting badgers was very dangerous work, especially for such a little dog.  The dachshund was raised to be brave, tough, and intelligent in order to win a battle with a badger.

England was one of the first countries to turn the dachshund from a hunter to a favored pet.

Dachshund Fact: Did you know Queen Victoria owned dachshunds? It was because of the queen that the dachshund became a popular pet in England.

The dachshund was brought to the United States more as a popular pet instead of a hunter in the 1870’s.

Dachshunds are a member of the breed group known as “Scent hounds.” The scent hounds are known for following their scent while on the hunt for game animals.

Dachshunds are also under the category of “Earth hound” since their hunting occurs primary below ground in small animal burrows.

• Popularity: 13th most popular dog breed in the USA
• Purpose: Hunting badgers underground, today a companion dog.
• Weight: Standard up to 30lb, miniature up to 11lb
• Temperament: Loyal, protective

Dachshund, What’s in a name?

The name Dachshund (pronounced: Dahks-hunt) means “badger dog.” In German, dachs means “badger,” hund means “dog.”

Some other proper names in Germany are Dackel and Teckel. It was because of the pesky badgers that the dachshund breed was born.

Hunters needed small dogs with a long body and short legs to hunt the badgers.

Dachshunds are great diggers. During the hunt, they had to dig deep into the badger’s burrow. They would bark loudly to alert the hunter of the badger’s location.

Still today, miniature dachshunds are used for hunting small game, like rabbits and woodchucks, for sport in Europe.

Dachshund Nicknames

The dachshunds have many nicknames, some of the most popular being:
• Weiner dog or Weenie Dog
• Doxie
• Sausage dog or Hot Dog
• Dash Hound
• Datsun or Dotson
• Dutch hound

Dachshund Coats

  • Short-haired, smooth coated
  • Long-haired
  • Wire-haired

The original dachshunds started out as short-haired. Breeders realized that the dachshund could benefit from having long hair to help protect the little hunters from sharp thorny bushes and branches in the forest. These long smooth or wiry coats helped protect them from getting scratched up on their vigorous hunting excursions.

Short Smooth Hair

Smooth hair dachshunds have shiny coats with short hair. There is no need for grooming with this type of dachshund (lower maintenance). These doxies come in a variety of colors and patterns including black and tan, chocolate, blue, fawn, wild boar, dapple pattern, piebald pattern. The dachshunds with the brindle pattern have dark stripes along their long bodies.

Long Hair

The long hair dachshunds have long smooth and silky hair, sometimes with a wavy texture appearance. Their coat colors are like the smooth hair dachshunds. Long-haired doxies require more grooming compared to the smooth and wire hair types. They will need to be brushed and bathed more regularly.

Wire Hair

Wire Hair dachshunds have a short wiry rough coat. These dachshunds have a bearded face and furry eyebrows, very different from the smooth and long hair doxies. Their coats come in the following colors: black, tan, wild boar, and red. Many of the colors found in the short hair dachshunds can be found in the wire hair dachshunds as well.

Dachshund Colors

  • Red
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate and Cream
  • Chocolate and Tan
  • Cream
  • Black and Tan
  • Black and Cream
  • Blue (gray) and Tan
  • Blue and Cream
  • Fawn (Isabella)
  • Fawn and Tan
  • Wild Boar wirehair
  • Wheaton wirehair

Dachshund Patterns

  • Dapple
  • Double Dapple
  • Brindle
  • Piebald
  • Brindle piebald
  • Sable

Dachshund Weight and Sizes

  • Standard:  Full grown standard dachshunds can weigh between 16-32 pounds. 10-12 in. long. (recognized by the US and Germany)

  • Miniature: Adult mini dachshunds average between 11 pounds or less. 6-8 in. long. (recognized by the US and Germany)

  • Rabbit (aka kaninchen): Adult average size under 8 lbs. (considered the toy version) (recognized by Germany)

Miniature Dachshunds

The miniature version of the dachshund emerged in the 1800s. These little guys were the breed for hunting smaller game animals, like rabbits. Rabbits have much smaller sized burrows, so the hunters needed a smaller version of the dachshund.

Dachshund Temperament

The dachshund makes a playful and loyal companion for any individual person or family. They enjoy walking, running, and playing. Dachshunds are happy just cuddling and being present with their owners. They always aim to please. Dachshunds form a very strong bond and crave attention from their owners.

Doxies love to be with others.  When left alone for long periods of time, some Dachshunds are known to be destructive. Some can even influence their well-behaved fur siblings to join in the mischievous fun, which can make for a big mess for an owner coming home from a long day at work. The dachshund is a very social dog who loves to have lots of attention from their owners.

Dachshunds are known for their spirited nature and sometimes spiteful boldness not seen by many other dogs. It sometimes proves difficult to train these dogs, but with patience and determination, many owners can tame these small lively dogs.

Dachshunds enjoy playing outdoors and going on regular walks, but as a companion pet, they are not known as an outdoor dog.

Dachshunds are burrowers by nature and are likely to burrow in blankets and other items around the house when bored or tired. This is a family pet with a bold personality.

Dachshund Traits

Some common dachshund traits include bravery, feistiness, not afraid to challenge bigger dogs, likes to hunt, loves to dig and chew, loves to bark when agitated or excited.

Dachshund Health

Back problems

All dachshund owners need to be aware of the risks of back (spinal) issues that their dachshund could develop when jumping from high places or climbing stairs. Dachshunds love to play fetch, but owners need to be cautious when it comes to excessive jumping or running because of their sensitive backs.

A great way to prevent back problems is to have pet stairs developed for small dogs that need to get up on a bed or couch.  Learn more about IVDD.

Dachshunds have an average lifespan is 12-14 years.

Dachshund Food

Dachshunds love their food, and they will eat a ton if owners aren’t careful about regulating their portions daily. An adult doxie will eat about one to two cups of food per day. The amount of food depends on their size and physical activity level. It is recommended that their meal times are broken up a couple times throughout the day.

A good routine would be a one-half cup of dog food in the morning and one-half cup of dog food in the evening for dinner. Breaking up their meals allows them to not gorge themselves all at once, which could cause issues with their anal glands and GI regularity.

For instance, when it was meal time for my two dachshunds, one of my dachshunds would try to each both of the bowls of food before his brother had a chance to eat his portion.  Some dachshunds tend to dominate over their fur siblings will down all the food they can in one sitting which can cause weight and health issues.

Watch your doxies carefully during meal time to ensure they are not overdoing it. Also, consult your dog’s vet for their feeding recommendations for your doxie.  Check out our Dachshund Feeding Guide Article.

More Helpful Links:

APA Cited References ( bibliography):

Lunis, Natalie. 2009. Dachshund the Hot Dogger. New York, NY: Bearport Publishing Company, Inc.

Schweitzer, Karen. 2010. Our Best Friends the Dachshund. Pittsburg, PA: Eldorado Ink.