When any dog owner is thinking about welcoming another fur baby into their lives, the question of breed, age, and sex comes up. Dachshunds are a very popular breed of dog that have solidified their position in the dog world as excellent companion dogs. Are they dog breeds with a myriad of health problems, or can we expect dachshund owners to spend a decade and a half or more with their dog? We’ll answer these questions today and the biggest question of how long do dachshunds live.
We Think You’ll Like: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Dachshund
How Long is the Dachshund Lifespan
Dachshunds are undebatably adorable, with their elongated bodies and stout legs. As any dog owner would want, it’s everyone’s hope that their dachshund can stay with them as their best friends for as long as possible, so how long is the average lifespan of a dachshund? The answer is around 13 years. Some would say it’s a little lower, but there are plenty of dachshunds that defy that statistic and hang around for 15 years or more.
We know many dog owners that have dachshunds and it seems to be more commonplace for a dachshund to exceed expectations. More and more dog lovers are reporting that their particular dogs live up to 16 -18 years! We’re pretty sure that this long life expectancy is due to the care and nurture provided despite the dog’s genes. Of course, genetics play a big part in how long dachshunds live, but the care the dogs receive is just as important.
We Think You’ll Like: Caring for a Dachshund Puppy
The Dachshund: A History
Whether you already have a dachshund fur baby or are looking to rescue or adopt one, it will pay off to know more about the breed’s history. Understanding where the dogs come from, what they were originally bred to do will explain a lot of their behavioral tendencies, address health problems they may face, and get a clearer picture of how to help them live longer.
As the name suggests, the dachshund originated in Germany. Dachshunds are quite an old breed and they made their mark on earth over 600 years ago. You may notice your dachshund to be an avid digger, and that’s because the breed was bred to dig its way into badger dens. Dachshunds spend a great deal of time low to the ground, which also explains their short stature.
If you have ever gone head-to-head with a badger, then you will be able to attest to the fact that they are fierce foes with sharp claws and teeth. Against an enemy that can potentially do a lot of damage, the dachshund needs to be equally formidable or even more so. This is why your dog may be extra stubborn, determined, clever and strong because the breed needed to be in the past.
You may also wonder why dachshunds are extra vocal, and that’s because hunters needed to rely on their barks to locate their position and the badger hole. There are various coat types on these wiener dogs, and that’s because some of them were bred to prevail in colder climates. Whichever coat type you decide to go with, just know that your dog is a very admirable companion in his or her strength and stamina.
Standard dachshunds were utilized for their strength, and these were the type to go head-to-head with badgers and other larger game. The miniature dachshund was developed to burrow in smaller spaces and hunt smaller prey. The various coat types and colors can be found on both types of dachshunds, and your choice should depend on your climate and location. But with doggy clothes and accessories to keep our dogs warm, the choice of the coat has become more of a personal preference.
Dachshund Health Concerns
Caring for your dachshund the right way can help increase its life expectancy. The first step is to understand what potential health issues plague the breed. We researched statistics to determine the highest causes of death in dachshunds, and they are as follows
- Age – 21.6%
- Various cancers – 16.7%
- Heart disease – 14.3%
- Neurological issues – 11%
- An unfortunate combo of health issues – 5.7%
- Kidney and bladder issues – 4.9%
- Endocrine problems – 4.1%
- Cerebral – 3.3%
- Gastrointestinal problems – 3.3%
- Operation side effects – 2.4%
As you can see, the most common cause of death in sausage dogs is old age. This is a very welcoming statistic because age is a battle we all lose but it’s also the most natural way to go. Just because a dachshund passes away due to old age, it doesn’t mean it is exempt from any diseases or illnesses. Another key point to remember is just because gastrointestinal problems are low on the list, it doesn’t mean it’s something you don’t need to protect against.
What’s an excellent way to determine what your wiener dogs are more prone to suffer from? Take a trip to the vet! With some bloodwork, your trusted veterinarian should be able to isolate potential health issues and work with you to create the best routine possible for your dogs. The bloods will also serve as a baseline reference for all future health problems.
Also, it’s worth it to mention for all dog owners to keep the above list in perspective. These are the causes of death, but not just potential health issues your dog can suffer from. The list and percentages will change if we are just looking at health problems irrespective of death. For example, IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a very common occurrence for elongated dogs and it affects corgis as well.
Although cancer is second on the list, the percentage is quite low compared to other dog breeds. Cancer is unfortunately quite a lethal adversary for dogs, and dachshund owners can have some peace of mind knowing that it doesn’t affect as many dachshunds. However, keep in mind that although the chances are low, there is still a chance.
