Dapple Dachshund
Dachshund Purebred

What Is A Dapple Dachshund? (A Complete Guide To The Dapple Doxie)

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Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany for a very specific job, to hunt badgers. This long, low bodied breed, was perfect for digging into a badger den and then ousting the occupants. 

Also known as the the Dapple Doxie or Dapple Sausage Dog, the Dapple Dachshund is basically the same as any other Dachshund, except its coat has a 'dapple' pattern.

A dapple dachshund is a long, low dog, like a standard dachshund. They have very short, little legs and a very long spine. The main difference in a dapple dachshund is the coat coloring. A dapple dachshund has distinctive splotches of color, much like a blue merle of herding breeds.

Dapple dachshunds are created when at least one of the parents is dapple. You can also have a double dapple dachshund.

What is a dapple dachshund?

The dapple dachshund comes in a standard and miniature size. They also can have three different coat types: smooth, wire-haired, and a long coat

The original dachshund was bred for badger hunting on different terrains. Badgers are 25-40 pound creatures, with sharp claws and teeth, so the dachshund also had to be incredibly brave.

The dachshund has a very loud, 'houndy' bark that can be heard from underground and alerts their above-ground humans to where they are. 

The dapple dachshund, just like the standard dachshund, comes in two sizes, standard and miniature. The standard dachshund can grow to around 8-9 inches tall at the shoulder, while the miniature will stand 5-6 inches at the shoulder.

Standard dachshunds will usually weigh between 16-32 pounds, while the miniature will weigh 11 pounds or less.

What kind of coat does a dapple dachshund have?

Dapple dachshunds can have a few different coat colors. These are typically black and tan, red, or chocolate and tan.

dapple dachshund puppy

A little Dapple Dachshund puppy with white piebald and silver dapple fur

The dappling of a dachshund can vary from dog to dog. It can be anything from an all-over pattern, to a single spot. Interestingly, if the dachshund has even one spot its coat, then it must be registered as a dapple. 

When it comes to the coat hair, the dapple dachshund can have one of three different coat types, smooth-coated, long-coated, and wire-haired.

What kind of temperament does a dapple dachshund have?

Dapple Dachshunds are smart, independent and courageous. They are very brave for their size, with a spunky independent streak that makes them a great companion when out in the wild.

They can be excitable, and some like to bark or even snap at strangers, but with some basic training and daily exercise they make a great family dog, especially in a house with other dogs and pets.

When it comes to intelligence, Dapple Dachshunds are not the most 'intelligent' breed, but they are still fairly easy to train. This is because the intelligence of a dog is often a measure of how obedient he is. Dachshunds are independent, and sometimes stubborn dogs that like to do their own thing. So they may not be the best working dog when it comes to obedience, but they'll have no problem learning the usual basic commands such as stay and sit.

Do Dapple Dachshunds make good family dogs?

There are people that say dachshunds are not a good dog to have if you've got kids. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you've got the safety of the dog to consider. They have very long backs that are prone to injury. If a child tries to climb onto the dachshund, or falls on him then this is very bad news for the dog.

Then, you need to understand that the dachshund was bred to hunt badgers and not work along side people, in close proximity. If they are treated poorly, or not handled correctly they do have a tendency to snap or bite, more so than other small breeds. However, under the right circumstances, they can make a good family pet, they just might be better suited to an older household, or one without kids.

One positive aspect of owning a dapple dachshund is their loud bark, which makes them great watch dogs. But he might not be the right breed for you if you have sensitive ears!

dapple dachshund on a bed

Dachshunds can do well with other animals and dogs if they are socialized with them early. Since they were bred to hunt badgers, the dachshund has an impressive prey drive. This prey drive can lead them to want to chase small pets if not socialized with them early.

The dapple dachshund can live in an apartment, house, or in the country. Just like any dog, they love visits to the country where they can smell all sorts of new scents. As long as a dachshund gets enough exercise and the occasional chance to dig he will do well in most living spaces. 

Dachshunds were bred to dig out badgers, so they love to dig! Be sure you plan for this before you get a dachshund. Have a sandbox or other designated area for him to dig. If you catch him digging elsewhere in the yard you can redirect him to his digging spot.

Because the breed was bred to dig it is important that they be allowed to dig. Just like breeds that love to swim (like the labradoodle or golden retriever) should be allowed to swim as often as possible, so too the dachshund should be allowed to dig often.

Are Dapple Dachshunds Hypoallergenic?

The dachshund is not considered to be a hypoallergenic breed. However, the wire haired coat of some dapple dachshunds will produce less dander. For some people with a mild allergy, a wire haired dachshund this might be alright.

Are Dapple Dachshunds easy to train?

No, dapple dachshunds are not the easiest breed to train.

Dachshunds are usually labeled as “stubborn” and “hard to train.” It's not that they  are trying to be stubborn or are trying to make you mad. They were originally bred for hunting badger and are meant to work alone.

So, the dachshund as a breed was not bred with trainability in mind, like a springer spaniel or german shepherd. Dachshunds are not being stubborn, they are just being themselves.

With the dapple dachshund, early socialization is essential. They need to have positive interactions with all sorts of people, animals, sights, sounds, smells, and environments.

It is especially important to socialize these dogs with small animals like bunnies, guinea pigs, cats, and hamsters. If they are not socialized with these small creatures a dachshund will likely decide that they are fair game for chasing.

Because the dachshund was bred to be independent and be able to work independently from people it can be challenging to train them. But with persistent, positive training methods they can be house trained. By using the dachshund’s prey drive to your advantage you can reward him with games, instead of always using treats as the reward. 

