Are you wondering how much exercise your dachshund needs? Perhaps you want to take him walking, running or swimming but you’re not sure how much he can handle. We’re here to answer all your questions about dachshunds and exercise.
How much exercise does a dachshund need? As adults, standard dachshunds need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, while miniature dachshunds need at least 30 minutes. His exercise should include walks and playtime to keep him happy, healthy and mentally stimulated.
So, if you’re wondering how far dachshunds can walk, whether they can run, how fast they can sprint and if they can swim, read on to find out the best way to exercise your dachshund, how much exercise puppies need and what happens if you over exercise them.
Table of Contents
- Do adult dachshunds need a lot of exercise?
- How much exercise does a dachshund puppy need?
- Can I over exercise a dachshund puppy
- How do I exercise my dachshund?
- How far can dachshunds walk?
- Do dachshunds need coats?
- Can dachshunds run?
- Can dachshunds swim?
- What are the dangers of under exercising a dachshund?
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.
Do adult dachshunds need a lot of exercise?
The amount of exercise an adult dachshund needs will depend on both his age and size. Standard dachshunds need at least 60 minutes a day and miniatures just 30 minutes. Both standards and miniatures will happily do more exercise if you want them to.
Dachshunds are only small and don’t need huge amounts of exercise, compared to larger dogs, but they still need daily exercise to keep them fit, happy and healthy. He needs to stay active to stop him getting overweight. As well as the fitness side, exercise and play are great for mental stimulation. This’ll stop him getting bored and barking excessively or being destructive.
For adult standard dachshunds, you could break up the 60 minutes of daily exercise into a 20–25-minute walk twice a day, and 10–15 minutes of playtime. And for miniature dachshunds, you could break up the 30 minutes of exercise into a 20-minute walk and 10 minutes of playtime. These are minimum requirements though. If you think your dachshund is bored or you’re worried about his weight, you’ll need to up his exercise.
How much exercise does a dachshund puppy need?
Dachshund puppies need 5 minutes of exercise for every month of their age (Eg: 3 month old puppy needs 15 minutes of exercise per day). At age 4-6 months (only once he’s had his jabs), start taking him out for a walk.
Stick to the 5 minutes per month rule until your dachsund puppy is one year old and fully developed, as that’s quite a good way of building it up. You don’t want to over exercise them at first. Exercising puppies too much before their bones stop growing, could impact their growth and development. You want to slowly build up the length of his walks, as he gets older. By the time he’s one, his growth plates will have closed and he can move onto his adult exercise routine.
However, the ‘5 minutes per month of age’ rule is only for leash walking exercise. It doesn’t include playtime, or running around ‘off leash’ in the garden or yard for example. That exercise would be in addition to this.
Young puppies can’t go out before vaccinations. Playing in the garden or at home will be enough exercise for the day. If you don’t have a garden, maybe you have friends or family who can help you out. Just remember, you can’t take your Dachshund to the park until he’s had all his jabs.
Can I over exercise a dachshund puppy
Yes. If you over exercise your dachshund puppy before their growth plates have closed, you run the risk of them developing deformed, out-turned feet, as well as affecting their topline, making them appear lanky, due to poor body development.
Dachshunds have a reputation for being fearless and stubborn, so you have to keep an eye on young puppies to make sure they’re not overdoing it, and getting enough sleep. You’ll have a much fitter adult dachshund if you don’t allow them to over exercise, or take them for long walks at a very young age.
How do I exercise my dachshund?
This how you exercise your dachshund:
- Agility courses
- Hide and seek
- Digging games
The easiest way to give your dachshund the exercise he needs is to take him for a walk every day. Most dachshunds’ love walking when it’s a warm and sunny day. But, not all dachshunds will be thrilled with the idea of going for walkies, especially if it’s raining, or cold outside. So you might have to be creative to get him to leave the house (once they’re out, it gets easier!). The key is to be persistent, especially if you have a very stubborn dachshund. Because not exercising a dachshund creates its own set of problems.
Let your dachshund act on his chasing instinct with a game of fetch. It works well with balls or Frisbees.
Another great ball game to play is football. Your dachshund will love using his nose to nudge the ball back to you so you kick it for him again. Just make sure the ball is a children’s one – lightweight, full of air and not too heavy.
Dachshunds are amazingly agile and will love darting in and out of a makeshift obstacle course. Avoid anything that involves jumping though as dachshunds are prone to back issues.
Hide and seek
Your dachshund will love sniffing out treats from around the house or garden as it draws on his hunting instinct. If the kids want to get involved, you could get them to hide instead.
If you have a special digging pit for your dachshund, you could hide his favourite toys in the sand and get him to dig them out. And if you don’t, you should definitely look at building one!
Dachshunds love playing with squeaky toys and enjoy ripping them apart. If you give the toys names, he may even go and fetch the one you ask for. Just be careful not to play tug-of-war or pulling games as this could damage his back.
How far can dachshunds walk?
Most adult dachshunds can walk as far as you take them, as long as they’re fit and healthy and you’ve built them up to long distances. It depends on your dachshund, their age, size and fitness. Just bear in mind, they do have short legs and can overheat if it’s too hot.
