Miniature long-haired dachshund
AT A GLANCE: The miniature long-haired dachshund
- Energetic, ambitious, and clever
- Usually 5 to 7 inches tall
- Generally less than 11 pounds
- Long torso with short legs
- Sleek, slightly wavy hair
- Comes in a variety of patterns and colors
- Typical lifespan of 12 to 16 years
Physical characteristics of the miniature long-haired dachshund
Miniature long-haired dachshunds, a smaller version of the standard dachshund, have the characteristic dachshund body, with a long torso and tail and short legs. Miniature long-haired dachshunds typically have a small, dainty head with a fairly long muzzle and medium-length ears that hang alongside the head. Dachshunds come in three coat varieties—short, wire-haired, and long-haired. The long-haired dachshund has sleek, slightly wavy hair that is longer on the ears, stomach, backs of the legs, and tail.
Dachshunds also come in a variety of coat colors and patterns, including:
- Wild boar
- Blue (gray)
- Dappled (merle) - a dark base color with lighter-colored contrasting areas, with neither color predominating
- Piebald - a base color with clearly defined white patches
- Sable - a red base coat with double-pigmented overlay hairs with dark tips that form a widow’s peak on the head
Personality and temperament of the miniature long-haired dachshund
Originally bred for hunting badgers—the name dachshund translates to “badger dog”—dachshunds are tireless, clever, and alert. Their energetic, ambitious nature requires daily exercise to prevent boredom and the development of destructive habits, such as chewing and digging. Miniature long-haired dachshunds love to play fetch and can benefit from mentally stimulating toys, such as food puzzles. They also typically enjoy human companionship, and at the end of a long day, will happily curl up in your lap to nap.
The brave determination that makes dachshunds successful hunters can also lead to stubbornness and aggression. Miniature long-haired dachshunds can be “nippy,” and may snap at people who invade their space or seem threatening. Children must be taught to respect this breed’s space (as with all pets) and to approach them cautiously. Miniature long-haired dachshunds are also notoriously difficult to housebreak, often requiring months of intensive training before they can be trusted to consistently eliminate outside. They are alert guard dogs, and will bark to let you know if someone has ventured into your yard, or is walking by.
Common health concerns for the miniature long-haired dachshundMiniature long-haired dachshunds have an average life span of 12 to 16 years. Recognizing the following common health problems will help your dachshund live a long, healthy life:
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
Their long torsos and short legs put dachshunds at risk of disc herniation with resulting spinal cord compression. Signs can range from mild or severe pain to complete paralysis, and treatment must be pursued immediately in severe cases for the best chance of recovery. IVDD is often noted after sudden movement, such as jumping from furniture, and allowing access to elevated surfaces with ramps or stairs can help to slightly manage this devastating disease that affects up to 25% of dachshunds.
Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s disease
Increased cortisol production by the adrenal glands may cause hair loss, an enlarged abdomen, and thin skin. Hyperadrenocorticism treatment includes medication to reduce cortisol production.
Decreased thyroid hormone production causes slow metabolism, weight gain, hair loss, and other problems. Treatment involves life-long medication that supplements the thyroid hormone.
Deficient insulin production by the pancreas interferes with the body’s ability to transfer glucose from the bloodstream into cells, where it is needed for energy production. Diabetes causes weakness, weight loss, increased water intake, and increased urination. Diagnosis is made by a high blood and urine glucose measurement, and treatment often includes lifelong daily insulin injections.
The patella, or kneecap, can move out of position if the groove where it normally rests is too shallow. Patellar luxation causes periodic lameness, particularly during activity, when the dog may hold up the affected leg. Treatment involves surgical correction to form a deeper groove for the patella.
Epilepsy causes seizures. Severe seizures can cause permanent neurologic damage or even death, so prompt evaluation and treatment is critical. Treatment typically includes lifelong daily medication to control seizure activity.
Dogs with longer ears are at increased risk of chronic ear infections because of the warm, moist environment created by covered ear canals. Infections can cause itchy or painful ears that often contain a dark brown or yellow discharge and an unpleasant odor. A veterinarian can diagnose ear infections and prescribe medication.
Miniature long-haired dachshunds who are bred from two dapple-patterned (i.e., “double-dapple”) parents may be deaf. Breeding two dapple dogs is not recommended, because of the mutations the dapple gene carries.
Double-dapple dachshunds may also be born with eye problems, such as abnormally small eyes (i.e., micro-ophthalmia) or blindness.
Other health concerns may include:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Dry eye
- Bleeding disorders
- Urinary stones
- Avascular necrosis of the femoral head
- Skin disease
Caring for the miniature long-haired dachshund
The miniature long-haired dachshund’s hair coat requires frequent brushing to prevent mats, as well as professional grooming for maintenance.
Miniature long-haired dachshunds need daily exercise to prevent boredom. They enjoy brisk walks, games of fetch, and mental stimulation to keep their inquisitive minds busy.
The miniature long-haired dachshund is the perfect dog for you if:
- You are willing to devote a significant amount of time to housebreaking a new puppy
- You like to walk daily
- You are single and want an affectionate companion
- You want a small dog who will provide constant entertainment
- You don’t have small children
- You want a companion to curl up with on the couch
- You don’t mind frequent barking when people or other animals wander by