Wire Haired Dachshund
The origins of the Dachshund can be traced back to working dogs that could go to ground after game such as badgers. Today, the breed, which is characterised as "long, low and level", is popular both as a show dog and pet.
Dachshunds are still used by some people for working; typically tracking fallen deer, and these are often called Teckels. They tend to be slighter in body and longer in the leg than "show" Dachshunds, but are highly regarded for their working ability and "good noses".
Coat & Colours
Wire-haired dachshunds are the "rugged workmen", with harsh body hair, beards and eyebrows. Depending on the texture of the coat, which can range from "pin-wire" to "hairy", they may need to be hand-stripped (never clipped) two or three times a year. The most common colours are Brindle and Red. Chocolate and Dapple also occur. Note that Brindle in Wires means the individual hairs are striped, giving an overall grizzle/grey appearance, as opposed to the tiger-stripe appearance found in Long-haired Brindles.
What are they like to live with?
All Dachshunds are great characters, but Wires are especially extrovert and can be great fools. They do have very strong characters and need to know who the boss is, otherwise they can definitely rule the house. They do not need to be smacked in order to get them to behave; tone of voice is all that is needed.
Do they have good temperaments?
Yes in general. They are more extrovert than the other varieties of Dachshund and full of character. They can become very devoted to one person in the family - whoever they spend the most time with. Basically they are fun-loving dogs who want to be involved in everything their owners do. Some strains are sharper than others. Be guided by the temperaments of the parents of any puppies you look at with a view to purchasing.
Are they good with children?
Yes, provided they are brought up with them from puppyhood. As with all breeds of dog, you should never leave one alone with any child. Provided you supervise your children with the puppy, your Wire Dachshund will become a great friend to your children and will enjoy joining in all their games. They make excellent family dogs, being sturdy and robust in stature and are more suitable for life with children than the smaller miniature dachshunds.
Should I get a dog or a bitch?
There is little difference in size and temperament between dogs and bitches in this breed. Bitches have the disadvantage of coming in season twice yearly and dachsies are notorious for suffering from "false pregnancies" when they come into milk and exhibit behavioural mood swings due to fluctuating hormones. Of course, having your bitch spayed will put an end to this, but spayed bitches can become fat and lethargic, and spaying changes the coat texture, making the coat much more "woolly" and softer. Dogs make equally good companions and tend to be less "mercenary" than bitches, who, once adult tend to be more food orientated. Dogs tend to be more fun-loving and want to play games and join in, whereas bitches can prefer a quieter life, just sitting on the chair all day. Unless you particularly want to breed puppies, a dog makes a better companion than a bitch.
Are they easy to house-train?
If you put the time in when the puppy is very young, then yes. You must be prepared to keep letting your new puppy out to relieve himself every 15 minutes or so, while he is awake and playing. As they puppy grows, extend the time interval. The secret is never to let him puddle or mess in the house so that he learns the right habits and does not make mistakes. They can become "confused" and end up playing outside in the garden, and relieving themselves indoors and once your dachsie gets into this cycle, bad habits can be extremely hard to break. As with all hound breeds, they can never be classed as 100% house-trained. However, with consistency and reward for good behaviour your new pup should be well on the way to being clean in the house by about 4 months of age. Even as adults, make sure to let your dachsie out to relieve himself at regular intervals, to avoid any chance of him making a mistake. Watch out when you take your dachsie visiting to friends' houses. They can be keen to "mark their new territory" - and this applies to both dogs and bitches!!
Are they destructive?
Yes, they can be, especially when young and certainly if they are left alone for long periods of time. Dachsies can suffer from "separation anxiety", which basically means they dislike being apart from their owners and will take their frustrations out on the furniture, carpets etc. Provided you are only going to be out for a couple of hours, putting your dachsie in a dog-crate can be the best answer. Make sure he is exercised before you shut him away and give him a cosy blanket to lie on and some interesting toys to play with. They are not suitable pets for people who are out at work for long hours, although they can cope with part-time hours. As the dog gets older he should become less destructive.
How much exercise do they need?
About an hour's walking each day once they are adult. They are an active breed and need regular exercise if they are not to become bored, noisy and destructive in the house. However, avoid the temptation simply to turn the dog out in the garden. They need proper exercise on and off the lead. Teach your new puppy to walk sensibly on the lead and get him used to traffic. Teach him to come back off the lead while he is still small. However, don't over exercise young dachsies. About 20 minutes a day is plenty for a pup of 4 - 6 months old. By the time they reach maturity at about 1 year old increase the time spent walking to about an hour each day.
