Badger dogs, wiener dogs, sausage pups -- whatever you call them, dachshunds are among the most recognizable of dog breeds. Bred to hunt tough, vicious badgers, these long-backed, short-legged dogs are to this day natural hunters and diggers. You can choose from various coat types and colors when deciding what type of dachshund to bring into your life.
Standard and Miniature
Dachshunds or "doxies" appear in two basic sizes: standard and miniature. The difference is based on weight, not height, according to American Kennel Club regulations. The standard dachshund weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, while the miniature weighs 11 pounds or less. Those weighing between 12 and 15 pounds are either overweight miniatures or underweight standards, depending on their breeding. They aren't eligible for showing unless they meet the weight standards. While keeping a dog at a proper weight is an important part of all canine care, it's especially crucial for doxies. That's because excess pounds strain their already delicate backs.
If you aren't fond of grooming, smooth-coated doxies are your best bet. These short-haired dogs require just a weekly brushing to get rid of dead hair. Long-haired doxies' coats can be somewhat wavy but not curly. The hair on the tail is quite profuse. Long-haired dachshunds need a little more work to keep their coats in good condition than their smooth-coated cousins.
You'll need to comb the coat a couple of times a week to prevent mat formation.
Wirehaired doxies require more coat attention than the smooth or long-haired dogs. These dogs possess double coats -- rough wiry outer coats and fine undercoats. Besides regular brushing, you'll need to strip their coats twice a year. This involves plucking out the dead hairs. Done correctly, it doesn't hurt the dogs. You can have a groomer perform this task. Wirehaired doxies also needs their eyebrows and beards trimmed at least monthly.
Besides the standard red dachshund, the breed comes in a variety of color combinations. These include the black and tan, cream, tan, fawn, black and cream, blue and tan, and chocolate and tan, according to the Dachshund Club of America. Permitted patterns in the breed include dapple, sable and brindle. Dappled doxies have patches of a lighter shade mixed with their primary color. Sables have red hairs with black tips. Brindles consist of a solid color with black striping throughout the coat.
Unrecognized by DCA
The Dachshund Club of America notes that neither the piebald or the double-dapple pattern is recognized in the breed standard for the ideal dachshund. For that reason, both types are discouraged from showing. Double dapples often have extensive white markings. However, because of genetic problems related to the double dappling gene, it's not a recommended coloration. Piebald doxies have large areas of white with a solid color.
By Jane Meggitt
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.