Are you thinking of getting a dachshund but don’t know if the breed is right for your family? Perhaps you have small children or a baby on the way? Don’t worry – we’re going to answer your questions and help you decide whether a dachshund is the right choice as your new family dog.
Are dachshunds good family dogs? Yes. As pack dogs, they like being part of a family. A well-trained dachshund is intelligent, loyal, protective and fun. They’re good around children, as long as the kids are sensible around them. They don’t need a lot of exercise and make really great companions.
If you love the idea of getting a dachshund but don’t know much about them, read on to find out about their temperament, what the breed is like around babies and children, what they need from you, and whether a dachshund will fit into your family and lifestyle.
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What is the personality of a dachshund?
By nature, dachshunds are:
Some dachshunds can show signs of aggression. They’ve been known to nip, bark or growl if they get startled, jealous or annoyed. The best way to nip this in the bud is to train your dachshund properly and show him you’re in charge. Once he knows you’re in control, he’ll settle down and treat you like the alpha in the pack!
Are dachshunds good with babies?
In general, dachshunds are good with babies. But, as with all dogs, you should never leave a dachshund alone with a baby, even if baby’s in her crib. Dachshunds can sometimes get jealous of babies so, if you need to leave the room for whatever reason, pop him in a crate.
Dachshunds only get jealous because they want all the attention. So, if you’re expecting a new arrival you’ll need to work on that before baby arrives. Here’s what you need to do:
Play baby sounds
Before the baby comes, get your dachshund used to what his new home will be like. Play sounds of a baby crying or laughing, carry on as normal and increase the volume each day.
Spend time with children
Make sure your dachshund is comfortable around children. Do you have a friend with kids who can help you out? If so, get him used to them slowly and calmly (you can always keep him on a lead until he’s relaxed and happy to be around them).
Create a cosy den for your dachshund
Create a snuggle-den in your dachshund’s crate so he has a safe space to hide away. Add blankets to make it warm and cosy and pop some of his favourite toys inside.
Give your dachshund plenty of attention
Set aside time each day to play with and fuss over your dachshund. That way, he won’t feel like he’s missing out on all the attention.
Make time to exercise your dachshund
Make sure your dachshund still gets plenty of daily exercise (30 minutes or more for miniature dachshunds and 60 minutes or more for standard dachshunds). If you’re struggling to find enough time, you could get a friend or dog-walker to help you out.
Teach your dachshund new commands
Teach your dachshund the ‘gently’ command and only give him treats if he takes them gently from your hand. Once he understands, he’ll be gentle around other things and people too.
If you rescue or re-home a dachshund, you need to know and understand the temperament of the dog before introducing them to a baby. Never leave them alone together. If you need to leave the room, pop your dachshund in his crate for a few minutes.
Are dachshunds good with children?
Yes! Dachshunds are generally great with kids. They’re affectionate, loyal and playful. They just need to know you’re in charge (and he’s not in charge of the kids either). Introduce the children to him slowly and let him take his time getting to know them.
He’ll love playing games like chase and hide and seek (especially if your little ones hide treats for him to find). But, if you have young children, it’s best to have some ‘sausage dog rules’ so they (and their friends) know what they should and shouldn’t do when playing with him:
Rule #1 – Pick your dachshund up carefully
Dachshunds have long backs and can suffer from Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Your dachshund might seriously hurt his back if your kids don’t support it properly when they pick him up. If your little ones want to cuddle him, get them to sit down so you can gently place him on their laps. If they’re old enough to understand how to hold him the right way, get them to put one hand under his chest (behind his front legs) and use the other hand to support his rump. And try and keep the front and back of his body as even as possible.
Rule #2 – Don’t squeeze your dachshund
We know they’re loveable, but even hugs can potentially hurt a dachshund. Their backs really are fragile. It’s best to get the kids to stroke him gently and play on the floor rather than picking him up and hugging him all the time.
Rule #3 – Don’t tug your dachshund
Playing games like tug-of-war will put too much strain on a dachshund’s back. All that pulling is just no good for them, so be gentle. Fun games with a ball or squeaky toy are great. And teaching him new tricks is a lot of fun too.
Rule #4 – Don’t pull your dachshund’s tail
Don’t pull a dachshund’s tail or any part of their body as it could potentially harm his back. He could also get frightened which may cause him to nip or growl.
Rule #5 – Leave your dachshund alone when he’s sleeping
Like most dogs (and us!), dachshunds can get startled if they’re woken suddenly, so their bed should be a no-go zone for the kids.
