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Mighty Miniature Dachshund

Mighty Miniature Dachshund

Miniature Dachshund traits

  • Loyal, affectionate and good with people of all ages including older children
  • Miniature Dachshunds are highly intelligent little dogs
  • Playful and fun-loving by nature
  • Full of personality and feisty
  • Low maintenance on the grooming front

Factors to Consider

  • Can be stubborn when the mood takes them which can make training a little more challenging
  • Can be difficult to housetrain
  • Tendency to put on too much weight
  • Can be over-protective if not well socialised
  • Miniature Dachshunds like the sound of their own voices which can lead to excessive barking
  • Are known to suffer from a few hereditary health concerns so vet bills can be high
  • Not the best choice for first time owners or families with very young children

Background to Dachshunds

Dachshunds are native to Germany and they boast a long and interesting ancestry. They were originally bred to hunt badgers, rabbits and to track wounded deer. The Miniature Dachshund is the smaller of the two types with the Standard Dachshund being the larger dog. Today these charming short legged dogs are among the most popular companion dogs and family pets both here in Ireland and elsewhere in the world. Miniature Dachshunds are always a big hit at dog shows too thanks to the charming looks and kind, affectionate natures.

Miniature Dachshunds, like their larger cousins like to be kept busy and once they are fully mature, they love being out and about which usually sees an owner tire out a lot faster than their small canine companions. They are highly adaptable although not the best behaved when it comes to obedience more especially if the "hound" in them takes over and they decide to go off exploring an interesting scent. With this said, Miniature Dachshunds are the perfect choice for people who lead less active lives and who would like to share their time with a loyal, loving and devoted small canine companion at their side.

More about the origins of the Dachshund

Dachshunds have always been highly prized in their native Germany for their courage, tenacity and hunting skills. They earned themselves an excellent reputation for being able to track wounded deer as well as to slip down small holes when prey went to ground. In their native Germany, the Dachshund is classed by their chest circumference rather than their size which establishes what size hole a dog can get down when going after any prey.

There is some evidence of similar dogs depicted on tomb and cave walls that date back thousands of years and which were discovered in both Egypt and South America. With this said, the dogs we see today are thought to have originated in Germany over 400 years ago when they hunted either alone or in packs tracking larger prey which included wild boar and deer. They were bred to be hardy, courageous dogs capable of chasing their quarry through thick undergrowth. Their short legs did not deter the Dachshund from covering a lot of ground at speed.

They were given their name Dachshund which translated means "Badger Dog", although they are also often referred to as "Sausage Dogs" or the "Wiener Dog". They first appeared in the UK in 1840 when the Royal Family bought some Dachshunds back to England with them so they could use them on pheasant shoots on larger estates.  The first Dachshund to be exhibited was in 1859 after which time they became a popular choice of companion dog and family pet throughout the land with the added bonus being that Queen Victoria was a big fan of the breed.

The Miniature Dachshund came about through careful and selective breeding using only the smallest examples of the breed. With the advent of the First World War, their popularity dropped due to the breed's German connection. However, thanks to the efforts of dedicated breed enthusiasts these charming, loyal little dogs did not vanish altogether. Today, they are among the most popular small dogs both here in Ireland and elsewhere in the world thanks to their charming, loyal natures and the fact they are such intelligent dogs.

Today, Dachshunds are extremely popular in Ireland and they come in 6 varieties which includes the Miniature Dachshund and they can have three types of coat being the smooth-haired, wirehaired longhaired.

Did you know?

  • Is the Miniature Dachshund a vulnerable breed? No, they are among one of the most popular dogs in Ireland
  • Dachshunds were once known as Badger Dogs because they were originally bred to hunt badgers in their native Germany
  • Miniature Dachshunds might be small in stature, but they are very good watchdogs
  • Queen Victoria was a big fan of the breed
  • One of Picasso's favourite dogs was a Dachshund called "Lump"

What should a Miniature Dachshund look like?

  • Height at the withers: Males 13 - 18 cm, Females 13 - 18 cm
  • Average weight: Males 3.6 - 5.0 kg, Females 3.6 - 5.0 kg

The Miniature Dachshund is a very striking looking dog with short legs that accentuate the length of their well-muscled, compact bodies. Their heads are long and when seen from above they seem conical in shape without being too narrow or too broad. They only have a slight stop and their muzzles are only slightly arched. Their lips are tight with dogs having extremely strong jaws.

Their eyes are medium in size and a lovely almond shape being set obliquely on a dog's head. Their eye colour is usually dark with the exception of chocolate coloured dogs where the colour is that much lighter. Dapple coated dogs can have either one or two "wall" eyes which is acceptable as a breed standard. Their ears are set high without being set too far forward. They are broad and moderately long being well rounded with the forward edge just touching a dog's cheek.

