Buying a Dachshund

Always contact one of our Breed Club Secretaries for advice on who to buy a puppy from.

Make sure you do your research beforehand if you plan to buy a Dachshund from a website advert  or from Free Ad newspapers. Read this about internet advertsMost puppy buyers use the internet to look for puppies. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you realise that bad breeders are not sticking to the Exchange and Mart or ads in the Newsagent’s window anymore. They know where their buyers are and they know how to pull them in. It’s up to you as a buyer to do your research, but it can be very confusing because bad breeders will claim all the same things that good ones do.

Would you be the perfect Dachshund buyer? – Dachshund temperaments – How to recognise a responsible breeder – Questions to ask the breederDon’t buy a puppy online: Dogs Trust advice – Help stop Puppy FarmingInternet adverts – Buyer BewareColour and HealthPet Insurance – KC registered or non-KC? – How long can I leave my dog alone (I’m out at work)?The benefit of pets for kids

pet-professionals-logoCheck out the Pet Professionals’ online course for Dachshund buyers and owners.

An introduction to Dachshunds

The origins of the Dachshund can be traced back to working dogs that could go to ground after animals such as badgers, foxes and rabbits. The breed is described as moderately long and low with a well-muscled body, bold, defiant carriage of head and intelligent expression. Dachshunds are very popular as pets and, in the UK, come in six varieties, two sizes – Standard (20-26 lbs) and Miniature (10-11lbs) – and three coats – Smooth, Long and Wire Haired.  They are loyal companions and generally make good family pets.  Standards are more robust and therefore probably better for families with very young children.  Read the results of our breed surveys at

Download our brief guide for prospective Dachshund owners.

Coats and Colours

Smooth-haired – Dense, short, smooth and shiny requiring little maintenance. Most common colours are Black and Tan, Red, Chocolate/Tan and Dapple.

Long-haired – Soft and straight with feathering on underparts, ears, behind legs and tail where it forms a flag. Coat requires regular grooming. Most common colours are Black and Tan, Red (ranging from Cream to Shaded Red), Chocolate/Tan and Silver Dapple.

Wire-haired – A short, harsh coat with a dense undercoat covers the body. There is a beard on the chin, the eyebrows are bushy, but hair on the ears is almost smooth. A Wire coat typically will need stripping (never clipping) twice a year; they don’t moult.  Most common colours are Brindle and Red. Chocolate/Tan and Dapple also occurs.

Do not be talked into buying a “rare coloured” Dachshund. Generally, anyone telling you a puppy has a rare colour either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are a commercial breeder. The Breed Standard states that, apart from in Dapples which should be evenly marked all over, there should be no white on a Dachshund’s coat, except perhaps a small patch on its chest and even this is undesirable.  Read more about Colour and Health.

Read more about owning a Dachshund.

Health Issues

Dachshunds generally suffer few health problems providing they are kept well exercised and fed a healthy, balanced diet. On average, they live to more than 12 years old.

Because they are a dwarf breed there is an increased risk of back problems (IVDD).  Always ask about any history of back problems when buying a puppy and avoid buying puppies from parents with exaggerated length of body or excessively short legs as these are risk factors for IVDD.  Problems are best avoided by keeping the dog fit and not allowing it to become overweight, or to run up and down stairs which puts extra stress on the back.

Mini Long, Mini Smooth and Mini Wire breeding stock should have been DNA tested for Retinal Degeneration (cord1 mutation P.R.A.) which is an inherited condition causing degenerative disease of the retina, resulting in visual impairment, or blindness.  Mini Wire breeding stock should have been DNA tested for Lafora Disease (a form of epilepsy).

Always consult a Vet if you have any concerns about a puppy you intend to purchase, or health problems with an older dog.

Breed Club Secretaries will also be able to provide up-to-date advice on any current or emerging health concerns in any of the Dachshund breeds. Visit our health website for the latest information and read the results of our Dachs-Life 2012 Health Survey here.

Are you ready for a Dachshund puppy?

Before buying a Dachshund, ask yourself:

  • Can you afford to keep a dog? Food, vet fees and pet insurance could cost you around £25 per week.
  • Can you make a lifelong commitment to a Dachshund? On average, a Dachshund will live to around 12 years old.
  • Is my house/flat suitable for keeping a Dachshund?
  • Do I have the time to exercise a Dachshund every day?  A Dachshund will need about an hour’s exercise every day (not just running around in your garden).
  • Will your Dachshund have company at home for most of the time?  Dachshunds can be noisy and destructive if not kept exercised mentally and physically – they like the company of people and other dogs.

If you have answered “No” to any of these questions, maybe now is not the right time to buy a Dachshund.

Should I get a dog or a bitch?

There is little difference in size or temperament between Dachshund dogs and bitches. Bitches have the disadvantage of coming in season twice yearly and dachsies can suffer 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 probably makes a better companion than a bitch. Dogs can be accused of having antisocial habits, lifting their legs everywhere, and this is more likely occur if a dog has been used at stud.

Dachshund Temperaments

Dachshunds should be bold and outgoing.  The Breed Standard describes them as being “Faithful, versatile and good tempered”.  It also says they should be “Intelligent, lively, courageous to the point of rashness, obedient”.  They can be a bit intimidated by other breeds and larger dogs so it is important  to ensure they are well socialised right from a young age.

As a generalisation, Wires are the most extrovert and active, Standard Longs are the most laid-back, and Standard Smooths are perhaps more “one person” or “one family” dogs.  All the Miniatures make ideal pets for someone who is less active and who wants a small but affectionate companion.