You can’t really over-exercise your dachshund once he’s an adult, as long as he gets plenty of water and breaks on long walks, and the games you’re playing with him are safe and won’t hurt his back. It’s easy to forget these lovable sausages were originally hunting dogs that scrambled down badger holes to chase small prey. As long as he’s fit and healthy, your dachshund will be happy to just keep going until he’s tired. And yes, he’ll let you know when he’s had enough!
If you plan on doing a long walk with your dachshund, you’ll need to build him up to it. This is just a matter of fitness really – you can’t expect him to go from couch potato to marathon sausage in just a few days. You have to gradually increase the length of time you walk him each day, until he becomes fitter and has more energy on longer walks. If you’re planning a really long walk (as in, you’re going to take him on a walking holiday or something), just pop to the vets for a general health check to make sure all is ok before you set off.
Do dachshunds need coats?
No. Dachshunds don’t necessarily need a coat, but they hate cold, wet weather. Their bellies are low to the ground so they get cold quickly and can be stubborn about walking. A raincoat will keep them dry and a coat will keep them warm in colder months.
Can dachshunds run?
Yes. Dachshunds can run and enjoy running. They run fast at 15–20 mph (31 kph). But, their short little legs can’t run very far, and you definitely won’t be able to sprint with them. They tend to run in short, sharp bursts rather than long distances.
Dachshunds are great little runners and very speedy for such little dogs. Remember, they were bred to chase and hunt small prey, so they needed to be quick on their feet. Like a lot of hunting animals though, they can only sprint in short bursts and then need to rest. They won’t be able to cover the same miles as you would with a larger dog.
The best place to run with your dachshund is in the garden (just make sure you have a good fence so he can’t escape or burrow under the fence!). This way, he can run as much as he likes and stop when he gets tired. You should never let your dachshund run by the side of a road as they don’t have much road sense (he should be on a lead here anyway). And unless he’s properly trained on recall, you shouldn’t let him off to run in parks either. If he sees something to chase, he’ll be off!
If you’re looking for a long-distance running partner, a dachshund probably isn’t the right dog for you. He’d have to work really hard to keep pace with you because he’ll get tired quickly. If you really want to take him running with you, you’ll have to do a short run and then walk when he gets tired.
Can dachshunds swim?
Dachshunds aren’t naturally gifted swimmers, but they can be taught. If your dachshund is scared of the water, you’ll need to help him overcome his fear. Teach him doggy paddle, give him confidence and make sure you keep him safe in the water.
Swimming is great exercise
With their short little legs, dachshunds aren’t typically water babies. They don’t instinctively know how to swim and might be nervous of the water. But swimming can be great exercise for dachshunds, especially for those with arthritis or recovering from back surgery. It’s best to teach him in a pool though, as ponds, lakes and the sea can be dangerous for dachshunds that haven’t found their sea legs yet.
Be prepared in advance
To keep your dachshund safe, get him a life jacket, and get him used to wearing it before he goes in the water. You should also make sure he has a quick and easy way to get out of the water too, such as a ramp. Clambering out the side of a pool will be difficult, and lifting him out isn’t ideal as he could hurt his back. If you do need to lift him, make sure he’s fully supported at both ends.
Get in the water with him
It might take your dachshund some time to build up the courage to get in the water, so you may need to coax him in. Get in the water first and try to tempt him in with treats or toys. You should never ever force him to get in the water – leave him to decide when he’s ready. Once he’s in, you can show him how to doggy paddle by gently moving his feet for him (and remember, with a doggy life jacket on, he’ll be able to float even if he can’t swim yet).
What are the dangers of under exercising a dachshund?
Under exercising a dachshund can be very detrimental to their health, both mental and physical. Dachshunds need daily exercise or they’ll get frustrated and gain weight. And obesity puts additonal pressure on their already fragile backs.
Get into an exercise routine
Dachshunds are natural clowns with their own little comedic personalities, and they just love being the centre of attention and part of the family. But, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to get away with pushing their will onto you, particularly when it comes to exercising.
Not all dachshunds love leaving the house, in fact some stubborn little monkeys will do all they can not to step over the threshold and out into the world. But exercise will keep your dachshund in tip top condition. Exercise will tone their muscles, work their body and help it to maintain regular function. Exercise stimulates their metabolism and their mind.
Keep weight in check
Physically inactive dachshunds will fast become overweight little sausages. Being overweight for any dog is bad for their health, being overweight for a dachshund can be serious. Dachshunds have fragile backs at the best of times (dachshunds are prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease) and letting your dachshund pile on the pounds will put extra pressure on their joints.
Channel his energy
Dachshunds are hounds at the end of the day, and they’re incredibly intelligent which is why they’re so brilliant at wrapping us around their paws! But that intelligence means they get bored easily, and with boredom can come destructive tendencies, such as chewing things that aren’t theirs or developing habits such as barking, all the time.
So, regardless of what your dachshund thinks, he does need daily exercise! Standard dachshunds need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day and miniature dachshunds just 30 minutes. Get them into a healthy routine from day one!
So there you have it, dachshunds really don’t need a whole lot of exercise, but under-exercising will be really bad for their health. No one wants an overweight dog, plus the vet bills will be astronomical. So, just take them for a walk once a day and you should have your furbaby with you for a long time.