Dachshunds are alert dogs with incredibly sassy personalities. Their famous low silhouette and small stature has made this hound dog a popular breed for many different lifestyles.
If you’re looking to get a Dachshund, you may be wondering if this superstar canine would be a good fit for your family. After all, small dogs have to be good family dogs, right?
In this article we’ll break down the answer and delve deeper into how Dachshunds can be a wonderful addition to any family.
Are Dachshunds Good Family Dogs?
Dachshunds have the potential to be excellent family dogs, but there are definitely some situational factors to consider.
Dachshunds tend to gravitate toward “their person.”
These loyal dogs will have no difficulty picking out a preferred family member while becoming a personal bodyguard to them.
Dachshunds are VERY loyal. It’s generally a good thing but make sure to keep an eye on your dog for possessiveness of one family member.
Due to this tendency, Dachshunds can quickly pick up “resource guarding” habits.
When a dog is resource guarding, it means that they are protecting something precious to them – whether that is a toy, food or a person.
If your furry friend becomes attached to that special person in your home, they may act with aggressive tendencies when they feel the need to protect their beloved human.
For example, when a significant other tries to get close or a stranger comes to visit.
Resource guarding behaviors can be demonstrated in the form of growling, baring teeth and barking. It’s best not to provoke your Dachshund when they are exhibiting this sort of body language, as that’s when dog bites occur.
If you believe that your Dachshund is resource guarding a person in your home and it’s becoming an issue, we suggest seeking the help of a professional canine behaviorist. And remember to always use an expert who uses positive reinforcement training.
Just because Dachshunds gravitate toward one person a lot of the time doesn’t mean that your pup won’t adore everyone in your home though!
If it’s important that the love is spread evenly among family members, make sure everyone is participating in the care of your Dachshund – feeding, playing, walks, and training.
One way to help ensure your Dachshund doesn’t get too attached to one person is to make sure your dog receives equal care and attention from several different household members.
If your pup doesn’t associate just one person with all of the “good stuff,” they are far less likely to display resource guarding.
Dachshunds generally like consistency
Your Dachshund’s behavior may change if there’s a major transition in the household, such as a new baby. If your Dachshund is used to your current home life structure, it will obviously be stirred up with a new addition.
It’s best to prepare for these changes, as your Dachshund could start acting out.
If you can, introduce your dog to the new change gradually. For example, with a new household member, try to make the introduction in neutral territory (at a family member’s house or out in the yard).
If you are introducing your Dachshund to a new dog or cat into the house, you may need to keep them separated for a while with a gate they can still see and smell each other through.
Knowing the right way to introduce your Dachshund to new pets or people can make all the difference.
There are some changes you will not be able to make slowly like moving.
In those cases, anticipate there will be a change (but you probably won’t know what it will be until it happens) and be willing to make any temporary modifications needed to help your dog adjust.
Keep in mind that it’s common for any dog to change their behavior or personality if the order of things in their world is thrown off. It’s not only the Dachshund breed.
I will also note that if your dog is used to regular change they will be more willing to take it in stride.
For example, I travel a lot with my two Dachshunds, frequently camping, staying in hotels, and staying in strange houses.
When we moved after 10 years, the change didn’t seem to bother them. I imagine because it was like we were just staying in a new hotel for a really, really long time.
Dachshunds are hound dogs and small game hunters
Dachshunds were bred for hunting so they are always on the lookout for their next prey.
This is incredibly important to keep in mind if you have small children and cats at home.
Dachshunds can quickly become irritated during a seemingly innocent game of tug or if a small child or cat runs by them quickly.
There’s also a safety risk to consider, since both babies and Doxies are so small.
Getting Your Dachshund Acquainted With the Whole Family
As we briefly talked about above, Dachshunds probably won’t begin resource guarding a human if they are cared for equally by the entire family.
Sure, your Doxie may still slightly favor someone, but they typically won’t display any aggressive behavior toward the others or feel the need to resource guard one particular person.
There are several effective ways to build a positive relationship with your Dachshund and your family.
Here’s how you can start building a positive relationship between your Dachshund and family members:
- The most important socialization period for a Dachshund is between 0-6 months. If you have a Dachshund puppy, it’s crucial to allow them to bond with everyone in the family during that stage. Equal attention from each person will teach your Dachshund that the entire family is super terrific!
- Physical affection is a huge bonding factor for Dachshunds. Basically, the more you pet your Doxie, the more they will love you! Make sure everyone in your family is giving your furry friend lots of positive, physical attention.
- Split the doggy duties between family members! Maybe one person takes your Dachshund for a walk in the morning, the other provides meals, and someone else enjoys the evening walk. Each person has an important role in your Dachshund’s life, and it helps spread the love.
But really, Dachshunds are excellent family dogs…
Why Dachshunds Are Good Family Dogs
Dachshunds can bring a ton of joy and energy to any household. This is why they can be fantastic family members:
- Their loyalty and devotion to any family is boundless
- They are fun, playful dogs who never fail to entertain
- They make great mini guard dogs
- They will protect the family from small critters
- They love to participate in outdoor adventures with the crew
Whether or not your Dachshund ends up being a good family dog has a lot to do with their environment.
If the entire family participates in nurturing your dog, it’s likely that your Doxie will be deemed a “good family dog.”
However, if one person takes on all of the responsibility and spends more time with your Dachshund than anyone (like if someone works from home), chances are your dog will be considered more of a “one person dog.”
Your dog may have a preference towards one family member, which is normal.
Favoring one family member over others may simply mean that they prefer the lap of their person but will take anyone they can get if that person is not present.
Also remember that, if you adopt an adult Dachshund, it’s likely that they will already have human preferences established, such as preferring women to men, etc.
That bias can often be easily reduced with gradual exposure to the thing that scares then and positive reinforcement training.
There are several factors involved in their behavior, including the age of your pup, their environment and how each family member participates in their development.
Exposing your Dachshund puppy equally to every member of the family will help them appreciate everyone evenly.
Dachshunds can absolutely make good family dogs! Some are naturals and many will attach to all members of the family with a bit of time and patience.
About the Author: Through her 17 years of owning and caring for Dachshunds, and almost 10 years researching and writing about them, JW has become a respected expert in the Dachshund community. Read more about her here.