As with any type of dog from purebreds to hunting dogs to hybrid mixes, selecting a reputable breeder to buy a Dachshund from is a very essential part of the process. This is particularly important in any dog that has a greater risk of health concerns that are directly related to breeding lines and practices. Since the long, low back of the Dachshund can be a serious problem, selecting a breeder that has structurally sound dogs without a history of intervertebral disc disease, also known as Dachshund paralysis, is extremely important.
Other conditions within the breed to talk to the potential kennel owner or breeder you are considering buying a puppy from include history of diabetes, epilepsy and skin conditions and problems. Occasionally some dogs in the breed may have problems with congestive heart failure and other heart related conditions. A reputable breeder will not use dogs with these conditions in breeding programs and will strive to carefully screen before breeding.
Another key factor that a reputable breeder will take into consideration before determining a good breeding match is the temperament of both the male and female dog. In general the breeder will tend to focus in on intelligent, calm and friendly dogs, then factor in championship breeding and lines on top. This is because a certain amount of a dog's natural temperament is inherited from its parents, then either enhanced or modified by the puppy's interactions with the mother dog, littermates and people as it grows.
High strung, aggressive and problematic dogs tend to breed offspring that have the same temperament traits, or are at least more likely to develop those traits. Breeders that only breed for conformation can create lines of dogs that are difficult to work with and many be challenging to train, socialize and even show because of their temperament issues. This is, as mentioned above, not unique to the Dachshund breed and in fact occurs within every breed.
The natural temperament of a Dachshund is a happy go lucky, clownish type of dog that adores being around people. Breeders that look for these features, along with health checks, outstanding conformation and lack of any type of genetic problems will produce the best litters, regardless if you are planning or showing the Dachshund or simply keeping it as a pet.
Most breeders have different types of Dachshunds and they will be marketed as such. Of course there are different sizes, colors and coat types but there are also championship, show quality and pet quality puppies. Not all breeders use the same terminology but the concept is similar between breeders. Championship lines are fairly self-evident as these are lines that are proven in the ring with both the mother and father dog having significant show experience or trial experience at the championship level. These are the most expensive puppies and many of these puppies are never offered to the general public. Breeders will sell these championship lines to other breeders to continually strengthen the genetic pool of the breed. This is not to say breeders won't sell to the general public but rather these puppies are typically pre-sold before the dogs are even bred. The demand for these types of championship puppies is very high and typically the females are only bred once a year or every other year with average litter sizes of three to five puppies.
Show quality may refer to championship lines as well but typically indicates only that the Dachshund meets breed standards and could be shown. In other words the breeder is indicating that the puppy does not have any disqualifying faults. It does not mean that the dog is necessarily a champion in conformation or ability or that it may not have faults that could count against it in a show, just that it cannot be disqualified because of conformation, color or other issues.
Pet quality dogs may or may not be possible to show and may or may not have faults or disqualifications. In most situations pet quality dogs will have the requirement that they will be spayed and neutered and this is part of the agreement that the potential owner must accept at the time of purchase. Pet quality Dachshunds are still outstanding dogs and make terrific pets and companions. In some situations pet quality dogs may have disqualifications for the show rings such as highly bent front legs, known as knuckling over. In these situations this dog should be spayed or neutered and not used in any type of breeding program.
A breeder should talk to prospective owners about the benefits and potential challenges of owning a Dachshund. Many breeders, especially of miniature Dachshunds, will not sell dogs to homes with very young children since kids can accidentally hurt the puppies and dogs by tripping over them or pushing down on their backs. Breeders should also talk to prospective owners about how to properly feed and exercise a Dachshund and what activities the Dachshund should not be involved in to protect the spine and prevent injuries.
Some Dachshunds and some Dachshund kennels are very involved in hunting competitions with the breed. This is really scent hunting types of competitions and the dogs are never allowed to attack or kill the rabbits used to create the trail. These dogs are often a bit more challenging to keep as pets since they have a higher prey drive and may be more independent than Dachshunds that have been bred as companion pets. However, for those prospective owners that want to compete with their dogs, getting puppy from a hunting line is a good start.
Finally, if a Dachshund puppy may not be the best match for your home, you may wish to consider adopting or rescuing a mature Dachshund. These dogs are typically trained, housebroken and spayed or neutered, ensuring you have a pet that is just waiting to become a well behaved member of the family. Rescuing or adopting is a great way to have a Dachshund without having to deal with all the housetraining and obedience issues. Working with a rescue that will match your family to dogs waiting for a home can take a bit of time to get the right combination, but it is very well worth it in the end.