The Miniature Dachshund has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are well muscled, long and nicely arched with no dewlap, merging gracefully into a dog's shoulders which allows a Dachshund to carry their heads proudly forward. Shoulder blades are broad, long and placed firmly on a dog’s strong rib cage. Their front legs are extremely well muscled and powerful.

A Miniature Dachshund has a long and well-muscled body with nicely sloping shoulders and a reasonably level back that flows from the wither to their slightly arched loin. Their breast bone is prominent with a slight depression on each side of it. They have well developed ribs and a slight tuck up which adds to a dog’s athletic appearance and which also adds enough ground clearance. Loins are strong, short and muscular and their rumps are strong, broad and full.

Croups are full and extremely well-muscled sloping slightly towards the tail. They have a strong pelvis and extremely powerful, well-muscled back legs with lower thighs being short and set at a right angle to their upper thighs. Their front feet are broad and deep being close knit, straight or a little turned out while their back feet are narrower and smaller in size. Toes are close with a very distinct arch to each of them and dogs have very strong nails as well as firm, thick paw pads. Their tails continue from the line of a dog's spine with a slight curve in it.

When it comes to their coat, the Miniature Dachshund can either have a short, smooth coat, a long coat or a wirehaired coat.  A smooth coated dog has short hair all over their body with the hair on the underside of their tails being that much coarser. On a longer coated dog, the hair is that much longer on their body and more especially on their ears, bellies, legs and underside of their tails. They have supple, loose but close-fitting skin with very little or no dewlap or wrinkles. The accepted Kennel Club breed colours are as follows:

  • Black & Cream
  • Black & Cream Brindle
  • Black & Tan
  • Black & Tan Brindle
  • Chocolate & Cream
  • Chocolate & Cream Brindle
  • Chocolate & Tan
  • Chocolate & Tan Brindle
  • Chocolate Dapple & Cream
  • Chocolate Dapple & Tan
  • Chocolate Dapple & Tan Brindle
  • Chocolate Dapple Cream Brindle
  • Cream
  • Cream Brindle
  • Cream Brindle Dapple
  • Cream Dapple
  • Red
  • Red Brindle
  • Red Brindle Dapple
  • Red Dapple
  • Shaded Cream
  • Shaded Red
  • Silver Dapple & Cream
  • Silver Dapple & Cream Brindle
  • Silver Dapple & Tan
  • Silver Dapple & Tan Brindle

How should a Miniature Dachshund move?

When Miniature Dachshunds move, they do so with purpose having a free and flowing gait. They have a tremendous amount of power in their hindquarters which can be clearly seen when viewed from the side. When seen from the front or the back, their legs move parallel to each other with the space between them being the width of a dog’s hips and shoulders respectively.

What does Kennel club look for?

The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and any faults would be judged on how much they affect a Miniature Dachshund's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.

Male Miniature Dachshunds should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is also worth noting that a dog may be a little taller or shorter and they may be slightly heavier or lighter than set out in their breed standard which is provided as a guide only.

Does a Miniature Dachshund Have a Good Temperament

The Miniature Dachshund is a very intelligent little dog and one that boasts a tremendous amount of courage which at times can prove their downfall. They are extremely loyal characters that form strong bonds with their owners and families. They may be small in stature, but the Miniature Dachshund is an energetic dog and as such they like nothing more than to be out and about doing something. They have a tremendous amount of stamina which means they are quite happy to be given as much exercise as possible when they are fully grown.

Being so intelligent, they also need to be given a lot of mental stimulation every day for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. With this said, a Miniature Dachshund is quite happy to relax and chill out when they are tired. The old adage of a “tired dog being a good dog” is never truer than when describing a Miniature Dachshund.

They can be quite wilful which means they can be a little disobedient when the mood takes them which is why their training has to begin as early as possible paying particular attention to the "recall" command. It's also important for puppies to be well socialised from a young age and it should include introducing them to as many new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they mature into well-balanced adult dogs.

They can be quite vocal especially when there are any strangers about or when they don't like something that's happening in their environment. They have quite loud barks, considering their small size and will be quick to warn their owners if anything is amiss. Although friendly by nature, they tend to be aloof and wary of strangers, although rarely would a Miniature Dachshund show any sort of aggression towards a person they don't know preferring to keep their distance and bark until they get to know someone.

Because they form such strong bonds with their owners and more especially with the person who usually takes the most care of them, these little dogs really do not like being left on their one for any length of time. If they are, they are more than likely to suffer from quite severe separation anxiety which can see dogs developing unwanted and quite destructive behavioural issues around the house. This includes chewing on furniture and anything else they find which is how dogs alleviate stress levels. They can be quite difficult to house train, but with a lot of patience and understanding, a Miniature Dachshund can be taught to be clean around the home and to do their "business" outside.

Although they make great companions, the Miniature Dachshund is not the best choice for first time owners because they can be quite challenging to train, all thanks to the fact they have such a strong stubborn streak in them. They are best suited to people who are familiar with the breed or have already owned a similar type of dog and in households where one person usually remains at home when everyone else is out of the house.