Rule #6 – Leave him alone to eat and don’t touch his food
Children should never play with a dog’s food – he’ll think you’re trying to take it away and might growl or snap.
Rule #7 – If your dachshund seems stressed, leave him alone
Teach your kids to look for signs your dachshund is feeling overwhelmed or irritated. Things like growling, snapping, baring his teeth, pulling back his ears, backing away or trying to hide behind or under the furniture. Dachshunds aren’t generally aggressive but it’s worth being aware of.
Rule #8 – Play carefully around your dachshund
When your dachshund is out of his crate, ask your kids (and their friends) to play more calmly. He might get scared, anxious or agitated if they’re running around and screaming – plus, as he’s so small, there’s always a risk someone’s will trip over him!
And again, if you rescue or re-home a dachshund, you must understand the temperament of the dog before introducing them to any child.
Are dachshunds a good breed for older people?
Yes. Adult dachshunds are the perfect companions for older or retired people. They’re smart, funny and fiercely loyal. They love to be with you and curl up on your lap, and don’t need loads of exercise (30 mins for miniatures and 60 mins for standards).
Given the choice, they’d happily sleep in your bed (although they’d need a ramp to get up and down!). And if you have a fenced garden, they’ll happily explore, dig and do their own thing. They’re easy to have around and easy to look after. All they really want is YOU and, in return, they’ll give so much love.
Puppies will obviously be more of a handful. And, because dachshunds are notoriously hard to train, it takes a lot of time and patience in the early days to get them into a routine. If you’re up for that, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a puppy. Just be prepared for the early morning alarm clock and boundless energy throughout the day. Your sausage pup will settle in time but it can be tiring and hard work to begin with.
Can I leave my dachshund while I’m at work?
No. Dachshunds can only be left for about 4 hours at a time. Dachshunds are pack animals and love being with people. If you work long hours and plan on leaving him alone all day, he may not be the right dog for you.
If you leave your dachshund alone too long, he may get anxious or distressed and this could lead to separation anxiety, or he could bark or destroy things around the home because he’s missing out on attention. The only way you could make this work is by getting friends or family to help you out, or asking a dog-sitter to look after him during the day. Dachshunds have needs too.
What does a dachshund need from me?
This is what your dachshund needs from you:
- He needs you to be there and not leave him alone for more than 4 hours at a time
- He needs a garden with a very secure fence (dachshunds have a habit of running off to chase squirrels or digging under fences)
- He needs daily exercise
- He needs play time, stimulation and fun
- He needs to be the only dog in the household or, ideally, in a home with other dachshunds.
- He needs you to dedicate time to training him
- He needs love and attention
- He needs his food on time!
Where can I buy a dachshund?
In the UK, go to The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme to find your nearest breeder. And, in the US, visit The American Kennel Club for a list of breeders. Other parts of the world will have similar kennel authorities so just search online.
Buy from a registered breeder
It‘s extremely important you only buy a dachshund from a registered breeder. You have to be sure your dachshund has been bred responsibly, had all vaccinations, been wormed and tested for hereditary knee and eye diseases like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), as this means there’ll be less risk of your dachshund developing those conditions.
Ask to see the dachshund puppy’s mother
If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, ask to see his or her mother. Mum should interact with the puppy and you should be able to see them together. Take a look at the general environment and make sure the dachshund looks healthy before you agree to take him or her home.
Steer clear of cheap dogs online
Unfortunately, there are many untrustworthy breeders out there who don’t care about the welfare of dogs. Sadly, they’re just in it for the money. Steer clear of anyone selling a cheap dachshund online or anyone selling a dachshund who isn’t an official registered breeder. The dog may have been illegally imported and you could end up with a mountain of vet bills, or worse.
You could also adopt, rescue or rehome an adult dachshund through a reputable dog charity. Here in the UK, we have ‘The Red Foundation’, a non-profit charity dedicated to dachshunds. You add your name to their waiting list and, if you’re the right match, they’ll contact you to adopt. The good thing is, they understand dachshunds, and will give an honest opinion on the temperament of the dog and whether it can live with other cats, dogs or children.
Just like us, every dachshund is unique and some will be better around children than others. You’ll have to get to know his character and work out his boundaries. With the right training and environment, most dachshunds will flourish in a family home. And, once you’ve had one dachshund, you’ll fall in love with the breed for life. So, now it’s over to you to decide whether a dachshund is the right pet for your family!