Meet Nibbler, my long-haired Dachshund.

Nibbler was the perfect dog, until he hit puberty and discovered he was a dachshund.

I now describe him as"my horrible adorable" but he is probably just what a dachshund should be, if all characteristics of the breed are fully realized: extremely cute, extremely loyal, extremely suspicious of strangers and other dogs, and extremely hungry.

dachshund barking at sounds in the woods
Nibbler barking with all his might

History of the breed

The name"dachshund" is of German origin and literally means"badger dog," from Dachs ("badger") and Hund ("hound, dog"). Dachshunds were also commonly used for rabbit and fox hunting, for locating wounded deer, and in packs were known to hunt game as large as wild boar and as fierce as the wolverine.

In its modern incarnation, the dachshund is a creation of German breeders and includes elements of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. The original German dachshunds were larger than the modern full-size variety and came in straight-legged and crook-legged varieties (the modern dachshund is descended from the latter).

Appearance

Dachshunds are long-bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs; proportions are roughly 1.5 the length and 0.5 the height of an average dog.

Their front paws are unusually large and paddle-shaped for extreme digging. A long snout with an increased nose area allows for excellent odor detection. Flap-down ears keep grass seeds, dirt, and other matter from entering the ear canal. The curved tail is dual-purposed: to be seen more easily in long grass and, in the case of burrowing dachshunds, to help haul the dog out if it becomes stuck in a burrow.

  • Dachshunds come in:
  • three sizes: standard (16-32 lb), tweenies (12-15 lb), miniature (8-11 lb).
  • three coat types: short-haired, called 'smooth'; long-haired; and wire-haired
  • and a wide variety of colors and patterns.Their coloration can be red, cream, black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, Isabella and tan. Patterns such as dapple, sable, brindle and piebald can occur on any colors. Dachshunds in the same litter may be born in different coat colors depending on the genetic makeup of the parents.
dachshund image to show full body proportions
Nibbler in all his big-headed, short-legged, long-bodied glory

Temperment

Dachshunds are playful, but are known for chasing small animals with great determination and ferocity. Many dachshunds are stubborn, making them a challenge to train.

Like many small hunting dogs, they will challenge a larger dog. Their temperament and body language give the impression that they do not know or care about their relatively small size. Many dachshunds do not like unfamiliar people, and many will growl or bark at them. They are known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners.

They are rated in the intelligence of dogs as an average working dog with a persistent ability to follow trained commands 50% of the time or more. They rank 49th in Stanley Coren's Intelligence of Dogs, being of average working and obedience intelligence.

Health

Dachshunds are prone to spinal problems, especially intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage.

Obesity, jumping, rough handling, or intense exercise, may place greater strain on the vertebrae. About 20–25% of Dachshunds will develop IVDD.

Treatment consists of combinations of crate confinement and medications. Serious cases may require surgery and a dog may need the aid of a cart to get around if paralysis occurs.

In addition to back problems, the breed is also prone to dislodged kneecap, epilepsy, meningoencephalitis, dental issues, Cushing's syndrome, thyroid and autoimmune problems, various allergies, and various eye conditions.

dachshund jumping over agility equipment
Although jumping is bad for doxies, I have yet to meet one who doesn't jump. Here's Nibbler testing out the agility equipment at woofstock.