- AKC recognized in 1885
- Lifespan: 12-16 years
- Size: small
- Energy: medium
- Recommended Crate Size: 24” dog crate*
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Table of Contents
The Miniature Dachshund has a history as interesting as the breed itself. The Mini is a direct descendant of the traditional Dachshund who hails from Germany in the 16th century.
The breed is known for being stout and solid (like many Germans) and short and long.
While Dachshunds were bred to hunt burrow-dwelling animals such as foxes and badgers.
Miniature Dachshunds were purposed to take on the smaller burrowing critters like European hare. The sizing down process came quite by accident, however.
It was during the 19th century when Dachshund runts used to be rounded up by hunters who wanted to hunt smaller animals. These “runts” were just the smaller, often weaker, offspring of the liter. Then it dawned on the hunters to intentionally breed smaller, miniature versions in order to fulfill their hunting purposes.
Initially, Dachshunds were crossed with small breed dogs like Pinschers and Toy Terriers. The process turned out to be quite a time consuming and didn’t yield the desired results intended.
For the most part, the characteristics that were coveted for hunting (like the keen sense of smell and other superb skills) were found to be lacking. The cross-breeding efforts were completely and deliberately abandoned in 1910.
But the hunters were not about to give up on the quest to create a pint-size Dachshund breed. So, selective breeding began. The fruit of the labor is the Miniature Dachshund who is now recognized as a breed all his own.
The Miniature's look is hard to forget. The long, low, and short body stay balanced and solid.
Even though they look very cute and cuddly, the fact is they are clever, energetic, and also very curious.
If they do not get enough exercise, they will get bored and start to do their own activities, which may include chewing things.
The Miniature may be very loyal to owners but they take time to get close to other people.
As they have a natural hunting lineage, Miniatures loves outdoor playing. Outdoor play will include digging a few holes, barking, and chasing small critters.
It is this barking that has many calling them excellent guard dogs.
As much as they love outdoor play, the Miniature can also adapt well to apartment living like other popular city dogs.
The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Miniature Dachshund in 1885.
These medium energy dogs have affectionate nicknames such sausage dogs, wiener dog, hot dog, Dashie, and Doxie.
The name Dachshund comes from German words “dach” which means badger and “hund” which mean dog.
This breed was widely used for hunting in the 17th century.
Over the years, the dog breed was developed into various sizes which were: Small for fox hunting and Standard, which was used for boar hunting.
In the United States, the Dachshund breed is available in three various sizes which are Miniature, Toy, and Standard.
The small size of the Miniature shows that it has good balance and has a solid frame.
According to its breed standard, it weighs around 11 to 16 pounds. This smaller size Dachshund is also called Tweenies.
They have a muscular body, short legs, and an elongated head.
Lots of people consider this dog cute because of its compact size and bold looking eyes. These cute attributes were built for practical and specific reasons.
They are able to dig and maneuver around corners and tunnels, even fighting other animals where necessary.
It is recommended to provide feed formulated to small-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.
Miniature Dachshund has a short and shiny coat. They come in a single color of black, cream, or red. Even though they have a short coat, the Miniature's grooming needs require weekly brushing.
In addition, they also require regular cleaning for ears, teeth, and nail trimming.
This dog breed has a medium level of energy giving it a moderate amount of stamina.
They should be taken for regular walks and will benefit from play with other dogs outdoors.
They can also do well in smaller spaces such as apartments or houses with little to no yard, as long as it gets moderate exercise every day.
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Pet Crates Direct recommends 24” dog crates* for most adult Miniature Dachshunds.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
The Mini was bred to take hunting to the next level, underground and in small, tight burrows.
The Mini and the Standard Dachshund are the only registered dogs that are certified to be both above and below ground hunters.
With the nature of a smaller animal hunt in mind, there were many factors to consider and goals to attain.
The Mini needed to be fast...and he is. These peppy pooches are known to be very quick when they want to be, especially since they generally weigh in at only eleven pounds or less. They are so fast, in fact, racing them is a popular sport but the Dachshund Club of America is strictly against racing them.
