The short legs and long bodies of Dachshunds were selected for by breeders in Germany who wanted a dog that could hunt burrowing animals like the badger, Dachs in German.
Most “wiener dogs” have short brown and/or black fur, though there are also long- and wire-haired, and piebald, varieties.
Because of their breeding, Dachshunds are programmed to chase, and they can be willful and aggressive if not properly trained.
These dogs bond tightly with their owners but tend to be suspicious of strangers and are not recommended for families with small children.
Health Problems in Dachshunds
Dachshunds are relatively healthy dogs; puppies obtained from reputable breeders can be expected to live around 15 years.
The breed is, however, known to be especially at risk for a number of health conditions:
- Canine epilepsy: this disease of the nervous system causes tremors and seizures. Diagnosis can be confirmed by electroencephalography (EEG), MRI and/or CT scans. Various drugs and even surgery may allow an affected dog to live a fairly normal life.
- Intervertebral disk disease: the Dachshund’s unique body shape places stress on the spine, and in some cases the vertebrae become inflamed, restricting movement, causing pain and, in some cases, leading to paralysis. A variety of drug treatments are available that can reduce inflammation and pain, though surgery may be required to repair or fuse the affected vertebrae.
- Patellar luxation: the kneecap (patella) of some dogs may become dislodged, causing pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the affected bone and connective tissue.
- Osteogenesis imperfecta: the wire-haired variety of Dachshund is especially prone to this condition, in which the bones become brittle owing to defective collagen. There is no known treatment, but a genetic test is available.
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): this congenital heart defect causes the heart to pump inefficiently, resulting in lethargy, weakness and labored breathing. The condition may present as a heart murmur and is usually but not always detectable in puppies. Heart surgery can often repair the defect.
Pet Insurance for Dachshunds
Dachshund owners tend to be as devoted to their dogs as their dogs are to them.
For those who want the best for their canine companions, pet health insurance can be an important step toward guaranteeing that, whatever may happen, financial concerns will not stand in the way of the best possible veterinary care.
Dachshunds are a lot like other small breed dogs, like a Shih-Tzu, in their temperament and health problems.
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For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.