This is a long-backed, short-legged dog of diminutive height. While small, the Wire Haired Dachshund breed is still muscular and powerfully built with a deep, broad chest and well-developed forelegs. He has a short, harsh coat with bushy eyebrows and a beard. The coat comes in a range of colours (see the breed standard for full details). The adult Dachshund weighs 9-12kg and measures around 35cm.
Dachshunds can be traced back to 15th century Germany. However, Dachshund-type dogs have appeared in ancient Egyptian and Mexican art and remains of a similar dog were found with shipwreck remnants in Italy, dating back to the 1st century AD. The German breed standard was set in 1879 and the breed club established in 1888. Dachshunds were exported to Great Britain with Prince Albert and became popular in Britain and America throughout the 19th century. Standard Dachshunds were used to hunt badgers primarily but have been used with other game.
The Wire Haired Dachshund can be very independent and needs kind, consistent, patient training. Early socialisation is required in order to acclimate Dachshunds to children, strangers and other animals. They are a breed that becomes quite attached to their family and usually one family member in particular, but they can be reserved with strangers.
The most common health problem seen in the Wire Haired Dachshund is related to their body shape, making them prone to spinal disorders. Heart disease is also relatively common in the breed. As with many other breeds, various inherited eye disorders can be seen, and breeding dogs should be routinely eye tested.
This dog needs a minimum of half an hour's daily exercise. Before letting him off-lead, do ensure his recall is reliable, as his hunting instincts can drive him to run off in pursuit of a scent or quarry. Bear in mind that Dachshunds were bred to 'go to ground' and can dig under many types of fencing, so check your garden's security.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Wire Haired Dachshunds need their coats plucked two to three times a year. The facial furnishing should be combed out at least once a week and will need the occasional trimming. It is best to let an experienced groomer pluck the coat unless the breeder can teach a new owner how to do it. Make sure the coat is plucked/stripped and not clipped. Clipping will ruin the texture of the coat.