What Is a Piebald Dachshund?

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

With their short, stubby legs and extra-long bodies, dachshunds are sometimes referred to as wiener dogs or sausage dogs. The dogs come in a variety of colors besides the common reddish-brown. Brindles, merles, black-and-tans and dappled are just a few of the pattern variations you might see in the show ring. The piebald -- a primarily white dachshund with symmetrical dark markings -- is less desirable in the show ring but has all the qualities that make a dog of this breed a desirable pet.

How to Tell a Piebald

The piebald gene is recessive, meaning you could find a piebald puppy in a litter produced by two nonpiebald parents. A piebald's markings are always perfectly mirrored from one side of its body to another. If a white dachshund has spotting over one eye, one or more blue eyes or random markings on its body, it is a double dapple, which is a variation of the merle pattern.

Potential Health Problems

The piebald pattern of dachshund carries an increased risk of deafness. The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund cites the piebald pattern as one of the patterns predisposed to potential deafness. Nonpigmented skin in the inner ear produces white hair that often dies off in the first few weeks of life, leaving the dog deaf. There's no way to tell what color the inner ear pigment is. You won't be able to know if your dog is deaf until he's 6 weeks old. A vibrating collar can help you get the attention of your deaf dog. Whether he can hear you or not, he can still make a beloved family pet.