Dachshunds may be short on leg but they're long on friends. Saucy and sweet, the Dachshund is a unique blend of hound and feisty!
In the 18th century, German hunters needed a dog to face badgers underground, trail wounded deer and follow rabbits through thickets. The larger sizes (what we now call Standard Dachshunds) were the choice for badger hunting, and the smaller sizes (Miniature Dachshunds) were the choice for trailing. Different coat types were developed to hunt in various conditions.
Dachshunds have long appealed to artists and authors and royalty. Among their owners have been Pablo Picasso, Any Warhol, Gary Larson, Queen Victoria and Kaiser William II. The latter's dogs were known for demolishing his estate and terrorizing visiting dignitaries while the Kaiser coddled them.
Daring and dashing, life with a Dachshund is always exciting. They enjoy hunting their toys almost as much as hunting badgers, and can be just as tough on them. But Dachshunds also have a sweet side, and love to snuggle and cuddle. Maybe that's why they've been among America's top 10 most popular breeds since the 1940s.
The Dachshund's top health concern is intervertebral disk disease, a type of back problem that can lead to pain and even paralysis. One important step you can take to lessen the chance is to keep your Dachshund svelte. Most Dachshunds like to eat more than they should, so you may need to ration his food, and very likely, feed a low calorie diet. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Coat care for the smooth Dachshund is as simple as it gets. Brush weekly to removed dead hair, and bathe as needed. A deodorizing shampoo is a good choice. Color-enhancing shampoos can make your Dachshund glow!
For the longhaired variety, use a pin brush to brush twice weekly or more, if needed, to prevent tangles. Before brushing, mist with a combination of water and coat conditioner to prevent static electricity and coat breakage. Tease apart mats with the help of a detangler or more conditioning mist. A deodorizing or color-enhancing shampoo followed by a conditioner will give the best results.
For wirehaired Dachshunds, use a stripping knife or your fingers to pluck out dry dead hair along the back and upper sides. Comb weekly. Bathe as needed using a deodorizing shampoo. Because the coat is supposed to be harsh, don't use a conditioner.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a medium-duty dog nail clipper.
Dachshunds are perpetually young at heart, but sometimes age-related physical changes, such as arthritis, can slow them down. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.