The Dachshund is small and easy to carry.

Dachshund: Sausage Dog with a Heart of a Lion


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The Dachshund is sometimes affectionately called a sausage dog in NZ. But don’t be fooled – the tasty snack is named after the dog and not the other way around. The infamous hotdog was first called a Dachshund sausage, but that was too long. So, this cute canine is the inspiration behind a global food phenomenon!

The American journalist H. L. Mencken described the Dachshund as “a half-a-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long“. As it turns out, this hot dog actually comes in three sizes, but more on that below…

Breed history

As you might have guessed from the name, Dachshunds are originally from Germany. Their name directly translates from German to English as ‘badger dog’ because they were bred to hunt den animals, like foxes, badgers, and rabbits. Their short legs kept them close to the scent as they tracked and helped them fit down burrows.

Dachshunds come in three different sizes; standard, miniature, and kaninchen – the latter is often referred to as rabbit (translated from German). The so-called sausage dog also comes in three coat varieties, which gets you to nine varieties!

While we’re on the topic of sausage dogs, also read about the Munchkin short legged sausage cat.

Two Dachshund dogs play on the beach

Fun facts of the sausage dog

Here are some key Dachshund traits:

  • Lifespan. 12-16 years of age
  • Group. Hounds
  • Standard size. Males 37–47 cm / Females 35–45 cm
  • Miniature size. Males 32–37 cm / 30–35 cm
  • Rabbit size. Males 27–32 cm / 25–30 cm 
  • Coat. Smooth, wirehaired, or longhaired
  • Colours. Black and tan, red and tan, red, merle or brindle

Dachshund personality

Dachshunds are known to be loyal to their loved ones and a bit standoffish and even aggressive to strangers (humans and other dogs). These cute canines are therefore not always the first choice for a family dog because they can be prone to biting children, they’re unfamiliar with.

These elongated pups need a good dose of regular company from their special humans. Left alone too long, sausage dogs can suffer from separation anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Children growing up with pets experience lots of mental and physical benefits. So, if you have kids and plan to introduce a Dachshund to your home, read these articles to get better prepped:

A popular saying about these daring pups is ‘heart of a lion, brain of a fox, body of a sausage and bark of a Doberman!’ One particular sausage dog has taken the heart of a lion bit quite literally, and now shares a special friendship with a disabled lion.

Watch these cute Dachshund videos:

How to train a Dachshund puppy tricks

Dachshunds can be stubborn, hard to train and aggressive. You need to commit to a good training plan. Here are some training tips to help you along the way:

And remember that training your Dachshund in NZ, as time-consuming as it may be, is a fabulous way to build trust and strengthen your bond. You might even find yourself looking forward to training each day. For many pup parents in NZ, training is an ongoing part of life with their Dachshund pup, not limited to puppyhood.

Dogs are always eager to learn more and spend time with us.

Sausage dog health expectations

Dachshunds’ long spinal cord and short rib cage can make them prone to having spinal problems. Safeguard their spine with regular exercise and a healthy diet, keeping them fit and preventing obesity (which can lead to diabetes in dogs).

As a Dachshund owner in NZ, set yourself realistic expectations – don’t expect your Dasher to climb lots of stairs or jump off things because they aren’t built for this. If your home has lots of stairs, consider giving your Dasher a ramp to ease their movement.

A black and tan Dachshund sits on a lawn

Dog insurance for your Dasher

The Dachshund is a unique dog breed; little, brave, strong yet also vulnerable. Like all pets, these adorable sausage dogs can benefit greatly from pet insurance. Insurance helps to pay your pet’s medical bills, which means making care-based (not finance-based) decisions around their health is much simpler.

While vet bills, prescription medicine and much more are expected needs you’ll claim on insurance, cover also guards your pet after an accident. Some of the unexpected bills are the biggest, like when a car hits your pet, or they’re wounded in a fight with another animal. Then there’s the danger of eating something toxic, having an intestinal blockage or choking on something (read about dog choking prevention here).

There are so many unforeseen expenses, and you never want to have to choose between your pet’s longevity and your bank balance. Our dog insurance is easy to use and affordable, to give you peace of mind.

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