Miniature dachshunds come in three different coat types – longhair, smooth and wirehair.
Some aspects of their temperaments are noticeably different. For this reason I’ll discuss the aspects common to all three coat types, and then go on to discuss each coat type separately.
1. Common Traits For All Coat Types
Although miniature dachshunds are small, they are very much a ‘real dog’ who loves to go for walks, run at the beach or park and chew on raw bones – no bone is too big! Hiding it away for future joy is a serious task. They will put much thought into the hiding place for their treasure and might well re-hide it should they suspect it has been located. Most love to swim, though some don’t. Some will eat ravenously and some will not, they are individuals. Importantly none of them are fussy eaters. Just make sure to avoid them overeating.
It’s worth noting that dachshunds do not ‘yap’. They also have a decent big dog like ‘WOOF’ and strong jaws. They will bark when people come to your door until such time as they either recognize the person or can see the person is fine accepted by you. For this reason, combined with their bravery, they make excellent watch dogs.
Miniature dachshunds like to interact with their environment. A dachshund kept in an apartment all day long, on their own and with no view of the world might develop neurotic barking. Accordingly I don’t recommend a dachshund for anyone living in an apartment that is away most of the day.
Dachshunds are an ideal breed if you already have a dog in your household. The reason is that the dachshund is a ‘non dominant’ breed. Their personality is such that they have no desire to get into doggy politics for the position of ‘top dog’ in the pecking order, hence any existing family dog is not going to feel threatened or be usurped. Contrast this to the Jack Russell terrier; a feisty courageous little dog that has to be ‘top dog’. A dachshund will happily blend into your family pack – human, feline and canine – without pomp or fuss.
It is this same ‘non dominant’ nature of the dachshund that sees them happy to play with children. Dachshunds don’t fuss about being superior beings and some will play fetch with a child until the child’s had enough. Of course, you should always be present when any dog is playing with children.
Health wise, they have few ailments compared with the long lists to be found with some other purebred breeds. Fortunately, they are not plagued by back problems like their much bigger standard sized cousins were. The back issues of the standard dachshund were due to a genetic defect which reportedly affected as many as 20% of all standard dachshunds at one time. This genetic predisposition was exacerbated by obesity, culminating in dreadful back problems.
The miniature dachshund (to the best of my research) does not have this genetic defect in its lines. Further, they are a light weight dog; maybe 4kg to 10kg in weight range so the added stress of weight is not there.
Two ailments to look out for, however, are the skin disorder Acanthosis nigricans in the smooth haired dachshund only and the blindness disease Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) in the long haired dachshund only.
PRA is completely avoidable by breeders. There is a DNA test that identifies the gene and responsible breeding means no long haired dachshund should ever develop this disease. Responsible breeders have tested their breeding dogs and have a breeding program developed according to this. I have sought first-hand expert advice from a leading canine eye specialist and he confirmed that smooth haired mini dachshunds are not susceptible to PRA; no more than any other breed of dog. And the epidemiology of the disease bears this out. So in short, it is the long haired dachshund good breeders must screen for PRA.
In regard to A. nigricans things are not so clear cut. There is no diagnostic test available (genes not identified?) and the best breeders can do is wait until their bitch is 18 months of age as by this time the primary form of the disease (the most serious form) should have appeared. The skin disorder appears as balding – often in the armpits, on the ears and/or snout. The skin takes on a dark pigmentation and becomes either velvety smooth (on ears and nose) or like tough rhino skin in the armpits. It is not at all itchy and does not bother the young dog. But as a dog ages, it can become irritated and if it gets weepy, bacteria multiply and the dog becomes smelly as a result. Our first dachshund 30 years ago developed this condition late in life (as many old dogs of any breed or cross breed can do) and it was cured by cortisone. But the chronic use of cortisone brought on diabetes… Anyway! Point being the breed is not prone to many afflictions and the two mentioned should be well in hand through responsible breeding. So ask the necessary questions of your breeder!
2. The miniature smooth dachshund
Mini smooths are a loyal, smart and brave little dog. Often they can attach to one person more than another, but this can also be the case for any dog where one person is the primary feeder and spends the most time around the dog (home all day, for example).
They do not seek to dominate (a non dominating breed), so slip in easily within the family pack of felines, children and other dogs.
3. The miniature longhair dachshunds
Miniature longhairs are similarly loyal and brave little dogs, but not as intelligent as their smooth counterpart. Perhaps ‘intelligent is not a fair description, but rather they are more ‘laid back’. They are happy to watch the world go by and snuggle on your lap. They will bark if a stranger approaches however, so they remain a good and brave watch dog, just like their smooth cousins.
From my observation, their gentle disposition seems linked to the gene for the long hair, as this is trait is seen in other long hair dogs, such as the long haired Cocker Spaniel, Red Setter, King Charles Cavaliers and so on. In fact the long hair genetics in the dachshunds originates with the Spaniels, when they were bred with Basset Hounds and other breeds to get the dachshund some hundreds of years ago.
The long haired mini dachshund is more likely to be the best friend of everyone in the household. They are not as inclined to form a one-on-one attachment, but there are no hard and fast rules here.
A long haired dachshund puppy is likely to take a bit longer to develop their full personality. You might find them a bit ‘sleepy’ (but not dumb) however by the time they reach full maturity (which is two years of age for all dogs), the depth of their personality and loving ways will shine through.
If you live on acreage, you must be vigilant for grass seeds if you desire a long haired dog. Grass seeds can soon work their way into the dog’s skin and cause infection and can necessitate surgery if the seed ingresses into the dog’s body.
A bit of massage and combing in the grass seed season is actually beneficial to you both – a great time for relaxation and bonding.
4. The mini wire haired dachshund
I am no expert here at all, they are somewhere in between the long and smooth in temperament. Top little dogs! You have to decide if you like the feel and appearance of their coat.
To summarize, they are family friendly, small bundles of love and loyalty. Just don’t expect them to be lap-dogs.
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