A bit about dachshunds and their backs:
A form of dwarfism has been bred into dachshunds, thus the smaller limbs and torsion of the limbs. As a result of this genetic disease is early calcification of the intervertebral discs (the cushions between the bones of the spine). When they should have give to them and absorb forces they work to reduce problems. When they are calcified they don't absorb shock but will 'burst' if enough force goes through. (This is why if we try to keep the dachshunds off of stairs, no jumping, and lift them properly supporting their bums) In humans that herniate a disc you will often find it hits a nerve and can cause pain down a leg (for instance). But in dogs, a herniated disc compresses the spinal cord itself and causes paralysis from that segment down. So a 'downed' dog is one that is paralyzed. Typically at the junction of the thoracic and lumbar spines (where the ribs end at their 'waist').
Based on ability to move their legs, reflexes, and response to pain will indicate how much damage has been done.
If left beyond a day or two the spinal cord literally liquefies and there is no use in having the surgery at that point as the cord is useless. That's why it's imperative to rush them to the surgery table immediately. Every hour that goes by results in more permanent damage.
Every dachshund has the potential for this and every adopter should be aware of this to do their best to avoid it. Good breeders try to minimize this as much as possible.
Do You Really Want To Own A Dachshund?
So you have decided you want to own a dachshund. Owning a dog can either be the beginning of years of happiness or the beginning of overwhelming responsibility for which you may not be prepared.
First, ask yourself some serious questions to determine if you are ready to become a dog owner. Answer the following questions honestly to insure you and your dog the future you both deserve.
Dachshunds are loyal, loving and intelligent. They are fun and love to play with you as much as they love to curl up with you on the couch. They are happiest in your bed under your blankets.
Dachshunds are a wonderful breed but they aren't for everyone. They are stubborn little guys who like to get their own way. They can be hard to house train because they would much rather pee on the rug in the warm dry house than go outside in the rain. They seem to weigh the consequences all the time and pleasing you might not be as important to them as their own comfort. Dachshunds can be trained but it takes time and patience as well as several bags of tasty treats.
Originally bred to hunt badgers, they are shaped as they are so they can fit down badger burrows. Strong legs and big paws help with digging. Short legs ensure that they the first thing a badger meets is their teeth, not their toes. They are smart independent thinkers without fear.
Dog Ownership = Responsibility
Take the time now to ask yourself these questions and to make an educated decision. You and your dog will be happier for it. That cuddly bundle of joy is a huge responsibility. Are you ready???
A Dachshund may not be the right choice for you if:
[Courtesy of Canadian Dachshund Rescue]
You are at work for 10 hours each day
Dachshunds have strong pack instincts and like to be with their pack. They do not like to be left alone. If you plan to have a pet and are away all day, please consider a dog sitter. Neighborhood kids are often very willing to walk your dog after school for a couple of dollars. Dogs live for your companionship. Rescue dogs have often been abandoned and need a lot of attention and love. Dachshunds do well in pairs.
You have young children
All children should be supervised with any dog at all times. A dachshund can make great companion for a child if the dog is properly trained and if the child is taught how to behave around a dog. Dachshunds will not stand for being teased and may snap if provoked. Dachshunds are very territorial and take time to warm up to and to trust visitors - like your child's friends. Kids and dachshunds can be great companions but both the child and the dachshund must be trained to respect each other. Also, dachshund backs are fragile and children should not be allowed to roughhouse with a dachshund. If you have a toddler who may try to use the dog to pull himself up or might accidentally fall on the dog a miniature dachshund is not the breed for you.
You are proud of your white carpets
Dachshunds are not the most reliable dogs. Why should they freeze their tail off peeing outside in the snow when there's a nice warm rug in that fancy room that you never use? Some dachshunds are easily housetrained and some rescued dachshunds will already be trained, but be aware that few dachshunds are 100% reliable when it comes to accidents in the house.
You have cats, birds, or rodents
Dachshunds are bred to hunt. Many of them have a very strong prey drive and their hunting instinct is stronger than their desire to obey you. Some dachshunds get along with cats and other animals from the start and some can learn to accept other animals into their pack. If you get a puppy you can socialize him with your other animals from day one and you're likely to get pets that are best friends. If you rescue an adult dog you are taking a risk. Some of the dogs in rescue were brought up with other animals but often we don't know how the dogs were brought up. It is your responsibility to make sure that all of the pets in your care are kept out of harm.
You can't afford pet insurance
It costs a lot of money to own a dog but with dachshunds there is an extra likelihood of a large vet bills. Dachshund backs are not designed for life in a world of couches, stairs and human beds. There is a good chance that your dog will require vet care due to a back injury sometime in his life. If worst comes to worst, your dachshund may require surgery that can cost upwards of $5000. Dachshunds also live a long time and are prone to the diseases that plague older pets like Cushing’s and liver diseases.
You are a pushover
Give a dachshund an inch and he will take over your house. Dachshunds are smart and crafty and they have a look that will melt your heart. If they don't feel like you are in charge, they will gladly take charge of you. Discipline is very important but you should never ever hit a dog. Dogs understand that you are in charge when you reward their good behavior and they see that all good things, like food and attention, come from you. Bad behavior can be discouraged by ignoring it or with gentle correction such as a squirt from a water gun to stop excessive barking or marking.
You want a quiet dog
Dachshunds are hounds and have a hound-sized bark. People will comment that they can't believe such a loud bark can come from such a small dog. I've heard that they were bred to be loud barkers so that their owners could find them in badger burrows and pull them out. Dachshunds are territorial and will let anyone walking by know that they are passing a dachshund's home.