The ears are another area that is conducive for hunting skills. The long, floppy ears are typical of the hound dog that he is. Remarkably, the long ears not only help him hear better when listening for prey or...for whatever, they also help his sense of smell. His ears are lower set on his head than most dogs’ ears are. Thus, they hang lower and appear even longer than they actually are.
When tracking a scent on a trail, his ears serve as dust-brooms, so to speak. They stir up any invisible particles that are on the scent train and sent them directly to his already keen nose.
The short, strong legs of the Mini allows him to dig into burrows, holes and other prime spots a critter he is after might be in.
His paws are even shaped like paddles in order to help him dig.
This feature is not a positive one when he is a household pet and is digging out the backyard fence so...beware.
Their legs are muscular and so are their big barreling chests which are bred to enable them to take in the necessary oxygen needed for a long and vigorous hunt.
Their long, slim build allows them to go into burrows and holes if the situation or need arises.
Their sleek hair helps them to slide right through snares like bushes and to slip into, through and out of burrows as well.
The Mini's tail is even part of the hunt.
It is long and sturdy, extending out straight from the spinal area so the hunter can if need be, pull the dog out from the narrow tunnel he often enters in hunting his prey.
Another potentially obnoxious trait that is useful when hunting is the Mini's deep bark. If he gets focused on barking it out, that is exactly what he will do if not stopped.
This is helpful when he is trying to overpower a small animal and for the intended purpose of the owner being able to locate his dog, but when neighbors are complaining...not so much.
The Mini and their predecessors alike have a determination and drive along with brute strength.
They are also quite intelligent, tracking their prey and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out how to get to the critter. After all, how else could they track and quite often, catch, their critters they are so diligently hunting after?
It’s a bit humorous to see the inbred hunting traits in a Mini. Even when playing with a ball or toy, he will often snare it and eventually “kill” it.
These dogs were bred to hunt but to kill their prey as well. They are rough on flower gardens too, digging the flowers up like badgers.
Small in Stature, Overflowing with Might
What the Miniature lack in size, they make up for in other ways.
The breed, like the traditional Dachshunds, is known to be a bit naughty in nature. The antics of the vertically challenged canines can be manifest in various areas.
A rural veterinary tech of over ten years once commented, “In all my time at the vet, I was never scared of any of the animals, especially the dogs. Except...there was a pack of Miniature puppies who would board with us, a pack of five, in fact. We called them the fierce-some fivesome. I was terrified of them. On several occasions, they bit my ankles and drew blood. With their owner, however, they were as gentle as kittens.”
Miniatures - like their predecessors, Dachshunds were bred to hunt.
An energetic breed, they possess the skills needed in order to hunt like being fierce, curious and unrelenting.
If given the chance, one might wait for days for a burrowing animal to resurface.
This “unrelenting” part is what throws many owners. The true definition might be better described as “stubborn”.
They are definitely smart enough to learn the ropes, follow the rules and even to meet the challenge of performing some tricks. But...will they? That is always the question at hand.
Mini's have a mind of their own and they are not afraid to use it. Patience is required for the owners of these “teeny wienies”.
From the Hunting Ground to the Household
In the early 1900’s, Dachshunds became recognized for how perfectly it fit into a household as a companion pet.
It was deemed at that time that, the smaller the better. That was when the Mini came into play, dropping 10 pounds from the larger Standard breed.
This was considered the domestic dawning of the Mini while there was a process of breeding the Mini to perfection for hunting as well.
Queen Victoria loved Dachshunds, especially the evolving Mini version. She was quoted as saying, “Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a Dachshund.” She is a huge part of the Mini reaching the popularity that it did and still enjoys today.
Up until the actual evolution of the Mini, Dachshunds were classified as to how large or small of a hole they could crawl into. But that was changing as the direction of Dachshunds was giving way to them being household pets and the Mini becoming a breed all its own.
Not only was the Mini beloved in Great Britain but in America too. That is until the raging of World War 1 and later, World War 2 as well.
