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Dachshund

Tags: hound, Small-sized, Adaptable to apartment life

No hot dog jokes, please. For one thing, dachshunds come in more varieties (miniature, standard, smooth, wire-haired, long-haired) than wieners at a picnic. And life was no picnic in 17th-century Germany when farmers needed compact diggers (with sharp teeth and attitude) to go after those nasty badgers. Our legs might be stubby, but we're strong for our size and weight -- typically around 20 to 26 pounds for the standards and 10 pounds for the minis. And we come in a nice assortment of colors -- red, golden red, black, brown, gray, white, tan, Harlequin -- pick your favorite color scheme. And who can resist a sweet, earnest face of a dachshund yearning to be a lap dog. Our kind arrived on the American shores and became instantly popular in the early 1900s -- and now we're back in style.

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Always alert
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Courageous canine

Report card

  • Independent thinker
  • Training can be difficult
  • Knows how to use teeth
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Willing watchdog -- with bark to match

What to expect

Don't let those short legs fool you -- I need my exercise, preferably twice a day. But please keep the jogging on the level, because stairs are hard on my long back. Walking on a leash is the best, because I'm a natural-born hunter and sometimes can't resist a good chase. Don't say you weren't warned that I can bark, and loudly so, if it suits my purpose. I'm also a very capable digger, so yard fencing needs to extend underground to discourage my escape. My long-haired brethren need more grooming, but we all appreciate a brushing now and then. I can be impatient with thoughtless children -- so if you insist, help us all control our impulses. Consistent, ongoing training from a confident human is what I really need most.

Watch for

Possible back problems from poor breeding practices, disc disease, diabetes, hyperandrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, various eye and skin disorders (including mange and baldness), blood and bleeding disorders, and problems with the urogenital tract.

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