Why Do My Dachshund’s Feet Turn Out?

Dachshund with turned out feet

Does your Dachshund have feet that turn out? Has your Dachshund’s posture changed recently? Are you wondering why it’s happened and what you need to do? Here’s everything you need to know about why Dachshunds feet turn out!

Why Do My Dachshund’s Feet Turn Out? The main reasons your Dachshunds feet turn out are:

  • Antebrachial growth deformity
  • Canine elbow dysplasia
  • Carpal valgus
  • Medial patellar luxation
  • Leg trauma
  • Being overweight
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Having long nails

Read on to find out what turned out feet are, whether a Dachshund’s feet are supposed to turn out, the reasons why they turn out, whether it’s common in Dachshunds and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

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.

What Are Turned Out Feet In Dachshunds?

Turned-out feet are when the space between your Dachshund’s elbows and wrists is deformed and turned inwards, while the paws are turned outwards.

Some people call them ‘Queen Anne Legs’. This is because they look like the cabriole leg that you get on Queen Anne style furniture. The lower curve bows inwards while the foot turns out.

Are My Dachshund’s Feet Supposed To Turn Out?

It’s OK if your Dachshund’s feet turn out very slightly. However, if they’re noticeably turned out then this could indicate a health issue.

According to the Dachshund breed standard, your Dachshund’s feet should be ‘full, broad, deep, close knit, straight or very slightly turned out’.

If your Dachshund’s feet are too turned out, this could be caused by genetics, illness, injury or a lifestyle factor.

Whatever the cause, it may be painful for your Dachshund and could cause him health issues. 

Dachshunds with turned out feet
Dachshunds with slightly turned out feet

Why Do My Dachshund’s Feet Turn Outwards?

There are a number of things that can cause your Dachshund’s feet to turn out.

Remember, if they’re only very slightly turned out, this is nothing to worry about. This is perfectly acceptable according to the Dachshund breed standard.

But if the feet are noticeably turned out or your Dachshund has suddenly started standing and walking with turned-out feet, these are the most common causes:

Antebrachial growth deformity

Antebrachial growth deformity is when one of your Dachshund’s front legs keeps growing once the other has stopped. This gives a Dachshund one normal sized leg and one oddly sized leg.

This causes the leg to twist and bow, which causes bone misalignment and turned-out feet.

Unfortunately, Dachshunds are prone to growth deformities like this because of the dwarfism (chondrodysplasia) gene.

Canine elbow dysplasia

Canine elbow dysplasia is when the 3 bones in the elbow joint don’t fit together properly.

It can be caused by a number of things, including injury, growth abnormalities and weight gain.

As well as causing your Dachshund’s feet to turn out, it can affect his gait and even make him lame.

Although ‘canine elbow dysplasia’ usually only affects bigger dog breeds and isn’t as common in Dachshunds.

Carpal valgus

This is a deformity that affects the wrist joint on the front legs, causing the front feet to turn outward.

It’s usually only seen in puppies, but on rare occasions can be seen in dogs up to 7 months old.

Medial patellar luxation

This is when the kneecap dislocates or slips. It usually affects the back legs, causing the back feet to turn out.

Leg trauma

If your puppy injured his leg or experienced trauma to his leg while his bones were still developing, this can lead to some of the medical conditions mentioned above and cause your Dachshund’s feet to turn out.

For example, if your Dachshund was walked too much as a puppy, this might have affected the way his bones developed. Over-exercise can lead to problems like bone misalignment.

Being overweight

Dachshunds are small, so they need to be kept at the right weight. Carrying extra weight can put too much pressure on their little legs.

If your Dachshund gains too much weight, it can strain his back. This can force him to adjust his posture to accommodate the extra weight and keep his balance, causing his legs to turn out.

Nutrient deficiencies

If your Dachshund isn’t getting the nutrients he needs from his food, this can weaken his bones and leave him susceptible to defects like turned-out feet.

Long nails

If you Dachshund’s nails are too long, this can be really painful for him, as the nail pushes back into the nail bed when it comes into contact with the floor.