Being German associated dogs, the breed decreased in popularity greatly. It wasn’t until 1940 that both the Mini and the Standard resurfaced as one of the nation’s leading dog breed.
It has remained in the top ten in Great Britain and in America ever since.
Even the American fans of Dachshunds and Mini did a little public relations control during the wartimes.
The name “Dachshund” translates from the German language from the word “Dachs” which means “badger” and the word that means “dog” which is “hund”.
To disassociate from the German background of the dogs, Americans began to translate their name into English, calling them “Badger Dogs”. Through the course of time, the German association was not a big deal any longer and they were once again called “Dachshunds”.
The very first Dachshund was American Kennel Club registered in 1885. That dog was named “Dash” and was a handsome tan and black character who belonged to a doctor.
The Mini followed suit and is now recognized by most every nation in the world. They are wildly popular in many countries including Switzerland, France, India, Holland, Denmark, and Australia.
The mini weenie has been beloved by many famous personalities throughout the years. Edgar Kaufmann and his wife, Liliane, bred and raised them as show dogs in 1935. In honor of the dogs, the book “Moxie, The Dachshund of Fallingwater” was written by Cara Armstrong.
Joan Crawford, Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor all had Dachshunds. Andy Warhol had one too. Among those rich and famous people who have chosen the breed for their pet, many have preferred the Mini version.
Since the 1950’s, the Dachshund and the Mini have been among the most popular breeds for house pets and companions and with very good reason.
A Mini can be a little timid and shy at times but generally speaking, they are also very loving and docile but sometimes they have the clear-cut potential to be quite adventurous and even domineering as well.
When one is in the company of an owner who is single, he may become a little too attached, showing signs of jealousy when other humans or animals come near his owner.
They do thrive on attention. All in all, they are loveable, wonderful pets that make great hunters as well.
The Mini is definitely trainable. That is a requirement any hunting dog must possess and Mini and regular Dachshunds both are some of the best hunters on the planet.
Much of the training that is imperative, though, is the training of the trainer. Positive dog training is always in order.
A trainer would never want to use physical punishment to teach a dog, especially a Miniature. Besides being cruel, the method simply would not work on a breed such as these. But, caution must also be used not to depend too heavily on strokes such as treats.
It is important that the trainer gain the pup’s respect. That way, if there is an emergency situation, the command of the trainer is heeded, even if he doesn’t have a treat in his hand.
Training a Mini requires more patience and consistency than most. Although he is quite intelligent, loyal and even loving, he is bull-headed as well.
It is imperative that the trainer establish the fact that he is the trainer and the leader, not the sausage-shaped powerhouse.
Once this is done, in a loving way, the stage is set. The pint-sized pooch will be one of the most trainable dogs ever.
It all boils down to breaking the will without breaking the spirit.
Miniature vs. Standard
While Mini and Standard Dachshunds look much the same with their short, squatty, long build and their floppy ears, they have many differences as well.
It is important for a potential owner to know both the similarities and the differences in order to choose the one that is the right fit.
When it comes to grooming, both dogs can be a little demanding.
There are three types of hair when it comes to Dachshunds and Minis: smooth-coat, long-haired and wirehaired dachshunds. The longhaired dachshunds, of course, requires the most attention. The wire-haired breed must have his hair stripped three times a year for a good, healthy coat.
All three types of hair demand upkeep such as shampooing and brushing. Both have a special layer of hair fat which helps keep it insulated, protecting against the heat and the cold.
While bathing removes the hair fat and makes the coat types fluffier and softer, it also strips their protection from the elements. For this reason, bathing should take place regularly but not too often.
Both breeds have the signature long, floppy, adorable ears. A Dachshund or Miniature Dachshund dog with an ear infection is far from adorable though. Both breeds are prone to ear afflictions.
Owners must pay attention not to get water in their ears when bathing them and should also have their ears checked regularly for any signs of infection or irritation. Regular trips to the vet are in order to keep their ears in good health too. A vet can check deep inside the ear canal to make sure that all is well.