Do they come back, if let off the lead?
It depends!!! If you let them off the lead when they are young puppies (after they have completed their injections), you can usually teach them to come back by use of encouraging commands and titbits as bribes. However, some dogs have a very strong hunting instinct and may never be safe to let off.
The secret is to start young and make it fun for them to come back.
My Wire is very well behaved and obedient. Is it safe to let him off the lead when we are out for road walks?
Wires have absolutely no road sense. However well trained your Wire may be, it is simply not worth the risk (and potential heartbreak) to let him walk near a road, off the lead.
Does my garden need to be "dog-proof"?
Yes. Wires (and all Dachshunds) can be great escape artists; they love digging. Your garden needs to be completely dog-proof, with a good fence all round. Make sure any gates are clearly marked so that visitors shut them properly. Your Dachshund will "be off", given the slightest opportunity and they have no road-sense whatsoever.
Do they bark much?
In general, they are a noisy breed, but some "lines" are more noisy than others. They can become persistent barkers so you do have to work hard with them as puppies to ensure they know when to be quiet.
Do they moult?
No - because they have wire coats which require "stripping" (or clipping if it is a soft coat), they do not shed hair like normal dogs. They also do not smell "doggy" either.
How often will I have to strip the coat?
It depends on how good a coat your Wire has.
A "pin-wire" coat may never need to be stripped; merely tidied up from time to time (especially if you are showing him).
The "average" coat will probably need to be stripped 2 to 3 times a year.
If you are unlucky enough to have a really "soft and fluffy" coat, you may need to strip it more frequently!
How much grooming do they need?
Apart from stripping the coat 2 - 3 times a year, your pet wire will need a thorough brush and comb each week. This is a good chance to check all round health. Make sure his ears are clean, eyes free of discharges and feet free of mud-balls between the pads. It is as well to get your dachsie used to having his teeth brushed with a toothbrush and "doggy" toothpaste as this avoids health problems with tartar accumulation and associated gum disease. Regular grooming and general handling will make your wire easy to cope with if he has to visit the vet for any reason.
What if I want to breed from my bitch?
You have to be sure that you have enough enquiries for good homes, as this is quite a specialist breed and can be difficult to sell if you don't have "contacts" in the breed. On average only 250 Wire dachshunds are registered each year (UK), and enquiries for new homes tend to be from people who have already had one of the breed and are looking for a replacement for an old dog who has died. They can have quite large litters of 6 - 8 puppies and if new owners are not forthcoming you could be faced with keeping this number of extremely active (and hungry) pups beyond the age of 8 weeks until suitable homes become available. Have you the time and the space for such a commitment?
Perhaps it would be better to get another puppy from a specialist breeder if you want a companion for your pet.
Are they healthy as a breed?
Generally, Wires are very healthy dogs and given a good, balanced diet, plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, should be no more prone to ill-health than any other dog.
Are there any particular health problems to look out for?
As with all Dachshunds, back injuries can occur more easily than with more "normal" shaped dogs. Simple precautions like not allowing them to climb stairs and supporting their backs when you pick them up really are important.
Some Wires can be prone to itchy skin or grass allergies. Here, the only real solution is to keep them off the grass (usually early in Spring). Always seek the advice of your vet if you are worried.
There are no particular inherited diseases that are currently causing concern in the Breed.
PLEASE NOTE: Always consult your Vet for the latest advice on potential health problems in the Breed, prior to buying a puppy (or older dog).
Should I have two?
Dachshunds love the company of other Dachshunds, but you need to think carefully about getting two...
Two dog puppies, growing up together, will almost certainly fight when they are older in order to decide who will be top dog. You may need to get one, or both, neutered to help avoid this. Generally, we don't recommend people should have two dog puppies.
Two bitch puppies probably won't fight and are likely to grow up welltogether.
Be careful if introducing a new puppy to an older dachshund. Both older dogs and bitches can be a bit snappy at first, but should learn to get on well enough. Introducing a dog puppy to an older dog may result in fights for dominance as the younger dog reaches maturity. Great care will be needed in this case. Introducing a puppy of either sex to an existing bitch is less likely to lead to dominance fights. The guide is... be careful and ensure they are well supervised while they get to know each other.
Don't forget... two dogs = twice the noise and potential destruction!!!