Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany to hunt badgers and other hole-dwelling animals (rabbits and foxes, among others). In fact, the name "Dachshund" literally means "badger dog" in German. The dachshund is said to have the senses of a hound (hunting, tracking) and the temperament of a terrier, and we think that's a fairly accurate description of the breed.
The Dachshund is bred in two sizes, Standard and Miniature - the main difference being weight. To be classed as a miniature, a dachshund must weigh 11 pounds or less at 12 months of age. A standard dachshund is usually between 15 and 32 pounds.
Dachshunds are bred in an amazing variety of coat types, and are available with either short (smooth), wire, or long hair. Red, creme, black, tan, chocolate, and wild boar are common colors, and are usually found in combinations of two or more colors.
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Temperament: The dachshund is a very bold and confident dog. Always clever and discerning, the dachshund is also very protective of its family. It may be shy around strangers, but may become aggressive if a threat is apparent. Family watchdog notwithstanding, the dachshund still strives to maintain its independence.
Care: The modern Dachshund may develop spinal problems in old age if weight is not maintained properly - their extremely long spinal column can be strained by the excess weight. There is known to be a hereditary element to this however, and responsible breeders consistently work to eliminate this breed characteristic. The dachshund also has the desire to be very active - so if living quarters are mostly indoor, regular walks are necessary.
Training: Because of the dachshund's desire for independence, training must be consistent and firm. The smooth-haired dachshund is generally more high-strung than its long or wire-haired counterpart, and may require more work as a result.