It is amazing quite how many people take on the responsibility of caring for a dog without much knowledge of the breed. However, understanding breed-specific information is essential if you are to provide the best possible care for your new pooch. If you are considering adopting a dachshund, or if you already have one of these gorgeous hounds as part of your family, there are bound to be questions that you have and things that you don’t yet know.
Here is our guide to the things that every dachshund owner should know.
Breed size and lifespan
Dachshunds are the smallest of the hound breed and rarely stand more than 9 inches from floor to shoulder when fully grown. The healthy weight of a standard adult dachshund is usually considered to be between 16 and 32 pounds, and they have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Miniature versions of dachshunds are also popular, and these tend to weigh up to 11 pounds and be no more than 6 inches in height.
Any breed of dog can be prone to health problems, but there are some conditions which are more likely to develop in specific breeds of canine.
In Dachshunds, the most common health issue relates to their back. Dachshunds have long, low-slung spines which can be more prone to injury than those in other breeds. Movements such as jumping on or off a sofa can cause problems such as a slipped or herniated disc. As the natural degeneration of the spine occurs with age, it is not uncommon to see senior dachshunds using wheeled carts that stabilize their spine and support their heavy rear.
Another common condition affecting deep-breasted breeds such as dachshunds is bloating. This is when the stomach becomes filled with air, causing it to swell. In severe - and thankfully rare - cases, the stomach may twist, cutting off the blood supply. This is known as gastric torsion and requires emergency veterinary assistance.
Diabetes, epilepsy, eye conditions and skin disorders have also been shown to affect this breed of dog. Our veterinarian at Avondale Animal Hospital will be happy to give you further advice as to what risk factors may affect your canine pal and what steps if any, you can take to minimize the likelihood that health problems will arise.
Dachshunds and exercise
Despite their small stature, dachshunds still need a moderate amount of exercise and are capable of walking up to four miles at a time, although a couple of half-mile or so walks each day will suffice when there is not enough time for longer.
A good amount of exercise will also help your dog to avoid putting on weight – something vitally important if your pet is to live a long and healthy life.
Dachshunds and their diet
Most dogs are notorious for being unfussy about their food and dachshunds are no different. Unfortunately, this breed also has virtually no concept of feeling full and so will eat until they make themselves sick if they are able to. As such, owners of these canines will need to strictly control their portion sizes, be sparing with treats and be sure not to leave food or scraps where their dog may be able to reach them.
Other important information
Standard harnesses and jackets will not fit your dachshund
With deep chests and prominent chest bones, Dachshunds have an unusual shape compared to most other dogs. This means that standard harnesses and jackets will not fit comfortably, and may prove to be ineffective. Instead, you should ensure that you source items that are specific to your breed.
Ensure your yard is secure
While digging is an instinctual habit for most dogs, Dachshunds particularly enjoy this pastime and will happily start to burrow the moment they get outside. However, this does mean that he may start to dig down under fences, so you should make sure your boundaries are secure so that he cannot escape.
Housetraining a dachshund is hard
Many owners believe that dachshunds are one of the most difficult breeds to effectively housetrain. In fact, some owners simply accept the fact that their canine pal will have accidents inside from time to time. Minimize the effects of this problem by teaching your dog to use puppy pads if he is going to use the bathroom inside the house.
If you would like further information about owning and caring for a dachshund, contact and make an appointment with our veterinarian at Avondale Animal Hospital, we are happy to advise you further.