Frequently Asked Questions
A selection of our answers to questions you may also be asking yourself before buying a dachshund.
A dog in good physical condition and with good musculature is able to perform normal everyday activities. There are many opinions about stair climbing of dogs, especially dachshunds, but little established knowledge.
Remember, your Dachshund is a dog and needs to be able to live and enjoy life as a dog. Too much protection and “wrapping him in absorbent cotton” to avoid back problems is not fun or even useful for you or your dog.
On the other hand, it would certainly not be fair to let a somewhat stronger standard dachshund always and constantly run down a steep staircase (especially down). As the owner, therefore, you must consider for yourself. Please take into account that the weight of the dog is not evenly distributed on all four paws. Even when standing horizontally, 2/3 of the total weight rests on the front legs.
If you have an overzealous dog that gets on tables or window sills and jumps down from them, this must be stopped.
- Jumping and Stairs [UK Dachshund Breed Council]
In general, we recommend that a Dachshund should be left alone for a maximum of 4 hours. This applies to an adult dog. Of course, he must have access to fresh drinking water at all times during the time he is left alone.
Puppies and young dogs must be socialized before they can be left alone. Otherwise, there is an increased risk of separation anxiety, destructive behavior and excessive barking. During the first three months, your Dachshund should never be left home alone for extended periods of time. Approximately from the fifth month of life, in our experience, the targeted habituation to being left alone can be started.
For a (dachshund) puppy and a not fully grown young dog always a collar! Whether you prefer your Dachshund to walk on a collar or in a harness later on, make sure he gets enough exercise to build up good muscles. In any case, you should teach your dog not to pull on the leash while walking. A harness is not a substitute for leash walking training!
“I have treated many dogs that use harnesses because owners feel they are kinder. But in fact it commonly causes back issues, poor musculature, over developed neck and shoulder muscles (often unevenly), joint problems and poor foot balance.“
Source: Collar vs. Harness [Dachshund IVDD UK]
- How do I teach my dog to walk on the lead without pulling? [Dachshund Health UK]
Dachshunds are long-lived. Longevity in old age also means “age-related degeneration”. Who, to his disappointment, has not already heard this from his family doctor?
Apart from that, Dachshunds, like other “working dogs”, belong to the rather robust breeds. A dog that could not do its work because of “bred-in” health impairments, which in the case of the Dachshund is the versatile use in hunting, would be a contradiction in terms.
But now from the general to the specific: The one thing that can be said for all Dachshunds is that the architecture with short legs and a relatively long back seems to favour the occurrence of back problems. This tendency seems to be present in all short-legged dog breeds. Which influence the housing conditions have on the actual occurrence of back problems has not been conclusively clarified. The only thing that seems to be certain is that overweight, lack of exercise or even overstraining through incorrect movement should be avoided. The notorious “teckel’s palsy” does not exist as an independent clinical pattern. You should not take anyone seriously who still uses this word. The only thing that does exist, as in all dogs, are slipped discs.
It is currently being discussed whether calcium deposits in the intervertebral disc bodies, which can be shown and recorded radiologically, favour the later occurrence of intervertebral disc problems. In Denmark, for example, Dachshunds are x-rayed at regular intervals before and during breeding, and animals with a certain number of calcified intervertebral discs are excluded from (further) breeding. However, as there is no reliable knowledge about the heredity and cause of these calcifications, not much is gained by this, especially as recently there have been increasing indications that these calcifications are caused by micro-injuries in puppyhood. If this were true, the traits would be acquired and not hereditary.
Attention should be paid to heart health in Dachshunds. In particular, changes in the heart valves with age do not seem to be entirely uncommon. Reliable figures, especially comparable to the incidence in other dog breeds, are unfortunately not available. Make sure that special attention is always paid during vaccinations and other vet visits to any heart murmurs, which are usually a sign of changes in the heart. The same applies to a drop in performance and a clear decline in activity even in middle age. If detected at an early stage and treated with the appropriate medication, in most cases your pet can be guaranteed a long and vital life.
Please note that we only write about smooth-haired dachshunds, the most original dachshunds that exist. Please read about the other dachshund breeds, long-haired dachshunds and especially wire-haired dachshunds, separately.
- Caring for your Dachshund – Keys to a healthy lifestyle [Dachshund Health UK]
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, the lifestyle choices you can make are very important in reducing your dog’s risk of a back problem.
Recommendations of the Botzensteiners breeding community
- Keep your dachshund fit. The following applies to both humans and dogs: what the muscles are already able to do relieves the spine.
- Slowly increase the amount of exercise you “expect” of your dachshund puppy in line with his growth; but don’t pack him in cotton wool out of fear.
- Feed your dachshund carefully. This means a balanced diet and never too much, but always enough.
- Encourage your dog to enjoy water and swimming, as swimming relieves the strain on the vertebrae and strengthens the muscles.
- Refrain from long chasing games with the ball, especially with the help of “ball throwers”. Throw balls “girlishly” from below and long rather than high. They usually have better directional control and minimize ball bouncing.
- If you have a “ball-crazy” dog who does not accept the end of the game, it may help to replace the ball with a small apple. If the apple is eaten or nuked, it is sometimes easier to accept that the fun is over.
Risk factors for IVDD according to “DachsLife 2015”
In a web-based survey – not a scientific study, mind you – in which responses for 2031 Dachshunds were evaluated from January to April 2015, the following correlations between housing conditions and the risk of intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) were found, among others:
- Dogs that exercised for less than 30 minutes per day had an increased likelihood of developing IVDD, while dogs that exercised for more than 1 hour per day had a decreased likelihood of developing IVDD.