Read the Dachs-Life 2012 Survey report on Dachshund temperament and behaviour or the summary, here.

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.

Finding the right breeder

We strongly recommend that you ask a Breed Club Secretary for recommendations of breeders before visiting puppies, or committing to buy a puppy.  Never buy from a pet shop or “pet supermarket”, however “up-market” they appear to be.  Their puppies will almost certainly have come from puppy farms or “back-yard breeders”, where dogs are bred and reared in poor conditions, purely for profit and with little or no regard for health and welfare.

reputable breeder will, as a minimum, comply with the good practice requirements of the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme and will always be happy to answer any queries you may have at any stage of your dog’s life and will like to hear how your dog is progressing. Reputable breeders will want you to be assured that your puppy has been well reared and is a fit, healthy and typical specimen of the breed. Please remember that a puppy bought as a pet may not be suitable for showing or breeding from.

Breeders who are members of a Dachshund Breed Club will comply with our Code of Ethics which covers matters such as health testing, the age at which a bitch should be bred from and the maximum number of litters a bitch should have.  Breed Club members will be aware of the relevant health tests which are recommended for Dachshunds and should be able to talk knowledgeably about the relevance of these.  If you have any doubts about the health advice you are given, please contact a member of our Health and Welfare Sub-committee.

How to recognise a responsible breeder – Help stop Puppy Farming

Remember, most good breeders do not have to advertise their puppies, so Free Ads (internet or newspaper) are usually not a good place to look for a puppy.

Making contact with a breeder

You must expect to be asked lots of questions by the breeder and of course, you will want to ask lots of your own.  If a breeder does not ask you questions about why you want a Dachshund and how you will raise and care for a puppy, this should ring alarm bells!  Trust your instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, or if their advice sounds implausible, don’t visit and don’t part with any money.

Questions to ask the breeder and questions you should ask

Most breeders will not ask for a deposit on a puppy before they have met you; they will want to spend time with you ensuring you are the right person to have one of their puppies.  If you are asked for a deposit, make sure you understand what the terms are: for example, if you change your mind, is the deposit refundable.  Always ask for a receipt.

Don’t agree to meet the breeder anywhere other than where the puppies were born and are being reared. Never agree to buy a puppy “unseen” or where the breeder agrees to ship it to you by courier.

Make sure you have done your research before visiting the breeder; know what health tests should have been done and what the Breed Council’s current health priorities are, so you can discuss these with the breeder.

Be prepared for the possibility that a breeder will not wish to sell you a puppy once they have met you.  They may simply feel your circumstances are not right for one of their puppies.

Buying Your Puppy

Except in exceptional circumstances you should always be able to see the mother of the puppy. Visit where the puppy was born, regardless of how far you have to travel. Never buy from a pet shop. Get a written receipt for the puppy. Carefully read and understand any conditions imposed by the breeder.

A responsible breeder will let you see all the puppies in the litter, with their mother and you should be able to handle them.  You may not always be able to choose the puppy you want, as the breeder will have probably picked their first choice to keep and other buyers may already have chosen, before you.

If the puppy is KC Registered, Registration papers should be available when you pay for the puppy.  It is the responsibility of the breeder to register the puppies with the KC and they must then give you the certificate for transfer of ownership.  All puppies should be provided with free health insurance to cover the first few weeks with their new owner. The breeder should give you a diet sheet and preferably also a few days’ supply of their current food. Reputable breeders will not be prepared to sell puppies without meeting prospective buyers and will not sell to people who are out at work all day, leaving the dog unattended.

What to look for in a puppy

When you visit the puppies, look for the following:

  • Health – do they look in good condition, well-covered, not under-weight and not pot-bellied?
  • Health – do they have runny eyes or noses? Are they coughing, or do they have diarrhoea?
  • Welfare – are they being kept in hygienic conditions that are obviously cleaned regularly?
  • Behaviour – are they playing with their siblings?
  • Behaviour – do they come up to you for a fuss and to play, or are they nervous and lacking in confidence?

If something doesn’t feel right when you visit, walk away.  Unscrupulous breeders rely on people “falling in love with a puppy” or “feeling sorry” for puppies, and feeling obliged to buy one.  Don’t make this mistake, which could result in expensive vet bills and lots of heartache.  And, it only encourages bad breeders to breed again because they find it so easy to sell poorly bred and poorly reared puppies.

Paperwork to ask for 

You should be given:

  • A Contract of Sale or receipt (The Kennel Club has published an example of a Puppy Sales Contract here).
  • Written advice on feeding, training, socialisation, exercise and worming.
  • Written advice on  vaccination – if any have been given already, or when they are due.
  • A Pedigree Certificate which shows your puppy’s parents’ names and those of their ancestors.
  • Copies of any relevant health testing certificates for the puppy, or its parents

Buying or rescuing an older Dachshund

Breed Rescue: We’re very lucky not to have a significant problem and our Breed Rescue organisation always has a waiting list of people who would like to re-home dogs. The RED Foundation also provides a UK rescue service.

Where to find out more

Contact any of our Dachshund Breed Club Secretaries who will be able to recommend a reputable breeder.  All our Breed Club members have to abide by our Code of Ethics.

Do your research carefully if you are thinking of buying a Dachshund from a website advert or from Free Ad newspapers.

Questions to ask the breeder – How to recognise a responsible breeder – Help stop Puppy Farming
2MB pdf

Dachshund Buyer Beware