Dachshunds, also affectionately known as Doxies, weiner dogs, sausage dogs, are so darned cute. Who can resist the appeal of those short little legs and long bodies. I mean, have you seen Crusoe the Dachshund on Instagram or YouTube? Irresistible!
Dachshunds are a clever, curious, and silly breed overall and if you didn’t know already, there are both standard and miniature sizes, though I have heard of “tweenies” noted for dachshunds that fall somewhere in between the two sizes. There are also 3 distinct hair types of Dachshund dogs: smooth-haired, long-haired, and wire-haired.
Wire-haired dachshunds are a newer and unique sub-type in their own right. They have a very distinctive appearance with their coarse fur coats. There are also certain personality traits they inherited from their terrier lineage. If you’re somehow the proud new owner of one (dachshunds tend to find their people), or if you are considering getting one, there are a few things you should know.
1. Feistier Fellows
Doxies in general are described as being intelligent, energetic, curious, loyal, stubborn, diggers, hunters, and playful. However, wire-haired doxies are known to have more terrier-like traits than their smooth or long-haired counterparts. This includes being a little more feisty and outgoing.
2. Taking Care of Wire-Hair is Less Work
They were initially bred (possibly as a cross-breed with a terrier) to be a hardier version of their smooth-haired cousins. Their coarse wire coats are thought to be more waterproof and better for harsh weather conditions.
While they require less care than their smooth-haired cousins, which need to be regularly washed and brushed to prevent matting, they do still require some regular care. Every 3 to 6 months, wire-haired doxies should be hand-stripped.
Hand stripping is the unique process to wire coats that manually removes dead hair by hand in order to properly maintain the coarse fur texture. It sounds painful, but it is a painless process when done properly.
While you CAN use clippers on a wire-haired doxie, you should know shaving a wire-haired dog will permanently change their hair texture and give it a silky effect that more closely resembles a Yorkshire terrier.
3. A Little Shedding Never Hurt Anyone
Doxies are mild shedders and without regular grooming, wire-haired fur will just grow continuously. Some owners prefer to let wire-haired coats grow out a bit longer for a shaggier appearance, while others will prefer to keep the body trimmed with those prominent and distinctive facial features that they are known and loved for.
4. A Whole New Meaning To No-Shave November
One of the most distinct features of the wire-haired dachshund is their facial hair. They have prominent eyebrows and beards, which groomers tend to let grow longer than the rest of their fur to really stand out. Their facial features can look very similar to that of a Schnauzer’s.
5. So Many Colors and Patterns to Choose From
While doxies in general have numerous fur colors and patterns, the wire-haired variety tend to be: wild boar, chocolate boar, red, cream, black and tan, or piebald. Within each of these varieties there can be a range of shades as well. The most common type is wild boar.
6. They Have A Lot To Say
Dachshunds in general are quirky creatures and can be quite vocal. The wire-haired doxie in particular has been said to be a good worker and are very alert to their surroundings.
According to Holly at Dachworld.com, wire-haired dachshunds are actually the loudest of the 3 coat types. (You can read more details about her experiences with dachshunds on her website.) While their volume makes them an excellent option for a watchdog, it’s an important consideration to include in your decision if you live very in an apartment building where it could become bothersome to your neighbors.
It can be helpful to desensitize them to noises or people walking by properly socializing them and giving positive reinforcement when they remain quiet and calm during those happenings. Avoid yelling at them or scolding them because that will not fix the issue and may only heighten their anxiety.
7. They Are Creatures of Habit
Most dogs are creatures of habit, but as good workers, wire-haired doxies really love to stay on schedule and are very good keepers of time. They will notice if you are late to feed them dinner or if you are late to get home from work. They can often develop behavioral problems as a result of not having the routine that they thrive on.
8. Stubborn Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks
In the same vein as developing behavioral problems, wire-haired doxies with their terrier traits are known to be stubborn. Some common stubborn behavioral issues include digging, excessive barking, and potty training regressions. They are, however, incredibly intelligent dogs and tend to be very food-motivated, which is an advantage during training.
Combine lots of positive reinforcement of good behaviors with a sturdy daily routine for the best success with your wire-haired doxie. It can be difficult, but if you stay dedicated and consistent, then you will see the desired results.
Whatever you do, do not give in to your own frustrations because wire-haired doxies are sensitive dogs and negative feedback will completely discourage them.
9. The Outgoing Class Clown
Wire-haired varieties are more social than their smooth or long-haired cousins. When socialized properly from a young age, they often don’t bat an eye at strangers and love to meet new people. They are the proverbial “class clown” of the three varieties. For this reason, they make great travel companions.
10. A Tired Dog Is A Good Dog
Like I said, wire-haired dachshunds are known to be hard workers. You can’t expect a clever and curious dog to be satisfied and well-behaved if they don’t do anything all day.
Mental stimulation like dog puzzles, learning tricks, or playing games are great ways to keep your dog mentally exhausted so that they don’t have time or energy for any destructive behaviors.
For example, using snuffle mats or rolling up treats in a folded towel are particularly excellent ways for them to use their noses. After all, they were bred to be scent hounds!
11. Velcro Dogs That Stick Like Glue
Proper socialization in puppyhood is crucial, otherwise wire-haired dachshunds can often become aggressive and protective of their owners. Making sure that they are introduced to lots of other dogs, pets, people, and places when they are very young will help prevent them from being anxious or aggressive in those situations as adults.
Lots of positive reinforcement is also key to building a positive association in their minds with those things.
12. The Ultimate Mouse Trap
Another important thing to know about wire-haired dachshunds is that they were bred to hunt. They are scent hounds that were often specifically used to hunt small vermin!
This is an important thing to keep in mind if you have small critters in your household.
It’s also important because scent hounds can often get so caught up in tracking a scent that they can wander off. Combine that with their stubborn nature and, well, they can be difficult to recall when off leash.
13. Long Live The Doxie
Compared to most other breeds of dog, wire-haired doxies can live for 14-16 years on average, with some even living up to 20 years old! It’s important to be prepared to offer a lifetime commitment, especially because of how attached they become to their owners.
14. Getting Their Steps In
To promote longevity, maintaining an ideal body weight is important. Doxies are so cute it’s easy to want to give them lots of treats. They’re also excellent nappers.
Unfortunately, these combine to make them prone to obesity. It’s important to make sure that they get their good daily walks in or that they spend some time playing indoors or outdoors – anything that gets them moving. It’s good to aim for at least 30 minutes per day of activity.
Including enough daily activity is not only important for maintaining a healthy weight, but playing fetch or providing toys and chews will prevent them from digging up your yard! Having been bred for hunting rodents, they have a high prey drive and will chase just about anything.
Ideal body weights can vary depending on the size of the dog, but should be around 8 to 11 pounds for miniature breeds, or 15 to 32 pounds for standard sizes.
15. The Backbone of Spine Health
It should be no surprise that this long-bodied breed is prone to having problems with their spine health. In particular, you should be mindful of intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), which happens when the discs between the discs in their spine begin to break down.
To prevent these diseases, it’s important to keep them at an ideal body weight, prevent them from jumping on and off of beds or couches by lifting them or using ramps, and support their spine when you pick them up.
One thing’s for sure, be prepared to have a whole lot of love and fun in your life with a quirky little wire-haired doxie. They are sure to keep you constantly entertained with their class clown antics. Be forewarned that people have been known to say “you can never have just one” when it comes to dachshunds!