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Pet Road Tests > Dogs


Breed: Dachshund
Temperament: loves company, loyal
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Recommended for: families
Maintenance: low-medium

Most families have owned a Dachshund, or sausage dog, sometime, somewhere. They were the canine accessory of the 1960s, and with six varieties to choose from, there was always one to suit!


The Dachshund's distinctive long, low shape is due to being purpose-bred to tear down burrows after badgers last century in its country of origin, Germany. Dachs is said to be the German word for badger, and hund is dog or hound.

There are two sizes, standard, which is 25-28cm (10-11") and miniature which is 20cm (8"). There are three coat varieties, the smooth, the long, and the wire, which when combined with the two sizes accommodates the six types. There is a wide range of colours available in either solids, or lesser-known dapples (or merles).


Dachshunds are generally full of personality and outgoing, but can and do think for themselves which may be seen as stubbornness. They are excellent watchdogs and will defend themselves if threatened. They should be watched around small children as they can be easily hurt and may retaliate. Individuals which are indulged may become snappy.


The extreme short legs of the dachshund are caused by a dominant gene which produces a condition known as chondrodysplasia; this is where the cartiledge of the growth plates grows at a slow rate and can weaken the backbone. This means the long spine might be vulnerable to back problems especially if the dog is obese, frequently uses stairs or is allowed to jump down from chairs or lounges.


The gene that causes dappling in dachshunds is the same as that in merle Collies or merle Australian Shepherds. This means if you mate two dappled ones together 25 per cent of the babies could have serious hearing or eye problems or could be semi-blind. Responsible breeders should never mate dapple to dapple, only dapple to an ordinary dachshund. Some bitches have whelping problems, the miniatures are more at risk of caesarean deliveries. Litters consist of four to six puppies.

Housepet potential/ideal owner

The small, neat size of the Dachshund makes it an ideal housedog. It is frequently chosen by older people looking for a companion as well as a reliable watchdog. Smooth-coated dogs are easier to maintain, and all are cheap to feed. RSPCA National president, Dr Hugh Wirth does not recommend them for children.

Space and exercise

A daily walk for 30 minutes is ideal, and quite important for dogs which otherwise live indoors permanently. Yard size is unimportant.


Smooth and wire-haired Dachshunds require minimal grooming and a wash when needed. Long-haired dogs should be brushed thoroughly twice a week to remove knots, burrs and grass seeds from the coat. Attention is needed under the ears and between the pads of the feet.


Being a hound the Dachshund will think for itself and decide whether it wants to go along with the command. Once again, patience and perseverance will pay dividends.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 - Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

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