Dachshund Breed History, Wiener Health & Training Tips

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Health:  This breed is usually very active unless overfed which we see all the time.  Mini size wieners, from about 7 - 12 pounds should be fed no more than 1/2 - 3/4 cup of food a day including treats.  The worst thing you can do is get this breed too fat because it leads to many back problems later in life. 


It is not unusual to see a wiener on wheels in my business because people did not keep them in shape or back yard breeders did not do a health screening including a back x-ray before breeding them.  Buy your dogs from reputable breeders and NOT from puppy mill breeders who sell to pet stores = you get what you pay for.


My dogs are on the farm here to chase mice, play with the rescues we get in and help me train horses so they are trim and in excellent shape.  I NEVER have had a back problem in 35 years in the breed.  But I get in too many obese ones to the rescue and I get their weight down and then find them a home.


My dogs are incredibly healthy and happy and so are my rescues before I find them homes.  So if you can allow for a high activity level for this breed and not stuck alone in an apartment all day without company or fun, then your dogs should have a healthy lifetime.


One other health issue is bad teeth.  Dachshunds are very, very charming and sweet especially when they want something.  So when fed people food if you are not willing to brush their teeth count on taking them to the vet once a year for teeth cleaning of around $250 a year.  It is best to avoid people food as many are prone to bad teeth if not purchased from a reputable breeder.


Vaccination Schedules:  See your vet for advice for certain areas of the country have different needs.  And here's a good link for shot and specific health diseases dogs can contract without their shots: http://www.malteseonly.com/vaccine.html



Housebreaking and Kennel Training:  We highly encourage using kennels for their training.  That is how we housebreka ours as it is a breed trait to go in small, tight spaces so a kennel becomes their home/bed.  This breed will not go outside unless they have to especially in the rain or snow.  If they are not made to go outside then why would they?  If you are not willing to use a kennel and confine them until they learn to hold their bladder and then allow them more freedom as they prove they can be trusted then get ready for a lifetime of marking your home. 


This is a highly stubborn breed yet very trainable.  I have had dogs housebroke in as little as a week when using a kennel.  And we kennel them for longer road trips and they like their beds.  This breed is bred for enclosed spaces so kenneling them when they are aggressive puppies is best so they do not become aggressive and destructive adults.  If they destroy your home when gone they go back in the kennel.


This breed can not be paper trained as they will not tell the difference between the paper and your carpet or the couch if the paper is removed later.  I have never seen one use a litter box either and would not even bother to try because they are too stubborn as a breed.  They will just use the part of the house that is convenient if you do not make them go outside.


I start smaller to housebreak my dogs, first a kennel, and then move larger to finally encompass the whole house and they get the idea very quickly if you watch them closely and allow them no freedom out of your site until they prove they are completely trained. 


Dachshunds are way too smart and when you are not looking they will go to a place you can't see them like a spare bedroom under the bed or down the hallway and go potty on their own.  So I use a lot of baby gates and closed doors in the training process as well and we have a home that does not smell like a kennel.


Aggression:  This breed is born charming and happy, but now and then there are mean ones like any breed.  I use a squirt bottle, as they usually hate water and a code word like "quit", other than the word no.  If they are aggressive with children or other people and dogs, I will use the water bottle and soak their eyes with the jet stream.  I also use the hose outside from the cold well that stays close to freezing all year.  They get the message quick when I say, "quit" without any water. 


If the dogs do not respond to plain water in the squirt bottle I will add a few drops of vinegar to sting their eyes to get their attention.  I have to be meaner than the dogs I am re-training and it always works.  I am not a mean person, but I am the leader of my pack no matter how many dogs I get in to the rescue here and they know I am the only boss at all times so we avoid dog fights and vet or hospital bills.


We recommend the book "Dachshunds for Dummies" for anyone new to this breed.


History:  This is a hunting breed that uses their noses.  They have hearing that they chose to ignore you when they want especially when they catch a scent of prey.  You have to teach them to "come" early and there are many books on dog training like "Dachshunds for Dummies" to help you further understand this breed.  They do not think like any other dog breed on the planet.


Their prey includes any small vermin like mice, ferrets, moles, hamsters, birds and cats.  Not all of them have a high prey drive but many do so no other little critters in the home is recommended for this breed.  We have cats with ours but we have taught them to leave the indoor ones alone and they still chase out outdoor barn kitty who loves to run so we named him race.


They were bred with short legs to go down rabbit, badger and wolverine holes.  They are fearless no matter the size.  Their name is German for "badger-dog."  They are not a sedate, boring breed of dogs so look elsewhere if you want a couch pillow breed.


These dogs would go down the holes to flush the game and when they got stuck they would bark and bark and bark hence the deep little chests for loud voices.  The hunter would then dig them out of the hole.  They also have flipper feet for digging as well and they love destroying yards and digging under fences to escape unless trained to not do so.  Another unique feature if they were stuck and the hunter had to pull their tails are great for getting them out of the hole.


This breed is active and noisy.  They are not the best apartment dogs as a while because they love activity and fun.  Now and then there is a calm and happy wiener to stay on the couch and they do not stay active all day, but as puppies they are very, very active even when small.


Very Small Children with this Breed is Not a Good Idea:  We do not recommend getting this breed with young children under seven.  Kids are too hard on small dogs and if the kids are not taught to leave the dog alone when growling then Dachshunds will defend themselves and always bite.  They will bite any children who do not know how to read the dogs like a two-year-old that pick them up like stuffed toys. 


If you are willing to watch the dogs and children every moment and realize the dog has a right to defend itself and chomp a child when the child is too rough, then by all means Dachshunds and kids can grow up together.  But if you do not watch how rough your children are on their pets then please do consider getting a large breed of dogs, not my beloved Dachshunds. 


Most of the insane and abused dogs I get to the rescue here have been badly abused by children in large families and some have to be put down because they kids were too rough on them and then the parents blame the dogs, not the kids.



By Margo Mossburg

Director of Dachshund Rescue NW & Dachshund Club of Spokane



copyright June 2007 MDMOSSBURG  All rights reserved.  This article may not be copied or quoted without express written permission from the author.

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