Heart problems such as congestive heart failure and other heart diseases are also dangerous and quite severe if they do exists for your doxie. Kidney failure and even hip dysplasia are other health conditions that are high on the list.
These issues plague miniature dachshunds and standard dachshunds alike, so you must prepare for the possibility of these illnesses and conditions developing in your dachshund puppy.
Does Gender Matter?
In short, gender does matter a little. For example, perioperative issues are more likely to affect female dachshunds after spaying because the procedure is much more invasive and the healing process lengthier. Much like with humans, females tend to live a bit longer. This is just a general statistic seen in many animals without a specific reason as to why. Fixed female dachshunds are also more likely to live longer than ones that are not.
Conversely, neutered males live a little shorter lives than makes who are still intact. Again, this is just a general statistic and one that pertains to all dog breeds and not just the wiener dog. Before you consider not fixing your dog, there are also plenty of benefits that come with spaying and neutering. There is a reason why the procedure is recommended for all dogs even if you intend to breed them.
For example, male dachshunds that are fixed have a much lower risk of developing testicular cancer. In the end, whether or not you subject your dog to the surgery is entirely your call, but make sure you weigh out the pros and cons and consult your vet to reach the best conclusion.
Although a dachshund’s lifespan is arguably affected by gender, the difference is negligible at only around a few months long. Of course, this also depends on genetics and natural predisposition of the sausage dog as well.
Do Mini or Standard Dachshunds Live Longer Lives?
We talked about the influence sex can have over death in dachshunds, but what about the breed type? As we said, there are two types of wiener dog – mini and standard. Let’s look at whether or not the size can also impact how long do dachshunds live.
The answer is similar to dog breeds in general. Larger dogs tend to have a shorter life expectancy and smaller dog breeds tend to live longer. Due to this, the miniature dachshund will live longer than the standard dachshund most of the time. Interestingly, even the coat type can indicate the potential life expectancy of your dachshund.
The standard smooth coat dachshund is said to be more prone to IVDD while the wire-haired standard doxie is the least susceptible. The health history of the breed contributes to our generalization. But since genes and DNA are such a mystery, it’s hard to determine whether it’s the coat type alone that causes IVDD risk, but we believe that it isn’t entirely responsible.
What about the mixed breeds? Some dachshunds are the result of miniature dachshunds crossed with standard dachshunds, but others are mixed with entirely new breeds. In general, mixed breed dogs are healthier and stronger, but it also depends on what your dachshund is crossed with. If you cross your doxie with a small and healthy breed then it’s very likely that the pairing will work the dog’s favor and increase the life expectancy.
On the other hand, if your dog is crossed with a breed that is prone to heart disease and other health problems, then your dachshund may get the short end of the stick and be dealt with poor health.
How to Ensure a Dachshund’s Health
Unless you are the Creator, higher being, or God (whichever you believe in), there is little you can do to determine your dachshund’s health. However, there are things you can do to influence it. Breeding dogs with good health and good temperament is what breeders do. They must do it ethically, but for the most part, breeding desirable traits are something many breeders advertise.
They may pick the healthiest and most well-behaved dogs from various litters to continue the bloodline. This artificial selection will not only increase a dachshund’s lifespan and help them live a long and healthier life, but it will also yield potentially smarter dogs that are much more well-behaved.
If you are looking into getting a dachshund puppy, we would encourage you to look into its health history, lineage and the parents to get a clear idea. This may be more difficult to do if you are choosing to rescue your dog, but a quick trip to the vet should help you get a snapshot of your dog’s health.
How to Increase a Dachshund’s Lifespan
Regardless of the hand you and your dog are dealt, there are some things you can do to make sure your pet is as healthy as nature allows.
Pick the Right Breeder
Our first piece of advice ties into the above section. Picking the right breeder is paramount to ensuring your dachshund has his best foot forward to start on a happy and fruitful life. How do you find an ethical breeder? One that’s registered with a kennel club is usually trustworthy, but also doing your due diligence and checking the breeder’s online presence and reviews will give you a more concrete idea.
The breeder should have tested their parent dogs and carried out relevant examinations such as cardiac and ophthalmology exams to ensure the dachshunds they choose are suitable for breeding. Because they should have this information, you can easily request it to take a look at the parents.
A reputable breeder should be able to provide you with all the information you request and need to be sure of your dachshund’s health. The breeder should also be able to address all your concerns about health problems and behavioral issues.
Watch His Diet
You also need to be aware of what you’re feeding your dachshund. The dog food you choose will have a very significant impact on the dog breed. You don’t have to invest in the most expensive
Then ingredients list must have named sources of protein as the first few ingredients, but the more the better. Brands such as Orijen have clearly labeled food sources all the way down the list, which is why it is so highly recommended by experts and dog owners alike. Food is where you should not compromise the quality for the price if you want your dachshund lifespan to exceed the norm.
