Dachshunds : the little bravehearts
Bold, confident, intelligent, energetic and charismatic…a Dachshund has all the qualities you would like in your canine friend and the bonus point is that all this is bundled into a small-sized dog who can easily live with you in your apartment.
As a young boy, I loved bigger breeds like Dobermans and Rottweilers and was successful in breeding good Rottweilers. My passion for Dachshunds started accidentally and will remain one until my last breath. It so happened that a photographer friend of mine who was immensely fond of Dachshunds called me up in the middle of the night, requesting me to house his Dachshund puppy for the night. That time, I had a beautiful male Rottweiler called Bobby, a massive dog with a sound temperament. I was apprehensive about Bobby’s reaction but my friend insisted and left his puppy with me. In the morning, as soon as my maid opened the door to get the milk, the puppy darted out. Bobby was unleashed and the whole house was in commotion. I ran out only to find Bobby standing in front of the puppy with his hair on his back fully raised. I was alarmed but surprisingly the puppy looked cool. I kept calling Bobby’s name and slowly swooped the puppy into my arms. In about two day’s time, the puppy was playing with Bobby and they became the best of pals. Such is the charisma of Dachshunds! This first experience with the Dachshund was so intriguing that I started importing Dachshunds from all over the world. I soon realised that one was not enough for me, and today I have 18 of them and they run my life.
Do not go with the size of these dogs as undoubtedly Dachshunds are big dogs in small packages.
Small ‘n’ elegant
The Dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. The breed’s name is German and literally means “badger dog.” The standard size was developed to scent, chase, and hunt badgers and other hole-dwelling animals, while the miniature was to hunt rabbits. Due to the long, narrow build, they are sometimes referred in the United States and elsewhere as a wiener dog, hot dog, or sausage dog.
Perhaps the most striking characteristic of the Dachshund is his deep and soulful eyes. These eyes rightly fit into his expressive face, which you can gaze for hours on end.
The Dachshund can have three varieties of coat – smooth, wirehaired and longhaired – and these dogs can be standard-sized or miniature dogs.
They have a wide range of colouration, the dominant colours and patterns being red, black & tan and the not so common chocolate and tan.
Sweet ‘n’ playful disposition
If you are fun-loving, then you will love the company of Dachshunds as they are playful and fun dogs, known for their propensity to chase small animals, birds and tennis balls with great determination and ferocity.
They are extremely energetic and good with children. The smooth coated Dachshund may be a little wary at first but would settle down very quickly. Among the three varieties, the long-haired Dachshunds are temperamentally the best. They would lick your face wet in no time!
You will love his fearsome and forgiving nature. They have a big heart, full of love and devoid of fear. These brave little dogs sometimes even go to the extent of challenging a larger dog or even a cow, unmindful of their size. To put it in two words, Dachshunds are blessed with a character called “Personality Plus.”
However, many Dachshunds are strong-headed or stubborn, making them a challenge to train.
Rearing a Dachshund kid
Before bringing a Dachshund pup home, ensure that he has a good parentage and his primary vaccinations have been taken care of. Ask your breeder for his vaccination card and the diet chart.
Grooming : Start his grooming sessions early. Brush him daily and apply “Notix” powder once in three days. Check for ticks on the body and between the toes, inside the ears, etc, diligently everyday. However, it is not recommended to bathe the puppy until he is 3 months old. If the puppy gets dirty, wipe him with wet cloth and allow him to dry naturally. To clean the discharge from his eyes, use wet cotton only.
Socialisation : Socialise your puppy at a very early age. All the family members should handle the puppy. Put your hands inside the mouth as this would help in giving a tablet when the puppy grows to an adult. This way you would be able to pullout anything from his mouth at a later stage.
Training : Everybody likes a well-behaved and trained dog and earlier the training starts, the better it is. You can easily train your puppy to obey basic commands like Sit, Stay, Come, Down, etc. However, if your puppy disobeys, do not hit or shout at him, simply roll a newspaper and gently tap it on his back saying ‘No’ firmly.
Vaccination : To keep your puppy healthy, de-worm him once in 45 days, if fed on a non-vegetarian diet, otherwise once in three months will be sufficient. Consult your vet and follow the vaccination schedule every year. Vaccination against rabies, distemper and parvovirus is a must and yearly boosters should be administered. Here’s a word of caution – ‘Do not take the puppy out of your compound until DHLP Booster is given.’
Sharing life with a Dachshund
Dachshunds are known for their devotion and loyalty towards their owners. They are extremely energetic, full of beans, ready to please and good with children. If you have a garden, they will be busy chasing all the squirrels and catching the rats. An ideal companion dog, they can comfortably live in the apartment, provided they get their regular dose of exercise. No wonder then that they are the most popular pets in the United States, ranking 6th in the most recent AKC registration statistics.
Dachshunds tend to put on weight and hence they must be regularly exercised. A minimum 1 km walk is advisable to keep them fit and fine. As most of the Dachshunds are extremely fond of the tennis ball, you can exercise him by throwing the ball around for a good 15-20 minutes.
Styling up your Dachshund
Smooth-coated Dachshunds require very little grooming. A regular brush down with a hound glove made of chamois leather will remove all dead hair and aid blood circulation. However, the Dachshunds with long-hair and the wired coats require elaborate grooming sessions. Though smooth coated Dachshunds shed very little hair, the long coated ones shed a lot of hair.
Watch out for health problems
This breed is known to have spinal problems, especially intervertebral disk disease (IDD), due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage. The risk of injury can be worsened by obesity, which places greater strain on the vertebrae. In order to prevent injury, it is recommended that Dachshunds be discouraged from jumping and taking stairs.
I would like to conclude with the famous saying, “To err is human, to forgive canine” and those who are not blessed with the love of a canine, has been missing the wonderful bond of love and care.
(R.Padmachandran is a well-known breeder of Dobermans, Beagles, Rottweilers, Basset Hounds and Dachshunds in Chennai and is a life member of Kennel Club of India. A Chemical Engineer by profession, he also runs a consultancy business. His kennel Padpranpark Kennels is committed to breed quality dogs, free from genetic disorders. Together with his cousin, Dr. Suresh Bhimsingh, he has designed the portalwww.dogsindia.com. For more info, call him at 9840043296 or visit www.padpranpark.com)
– by R. Padmachandran