The dachshund, or badger dog, breed originated in Germany and includes a miniature version weighing less than 12 pounds. This little dog sports a range of coat styles and colors under American Kennel Club standards. The dachshund's small size and lovable, playful temperament makes it family-friendly. As with all small dogs, the miniature dachshund can easily be injured because of its diminutive stature. Consider a second dog carefully before adopting so that the dogs can coexist peacefully and safely.
The AKC's Dog Groups
The AKC categorizes dogs in seven groups that loosely describe the function of the group: toy, hound, working, terrier, non-sporting, herding and sporting. The miniature dachshund belongs to the hound group. Within the seven groups are several breeds that make good companions for miniature dachshunds.
If you want convenience, choose a small dog that has needs and habits, such as exercise and grooming, similar to your miniature dachshund. You may instead want contrast between your dogs. In this case, be sure you choose a big dog that is gentle with small animals.
Breeds in the toy group that make good companions for a miniature dachshund include the chihuahua, Italian greyhound, Manchester terrier, miniature pinscher, pug and toy fox terrier. Each of these has a short coat that demands little grooming. While all require daily exercise, they are happy with short walks and play sessions and adapt well to apartment living. The AKC warns, however, that most toy breeds are not recommended for families with children.
If you like dachshunds, you may be partial to hounds. However, most hound breeds are bred to use their keen sense of smell to track prey and indulge in this tendency at any opportunity. If you must have another hound, consider another dachshund or a beagle or basset. The basset hound has a sweet nature that makes it a good family pet. While it needs daily walks, its coat is short and requires minimal grooming. The beagle also needs daily activity, but its playful, friendly nature makes this breed a good choice also.
Dog breeds in the sporting group generally require exercise and training to expend their considerable energy. Most are hunting dogs, bred to locate or retrieve their quarry, such as ducks, otters, deer and quail. However, a few breeds in this group adapt well to family life, as long as they get regular exercise, and need little grooming. These include the American water, boykin and field spaniels, viszla and weimaraner.
Most of the breeds in the working group are bred for multiple jobs, such as herding and guarding livestock. They tend to be large dogs with thick coats to protect them from the elements. The exceptions are those bred to be watchdogs or vermin hunters: the boxer and Doberman and German pinschers. These breeds orient toward people instead of livestock, making them good family pets. They also are medium-sized, being among the smallest of the working breeds, and short-coated.
The terrier group also is designed for a job, mostly vermin control. Their overriding characteristic is hunting for rats or other small pests, so they are prone to digging and are very tenacious. The AKC recommends not to get the largest of these breeds if you have other small pets. Most need exercise sufficient to expend their abundant energy as well as regular grooming, including stripping, trimming and bathing. However, the Australian terrier, smooth fox terrier and wire fox terrier are small, require little grooming and make good family pets.
The non-sporting group is composed of diverse breeds that basically do not fit into the other groups. Most are small, and many have coats that need extensive grooming. Exceptions include the Boston terrier, bulldog and French bulldog, all of which make good family pets, do not require a lot of exercise and get along well with other dogs.
Bred to herd sheep and other livestock, herding dogs require a lot of energy. This characteristic makes a herding dog a poor choice for a house pet. In addition, most of the breeds in this group have long, thick coats, which means they need regular grooming. The collie is an exception to both rules. Its coat only needs weekly brushing, and it is as happy in the house as in the field. The Pembroke Welsh corgi also needs little grooming and adapts well to indoor life but may try to herd its people, according to the AKC.
If you decide against a purebred, consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter or a rescue group. If you familiarize yourself with the different breeds of dogs, you will have an idea of what breeds comprise a mixed breed, sometimes called a mutt.
If you do want a purebred dog but do not want to buy one, which can be very expensive, look for groups that rescue the breed you want. These groups take dogs whose owners no longer can care for them and usually are very meticulous about placing them in a good home at a fraction of the cost you would pay a breeder for a purebred puppy.