Are Dachshunds Smart?

Are Dachshunds Smart?

Do you have a Dachshund or are you thinking of getting one? Maybe you’re just curious to know how smart Dachshunds are? Here’s everything you need to know about Dachshunds and intelligence.

Are Dachshunds Smart? Yes, Dachshunds are smart if you work with their natural traits. They may not get the best scores in intelligence tests like the Stanley Coren one, but are smart in their own way. They can tell the time, understand what you’re saying, learn fast and are sensitive to emotions!

But wait, there’s more you need to know! Read on to find out how Dachshund intelligence is measured, whether they can be trained to be more intelligent, and how Dachshunds show their intelligence in other ways.

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.


Are Dachshunds Intelligent?

Yes, Dachshunds are intelligent, but in their own unique way.

In 1994, Stanley Coren, who is a professor of psychology, published a book called ‘The Intelligence of Dogs.

In the book, he wrote his findings from an experiment where he studied 138 different breeds of dog and ranked their intelligence levels accordingly.

Dachshunds were placed at number 92 of 138 breeds tested, which according to Coren, classifies Dachshunds as having ‘average intelligence.’

The book was then revised and republished in 2006, with similar findings.

However, they didn’t take the Dachshund’s natural traits into consideration. And this may be why they rank so far down this list.

How Is Dachshund Intelligence Measured?

If you judged a Dachshund’s intelligence by seeing how well they could herd a flock of sheep or how safely they could cross a road, it’s likely they wouldn’t do very well at all.

This doesn’t mean they’re unintelligent, it just means they’ve not been bred to be naturally good at tasks like this.

In Stanley Coren’s experiment, he measures how quickly each breed was able to learn new behaviours.

The more repetitions the dog needs to learn something new, the lower their intelligence would be ranked on the list.

He also measured how well each dog responded to a command on their first attempt. If they responded without errors on their first try, then they would be considered more intelligent.

How Did Dachshunds Do In The Stanley Coren Experiment?

In Stanley Coren’s experiment, he found that Dachshunds required an average of 40 repetitions for them to effectively learn a new command.

Even once they appeared to have learned a new command, they only actually responded to it on the first attempt roughly 50% of the time.

This affected their overall intelligence ranking significantly, leaving them in 92nd place out of 138 tested breeds.

However, as many Dachshund owners are already aware, even when they ask their Dachshund to do something, they don’t always respond if they don’t feel like doing it.

So, does this make them unintelligent? Or perhaps simply stubborn?

Its highly likely that their stubborn streak is what caused them to rank lower on this list than they deserve to be.

Dachshund wearing a hat on a yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Am I smart?'
Dachshunds are smart

Can I Train My Dachshund To Be More Intelligent?

Yes, you can definitely train your Dachshund to learn more skills and be more intelligent.

Each dog is of course an individual. But the more work you put in and the more training you do with your Dachshund, will impact the results you see at the end of the process.

If you train your Dachshund often and regularly teach them new things, they will undoubtedly appear smarter.

If you’ve never taught your Dachshund a certain behaviour, then ask them to do it, they won’t know what to do. This isn’t because they’re unintelligent, it’s simply because they’ve not been taught what to do yet.

Despite their low ranking in the Coren experiment, Dachshunds are more than capable of learning new things.

So, the more behaviours and tricks you teach your Dachshund, the more intelligent they will appear to be! 

How Do You Motivate A Dachshund To Learn?

Finding what motivates your Dachshund most of all will help with their training.

If your Dachshund appears uninterested in training, it probably doesn’t have anything to do with their intelligence levels.

It’s most likely because they’re not feeling motivated enough to perform a requested behaviour, given the rewards on offer.

Unlike some stereotypically more intelligent breeds, Dachshund’s won’t always do things just to please you – they’re super stubborn!

By choosing high value, super motivating rewards, this will make your Dachshund much more likely to do what you ask.

If anything, maybe this makes them MORE intelligent? After all, why do something for free when you can get paid for it?!

Is All Dog Intelligence Genetic?

Professor Coren found that any dog’s intelligence levels are actually 49% based on their own environmental circumstances.

If even the technically most intelligent dog breed found themselves in an environment where they’re not being looked after, they’ll certainly fail to thrive.

Although their intelligence would still be present, they’d be much less likely to show enthusiasm or motivation to work or do as they’re asked if their needs are not being met.

This would be the same for any breed, including Dachshunds.

Is My Dachshund More Intelligent Than The Experiment Shows?

Yes, many owners believe that Dachshunds are actually much smarter than the Coren experiment results suggest.

Whilst they may not be great at getting good scores in intelligence tests like this one, they’re smart in other ways.

Dachshunds respond best to positive reinforcement training methods, as they’re much more likely to repeat a behaviour again if they’re being rewarded for it.

Whilst they may not have much road sense for example, they’re able to pick up new tricks if they’re taught them effectively.

Dachshunds are also intelligent enough to be able to manipulate their owners into getting what they want too.

Put simply, if a Dachshund doesn’t want to do something, you’ll have a hard job trying to convince them to change their minds.

One things for sure, Dachshunds are not to be underestimated! 

