Hot dogs, wiener dogs, Doxies—the Dachshund is a dog breed that goes by many names. But no matter what you call them, there’s one thing we all know for sure; these little dogs are as cute as they are personable.
Their short legs and long bodies make them one of the easiest breeds to recognize. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about these small hound dogs. If you already have a Doxie in your life, or even if you admire the breed from afar, it’s time to test your knowledge with these Dachshund facts.
1. Dachshunds got their name from the animals they were originally bred to hunt—badgers.
“Dachshund” is actually the German word for “badger dog” from Dachs (“badger”) and Hund (“hound, dog”).
They were the perfect hunting dogs because their short legs kept them close to the ground to track scents, and their narrow bodies allowed them to crawl into burrows. Much like their distant cousin the basset hound.
2. The AKC recognizes two different sizes of Dachshunds and three different coat varieties.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are standard dachshunds and miniature dachshunds.
There are three coat types:
- smooth dachshunds (smooth coat)
- wirehaired dachshunds
- longhaired dachshunds
Wirehaired Dachshunds are the least common and have only recently been added to breed standards.
There are also 15 different colors and six marking types.
The self or solid, colors in dachshunds are red, cream, black & tan, black & cream, chocolate & tan, blue & tan, and isabella (fawn) & tan. All dachshunds have one, and only one, self-color. The patterns found in dachshunds are dapple, double dapple, brindle, sable, and piebald.
3. Hot dogs are named after the dog breed, not the other way around.
Doxies are often called “wiener dogs” or “sausage dogs” because of their body shape, but hot dogs were actually named after the dogs. The small dog breed came first, and when hot dogs were invented, they were originally called Dachshund sausages.
4. They’re the smallest hound dogs.
Out of all the dog breeds in the AKC hound group, Dachshunds are the shortest, and they also weigh the least.
5. This German dog’s reputation took a hit during World War I and World War II.
Germany often used their native-bred Dachshunds for wartime propaganda. This led to a serious popularity decline in the United States.
In an effort to keep the breed in the country, the AKC temporarily rebranded the dogs and called them “liberty pups.” Their reputation eventually bounced back, and they’re now one of the most popular dogs in the country.
6. A Dachshund was the first mascot for the Olympics.
His name was Waldie, and he was the official face of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. The marathon route that year was even designed to be in the shape of a dog.
7. They have long lifespans.
Despite potential common health issues such as epilepsy, intervertebral disc disease, patellar luxation, back problems, cushing, and IVDD (Intervertebral Disk Disease), Dachshund puppies are known for living a lot longer than other dog breeds.
The Dachshund Club of America, the official breed club, strongly recommends reputable breeders complete thorough cardiac, patella, and eye exams.
This Dachshund fact has led to them being in the Guinness World Record book multiple times. One of those times was a wire-haired family dog named Chanel who lived to be 21 years old.
8. These little dogs have big appetites.
They love to eat, and obesity is one of the biggest health problems for doxies. Even a few extra pounds can put dangerous strain on their small size, short legs, and long backs. It’s important for these little dogs to eat healthy food and treats.
9. Wiener dog races are a real thing.
The tradition of racing Doxies started in Australia in the 1970s. Today, people hold Doxie races just for fun.
The breed obviously isn’t built for speed, but these events are often used to raise money for animal organizations. The most famous race is the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals that are held in San Diego.
Although these races are popular, the Dachshund Club of America opposes “wiener racing” because many Greyhound tracks use the events to draw large crowds and because the DCA worries that such races could injure Dachshunds’ backs.
10. Doxies make great watchdogs.
They may be little, but these popular dogs are often employed as effective guard dogs. They have what’s described as a “big dog” bark for a small dog, and they’re very alert.
They’ll be the first ones to point out an intruder. This is why they require early socialization to accept other pets and strangers.
11. They have a high prey drive.
Because they’re hunters, Doxies typically don’t do well with other small pets like rabbits or hamsters. Once they set their eyes on prey, they’re not likely to listen to any commands. They are scent hounds so there is no hiding from them.
12. Hunters used to employ packs of Dachshunds to bring down big game.
These standard-size hound dogs only weigh about 30 pounds, but they are brave and fierce. When they worked together, they could help their human hunting partners bring down large, dangerous games including wild boar.
13. The Dachshund is one of the oldest dog breeds to be part of the AKC.
The AKC officially registered the first Doxies in 1885.
A breed standard was written in 1879, and the German Dachshund Club was founded nine years later, in 1888. By 1885, Dachshunds had made it to America, and 11 were registered with the American Kennel Club that year.
The first one was named Dash. The Dachshund Club of America was founded 10 years later, in 1895.
14. Doxies often participate in a canine sport called Earthdog.
Earthdog is a sport that tests a working dog’s ability to navigate tunnels or burrows while hunting. Today’s trials involve man-made dens. Dogs use their natural instincts and powerful sense of smell to track down and mark a specific scent.
15. Their floppy ears serve an important purpose.
Obviously, their big ears are cute, but they’re not exactly natural. Breeders wanted their Doxies to have big, floppy ears to stop grass and other debris from getting lodged in the ear canal while the dog was hunting.
These spunky, curious, friendly small animals have a lot to offer. Dachshunds have a reputation for being entertaining and fearless, but what they want most is to cuddle with their people.
For many Dachshund people, this characteristic outweighs having to deal with the breed’s insistence on having his own way.
Did any of these Dachshund facts surprise you? Don’t forget to share this list with your fellow dog lovers.