Many Dachshunds lift a front paw. It’s one of the breed’s most common quirks.
People that only have one or two Dachshunds, or those who aren’t familiar with the beloved weiner dogs, often think their Dachshund is the only one that exhibits this behavior.
The fact is, Dachshunds holding up one paw is a well-known trait, and below we’ll help interpret why that may be and what it means.
Keep in mind that we’ll be talking about your Dachshund lifting a front paw, rather than a male simply raising a leg to urinate.
Why Do Dachshunds Hold Up One Paw?
The list of reasons your Dachshund could be raising a front paw is fairly extensive.
There are potential mental and physical causes for this behavior.
The anticipation paw lift
You just grabbed your Doxie’s favorite snack from the pantry. They hear the bag and make eye contact with you.
Immediately, your pup runs to your feet, stops, and lifts their front paw.
This is “the anticipation paw lift.”
Your Dachshund is extremely excited to receive their treat, so they will lift a paw in anticipation.
The anticipation paw lift can occur in a variety of other exciting situations, like going for a walk or ride, or playing with their favorite buddy.
The focused paw lift
If you are out on a stroll through the park when your Dachshund comes to a halt and raises their front paw, hunting mode has been engaged.
Your Dachshund has spotted something, most likely prey, as this breed was born to hunt.
Dachshunds may lift their paw to show they’re pointing in a certain direction because they’ve spotted something interesting that way.
Some Dachshund owners equate “the focused paw lift” with pointing in a certain direction, generally toward their intended target.
We’ll delve into this more below.
The anxious paw lift
A Dachshund raising their front paw may be a sign that they are anxious or feel threatened. Lifting the paw can indicate uncertainty or fear.
It’s important to make a note of the specific circumstances under which your Dachshund is holding up one paw.
Stress, fear, uncertainty, and focus on something that concerns them are common reasons for a dog to lift their front paw.
Physical reasons for lifting a front paw
It is possible that your Dachshund is holding up one paw because there is a physical issue, rather than a mental or emotional one.
Let’s talk about what some of those could be!
Probably one of the most obvious reasons for lifting a paw is an object or substance being stuck in there!
It could be a burr, cactus needle, foxtail grass seed, snow, ice or pitch. As a pet parent, you’ll probably know if your Doxie may have stepped in something unfavorable.
If there’s snow on the ground where you live, and you’re out on a walk, salt could burn your Dachshund’s paws. This could lead to them lifting one up in discomfort.
The same thing could be said for extremely cold or hot pavement, and even wet grass.
Additionally, there is a rare and unproven theory for why your Dachshund may be holding up one paw; that the original Dachshund is mixed with a little bit of Pointer breed.
It’s speculated that smooth coat Dachshunds are actually made up of the German Shorthaired Pointer, a Pinscher, and a Bracke (a type of bloodhound).
Pointers naturally “point” to a hunting target, hence their breed name. However, this rumor is a theory that has yet to be backed up with scientific evidence.
If their paw is shaking, you may want to check for signs of an injury.
Now if your Dachshund is lifting their paw and shaking it, it likely means there is an irritating pain in their foot area.
This could include a cut, burn, muscle damage and more.
Shaking the paw while lifting it is often accompanied by crying or whimpering if their is pain or an irritant in the paw.
In this scenario, contact your vet as soon as possible.
Lastly, your Dachshund holding up a paw (without shaking it) could signify they are injured. Observe if they are limping or nursing it.
If you believe there could be an injury like a broken bone, take your Doxie to the veterinarian immediately.
You should be able to very well narrow down the reasons why your Dachshund may be holding up one paw based on the situation at hand and environment.
Do Dogs Favor Lifting One Paw Up?
It’s been theorized that dogs, similarly to humans, can have a tendency toward their left or right side.
Some dog owners seem to notice it, while others don’t.
According to Psychology Today research, about 74% of 18,000 dogs included in a study displayed a clear preference for either their left or right paw.
It was also proven that dogs are far more likely to be “left-handed,” as opposed to only 10% of humans. Pretty crazy, right?
If your Dachshund does one hold paw up, make a note of which paw it is. Is it their left or right paw? Do they always lift the same one?
Consistently lifting the same paw could be an indication of left or right “handedness.”
Interpreting our dog’s behaviors can be challenging, but oftentimes we can narrow down why they may be acting a certain way or displaying specific body language.
Dachshunds lifting a front paw is common, and now it’s up to you to determine why your Doxie is doing it.
It may be caused by something natural, simple, and be nothing to worry about.
Or it could indicate that there is something wrong physically.
Always consult your veterinarian if you believe your Dachshund could have a bigger physical concern that needs medical attention.
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.