Nail care is a vital upkeep for Minis. Once or twice a month they need a good trim or their nails will begin to make an obnoxious clicking on the floor. If the dog is especially nervous about the nail clipping procedure, he can be temporarily sedated during this time if the assistance of a vet is sought.
Teeth are another area that needs to be attended to regularly. Daily brushing is optimal in order to remove bacteria and tarter too. At least a good brushing two to three times a week is recommended.
Running with the Big Dogs
For those who already have a large dog or more than one large dog, or for those who expect for their new dog to be around larger dogs, the Standard is the way to go. Although the Mini doesn’t see size as a problem, it could be one.
The fact that neither the Mini nor the Standard is likely to back down when aggressively confronted leaves the responsibility up to the owner who must keep the dog out of risk, especially the tiniest ones. Even a Mini full grown is too tiny to tangle with the big dogs.
Many believe that training the Mini version is easier than the Standard variety. More really depends upon the personality of each, however. Some are more stubborn than others in either breed.
There is always the option of obedience school or to employ the assistance of a professional trainer if either does not take well to training.
Something worth mentioning is that Minis are very clever and intelligent creatures. When something clicks with them, they have “got it”. In addition, if something hits home and makes sense to them, it becomes second nature.
Like, if you teach your dog to shake each time you come through the door, he will pick up that it’s a greeting. It makes sense. He will most likely stick out his paw and remind you of the drill.
It is a good idea to have a ritual when it comes to training your Mini. That will be something that makes sense to him even if it just means it is something that is always done. He doesn’t really care about knowing why.
The fact that it is constantly done and consistent will be good enough for him. Don’t forget though or he’ll be sure to remind you.
Both breeds do a fine job of adapting. Perhaps the ability to do so goes back to the hunting qualities and characteristics instilled in them throughout the years but they are able to thrive in many environments.
It is usually not a good idea to have a Mini as a totally outdoors dog though. He can certainly adapt to going outside but staying out and enduring the elements is not something that would be wise.
Both the Mini and the Standard are medium energy dogs that require exercise lest they get bored and ornery.
They benefit both from free play in a yard or in an open area but also benefit from leashed walks where they not only get exercised but schooled in obedience as well.
The Mini requires a little less length and frequency of exercise because he is smaller. Two half-mile walks per day are said to be perfect for both the Mini and the Standard.
Both dogs can comfortably squeeze into a small living arrangement, like an efficiency apartment.
Of course, the Mini is smaller and requires less room to live and to romp. Either will require walking though, as cramped living quarters often take their toll even on the smallest of dogs and bad behavior is likely to become an issue.
Even when indoors, you will want to engage in physical play with him to keep his busy mind and bounding energy leveled off.
The Miniature's lifespan is around 12-16 years. The Standard’s life expectancy is about the same or perhaps a year or two longer.
When adopted, both have the capacity to walk right into the heart of each and every family member in the house. As far as being around young children though, the Mini has to take the cake.
Being so small, it can actually grow up with the kids. It must be taken into consideration, however, that rambunctious children could harm such a small creature though.
In general, older children are good with this breed, while younger kids require some supervision.
Children should be taught to leave the ears alone. Both the Mini and Standard have a sensitivity where ears are concerned.
The both are apt to get along well with other dogs (as long as they are not in danger with an oversized, aggressively turned one) and possibly even with a cat.
Both have the strong potential to wind up being the pack leader when in a multi-dog situation, no matter what size the others are.
There are smaller Dachshunds, even smaller than the Mini. Under 3 pounds is considered to be a “Toy” breed and even smaller is a “Teacup”.
None under the size of the Mini is recognized by the AKC or the UKC, or under any of the other reputable registries, however. That doesn’t mean they can’t be good pets though. They simply cannot be shown or recognized by the organizations.
Keeping Your Mini in Check
Teaching your Mini some social manners will go a long way. It is a good idea to get him out and to have him be around other humans and other dogs as well. Otherwise, he is apt to turn into a tiny terror and that is a frightening fact.
