Dachshunds are an iconic breed of dog. Their long bodies have earned them fun nicknames like “sausage dog” and “wiener dog” — that alone is enough to make this breed appealing to young kids. But are dachshunds good with kids?
If you or your little one is hoping for a doxie (yep, that’s another fun dachshund nickname), then you need to determine whether this is the best dog for your family. Before you bring home a dachshund puppy, learn about the pros and cons of raising dachshunds with small children, and find out how you can help your new dog and your young kids get along.
When you’re a parent looking for a family pet, you probably want a simple yes or no answer to your question: Are dachshunds good with kids? But when it comes to breed characteristics, it’s never that simple. Ultimately, any dog can be good with kids as long as they have an even temperament and are socialized with children from an early age.
So dachshunds can be a good choice for families, as long as they receive proper training. And yet, the American Kennel Club (AKC) only ranks the dachshunds’ kid-friendliness as a three on a scale of one to five (the definition of a mediocre rating).
This breed has several characteristics that can make it an ideal choice for children — and several others that might make you think twice. Here are the pros and cons of selecting a dachshund as your next family dog.
Here are the traits that make dachshunds qualified for kids:
One thing that makes dachshunds good family dogs is their size. These little dogs are unlikely to knock down little ones, which can make them a great choice for small children. Their compact size also makes this breed less likely to accidentally injure your child during playtime and makes it easier for them to curl up in your child’s twin-size bed for some evening cuddles.
The most common downside of pairing small dogs with small kids is frailty. Many kid-friendly small breeds, like Yorkies and poodles, have a delicate bone structure — they can easily get injured by rambunctious children.
Dachshunds, on the other hand, have a much sturdier build. Their short legs keep them low to the ground without being as thin as the legs on other small breeds. For energetic children, choose the standard-size dachshund rather than the miniature dachshund.
Breed is a better predictor of a dog’s looks than its personality. But, the job a dog was historically bred to do can have an impact. Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers — a job that required a brave and tenacious personality. Bravery is a positive quality in a family dog because it will make the dog less likely to fear children, and therefore, less likely to have fear-based aggression.
However, the dachshund’s breeding may not shine through in every individual dog. A large study, reported on by the New York Times, found that breed only affected 9% of a dog’s behavior and had no impact on the dog’s reaction to things it found new and strange — any dog who doesn’t have experience with children will find them new and strange, and there’s a possibility they’ll react fearfully.
And while the same study found that a dog’s breed did have some effect — retrievers were more likely to retrieve, and pointers were more likely to point — it also found that not all dogs follow their breed characteristics. So, breed is never a guarantee.
When you’re choosing a purebred dog, ask the breeder to help you choose the puppy in the litter with the right personality for your family. Families with kids will do better with a more confident and less reactive puppy.
It’s not all tail wags and belly rubs when it comes to pairing dachshunds with children. Here are the potential downsides to look out for.
Small dog syndrome is not a health condition — it’s a behavioral problem. It refers to small dogs’ tendency to bark, nip, and ignore commands.
A review by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that veterinarians and owners reported higher levels of aggression in small and medium-sized dogs. And the most likely culprit behind the unwanted and aggressive behavior is a lack of proper training.
A study reported on by the AKC found that smaller dogs were more likely to receive inconsistent training and that this led to lower obedience. If you’re having trouble getting your dachshund to behave, sign up for dog training classes.
A true health problem, this breed is prone to spinal issues because of its long back. It’s the one flaw in their otherwise sturdy build. If dachshunds aren’t picked up carefully, it can cause pain or lead to long-term back issues. Consider supporting your doxie’s spinal health with an omega-3 supplement and a joint pain relief chew.
It’s tempting to lift and carry small dogs, so you should also make sure every family member in your household knows how to properly handle your dachshund without hurting its back. Teach small children not to lift the dog at all. Careful older children can learn how to pick up a dachshund properly — with one hand supporting the chest while the other lifts the butt.
The same badger-hunting history that often makes dachshunds brave can also make them rough playmates (we’re talking even rougher than the coat on a wire-haired dachshund). Dachshunds — whether they’re a wire-haired, smooth-coated, or longhaired dachshund — originally fought badgers for fun. If you don’t want them to treat your children like badgers during playtime, you need to train them to be gentle.
Dachshunds need early socialization and consistent training to become reliable members of your family. Follow these steps to adopt and raise a well-adjusted dachshund puppy:
So, are dachshunds good with kids? This breed’s small size and sturdy build can make them a good match for older children and for considerate young children. But, the doxie’s long back can lead to back problems if they aren’t handled with care.
Teach young kids not to pick up your dachshund puppy — when they’re old enough to safely handle the dog on their own, you can show them how to pick up the dog without injuring its spine.
Any dachshund that you’re considering as a family dog needs early socialization and training so they learn to respect your child and follow your household rules. Work with a breeder that has experience placing puppies with families, or adopt a rescue dachshund that has already proven itself to be good with kids.
If this is your first time training a dog, find a professional dog trainer who can help you teach your dachshund puppy its manners. Make sure to get your children involved in the training process so they understand how to handle their new canine companion.
As long as you provide early training and socialization, dachshunds can be great companions for young kids. To discover more kid-friendly dog breeds, visit the Native Pet blog.
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