The Dachshund is one of the most unique breeds of the hound family, very much a dog that is both highly independent as well as a dog that is an outstanding family companion. This type of almost dual personality is often attributed to their very distinctive dual type of hunting style as the breed has been developed to hunt both above and below ground. While this is distinctive to the Dachshund in the hound group, there are other dogs, particularly in the terrier group, that have also been bred to hunt to flush out burrowing animals and compete in the earthdog types of competitions. Dachshunds, both standard and miniature size, are hunting dogs, even though they are rarely used in the United States in that capacity.
The Dachshund has a real individual personality that is sometimes a bit surprising to people that are unfamiliar with the breed. Despite their smaller size, with the miniature even smaller than the standard, the Dachshund sees itself as a much bigger dog and typically responds as a medium or even larger sized dog when around people and other animals. While they are a hunting dog by nature, they are also outstanding with other animals once they have been socialized. A Dachshund is a wonderful pack dog and loves to be with other canines; however they also get along fantastically with housecats and even other pets when raised with the animal from a young age. If not properly socialized with cats and other pets a Dachshund can have a high prey drive and may be very difficult to socialize at an older age.
Overall a very playful, friendly and even clownish dog the Dachshund is naturally very loving towards his or her family, provided the dog doesn't think he or she is in control. As with any dominant breed of dog the Dachshund, regardless of his or her size, will take control of the family if they don't see a human as the alpha or pack leader. This means that humans in the family have to work with the dog to provide consistent training, routine exercise and routine socialization. Without obedience work the Dachshund can become very independent, possessive and even territorial, leading to problems within and outside of the family. In situations where the Dachshund becomes possessive of a family member they can be just as challenging to deal with as any toy dog, resulting in growling, snarling and biting at people that get to close to "their" person. This is not typical of the breed at all, rather it is a symptom of lack of training and ability to work with the dog on the part of the owners.
Well trained and well socialized members of the breed can still be challenging at times. As a true hunting breed there are independent dogs and do have a mind of their own that may not always match with what their owner is trying to accomplish. Working and training through a positive reward system that uses both small food rewards as well as lots of praise and petting is the most effective way to ensure cooperation and compliance by the dog to your commands. With routine work they will soon become outstanding and obedient pets, with just a touch of independence and character thrown in for good measure.
Overall the Dachshund that is raised with children is a great family pet that will enjoy playing and cuddling with the kids in the family as well as the adults. Due to the body structure of the dog children have to be trained not to put weight on the dog's back or to have the dog jump up or down off on furniture or other objects. Children will also have to learn how to interact with the Dachshund as once a Doxie has had enough of a game they can become somewhat snappish and aggressive. Kids must be taught not to tease these dogs or to pester the dog once the dog has signaled they are through with the activity.
Very young children may not be a good match for a Dachshund as the children may pose a risk of falling over the dog and possibly causing injury. Young children that tend to perhaps have difficulty in playing with dogs without grabbing at the dog or at toys the dog may have will need to be carefully supervised to avoid accidental bites or aggression by the dog. Routine training of the pet and supervision until the child gets older is usually all that is needed to make the interaction very positive between children of any age and the Dachshund.
Some Dachshund are prone to possessiveness over food, water, toys and bedding, or literally anything the Dachshund sees as his or hers. Working with the dog to reward him or her for giving a toy when asked or handling the dog dish and food then giving back to the dog is essential to prevent these possessive types of behaviors.
While the above behaviors are not typical of a well trained and socialized Dachshund, they can and do occur as owners tend to ignore the warning signs and focus in on all the positives these dogs also bring. They are fun loving and entertaining dogs that quickly learn what to do to make their owners happy. They can learn tricks very quickly and are also good dogs to enter in different types of events. While they can be very focused and headstrong while on a trail, they are also affectionate, enjoy being with people in general and truly love the people in their lives that spend time with them.
Not all Dachshunds, like any breed, are exactly the same in personality. Some are more outgoing and high strung while others are somewhat timid, laid back and even very sedate. Knowing the temperament of the parent dogs is important if you want a very specific temperament type in a puppy, but routine training, socialization and lots of time with people also has an impact on their personality and character as they mature.