We love you anyway: breed character traits and your dachshund
Sharing sausage stories
One of the great things about sausage dog group walks, like our local Sausage Walk London which usually meets in Greenwich Park, is the opportunity to talk to other dachshund owners, and share the love we all have for this unique short-legged breed. Comparing temperament and behaviour is one thing that gets talked about, usually with a ‘what can you do?’ shrug. Other owners have told us that long haired dachshunds are the most laid-back of the breed. But as we’ve only ever had smooth haired dachshunds this all remained anecdotal.
The dachshund temperament survey
In 2012 the Dachshund Breed Council quantified differences in dachshund temperament after it carried out a survey of owners of pet dachshunds, show dogs, and working dachshunds. A number of behavioural traits were analysed for the breed as a whole and for each of the three recognised types of dachshund (Smooth, Long, Wire) and their mini counterparts. This was a UK study by a UK organisation, and it should be recognised that there are differences in dachshund breed standards globally.
What were the marked differences that the Breed Council found in the standard and mini smooth population in the UK, compared to the overall dachshund population? Standard smooths suffer more from separation anxiety, and are more destructive. They are more fearful of humans, with one in four liable to show aggression towards people. They are also less outgoing with other dogs. The Breed Council found that just under half of standard smooths were reported to show aggression to other dogs on occasion. Mini smooths are somewhat different. They are less likely to bark excessively but are more likely to pee in a submissive manner, and are more difficult to house train.
What to do?
Like all the best relationships, we love our standard smooth Sunny despite the fact that he’s a loud barker, not especially friendly to other dogs or humans at first meeting, and can bark for Britain if he’s ignored. When we first brought him home (he was a semi-rescue dog) and wanted him to sleep alone we had months of sleepless nights. All these character traits give him just that, a real character. We’ve learned to manage him better on the street when he lunges at other dogs for no obvious reason. And, luckily for all of us, he comes to our office so he isn’t left alone for long periods. He’s brave, and fierce, and loyal. We like to remind ourselves that dachshunds were bred to be fearless, go underground down narrow dark tunnels, face up to larger badgers and drag them out to the surface. He’s a hound, and his breed has been trained by humans over time to respond efficiently to smells and sounds with alacrity. He is who he is and we appreciate him for all the components of his temperament. Recognising our limited skills in this area, and with grateful thanks to Dogs Trust training videos, our philosophy is to manage him not try to change him.
Dachshund Breed Council UK & Dachshund Health UK
If you haven’t come across the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK, and their health website Dachshund Health UK, then we recommend both these sites as sources of expert and responsible information for both prospective and existing dachshund owners.
The DBC carries out an annual health survey of dachshund owners. The group lobbies for improvements to breed health and conservation, and works hard to raise awareness about puppy farming and illegal importing of dachshunds. They work with registered breeders, vets, breed judges, and dachshund owners. Check out their most recent 2018 dachshund health report here.
What is your dachshund like?