I’ve been a Dachshund owner for over 15 years. While I didn’t choose a Dachshund (fate brought my first one to me), I’m now in love with the breed.
However, Dachshunds are not for everyone.
I get asked about the breed all the time…. Are Dachshunds good apartment dogs? Are Dachshunds good with kids? Do Dachshunds require a lot of exercise? Is a Dachshund right for me?
I don’t beat around the bush. Dachshunds are not the right choice for a lot of people.
Are Dachshunds Right for You?
There are a lot of reasons why the Dachshund breed might not be right for you.
Dachshunds can be wonderful companions but are not a good fit for everyone.
These reasons include:
- Dachshunds are stubborn and “tenacious” according to the AKC breed description. That means they aren’t always the best for for first-time dog owners. They will boss you around if they can and, even if they have been trained (Yes, it is possible to train a Dachshund), they sometimes choose to do what they want over what you want.
- There will be accidents in the house. Dachshunds are notoriously hard to potty train. And every fall when the weather turns cold, it turns into what I like to call “pooping in the house season.” Many Dachshunds don’t like to potty in the cold and wet so they will go out, run right back inside, and then go potty on the floor. They are also prone to separation anxiety which can lead to your Dachshund peeing on the floor as soon as you leave. These things can be overcome but it can take a lot of patience and a Dachshund may never be 100% potty trained.
- They need a lot of attention. Dachshunds are a little needy. A happy Dachshund likes to spend a lot of time with their people. An unhappy Dachshund will find ways to busy themselves…. usually doing things that make you angry and/or aren’t safe for them. If you work long hours, or can’t devote a significant portion of your non-working hours to your Dachshund, you may want to get a dog breed that is less social.
- They’re not lap dogs. Many people mistakenly choose a small dog because they don’t think they need much exercise. Dachshunds were bred as hunting dogs so they have plenty of energy and stamina. While they can adjust to a more sedentary lifestyle, they need plenty of exercise to keep them happy, healthy, and at a proper weight. Of course, they will literally sit on your lap but they aren’t a “lap dog” in the lazy sense.
- They’re barkers. While some naturally bark more than others, and most Dachshunds can be trained to reduce their barking, a lot of Dachshunds bark at every little noise outside the house. As one of our readers so eloquently puts it, her dog “barks if a squirrel farts a block away.”
- They are scrappy and have a high prey drive. That means they may not be a good match for a household with a cat (although I know many Dachshunds that are friends with kitties that live in their house), they will go nuts every time the see a squirrel, and they may act a fool (barking and lunging) around strange or larger dogs.
- They are prone to back problems. Approximately 25% of Dachshunds will experience back issues in their life due to a genetic disease called Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD). There is no genetic test for this disease so even a breeder can’t make a 100% guarantee that your dog won’t have issues. Not all Dachshunds develop back problems, and it’s minor in many, however, some have ongoing issues and end up paralyzed and needing surgery. If you don’t want to take the risk and/or aren’t willing or able to set up to $10,000 aside for emergencies (or pay for pet insurance that covers hereditary conditions like Trupanion), this breed might not be for you.
Dachshunds, like any breed, have some common health issues. Back problems is the #1 concern.
But, look, I don’t want to scare you. Every dog, and every dog breed, will bring some kind of challenge.
All dogs will need….
- To be trained as puppies
- Attention and exercise
- Some sort of grooming, even if it’s just a nail trim each month
- To be fed on a schedule at regular times
- Let outside to go potty
- Regular vet checkups
- Some sort of routine
It’s just that some breeds are known for being more laid back and some have reputations as being a challenge.
In my mind, this challenge is part of what endears me to the Dachshund breed. Unlike some dogs, you have to earn their love and cooperation.
What Makes Dachshunds Unique and Special
There are several things about Dachshunds that, although they may be a challenge at times, I wouldn’t trade for the world.
However, there are many specific reasons people choose to get Dachshunds.
- They’re fiercely loyal. Once you bond with your Dachshund, you are their people. They will often follow you around the house, want to sit with you whenever they can, and will protect you.
- They’ll be there through thick and thin. Literally. The average lifespan of a Dachshund is 15-16 years. This means they will be there for you through many of life’s ups and downs.
- They’ll steal your heart. Dachshunds are cute and fun. Dachshund owners will tell you they’re like potato chips – it’s hard to have just one. Many people have at least two and the “once a dachshund owner, always a dachshund owner” mentality leads people to get several over their lifetime.
- They’re endless entertainment. There is never a dull moment in the house of a Dachshund. Some are very clownish, some are very sweet, and most will do all kinds of funny things to burrow themselves under blankets.
- You’ll become part of the club and meet new friends. Owning a Dachshund makes you part of a community. Dachshund people are fanatic and gravitate towards one another. Random people will run up to you on the street to tell you about theirs out home. There are many Dachshund clubs and meetup groups around the country. I have become good friends with several people who belong to my club. Dachshunds aren’t just a pet, they’re a lifestyle!
Dachshunds are unique and delightful little dogs but they are not a good fit for every person or every lifestyle.
If you’re thinking about adding a Dachshund to your family, you should learn all you can about them and learn to work WITH them instead of against them.
You should know what you’re signing up for before you bring one home so there are no unexpected surprises.
Not being happy with breed traits and characteristics and behaviors is the #1 reason Dachshunds are surrendered to shelters.
Educate yourself as much as possible on Dachshunds before deciding to get one.
If you understand all that you can about the Dachshund breed, you’re less likely to need to give your dog up.
With that being said, there are many people who ended up with a Dachshund all of a sudden by fate.
There are many people like me that got one and THEN learned about the breed.
Just because you’re not familiar with the Dachshund breed, doesn’t mean you can’t go with the flow and learn to love their unique quirks.
Whether you’re in the research stage, or you’re trying to learn about the long and low dog you’re living with, hopefully this article helped you.
About the Author: Through her 17 years of owning and caring for Dachshunds, and almost 10 years researching and writing about them, JW has become a respected expert in the Dachshund community. Read more about her here.