Dachshunds Will Prevail, Unless Someone Stops Them

Something about dachshunds makes people lose their ever-loving minds. Maybe it’s their cartoon-y looks, or maybe it’s their star quality and pizzazz. People desperately want these dogs. Chances are good that they dreamed about having a dachshund for years. It is a life goal for a lot of people. Unfortunately, for some of these people, a dachshund is an adorable, charming tyrant who comes to rule the house with an iron paw.

The first thing to realize about these dogs is that although they are small, they are not a toy breed. They are tough and tenacious and expect to be taken very seriously. They are dogs originally bred to chase badgers out of their dens. Think about that. They have to be fearless, and once they face off against their prey, it is ON.

Illustration bof dachshund and badger
A dachshund faces off with a badger. (Picture is in the public domain and was retrieved from Wikipedia. )

It stands to reason, then, that dachshunds being kept as pets often have some characteristics that make them challenging to live with.

Here’s what you need to know.

  • They are hard to train and easy to ruin. Dachshunds will try to bend you to their will, and if you don’t train consistently and constantly, you will find yourself with a tyrant. Their natural instincts are to pursue and confront, which means that without guidance, a dachshund will self train, and make EVERY bad choice. Left to their own devices, they are prone to barking and can be nearly impossible to housebreak. On a sadder note, dachshunds who have been mistreated can become fear biters.
  • They have personality plus. They revel in being petted and stroked. They are entertainers and will put on the charm. They have a jaunty confidence that makes people smile just to see them. If you have two dachshunds, their play, assuming they get along, is insanely cute.


Two dachshunds playing  with an accordian, just because. (Photo is in the public domain and was retrieved from Wikipedia.)
Two dachshunds playing with an accordian, just because. (Photo is in the public domain and was retrieved from Wikipedia
  • Speaking about getting along, dachshunds can be aggressive to other dogs, to small animals, and to children. Dachshunds have been party to some horrific biting incidents involving children. Their bites are powerful and painful; again, think about what would be needed to square off with a badger in small spaces. I strongly recommend that people with children or grandchildren not get dachshunds for this and other reasons. (In fact, I’m getting agitated just thinking about this.) It’s important to remember that dachshunds can view other beings (animal and human) in the house as prey rather than as co-residents, which will color their interactions. We have known of cases when dachshunds have been rehomed because the high-pitched cries of an infant in the house made them extremely agitated or excited. This is not an over-reaction. Once a dachshund’s prey drive has been engaged, it must be taken very, very seriously. 

Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Dachshund Owners

  • They keep their dogs safe from people, and keep people safe from their dogs. If their dogs don’t like children, they will make sure that he is secured before children enter the home. It’s for everyone’s own good — kids can be rough and the pull of the dachshund is similar to that of the One Ring. Unsupervised children have been known to attempt to spring dachshunds from bedrooms and crates, so be vigilant.
  • They protect their dogs’ backs. Back problems should be considered inevitable. You’ll need to set up stairs and ramps and train your dachshund to use them so they won’t jump off a couch or bed. (It will still happen on occasion, and each time you’ll be terrified that they have injured themselves.) Try to anticipate situations where a dachshund might jump down from on high, and plan for them.
  • They don’t try to do it themselves. Although I have certainly known some mild-mannered, malleable dachshunds, the vast majority of them are tough and tenacious and fearless, which translates into stubbornness and low trainability. The best way to train a dachshund is using a rewards-based program that emphasizes consistency, one taught by an experienced trainer. I have known a lot of dachshund owners who have used behaviorists, especially for problems with aggression and housebreaking.

I want to underscore that although dachshunds’ prey drive is no joke, this doesn’t mean that they can never be in a home with cats. I know of many homes where dachshunds have coexisted with cats without incident. However, these weren’t the dogs with the highest prey drive.

Finally, dachshunds hold a unique place in the dog world in terms of their availability. They are immensely popular and breeders can command big money for them, but at the same time you will find them in rescue. The standard reasons apply, but behavior is also frequently cited for these surrenders. Be prepared, if you adopt a dachshund, to deal with a dog who really needs training. Not a deal-breaker, but important to know.

This is the second breed profile in a row where I’ve attempted to warn people off. However, unlike Chow Chows, dachshunds can be placed successfully in a lot of suitable homes. The emphasis on the challenges is because, well, dachshunds look like this:

Brown dachshund on white background
Yeah, that cute. ( Photo credit: . Retrieved via Wikimedia Commons.

They are all-powerful in their cuteness, and mighty tempting.

By Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is

6 replies on “Dachshunds Will Prevail, Unless Someone Stops Them”

We’ve had Doxies since I was in the 4th Grade. My Vinnie was a standard, and though he was a Sweetie (he even kept outdoor kittens warm while their mommy was hunting!) he was very protective of me, and was super jealous. Like. After my grandfather died, I was cuddling a shirt he left me in my sleep… and I woke up to it being in rags. Ditto with any stuffed animals. but he stayed very sweet up int old age. One day when he was very very old and blind and not moving so good anymore, he wandered off into the woods to die. :(

My grandmother’s did something similar last week. But Mabel was something like 17 or 18 years old and was blind, deaf, and could barely move. But sometimes she’d gather her energy and wander off, and then forget where she was and do the Doxie yowl. This time she wandered off, and didn’t give the yowl. We never found vinnie so IDK if we will find her either.

My mom’s current Doxie is a tiny mini that is shorter than my forearm. Her name is Rosie. She had been in a home that caged her at all hours and had teen boys who beat her with foam pool floats. She almost died when she was pregnant and nursing with half chihuahua puppies. When we got her her pups had just been weaned, and she literally had a back so distorted that it looked like someone had folded her in half, and her teets were more distorted than I’ve seen on most post-nursing dogs. She was also bald headed and kind of ugly- which you know is bad when a doxie is ugly!- from being malnourished. Thankfully the former owner was looking to get rid of her so we scooped her up.

A couple years later and she is back to looking incredibly adorable, her back is back to normal, her coat is nice and shiny, and she is the alpha of all the dogs in that house, including the pit bull. I’m serious- the pit will gently lick her clean on her indication, and act submissive to her. She’s not mean to any of the dogs or cats, not even my dog when she visits, and is ok with kids though if the kids are hyper she runs and hides. My parents also know how to live with Doxies so while she might be a little queen of the pack with the dogs, they do not let her be queen of the house. (Though if my grandma had her way she would be.)

Vinnie and Mabel’s mother, though, was a tyrant when she lived. Molly (sr) was… something. not mean, but definitely a bossy little brat. But much loved!

Yep, they’re special all right. The dachshunds in our dog park are of the yapping-a-lot kind and when you have proven yourself to not be impressed or not running away, they’ll come investigate. But no cuddles and very sharp teeth.

I like the rough haired ones most. Especially when they come in blond, so dapper.

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