There are many reasons why people want to get a Dachshund.
They are cute. They are comfortable. They are small and can go anywhere. They are wickedly smart.
Did I say cute?
But there is one advantage of owning a Dachshund that not many people know when comparing breeds: The Dachshund has a longer life expectancy than many other breeds.
However, there is a general “upper limit” for age and it can vary quite a bit depending on their genetic health and the quality and quantity of care they receive throughout their lives.
You want to do everything you can to give your Dachshund as long a life as possible, right?
Then read on to find out what you can do.
A Dachshund’s lifespan is affected by the care they receive. Read on to find out what you can do to ensure your life is as long as possible.
How Long Do Dachshunds Live?
My first Dachshund left us at just 16 years of age which is on the higher side of the average for this breed and well above their average minimum natural lifespan of 10-11 years.
Over the years I have spoken to many Dachshund owners and heard from many whose dogs lived above average.
I regularly hear from people who said their Dachshund was 17 or 18 years old.
The oldest dachshund verified was a doxie mix named Chanel from New York, who lived to be 21 years old and she even spent a time in the Guinness World Record book as the world’s oldest dog.
Rocky, a dachshund in Shingle Springs, CA, is said to have reached the ripe old age of 25 (almost 26!).
While the average age of Dachshunds is between 12 and 15 years old, they have the potential to live much longer.
The first thing you think is probably “how can I make my Dachshund live that long?”
Some things, like genetics or accidents, are out of your control. But other factors can be influenced by how you raise your Dachshund.
Let’s talk about what problems can afflict dachshunds and what you can do to extend their lifespan.
Leading causes of death in Dachshunds
An owner survey conducted by the British Kennel Club and the Scientific Committee of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association found that the top 5 causes of death for the Dachshund breed are:
- Old age – 21%
- Cancer – 16.7%
- Cardiac (heart disease) 14.3%
- Neurologic (i.e. IVDD, seizures, etc.) – 11%
- Combinations of multiple problems – 5.7%
While some of these issues are genetic – meaning a dog is born with the genes that make them more susceptible to the condition – even those issues can be influenced by the way you raise your Dachshund.
How can owners extend their Dachshund’s lifespan?
1. Do Your Homework Before You Get Your Dachshund
When people want to know what their Dachshund’s life expectancy is, it’s hard to give an exact number because every dog is different.
Genetics play a huge role in how healthy a dog is and how long it lives. However, it is not the only thing that affects it.
Many people don’t realize how much and what kind of care a dog gets during their lifetime has the potential to have a significant impact on how long a Doxie lives.
The two main things that determine how long a Dachshund lives are the genetics they are born with and the care they receive throughout their lives. You can influence the latter.
Providing quality care for your Dachshund starts with knowing the breed well.
It is important to understand that health and behavioral issues are more common with this breed. Be aware of the specific problems and needs you may encounter and be prepared to address them.
If you choose to get a Dachshund from a breeder, check thoroughly with the breeder.
Make sure they have a good reputation in the Dachshund community. Look for reviews or testimonials, ask the breeder for references, and if possible talk to some of the people who have bought puppies from this breeder.
That way you can hear first hand how the breeder worked to work with and make sure there were no problems with the puppies after they were brought home.
Also ask the breeder about the parent’s medical history. A good breeder will screen the parents for common health problems and/or have health knowledge about the line a few generations back.
This will give you the best chance of knowing that your dog will not inherit any genes for common Dachshund health problems (this is not 100% foolproof, but can help ensure your Dachshund will be healthy throughout its life)
Note: Save your impulse purchases for shoes and chocolate. Pets in pet stores come from unknown breeders, most of whom do not test the parents for genetic diseases before breeding with them. (besides, most of the puppies from pet stores come from puppy mills where the living conditions of the dogs are terrible, but that’s another blog story…)
If you can’t find any information about a specific breeder, or what sounds odd to you, continue your search. In general, dachshunds from less reputable breeders are not as healthy.
If your dog comes out of a rescue, you should investigate the organization and ask questions.
Does the rescue thoroughly examine the dog to identify and treat medical problems?
Do they offer advice/support for any issues that may arise after the adoption?
Ask about the general situation the dog came from and whether the rescue has been given a health history.
Also ask if the dog has any current medical or behavioral issues that you need to address.
A rescue may not always provide this information, or the information may be incomplete, but asking can help get your new dog off to a great start in life with you.
Knowing the breed and making an informed purchase or adoption is a good start, but even dogs with good health histories can develop problems.
Keep reading to learn more about what you can do to raise the healthiest dog possible.
2. Feed your dog a healthy diet
How do you know which food(s) are best?
Educate yourself by reading online about different food choices (raw, homemade cooked and kibble) and different food brands.
You’ll learn the pros and cons of each choice, as well as the ingredients to avoid at the store.
Choosing a healthy diet for your dog goes a long way.
Rotating your Dachshund’s food (changing between different dog foods periodically) can also be beneficial for your dog.
Every dog food has food areas where it is not as strong; by switching foods, you get the benefits of a variety of meat sources and nutrients.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
In addition to providing your dog with a healthy diet, feeding the correct amounts is crucial.
Feeding too much at mealtime, giving your dog too many treats and eating table scraps can all cause your Dachshund to be overweight.
Because Dachshunds are a small dog, obesity is very common and can sneak up on you.
Pet obesity is one of the leading causes of many common diseases and conditions .
Watch their weight when petting your dog: can you feel their ribs?
Failing that, or if there’s quite a bit of skin and fat on the ribs, have a treat or adjust their meals to be slightly smaller.
Your goal is to easily feel the ribs and see a defined waist (think of a slight hourglass shape when looking at your dog from above).
4. Train your dog regularly
A common misconception about Dachshunds is that they don’t need a lot of exercise and too much exercise can hurt them.
In reality, the opposite is true: getting your dog to exercise regularly can have a huge positive impact on his health.
Not only can it help keep their weight at an ideal level, it also improves cardiovascular fitness and strengthens their core muscles (which support their long spine).
Just how much exercise does a Dachshund need?
A common belief is that Dachshunds are vulnerable because of their size and long backs. Some people do not give their dogs enough exercise because of this and it has a negative effect on their health.
Your overall training goal should be 30-60 minutes a day for a healthy, mature Dachshund.
Puppies need exercise, but you have to be careful not to overdo it.
The general rule for puppies is 5 minutes of moderate exercise per month.
5. Take your Dachshund to the vet regularly
It goes without saying that regular vet visits will help you avoid health problems by solving any problems early when they are more treatable.
Keeping your dog up to date on flea and heartworm vaccines and preventatives will also help prevent illness.
You can do your part at home by checking your Dachshund regularly for new lumps or bumps and by watching for changes in behavior.
Taking your dog to the vet when you notice any sudden changes can increase his lifespan as you can help resolve any issues in the early stages.
What is the life expectancy of the Dachshund? It is up to you!
How you raise your Dachshund can have a big impact on the average age of your Dachshund.
You can still fight genetics and other things out of your control, and accidents can still happen, but any factor you can influence can positively impact your dog’s longevity.
We all know that no number of years is long enough for the Dachshund we love so much.
But we can create extra moments and extra years by making sure we do everything we can to give our Dachshund the best chances for a long, healthy life.