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Miniature Vs Standard Dachshunds – Size and Temperament

I have had the privilege of raising and training miniature and standard dachshunds for several years. I work with other dachshund groomers, trainers, breeders, and owners daily.

There are certain differences in temperament and drive between sizes.

The information below is based on the experience of myself and other dachshund owners.

Quick Comparison

Miniature Dachshund

Studio shot of a beautiful long hair teckel (dachshund)
  • Height: 6 to 10 inches tall
  • Length: 9 to 16 inches (nose to tail)
  • Weight: 11 lbs or under
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
  • Energy: Medium-Low

Standard Dachshund

Studio shot of a beautiful long hair teckel (dachshund)
  • Height: 12 to 16 inches tall
  • Length: 15 to 26 inches (nose to tail)
  • Weight: 15 to 32 lbs
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
  • Energy: Medium

Other Notes:

AKC Classification: Hound
UKC Classification: Scent Hounds

Rabbit size and UK Classification

In certain countries, like the UK and Russia, there is a third size of Dachshund; Rabbit Size.

Rabbit Dachshunds are smaller than miniatures. However, they are not measured by weight, but by chest circumference at 15 months old.

As you may have guessed, rabbit dachshunds’ main purpose was to hunt rabbits.

What They Were Bred For

The dachshund is a hunting dog, originally used in Germany during the mid-19th century.

Although the exact origins are still unknown, it’s assumed they were descendants of a Basset Hound and Terrier breed. Early breeders sought smaller hunting dogs that were “low to the ground” (Source: Dachshund Club of America)

Dachshund (pronounced Daks-hund) is a German term that literally translates to “Badger Dog”. Dach translates to Badger, and Hund translates to Dog.

As you might have guessed, Dachshunds were used to exterminate badgers.

Early writings show they were also used to hunt for rabbits, foxes, rats, and even wild boars. (Forest and Stream; A Journal of Outdoor Life, Travel, Nature Study, Shooting, Fishing, Yachting [1873-1930])

It was later assumed that they used standard dachshunds for larger prey, such as badgers. While miniature dachshunds specialized in small vermin, such as rabbits, mice, and rats.

SIDE NOTE

Most dachshunds have a strong prey drive. If they see small vermin, they will attempt to chase and hunt them.

two dachshunds

Temperament and Energy

Aside from physical size, temperament and behavior is where we see another considerable difference.

Miniatures tend to be more reserved than their larger playmates. While they still enjoy play time, they prefer napping in the sun or under a comfortable blanket. As a puppy, they’ll be silly and energetic, but a mature miniature would rather be a quiet observer.

Depending on your specific dog, miniatures are a low to medium energy dog.

Standards are more playful and excitable. They keep their puppy-like curiosity and silly antics through adult-hood.

Standards are a medium energy dog. They’ll have random spurts of energy (which we call “zoomies”) throughout the day, followed by long nap times.

Daily play time and walks will keep your standard dachshund content.

Training

Training the Standard vs Mini is similar, however, your specific dog may have their own desires and drives.

We find both sizes are driven by yummy treats and positive feedback.

In both sizes, excessive barking is one of the biggest challenges owners will have to overcome. And most dachshund owners report they could never control this behavior.

Miniatures are much more difficult to potty train. Sometimes, minis will purposely leave a mess to express their displeasure.

Overall standards tend to be more eager to please their owners, and therefore slightly easier to train.

Tracking and Hunting

Dachshunds were originally a hunting breed, and are still driven to track and chase.

In our experience, dachshunds love using this given ability. Scent detection (nosework) is an exciting activity that is both mentally and physically stimulating.

Health Concerns

Dachshunds elongated body creates a potential for back or spinal injuries. Which may be exacerbated by jumping off furniture, couches, beds.

This could become even more apparent with miniatures, as the distance from the bed to the floor is greater, and their smaller bodies absorb more shock.

IVDD

IVDD (Interverterbral Disc Disease) is a degenerative spinal disease caused by ruptured or herniated discs. And it most commonly occurs with long-bodied dogs like the Basset Hound, Shih Tzus, and Dacshunds.

IVDD is best explained by PetMD

IVDD in dogs is a condition that occurs when the cushioning discs between the bones of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the space containing the spinal cord. When this disc material pushes on the spinal cord, it can cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. This condition is also known as a slipped disc, herniated disc, or bulging disc.

IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) in Dogs

There is no data that suggests a miniature is more susceptible to IVDD compared to a standard size (or vice versa).

In both sizes we can minimize stress on the spine by:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit jumping
  • Use ramps or steps from furniture
  • Pick up your dog by supporting their weight with both hands.

Standard wire haired dachshund
Standard wire haired dachshund

Exercise and Diet

Dachshunds are prone to weight problems due to overeating and lack of exercise. This becomes very apparent with miniatures. Minis are more reluctant to exercise, especially in cold weather.

Overfeeding is easier with a mini – as just a few extra kibbles can contribute to spike in daily calories.

We urge dachshund owners to closely monitor their weight and food portions.

Consult with your veterinarian about the ideal weight and food portions for your individual dog.

Coat Types

All dachshunds come in three coat types: Smooth coat, Long coat, and Wire-haired.

  • Smooth coats are the easiest as it requires minimal grooming and care.
  • Long coats will need to receive regular brushing and trims from a groomer.
  • Wire haired dachshunds are hand stripped.

Colors and Patterns

Both miniature and standard dachshunds come in a variety of colors and patterns.

American Kennel Club breaks these down into three major categories:

  • One colored
  • Two colored
  • Patterned

Combining the different coat types with different colors, patterns, and markings gives us a wide variety of dachshunds. We recommend you visit our guide on dachshund colors and patterns.

Are they hypoallergenic?

No. While wire haired dachshunds shed less, and produce less odor, they are not truly a hypo breed.

True hypoallergenic and non shedding dog breeds produce less pet dander, therefore is less likely to create an allergic reaction.

Photo of author

Katlin Primrose

​​Katlin is ​a Certified Master Groomer (PIGA) and a registered Veterinarian Tech Assistant (working in emergency, exotics, and general practice). You can also find her in the show ring with her dogs, winning awards in rally obedience and show grooming with the Canadian Kennel Club. You might say she's multi-talented when it comes to pets.

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