How Do Dachshunds Show Their Intelligence?

This is how Dachshunds show how smart they are:

Dachshunds can tell the time

Dachshunds have in-built clocks that can keep time better than any clock can – sometimes to the minute!

They wake you up when it’s time to get up, are ready for a walk on schedule, go out to potty like clockwork, know what time they’re fed, what time they play and even when it’s time for bed.

In fact, Dachshunds thrive on routines and often remind you what time of day it is!

Dachshunds understand emotions

Dachshunds form very strong and loyal bonds with their owners, which is a sign of emotional intelligence.

They know when their owners are happy and can often sense when they’re feeling unwell or down.

It’s common for Dachshunds to adapt their emotions to their owners needs and be sensitive and calm by their side.

Some Dachshunds have even been known to wake owners with low blood sugar levels and sit beside those who are about to have a seizure – very smart!

This strong bond can make it easier to teach your Dachshund new things, as they love and trust you.

However, it can also work against you because they know there won’t be any consequences if they choose not to listen to your commands! 

Dachshunds can find things

Dachshunds have an amazing sense of smell that was originally used for hunting. The scent receptors in their nose mean they can smell up to 40 times better than a human can!

That’s why they excel at games where they need to search out treats and toys around your home and garden.

Not only does this give their brain a work out, but it also channels their natural hunting instincts into fun activities too.

Interestingly, Dachshunds can also be trained to be great truffle hunters. They’ll scamper through the undergrowth to sniff out that distinctive fungi smell!

Truffles are often referred to as ‘edible gold’ – so that’s real treasure your smart little Dachshund is able to unearth!

Dachshunds know what you’re saying

Dachshunds are really smart when it comes to language and often know what you’re saying.

Whilst they might not always respond to commands first time, Dachshunds are capable of remembering high numbers of different commands.

According to research, it’s thought that most dogs can recognise about 89 unique words and phrases. In fact, Dachshunds are said to have a similar level of intelligence to that of a 2-2.5-year-old human child.

But, not only do they understand common words like ‘walk’, ‘dinner‘, ‘bed’, ‘bowl’, ‘bath‘ and ‘treat’, but they also understand more complicated words like ‘cucumber’, ‘cheese’, ‘blanket‘ and the various different names of their dog toys or people coming to visit.

On top of this, if you’ve ever spelt out a word like ‘V-E-T’ or ‘C-H-E-E-S-E’ to try and hide it from your Dachshund – they’re often smart enough to react to that too!

Dachshund on on orange background with a speech bubble that says 'Am I smart?'
Are Dachshunds smart?

Dachshunds can count

Interestingly, Dachshunds are pretty good with numbers too.

If they’re given three small dog treats first thing in the morning, they won’t rest until they’ve had all all three.

If the daily routine is to give three treats, then you’d better make sure you give all of them – they won’t let you forget!

Dachshunds can solve problems

If you provide your Dachshund with mental enrichment activities such as puzzle games, you can be sure they’ll be able to figure them out really quickly.

This keeps their clever brains occupied by giving them something to keep them busy. 

Dachshunds are brilliant watchdogs

Dachshunds are brilliant watchdogs that will bark to alert you if they see anyone or hear anything in the garden or near your home.

They’ll be your very own security alarm that will bark loudly and won’t stop until they’ve got your attention – pretty smart!

Dachshunds are quick learners

Dachshunds love learning new tricks and commands. They tend to enjoy the trick training process, providing it’s rewarding for them.

They can learn how to ring a bell to go outside to potty or how to ‘Speak!’ on command.

In fact, they’re capable of learning all kinds of party tricks which not only make them look even cuter, but also keeps their brains occupied too. 

Dachshunds make smart decisions

Dachshunds are great at making decisions and know their own mind.

They infamously hate the rain and know to avoid going outside in wet, miserable and cold weather.

They’re also smart enough to know they need to find a place to pee inside, rather than out in the cold and wet grass!

Dachshunds can train their owners

Dachshunds train their owners like no other dog breed can. Even though you may think you are training your Dachshund, they are in fact training YOU!

Dachshunds are master manipulators that know exactly how to get what they want. If they want attention from you, they’ll do whatever it takes to get that belly rub.

They may try barking, digging, staring, whining or pawing at you until you give in. That stubborn streak won’t abate until they get the attention they crave.

Anything a Dachshund wants they eventually get – and that’s what makes them smarter than us!


So, that’s the long-and-the-short of it! Dachshunds are super-smart dogs. But, whilst they may not be the best at getting good scores in intelligence tests like the Stanley Coren one, they’re intelligent in their own unique way. Working with their natural characteristics and strengths can help to enhance their overall intelligence!

What do I do next?

Please do check out THE POTTY PLAN course where I’ll help you to dramatically improve your Dachshund’s potty routine. Also, if you read all the way to the end of this article, you’re exactly the sort of person I’d LOVE to join my Facebook Group. Your support for my blog and my SHOP means everything to me so, if you found this article helpful, please kindly share below. Thank you! 💋

'Are Dachshunds Smart?' heading with a Dachshund wearing a hat on a yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Am I smart?'
You May Also Like