The dachshund is a breed of dog that originated in Germany during the early 1600s. Its name means "badger dog," and it was bred as a fearless, elongated dog that was able to unearth badger burrows and emerge victorious in a fight with the creatures.
The dachshund has a long, low, muscular body with short legs. Its head is elongated, the skull is slightly convex and arched and it has protruding eyebrows. It has almond-shaped eyes that are either red or black-brown, and its ears are long and hang down on its cheeks.
The dachshund comes in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. The standard dachshund is 8-11 inches tall and weighs more than 11 pounds, while the miniature is 5-7 inches tall and weighs up to 11 pounds. The toy dachshund is up to 12 inches tall and weighs 8 pounds.
Dachshunds have coats that are smooth, wire-haired or long-haired. The coats come in a wide variety of patterns, including solid, bicolor, tricolor, piebald and brindle, and colors include black, red, tan, cream and gray and various combinations thereof. Depending on the coat type, regular grooming is sometimes necessary.
The dachshund is prone to several health problems, including spinal disc problems, issues with the urinary tract, diabetes and heart disease. It is prone to putting on weight, and this can put pressure on the back.
Dachshunds were recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1885 in the hound group. An eager hunter, the dachshund is also one of the most popular breeds. It is a lovable, affectionate, lively, proud and brave dog and makes a playful companion, but requires firm discipline. It needs moderate exercise, but should not jump, as that can cause back problems. It can adapt to most types of homes, including apartments and homes with children. The dachshund normally lives 12-15 years.