Have you noticed a few grey or white hairs on your dachshund’s coat? Or are you just curious about when his coat may turn grey? Here’s everything you need to know about dachshunds and grey hair.
What Age Do Dachshunds Go Grey? In general, dachshunds start to go grey at around 6 years old, but this age does vary. You may spot grey hairs on your dachshund’s coat when he’s just 2 years old, or he may never go grey at all. It just depends on his genetics, health and stress levels.
But, before you start worrying about your dachshund ageing prematurely, there’s more you need to know! Read on to find out why dachshunds go grey, how quick it’ll happen, and whether there’s anything you can do about it.
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This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet or qualified dog behaviourist.
Why Do Dachshunds Go Grey?
This is why dachshunds go grey:
Like humans, some dachshunds go grey as part of the natural ageing process. Basically, their coat colour is made up of two melanin pigments (melanin is the black or brown pigment in hair, eyes and skin). Blended together, these pigments create every type of coat colour you can think of. As dachshunds age, they create less melanin, and that’s when the colour fades and grey hairs start to appear. It’s much more noticeable on black or chocolate coats, than lighter cream dachshunds.
Turning grey isn’t always about ageing. Genetics also play a part in whether your dachshund will go grey. Just as some people go grey in their early 20s, some dachshunds start going grey when they’re as young as 2 years old (that’s equivalent to 24 humans years!). If you met your dachshund’s mum or dad and they had grey hair or a frosty face, there’s more chance of your dachshund turning grey too. Sometimes it’s just nature’s way and nothing to worry about!
No one knows for sure whether stress or anxiety can turn a dachshund’s hair grey, but there have been some studies to say that it does. Dachshunds do tend to suffer from things like separation anxiety and can get stressed by loud bangs, thunderstorms or fireworks outside. They can also feel unsettled after a house move, change of routine or new baby arriving – and so on. Any stress or anxiety could stop your dachshund producing the melanin pigments needed to keep colour in his coat. So, work on any stress with a behaviourist, address any separation anxiety and invest in a ThunderShirt for emergencies!
Hormone changes caused by hypothyroidism may cause your dachshund to stop producing melanin, leading to grey or white hair. Other signs of thyroid problems are a change in coat texture, hair loss, lethargy, weight gain and skin issues. So, if you notice any other symptoms or are concerned about your dachshund’s health, contact your vet for advice. If he does have a thyroid problem and gets treatment, his coat colour may restore.
Although rare, vitiligo is another skin condition that can affect your dachshund’s melanin production. The loss of pigment can be across the entire coat or in random patches. Vitiligo isn’t painful but, if you notice any sudden changes to your dachshund’s coat, it’s best to speak with your vet.
Do Dachshunds Go Completely Grey?
No, unlike humans, dachshunds don’t tend to go completely grey. In general, the first grey hairs will be noticeable on his muzzle, then the top of his head, his eyebrows, around his eyes, on his paws, and a few salt and pepper strands down his back. It’ll be more of a frosty face, than a full on snow storm!
How Quick Will My Dachshund Go Grey?
In general, dachshunds go grey gradually. However, this does depend on your dachshund’s age, genetics, health and stress levels. If your dachshund’s coat suddenly fades or turns grey, talk to your vet to rule out any health conditions and stress related issues.
Why Don’t all Dachshunds Go Grey?
Regardless of age, some dachshunds don’t ever go grey. Even seniors can keep their coat colour for life! It’s basically down to genetics. So, if his mother, father or grandparents didn’t get frosty faces, there’s a high chance he won’t get one either. Confident dachshunds with chilled personalities are much less likely to go grey too. Stress stops the production of melanin, leading to grey or white hair.
Are Male Dachshunds More Likely To Go Grey?
No! Male dachshunds are no more likely to go grey than females. Grey hair is not dependent on sex, age, if your dachshund has been neutered, or whether he’s miniature or standard. It’s mainly down to genetics, health and anxiety levels.
Does It Matter If My Dachshund Goes Grey?
No, it doesn’t matter if your dachshund goes grey, as long as he’s healthy, loved and cared for. Frosty faces add character, and shouldn’t be anything to worry about. But, if there’s been a sudden change to your dachshund’s coat colour or texture, or he has any other symptoms or behavioural changes, it’s best to speak to your vet.
So, there you have it. Dachshunds turn grey because of natural ageing, genetics, anxiety or health reasons. It generally happens when they’re around 6 years old, but you may spot grey hairs from age 2 upwards. Some senior dachshunds never go grey so, like humans, it’s basically just luck of the draw!
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