As we said, it’s okay if you cannot afford the best of the best and dedicate hundreds of dollars a month to fresh food, but making sure the food has adequate nutrition should be enough. It doesn’t matter if you opt for wet food, dry food, raw, or a combination diet, avoid artificial ingredients, additives, and fillers at all costs.
Count the Calories
Counting calories can be unhealthy if it’s purely for aesthetic reasons, but for dachshunds, it’s a necessary approach to maintaining their health. The dachshund life expectancy will be reduced if he is overweight. Obesity isn’t one of the direct causes of death, but it can trigger other health issues that can lead to a decreased lifespan. An overweight dog is more likely to have heart diseases, diabetes and cancer all rolled into one.
Overweight dachshunds are also much more susceptible to structural issues such as IVDD. We can attest this to the dachshunds’ longer bodies and shorter legs. The excess weight around the abdomen will weigh your dog down, resulting in a strained spine around the lower back. Your dog’s stomach should never be dragging on the ground.
Of course, the ideal weight of dachshunds varies depending on size. A quick trip to the vet should determine your dog’s goal weight more accurately. In general, a mini dachshund should be around 10 pounds and under while a standard one can be around 15 to 30 pounds.
Focus on Exercise
Exercise is a necessary aspect of an extended life expectancy for almost all living beings. Of course, your dachshund is no exception. A dachshund requires daily exercise to not only help keep him at his goal weight, but also to improve his overall body condition.
For dogs that have a unique shape, you may be surprised by just how fast and active a dachshund can be. They may have an endless source of energy, but you must be careful not to over-exhaust your pup. Pushing them to the brink much too often can create joint problems. As a general rule, you shouldn’t exercise your puppy too vigorously until they are fully grown.
In the case of dachshunds, it takes around 10 months to 1 year for them to fully mature. During this time, adequate exercise is around 30 min. This time excludes outdoor potty breaks. To be safe, don’t tack on more than 5 min of exercise to your dog’s routine each month. During adulthood, a wiener dog can sustain 30 min to an hour of exercise a day.
Know when to stop or forgo the walk if your dog doesn’t seem up for it. Sometimes your pup may feel like being a couch potato and feel extra lazy on cloudy days. This is perfectly okay, especially if your dog goes out every chance he gets. Your bond with your puppy or full-grown dachshund consists of understanding and getting to know each other. Learn to read your dog’s cues and cut the walk short if he wants to go home.
Socialize your Puppy
Does socialization affect your dog’s health? Yes, it does! It may not have a direct impact on whether or not your dog gets cancer, but it can do wonders to help your dog develop a positive mindset and good temperament. We want to raise a pet that isn’t fearful, is curious, happy, active and healthy. Socialization at an early age can promote most of these above points.
How does socialization work? It’s not just about interacting with other creatures that inhabit this earth such as other dogs, birds, other pets, and humans of all ages. It’s also about exploring the world around him. Letting him hear different sounds, experience different weather conditions, taking car rides, etc., are all very useful in successful socialization.
Just as a side note, exercise and socialization need to be supplemented with mental stimulation for optimal development. What can you do to stimulate your dog mentally? Teaching your dachshund tricks and presenting him with puzzles and dog toys that require them to figure something out are excellent ways to exercise his mind.
Regular Vet Checks
To always have your finger on the pulse of your dog’s health condition, we recommend regular vet checks. Don’t only make appointments when there is a problem. An annual check is mandatory, especially since you should give your dog a booster shot once a year. Just to make sure you are always on the case, maybe book an appointment semi-annually even if your dachshund is the epitome of a healthy dog.
If tests, medication and special food and supplements are required, try not to procrastinate. Purchase what is needed for your dog to treat the problem before it gets worse. Keep on top of the treatments and make sure you keep your dog up to date with necessary shots and prevention measures.
Oral Hygiene Maintenance
Many owners forget about dental maintenance. Plaque and tartar are very common and can be avoided with proper chew toys, diet, and regular teeth brushing. Bad breath is also an ailment that plagues many dog breeds. Aside from keeping his teeth clean, you can look into dental treats that can help the problem.
Hard chew toys such as deer antlers can help scrub off the surface tartar buildup for fresher breath and cleaner teeth. Of course, nothing beats regular brushing on your part.
As a dog owner, you need to keep on top of training and address any behavioral problems your dog may have. Why does this correlate with your dog’s health condition? A dog that acts up is often scolded, which is not beneficial to your dog’s psyche and mental state. If you have a naturally more fearful and anxious dog, you want to train that behavior out of him as soon as possible.
