Dachshunds are independent. Dachshunds are loving. Dachshunds are playful. Dachshunds are aggressive.
How can all this be true of one breed of dog? Well, it is. Dachshunds are among the most complex and interesting breeds precisely because they encompass all these attributes and many more besides.
Bred in Germany in the 1600s to chase vermin, bold and fearless characteristics were selected first and foremost. At the same time, they had to be strong-willed, resourceful and persistent. It does little good to have legs and feet that are excellent for digging if the dog doesn’t have the spirit of pursuit.
Those attributes have continued down the centuries. While most Doxies today are pets, not hunters, once attributes are bred in their nature doesn’t change much. But what’s aggression in one circumstance can be simple courage in another. What is willfulness in one situation can be valuable persistence in another.
Above all, Dachshunds are intelligent dogs. Their individualist character makes them more difficult to take an interest in training. But handled correctly, their smarts allow them to excel in whatever they do.
Keep in mind, too, that independence does not necessarily mean they are uninterested in others. Doxies are filled with curiosity and want to take part in any adventure going on around them. Some breeds are satisfied to sit by quietly and observe. A Dachshund wants to be in the middle of things, participating along with everyone else.
Within these broad outlines there are variations.
The classic-looking Smooth-Coat exhibits all the classic behaviors – barking at the least invasion to its territory, leading the pack whenever possible and more. It will be reluctant more often to take a bath and struggle during nail clipping time.
The Wire-Hair type looks and acts like a combination of Doxie and terrier. Terriers, too, are high strung. But they love to play and their behavior is not aggressive so much as just forthright.
The Long-Hair is more like the Irish Setter in miniature, though not to that extreme. They enjoy a good romp, but are a little more inclined to watch and wait their turn. They are among the easier varieties to train though they take a bit more grooming care.
All are natural diggers. Bred to chase badgers and other small game into a den, they like getting into things. Their powerful front legs and muscular chest make it pretty easy for them to do just that. Getting out isn’t too much more difficult, thanks to the streamlined body and smooth, narrow head. As a result, if you want to keep the garden or lawn intact, don’t allow the dog to roam freely without supervision.
But Dachshunds do need at least moderate exercise in activities where they can work off some of their natural energy. An obstacle course with tunnels is a good idea for these ‘gophers’.
They are also loyal and loving. The bond between a Doxie and the person or family it ‘adopts’ is unusually strong. They want to be near people and enjoy interaction. As any Dachshund owner will be happy to tell you.
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