Dachshunds sprang from Germanic breeding in the 1600's. They were specifically bred as fearless and ferocious badger hunters having stubby legs, long bodies, and large paws that enabled them to dig into burrows to catch their prey. Averaging 30 - 40 pounds, the original Dachshund were much larger than today.
Dachshunds began being bred as pets in the 1800s, with size gradually being reduced. They were AKC registered in 1885. In the early 1900s, Dachshunds became quite popular but that popularity waned during World War I. After the war, the breed was once again imported from Germany to the U.S. and repopulated.
There are two sizes of Dachshund; standard and miniature, weighing between 8-25 pounds. They have a long, trim, muscular body; stubby legs with large paws and have an elongated head and a long muzzle.
Dachshunds come in many varieties; long-haired, short-haired and wired-haired and their coats should be glossy and sleek. There are a large variety of colors, with the dominant colors being red (ranging from coppers to deep rust) along with black and tan. Isabella is also common as a silver/gray color with light translucent brown points or no distinct points.
The Dachshund is bred to be a hunting dog, and such will challenge a larger animal. If allowed, Dachshunds may become snappy or extremely stubborn. However, they are energetic, intelligent, affectionate, lovable and playful companions, and their proud and arrogant demeanor can often be charming.
They are ideal pets for many homes and are also good with children under appropriate supervision. If introduced to kids at a young age and trained properly, they should do well.
Dachshunds can be difficult to train and housebreak, but patience and consistency will help you prevail. They need an owner who knows how to be the pack leader or the dog will take over the house. If not led, a host of problems can arise: guarding toys, furniture or other objects, snapping, biting, separation anxiety and obsessive barking. They may also become unpredictable with strangers, other animals, and even their owners.
Dachshunds are a good breed to travel with and adapt well to most living environments; large or small, indoors or outdoors. A caring owner with knowledge of their need for entertainment, exercise and leadership are their chief requirements.
Dachshunds are very loyal and devoted to their family. It is critical, however, that you give them the exercise, attention and training they need. It can make all the difference between a well behaved, loving pet or as shy, aggressive and unruly animal. As many Dachshund owners advise, you train your Dachshund or it will train you.