Is the Miniature Dachshund a good choice for first time owners?

Miniature Dachshunds are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they can be harder to train and if allowed, these little dogs can quickly become wilful and therefore harder to live with and manage.

What about prey drive?

Miniature Dachshunds have a high prey drive which is a trait that is deeply embedded in a dog's psyche and why it is important to only let a dog run off their leads in safe and secure areas. It is also worth noting that Miniature Dachshunds are "hounds" and therefore have an incredible sense of smell so if they do pick up an interesting scent, the chances are they would quickly be off to investigate what is at the other end turning a deaf ear to a "recall" command.

What about playfulness?

Miniature Dachshunds are playful by nature having very comical personalities. They enjoy playing interactive games, but care should always be taken when playing with them when they are young just in case a dog damages their spine by slipping over.

Will a Miniature Dachshund be playful?

Miniature Dachshunds are highly adaptable being just as happy living in an apartment in town as they would be living in a house in the country, but it's important they be given enough daily exercise when old enough to prevent them becoming obese which can seriously impact a dog's overall health and wellbeing.

What about separation anxiety?

Miniature Dachshunds form extremely strong bonds with their owners and as such they hate being left on their own for long periods of time which is why as previously mentioned they are better suited to households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out.

Will a Miniature Dachshund bark alot ?

Miniature Dachshunds like the sound of their own voices with some lines being more predisposed to barking excessively than others. The good news is that they are very intelligent and therefore can be taught that persistent barking is not acceptable and that it crosses a line, but this needs to be gently done when a Miniature Dachshund is still young being careful not to be too harsh because it could have an adverse effect rather than a positive one.

Do Miniature Dachshunds like swimming?

Miniature Dachshunds with their long bodies and short legs are not natural swimmers and therefore care should always be taken when a dog is anywhere near water just in case they fall in.

Are Miniature Dachshunds good watchdogs?

Miniature Dachshunds may be small, but they are extremely good watchdogs and would quickly let an owner know when there are strangers about or if something they don't like is going on in their environment.

Will a Miniature Dachshund be easy to train?

The Miniature Dachshund is an intelligent dog, but they are known to be notoriously difficult to train thanks to the fact they have a mind of their own. They also boast having a very strong prey drive which means that even when well trained, they might decide to turn a deaf ear to a recall command preferring to go off chasing an interesting scent they've picked up. As such care should be taken as to where and when a Miniature Dachshund is allowed to run off their leads. It is also worth noting that using an extendable lead is never a good idea when exercising a Miniature Dachshund and it is far better for them to wear a harness rather than a collar which would put too much pressure on a dog’s throat and neck

It cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of early socialisation which should begin as soon as a dog has been fully vaccinated. Their training must start early too and it must be consistent as well as fair so that a dog understands what an owner expects of them. Miniature Dachshunds need to know their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household or they might start to show a more dominant side to their nature. This can result in them being even more wilful and disobedient, making these little dogs that much harder to live with. The thing to bear in mind is that the chances of training a Miniature Dachshund to be a Guide Dog would be asking a little too much of these adorable and highly intelligent little dogs.

The key to successfully training a Miniature Dachshund is to keep a training session as interesting as possible and not to make it too long. It is easier to keep one of these clever little dogs focussed if the session is that much shorter and without too much repetition. They are sensitive dogs by nature and therefore they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training which would not achieve any sort of good results. They do respond well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these smart little dogs. However, it's important not to pamper a Miniature Dachshund too much because they could end up developing a condition known as "Small Dog Syndrome" which often happens when a dog gets their own way a little too often.

Miniature Dachshund puppies can be a little hard to house train, but with patience and perseverance they can be taught to do their business in the right place. Puppies need to be taught the basic commands right from the word go and they also need to be taught that wearing a harness and walking on a lead is a pleasant experience from an early age too. The best way to do this is to make it into a fun game that a puppy would enjoy and therefore they would be happier to interact when asked to "come" when they are on a lead.

The first basic commands a Miniature Dachshund puppy should be taught once they have settled in are as follows:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Here/come/recall command
  • Down
  • Leave it
  • Heel
  • Quiet

Will a Miniature Dachshund be safe with Children and Other Pets?

Miniature Dachshunds thrive in a family environment where the children are slightly older and who therefore know how to behave around such a small dog. They are not the best choice for families where the children are younger because they prefer living in a quieter environment. As such any interaction between toddlers or younger children and a dog should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things don't get too noisy or boisterous which could end up with a dog getting a bit snappy.

If a Miniature Dachshund has been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on with other dogs although if they feel threatened in any way, they will stand their ground even when faced with a much larger dog. As such care should be taken when out in places where other dogs are often taken by their owners. Care also should be taken when a Miniature Dachshund is around cats or other small animals and pets because their high prey drive might just get the better of them with disastrous results. In short, any contact should be avoided.