- Dogs that were considered highly active or moderately active had a lower IVDD probability than dogs that were considered not active at all.
- Dogs that were not allowed to jump on and off furniture had an increased likelihood of IVDD compared to those that were allowed.
- Dogs that participated in championship shows or open shows were less likely to be affected by IVDD than those that did not.
- Increasing age was associated with increased odds of IVDD, with dogs aged 8–10 years old at the highest odds of being affected by IVDD compared to 0–2 years.
- No significant associations with diet or treats were found.
IVDD risk is likely multifactorial and in addition to breed variety as a risk factor, a number of lifestyle based risk factors were found to be associated with IVDD, which may offer opportunities for owners and breeders to reduce the risk of IVDD in their dogs.Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK
- Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) [UK Dachshund Breed Council]
- DachsLife 2015: an investigation of lifestyle associations with the risk of intervertebral disc disease in Dachshunds [Packer et al. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2016)]
Not at all.
Neutering almost certainly promotes the occurrence of haemangiosarcomas, the notorious spleen tumours. With regard to cruciate ligament ruptures, it also seems to be clear that these injuries occur much more frequently in neutered animals. The connection between neutering and a common disorder in older dogs, hypothyroidism, is now also fairly clear.
In our opinion, neutering should only be performed in dogs with compelling medical indications.
Dog owner liability
Dog owner liability is a must! The DTK 1888 e.V. has concluded a framework agreement with Zander-Versicherungsmakler GmbH & Co. KG for a dog owner liability insurance. The sum insured is € 10 million lump sum for personal injury, property damage and financial loss. Damage to rented property is also insured without a deductible.
In some federal states, dog owners are obliged to take out such insurance. From the age of 3-6 months, a dog must be insured in the federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Thuringia. In the other federal states, there are special regulations, e.g. for dogs over a certain size. Only in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there is no compulsory insurance at all.
Every DTK member can insure his dachshund for the price of € 39.00 per year, including insurance tax and without excess. Every insured dog must either be tattooed or have a chip number. The dog owner’s residence and bank details must be in Germany. You can insure not only your dachshund, but all hunting dogs via the framework contract. The dog does not have to be used for hunting; classification in the category “hunting dog” is sufficient.
Our tip: There are other liability insurances in this price segment, but all providers require an excess of at least 150 €. If you are planning to become a member of the DTK anyway, you should definitely take out this cheap liability insurance for the current annual fee of 50 €.
- Hundehaftpflichtversicherung für DTK-Mitglieder [Zander – Versicherungsmakler]
Clear answer: No.
There is a persistent legend that a bitch should have gone through pregnancy, birth and puppyhood at least once in her life in order to have a “normal” development and to avoid behavioural problems, but this is… just a legend. This legend has no basis in fact. In particular, it does not prevent later false pregnancies.
“Of course animals have the instinct to reproduce and thus to preserve their own species, preferably of course to reproduce themselves as often as possible. The explicit desire to be allowed to be a mother once in a lifetime, however, probably results from a strongly humanised way of looking at a bitch.”Quelle: Ein Mal im Hundeleben Welpen haben [your dog, Hundemagazin aus Österreich]
Bitches often show signs of pregnancy, even if no mating has taken place in heat. The mammary gland may swell, the teats become more prominent, even milk discharge may be provoked. In addition, there are sometimes behaviours typical of a mother, such as nest-building behaviour or even the throwing of an object, often the favourite toy.
This false pregnancy is to some extent part of the bitch’s normal cycle. Her symptoms usually disappear with the passing of the fictitious due date. Knowing the fictitious date of parturition is helpful in assessing whether the bitch is symptomatic beyond this date and should be seen by a veterinarian. You should therefore (also for other reasons) always note the onset of heat in the calendar. As this is not about determining the best time to mate, an estimate is sufficient: day of first emergence of heat secretion + 2 weeks + 9 weeks = “date of birth”.
If the symptoms do not decrease significantly with the “due date” and finally disappear immediately, or if the bitch becomes a “milk cow” before the “due date”, you should consult a veterinarian. The same applies if you notice any hardening of the mammary gland during the regular palpation of the mammary gland.
- Phantom Pregnancy: Key Facts for Dachshund owners [Dachshund Health UK]
The intervertebral discs lie between the bony vertebral bodies and form the spinal column with them. The spinal canal runs through the spinal column and contains the spinal cord and thus the central nerve cord. If an intervertebral disc is damaged, disc material can be pressed into the spinal canal, which then squeezes the spinal cord. In addition to pain, this can cause neurological deficits and – in severe cases – even paralysis.
Symptoms of IVDD can develop slowly or very quickly, and include:
- Back pain
- Weak legs
- Difficulty getting up
- Dragging or scuffing feet
- Tripping or falling regularly
The most important measure is haste. At the first signs of a possible herniated disc, better too early than too late, the dog must be immobilised. It is best to use a closed transport box for this. It must be ensured that the dog does not climb out of its basket, for example. The dog is transported in the box or, if this is not possible or the dog has to get loose, carried. At best, this is done by placing one hand between the front legs and the other between the hind legs. The hands meet under the dog and the dog virtually rests on the palms and forearms. The dog is immediately presented to a veterinarian who decides on the further therapy.
The treatment of a herniated disc in a dog depends mainly on the severity. In the case of a mild herniated disc without manifest paralysis and with normal bladder and bowel function, timely treatment with analgesic/anti-inflammatory medication and strict immobilisation is sufficient in many cases.
If an operation should nevertheless become necessary, it absolutely belongs in the hands of an experienced and appropriately specialized veterinary surgeon.
- What is IVDD? [Dachshund Health UK]