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Dachshund in a field of flowers

The highly intelligent and playful dachshund is considered one of the most beloved dog breeds in the world, but don’t let these tiny wiener dogs with their heart-melting hound dog eyes and adorably short legs fool you; dachshunds pack a big, punchy personality.

1. They were bred to hunt badgers.

Dachshunds were bred to follow their instincts and work boldly and independently as badger hunters, which might explain their stubborn streaks. In fact, their German name literally translates to “badger dog.” The dogs’ short, muscular legs keep them nice and low to the ground to better track scents—and their narrow, sausage-like bodies make it easier to crawl into badger burrows, so don’t be surprised if your dachshund loves to dig!

2. Dachshunds come in multiple sizes, coats and colors.

The American Kennel Club recognizes two different sizes of dachshunds: the popular standard dachshund and the miniature dachshund, as well as three coat varieties: smooth coat dachshunds, wire-haired dachshunds, and long-haired dachshunds. Smooth coat dachshunds are considered the originals; selective breeding led to additional variations. These fierce pooches also come in at least 15 different colors and marking types, though the most common color pair is black and tan.

Black and tan, long-haired dachshund lying on a green couch.

3. The first dog to be successfully cloned in Britain was a dachshund.

Britain’s first cloned dog, named Mini-Winnie, was born in 2014 from skin cells taken from a 12-year-old dachshund named Winnie that belonged to a caterer in London. The skin cells were dropped into donor eggs to make embryos carried by surrogate dogs. This process, which raised ethical concerns among the scientific community, was led by Seoul-based company Sooam Biotech. In 2018, Mini-Winnie gave birth to two healthy puppies by emergency cesarean section.

4. They’re known for living long lives.

Dachshunds have an average lifespan of 12-16 years, but these dogs often live much longer. In fact, of the 23 dogs to hold the Guiness World Record for “World’s Oldest Dog,” two have been purebred dachshunds. There was a 21-year-old purebred named Chanel, a 20-year-old dachshund-terrier named Otto, and another purebred named Scolly, who lived to age 20.

Dachshund laying on a sidewalk

5. Celebrities love ’em.

Dachshunds have consistently ranked among the most popular AKC breeds — and celebrities might have to take some credit for popularizing the dogs. Some Hollywood stars and icons known to have had or who currently have dachshunds include Adele, Clint Eastwood, David Bowie, Carole Lombard, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Jack Black.

6. They gain weight easily.

Obesity is a common health problem among the tiny but mighty dachshund. In 2012, one obese dachshund from Portland, weighing in at a whopping 77 pounds, even made an appearance on the TODAY Show. That’s more than twice the average weight of a standard dachshund. Talk to your vet about portion control and how to find the right food for your wiener dog to avoid overindulgence.

Dachshund standing outside

7. The first official Olympic mascot was a dachshund.

German designer Otl Aicher created the first official Olympic mascot, a colorful dachshund, for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The dachshund was meant to represent athletic qualities of resistance, tenacity and agility.

8. The hot dog came later.

When German immigrants brought hot dogs (known as frankfurters in Germany and wieners in Austria) to America in the 1860s, street vendors often sold them as “dachshund sausages” because they resembled Doxies.

Dachshund looking up at camera

9. Dachshunds were on the battlefront of World War II. 

At the end of World War II, dachshunds Berta and Herman von Hildensheim helped uncover more than 600 land mines throughout Europe and were deemed heroes. However, during World War I, the breed was often maligned thanks to their German origins and Kaiser Wilhelm II’s love of dachshunds, associations that unfortunately led to temporary ostracization of the breed in the United States.