Your Dachshund may avoid putting his paws flat on the ground and instead try putting his weight towards the backs of his feet to avoid putting pressure on his nails.

This can seriously alter his posture and make his feet turn out to stay balanced.

Dachshund paws with trimmed nails
Dachshund paws with trimmed nails

Are Turned Out Feet Common In Dachshunds?

Yes, it’s quite common for Dachshunds to suffer with turned-out feet because of their genetics.

The dwarfism gene has been deliberately bred into Dachshunds, which is what causes their short legs, and this can make the dogs prone to deformities such as turned-out feet.

Some people think that because their bodies are so low to the ground, some Dachshunds need to adjust their posture and turn out their feet to keep their balance and stabilise themselves.

But while it is common, it shouldn’t be encouraged. Breeders should not purposely breed Dachshunds whose feet turn out noticeably, because this deformity will likely be passed onto the puppies.

Dachshunds have very fragile backs and their posture is very important to keeping their backs safe! If they have turned-out feet, they don’t have the right posture.

Another thing to note is that, while some puppies are born with turned-out feet, it can be a sign of injury or illness if your Dachshund suddenly starts turning out his feet.

If you notice a change in the way your Dachshund is standing, pop him to the vet for a check up to be sure all is OK.

How Do You Stop A Dachshund’s Feet Turning Out?

There are definitely things you can do to help prevent your Dachshund’s feet from turning out, or to stop them getting worse if your Dachshund already suffers with turned-out feet:

Don’t over-exercise your Dachshund

If you have your Dachshund from when he’s a puppy, one of the most important things to remember is not to over-exercise him.

During the first few months of your Dachshund’s life, his bones will still be developing. Over-exercising can introduce trauma and potentially cause development issues.

The general rule is to walk your Dachshund puppy for 5 minutes for every month he’s been alive.

  • 5 minutes exercise at 1 month
  • 10 minutes exercise at 2 months
  • 15 minutes exercise at 3 months
  • 20 minutes exercise at 4 months
  • 25 minutes exercise at 5 months
  • 30 minutes exercise at 6 months

Your Dachshund will be fully grown at around 12 months and all his bones will have developed as much as they need to. So after that first year, you can walk him as much as you like!

Stop your Dachshund jumping

Another thing you can do is make sure your Dachshund doesn’t jump around too much.

Stop your Dachshund from jumping up and down from furniture, and don’t let him go up and down the stairs.

As well as potentially injuring his fragile back, jumping can cause trauma to his legs.

Make sure your Dachshund is getting all the nutrients he needs

Your Dachshund needs a balanced diet that gives him all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy.

If you’re not sure what to feed your Dachshund, read this article or ask your vet for advice.  

Keep your Dachshund at a healthy weight

As well as making sure your Dachshund eats the right foods, you must keep him at a healthy weight.

Dachshunds have such short legs and fragile backs that they really can’t afford to be carrying around extra weight.

Being overweight could lead to serious back problems, as well as issues like turned-out feet.

Find out what weight your Dachshund should be and be strict around what he eats.

It might seem like a nice thing to give him lots of treats, but it’s not good for his body or health.

If you do notice your Dachshund putting on weight, you can gradually reduce his food portions and up his exercise a bit. 

Don’t make any drastic changes without popping your Dachshund to the vet for a health check first. It’s always good to speak to them for advice before making any sudden changes to your Dachshund’s food and exercise routine.

Trim your Dachshund’s nails regularly

Get into the habit of regularly checking your Dachshund’s nails and giving them a trim to stop them pressing into the nailbeds. 

So, there you have it! Dachshunds feet can turn out for various reasons caused by genetics, illness, injury or a lifestyle factor. So don’t over-exercise your Dachshund, keep his nails short, don’t let him jump up and down from furniture, keep him at a healthy weight and feed him the best quality food you can afford. If you notice any changes to your Dachshund’s posture, it’s always best to visit your vet for advice.

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Why do my Dachshund's feet turn out
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