One thing that is to be watched and nipped in the bud is chasing. Since even Minis are hunters by nature, they have a tendency to go after moving objects, especially small critters but even bikes, cars, kids, larger dogs and cats.
Chewing is another natural instinct the Mini possesses. Of course, he was used to chewing on his prey. Now, he has evolved into a house pet and he chews on other things like chew toys and sometimes, a shoe or the sofa.
It will be important and helpful to leave a number of chewable items out for him, especially when he is left alone because Minis often have a good bit of separation anxiety. Chew deterrent spray is an option to help curb his chewing if need be.
Some Minis are aggressive by nature. This usually results from being a bit intimidated and making up for it in other areas like constant barking or “going after” larger dogs. Neither should be tolerated.
There are a number of methods that can be used in order to train him not to bark or at least not to bark constantly.
You can employ the use of a clicker and use treats along with it or even just give the simple command “no” when he barks and reward him with treats or affection and praise afterward.
Speaking of treat and food, Minis love food. They can easily become downright addicted to it and maybe food aggressive. They may also gain weight which is of concern due to their long backs and tendency to have spinal issues. Minis should have a well-rounded and controlled diet with snacks and treats being limited.
Walks are great for Minis but only if he doesn’t get to lead and if he remains on a leash, guided by his human. He will naturally want to chase, dig, stall and go about his own stubborn way. But, if he is trained to do otherwise, all will be well and he’ll be a better, happier dog for it.
By the age of six months, a Mini should be going for a couple of 30-minute walks per day. The time can be increased to 45 minutes twice per day and then, when adulthood is reached, he can go for as long as his owner can hold up.
It’s a funny fact that Minis love to sleep under the covers and like to also bury themselves under pillows, clothes or even under the dirt if they are outdoors.
The reason is that they are burrowing animals due to hunting burrowing animals. They naturally gravitate to holes and tight, covered places.
Studies have shown that one in five Minis have at least attempted to bite a human. This is usually a stranger who enters the home and the dog is unsure of it and frightened.
One in twelve has snapped at their owner, not necessarily biting him but showing aggression all the same. An underlying reason for this is that they bite by nature, when after a small animal. But they can certainly be trained not to do so.
By building respect and establishing your position as the leader, such incidences will be few or nill.
Health and the Mini
First and foremost, it is important to make sure a Miniature Dachshund puppy is in good health when choosing him.
There should be papers and tests to prove his health is in proper condition because there are a good many people who raise the popular breed simply for the money it brings in. This type of breed can bring plenty of health problems.
Those who are in it just for the bucks are more likely to sell Mini puppies who are not well but try to pass them off as if they were.
One health problem that plagues the small breed is back issues. It is vital to keep their weight under control lest too much pressure be placed upon their long spines.
It is also a must to be cautious of the breed jumping up onto high places and jumping down from them as well. Such jumping is not good for their backs or their hind legs and joints.
It’s a good idea to support their backs so they don’t slip or rupture a disk in the back which can easily lead to partial or even full paralysis.
It is important also to keep small children and other animals from “riding” on their backs or applying too much pressure on them.
As mentioned before, Mini Dachshund’s ears are prone to issues like infections, sores, etc. It is important to keep them clean and to have them regularly checked.
When they are irritated, the dog will most likely paw on them and wince. Be careful children and other dogs don’t pull on them.
Another important subject to address is potty training a Mini. Since his bladder (and all other organs) are quite tiny, he will need to go out more often than most breeds.
Many owners have expressed that their Mini was very difficult to train for both peeing and pooping outside.
No doubt this stems from the pup’s small organs and also his big stubborn streak. It is vital to be consistent.
With patience and persistence, he can be trained and doing his business outside in no time flat.
Mini Dachshunds...the Long and the Short of It
The Mini is bred to perfection for hunting small burrowing animals. It also does some burrowing of its own...right into the hearts of many who love and adore the teeny wienies.