Some folks who want a companion-type dog to lounge around the house with them might consider a Dachshund because it’s a small breed dog.
After all, these compact pups should make great lap dogs, right?
On the contrary, while Dachshunds do enjoy cuddling sitting on their owner’s lap, they need a lot more exercise than people realize.
This article will explain that while a Dachshund may snuggle on their human’s lap from time to time, this breed does require a fair amount of mental and physical stimulation to remain happy and healthy.
In fact, Dachshunds may even require more maintenance than your average small breed pup.
What is a Lap Dog?
The dictionary defines lap dog as “a small dog that is small enough to fit on a lap and is temperamentally predisposed to do so.”
Furthermore, the definition says they are docile companion animals with no working function other than human companionship.
In other words, lap dogs are:
- Small enough to comfortably sit in their owner’s lap
- Likes to be close to their owner and sit in their lap
- Were not bred for any working function except to keep their owner company
That is the official definition of a lap dog. However, the term is sometimes used today to mean something a little different.
Sometimes people think that lap dogs are small dogs that just sit around.
Specifically, the term “lap dog” is sometimes used for small dogs when the person believes small dogs are lazy and not good for anything meaningful outside of the house.
Some examples of popular “lap dog” breeds are Chihuahuas, Pugs, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus. (We’re not counting the Great Danes and Mastiffs who think they are lap dogs…)
Are Dachshunds Lap Dogs?
Dachshunds were bred for hunting small game and to serve a purpose other than mere human companionship.
Because of this background, Dachshunds are very able, athletic small dogs. They are still used for hunting today in some parts of Europe and the US.
Even if they don’t hunt, many participate in sports that use their scent tracking and burrowing instincts like Earthdog and Barn Hunt.
Dachshunds were bred to be active, even when they’re not performing in sports.
Dachshunds who are not performing in activities and sports very close to the purpose they were bred for are often still very active.
Dachshunds are excellent hiking companions and some even run with their owners.
If we look at the three criteria for a lap dog above, the Dachshund is technically disqualified because they were not originally bred to laze around on their owner’s lap all day.
Certainly, when lap dog is used in a derogatory meaning of laziness, the term is definitely inappropriate for a Dachshund.
Can a Dachshund Be a Lap Dog?
As with most dog breeds, they are not used today for what they were originally bred for, ie. hunting or keeping rodents at bay.
Many Dachshunds are kept primarily inside the home as pets and companions only. These dogs are very affectionate toward their owner and like to stay close.
If an owner is not very active, and sits around the house a lot, they might describe their Dachshund affectionately as their lap dog.
Those that are very active with their Dachshunds, even though you will almost always find their Dachshund in their lap while sitting on the couch and watching TV, would not describe their Dachshund as a lap dog.
Dachshunds can be lap dogs, but it’s not common for this breed to prefer hanging out in the comfort of their human’s lap as opposed to digging in the yard or playing a game of fetch.
Should a Dachshund Be a Lap Dog?
Everyone has moments of relaxation at home when they snuggle with their Dachshund on the couch.
However, no, a Dachshund should not be a lap dog who only sits around on the laps of their people and is not active.
Dachshunds tend to need more exercise than people might think of a dog their size.
Dachshunds need more exercise than people typically expect of a dog their size. They were bred to hunt game for hours in the woods.
It’s important to note that Dachshunds are extremely prone to obesity if they do not get adequate physical exercise. And as we know, obesity can lead to a slew of other related health problems.
Any dog who doesn’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation can become bored, stressed and destructive.
Dogs who are treated as lap dogs despite their desire for an active lifestyle can develop behavioral problems which may be difficult to combat.
Dachshunds tend to need more physical release than their other small breed counterparts.
Although Dachshunds don’t fit the classic definition of a lap dog, they do make great companions and love to be by their owners.
Therefore, Dachshunds can indeed make good lap dogs, but they are not the best breed for the job.
Dachshunds very much need to be active to preserve mental and physical health, especially since it’s easy for a Dachshund to become overweight.
So, sink in your favorite recliner and snuggle a bit with your Dachshund, but don’t forget those daily walks and stimulating activities!
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.