Living with a Dachshund is sometimes described as living with a teenager that is trapped in a dog's body. They tend to have some of the most outstanding personalities, which is not to say that the Dachshund is a dog that is highly obedient by nature or one that is likely to sit back and just watch what is going on. As a general rule these dogs are type A personalities with lots of energy, intelligence and enthusiasm for whatever it is that they may be focused on at the time.
As a dog in the hound group that has been bred for centuries to be a hunting dog. Remains of mummified dogs from ancient Egypt look very similar in the head and body to the modern Dachshund, however they have longer more typical sized legs for the overall size of the dog. How the Dachshund ancestors arrived in Germany is a bit of a mystery, however it is likely that they came with different armies and conquests as Romans and other cultures invaded and took over what is now modern Europe.
The first actual account of a dog that was used for hunting badgers and had the shorter, stockier legs of a modern Dachshund was in the early 1700s. These dogs were referred to as Dachs Krieger or "badger warrior", and they had both a straighter, longer legged appearance as well as a shorter, crooked leg appearance. Over time and with selective type of breeding for hunting badgers and other animals that burrowed, the longer legged varieties were bred out. In addition the size of these dogs, which was approximately 30 t0 40 pounds and were often used for hunting other larger mammals in packs.
Sometime in the 18th or 19th centuries, the smaller sized of the breed became more in demand and the large sized Dachshunds were eliminated from the breed. At about this time the miniature was also selectively bred for hunting rabbits and stoat, while the toy can along much later as a companion house dog. Regardless of the size of the Dachshund however, hunting is very much in their blood and it does influence living with the breed.
Dachshunds are very prone to getting on a trail or scent and simply taking off. Like most in the hound group they are so focused on the scent they typically ignore the frantic calls of the owner to return. Once trained to heel they can be good dogs off leash, but this takes a lot of work and constant practice. Since they are so low to the ground there is a greater risk of having them hit by vehicles than larger dogs, so always keeping them on a lead in traffic areas is important for the dog's safety.
The Dachshund is not a dog that is blindly obedient to owners. They do like to investigate, think about their options and then decide what to do. While this may be frustrating for a person that wants a highly obedient animal, most Dachshund owners understand this is really typical of the entire hound group and comes from the dog's high level of intelligence.
The Dachshund is not a dog that can be left in a back yard, kennel or outside. They really are not suited to cold or wet climates and need to be kept relatively dry and warm to prevent chills and other health related problems. The Dachshund is a great inside dog as they are moderately active in the house and can easily adjust to small living spaces. Although they do self exercise, if not provided with routine walks and play time they will gain weight, leading to increased risk of damage to the spine. It is essential to routinely exercise the Dachshund when they are indoors or if they don't have a dog companion to keep them active.
A Dachshund is a real clown, enjoying being involved in everything that the family is doing. They are not going to be a sit on the sidelines type of dog, they will be in the middle of opening Christmas gifts, giving the baby a bath and whatever else may be going in the home. This outgoing side of their personality is much loved by those that know and appreciate the breed, but it can be challenging for someone that doesn't understand this characteristic. The happy Dachshund is one that spends frequent, daily time exercising, playing, working with and just spending time with the owner.
Dachshunds can be good dogs to stay by themselves for moderate amounts of time. Their independent nature means they typically are fairly self-reliant to find something to keep them occupied. Unfortunately sometimes this results in chewing and digging, both which may be issues with an under exercised and untrained Dachshund. Providing lots of toys and play time when owners are home is important and many breeders recommend crate training when owners are going to be away and for housetraining.
Problem barking can be an issue with the breed and they may be somewhat to very territorial and possessive if not worked with in obedience and socialization. Again these are not necessarily character traits but rather a sign that the owner has not spent enough time with the dog. The vast majority of Dachshunds make great watchdogs although they are simply too small to be effective guard dogs.
Living with a Dachshund really is a unique experience. These happy go lucky dogs are great with other dogs, cats and kids, provided the dog is well socialized. Ideally raising a Dachshund from a puppy with the family and other household pets is the best possible option. Older Dachshund may be difficult to rehome as they do tend to bond rather closely with their owners and families. Health issues within the Dachshund breed also need to be considered and it is highly recommended to only purchase a puppy from a well known and reputable breeder. It is always important to consider all aspects of owning any breed, looking at both the positives and potential challenges to determine if the breed is a good match for you and your family.