A dog who lives in fear or is overly aggressive and deals with negative emotions has a shorter lifespan. If the issue is serious enough, you may need to enlist the help of professional canine behavioral experts and trainers. It can be expensive, but to ensure your dachshund becomes a well-rounded dog, you have to make the investment if it’s necessary.
Related: How to Train a Dachshund
Assessing Your Circumstances
Consider your circumstances before you commit to a dog. This section applies to any breed and not just dachshunds. Heartworm is an issue that is more prevalent in Asia, but not as common in some cities in North America. Rabies is present in some countries but not in others. While it’s tough to not adopt a pet just because of your location especially since there are preventative measures you can take to avoid it, it is still something to consider.
Other than diseases and illnesses that are more common in certain areas, you should also think about the climate. If you live in an exceedingly cold region and do not take proper steps to keep your dachshund warm, then these dogs might not have a very long life expectancy.
You should also consider your own circumstances. If you have a pair of aggressive Rottweilers or Pitbulls at home, then maybe adopting a new dachshund puppy isn’t the safest move. If you live in a small apartment and can’t afford proper care, then bringing home a pet also isn’t a recommended decision. Also, those who work long hours and cannot dedicate adequate time to their dachshund will also be doing their dogs a disservice.
Your circumstances have a direct correlation to your dachshund’s life expectancy.
Supplements and prevention are also vital to extending your dachshund’s life expectancy. Look into supplements that are excellent for joint protection and vet-recommended vitamins and minerals that can help maintain your dog’s immune system and issues he may suffer from.
Preventative measures include flea and tick treatments rabies shots (which are mandatory in many areas) and more. Your vet will have more knowledge of what risks your dog is in danger of depending on his genetics and your location.
Love, Love and More Love
Lastly, don’t forget to give your dachshund plenty of love! Showing your dachshunds how much you love them and giving them enough attention, positive reinforcement and affection will have the same serotonin and endorphin-releasing effects as it would have on humans. A happy and loved dachshund will definitely have a longer life expectancy compared to one that’s ignored.
You can spoil your dachshunds with treats, toys, playdates, cuddles and so much more!
We Think You’ll Like: How to Pick Up a Dachshund
Frequently Asked Questions
What do dachshunds usually die from?
Fortunately for dachshund owners, dachshunds usually die from old age. That’s not to say their lives are free of health issues, because that’s not the case. Prominent diseases that may rear their ugly heads and cut your dachshund lifespan short are cancer, heart disease, kidney failure and liver issues. Through bloodwork, your vet should be able to determine what issues are more likely to affect your dachshund’s life expectancy.
What is the oldest living dachshund?
The oldest dachshund recorded and verified goes by the name of Chanel, and managed to reach 21 years! Chanel was a doxie mix, but Rocky, a dachshund from Shingle Springs, CA claims to have lived to almost 26 years old. That is an outlier, but we’re sure there will be plenty of opportunities for well-cared-for dachshunds to make the list of oldest dogs.
Are boy or girl dachshunds better?
Whether you get a boy or girl dachshund, it’s purely based on personal preference. However, we will mention that female dachshunds tend to live a bit longer, especially if they have been spayed. In the end, the difference isn’t staggering and it’s only about a few months. Males are usually more outgoing and the females more reserved, but this is just a generalization.
Are dachshunds smart?
Dachshunds are very clever. The reason goes back to the breed history. As the dachshund is bred as a working/hunting dog, they possess a certain level of dog IQ to be able to successfully chase down the game. This helpful trait has been passed on to the dachshund breed of today. Some may debate whether a clever dachshund is desired because smart dogs tend to get into more mischief as they can outsmart even you at times!
Can dachshunds be left alone all day?
No, it is not recommended to leave your dachshund home alone all day. In fact, all dog breeds need their owners. This is why we stressed the importance of assessing your situation to determine if you are in the best position to adopt a dog. Dachshunds are loving and need to be around their owners, so we don’t recommend leaving them alone for more than a few hours at a time.
A good solution is to send them to doggy daycare if you will be absent for most of the day or hire a dog walker.
Despite some health conditions, a dachshund can live to a ripe old age! The dachshund lifespan is generally around 10-15 years of age, but many owners are reporting longer and longer life expectancies. If you want your dog to stay around for as long as possible, then we recommend taking good care of him. Genetics plays a big part in how long a dachshund lives, but nurture is equally as important.
Did You Know?
Although they are called wiener dogs, the dog breed came before the hot dog. So keep that in mind, it’s the Weiner that was named after the dog and not the other way around!
There are dachshund races in some cities, but we don’t recommend that as it is too hard on your dog’s joints.