When out and about, it is often best to keep this breed on a leash. They have a high prey drive which may take them far away from their owner unless they have been trained to have good recall.

It is also a good idea to walk them on a leash attached to a harness instead of a collar. Consistent pulling and jerking on a collar can cause neck, spine, thyroid, and other problems. So a harness is the best option.

dapple dachshund training

A dapple dachshund will do well with 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily. This could include daily walks and/or digging sessions. Many dachshund owners say that digging is actually great for a dapple dachshunds' physical and mental health.

If you've got a dachshund, it's a good idea to engage in activities that will build muscles on your dachshund, especially around his spine. This will help to ensure his back is strong and healthy for years to come. An assortment of balance work using inflatable discs, inflatable bones, paw pods or inflatable peanuts will help to ensure a strong back and core.

Many dog training facilities offer classes on how to use these items or you could ask a dog physical therapist. 

Taking part in sporting events that allow him to use his instincts can be a fun activity for both of you. Dachshunds excel at earth dog trials and tracking as both of these use a dachshund’s innate abilities without needing a whole lot of training. 

How do you groom a dapple dachshund?

When it comes to grooming a dapple dachshund, there are few differences depending on the type of coat:

1. Smooth Coated Dapple Dachshund

The smooth-coated dachshund has the easiest coat maintenance. Simply brush with a hounds glove every week or so. 

2. Long Haired Dapple Dachshund

To groom a long-haired dachshund you will need a pin brush, slicker brush, and a metal comb. Start by using the pin brush and do an overall body brushing.

Brush in the direction that the fur grows. Then use the slicker brush to remove more of the hair. The slicker brush will reach a deeper level of fur. Be very gentle on the ears. Use the metal comb to carefully comb out any knots.

Be especially careful of knots under the ear, pulling on these can be extremely painful. Try applying cornstarch to the knot to help loosen it. Daily brushing is recommended to keep knots and mats from forming. 

Here's a cool video showing a long haired dachshund being groomed

3. Wire-Haired Dapple Dachshund

The wire-haired dachshund will need to be plucked or stripped a few times a year. To hand strip, you will want to work with a dirty coat.

When done the wire hair should resemble a smooth coated Dachshund other than their beard and eyebrows. Comb the fur in the opposite direction that it is growing, then use your hand to gently pull of loss and uneven fur that you see.

It works best to use your other hand to pull the skin tight. This will make the pulling of the lost fur easier. When working on the main portion of the body you will want to hold the skin in a roll with one hand and then pull loss hairs with the other hand. In between strippings you can brush him once or twice a week. His beard and eyebrows may need to be trimmed as well.

Bathing a Dapple dachshund

The dapple dachshund should not require much bathing at all. They tend to keep themselves quite clean. If your dachshund needs a bath, be sure to use dog appropriate shampoo and conditioner. 

In my experience, the short-haired dachshund is the most likely of the three to have doggy-odor. So, the short haired dapple may need to be bathed more often than it's long haired and wire haired counterparts. 

How do you take care of a Dapple dachshunds' teeth?

Keeping any dog’s teeth clean is a very important endeavor as it can help to keep your dog healthy and prevent disease.

Looking after a dapple dachshunds teeth is the same as any other breed of dog. You will want to use a doggie toothpaste, since dogs cannot spit out toothpaste as we humans do, so it needs to be safe to swallow. Most vets recommended brushing at least 2-3 times a week. I actually prefer to brush my dog’s teeth daily. It's a good routine to get into as the dog gets used to it and it can be easy to forget if you only brush them a couple of times a week. 

Make sure to give your dachshund plenty of good things to chew on as well throughout the day. Chewing is important for a dog’s dental health, it is also wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable for dogs. Dehydrated trachea is great for your dachshunds teeth as well as his joints, including his back joints!

How do you look after a dachshunds nails?

Trimming your dog’s nails every week is a great idea. Keeping the nails short is important for a dog’s overall health. Long nails can be painful and can even mess up your dog’s alignment. The dachshund is already prone to back problems so it would be silly to allow their nails to get too long. 

How Do You Look After A Dachshunds ears?

While the dachshund usually does not have any ear issues it is a good idea to keep an eye on their ears. A little wax is normal but if you see that it is building up you might want to clean his ears. Just use a cotton ball soaked in a mixture of half apple cider vinegar and half filtered water. This will clean the ears as well as help to keep them dry.

What Health Problems Can dapple dachshunds Have?

The length of a dachshund’s back combined with their short legs puts them at risk for many back problems. The dachshund is at a 19-24% greater risk of having intervertebral disc disease than other dogs. This is very painful and can cause paralysis. 

About one in every four dachshunds will develop this back issue. So this is an important thing to think about when considering if a dachshund is right for you.

It is important to minimize the amount of jumping from a height that a dachshund does. Jumping off the couch or bed can be enough to cause great damage to the spine.

Sometimes a single jump is enough to do damage and repeated jumping off of things can cause back issues over time.

You can use ramps to help your dog on and off the couch and bed to help avoid these issues. Also, avoid letting your dachshund go down stairs and don’t let him jump out of the car. Remember that generally, it isn’t when you jump that you get injured, it’s when you land. The same is true for your dapple dachshund. 

The breed can be prone to some eye issues as well. These include optic nerve hypoplasia, glaucoma, dry eye, and cataracts. The long-haired dapple dachshund is particularly susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy which can result in blindness. 

The double dapple dachshund can suffer from problems that aren't as prevalent in other dachshund types.

The double dapple can be created when both parents are dapple. Double dapple dachshunds often have vision and hearing problems. Some are born deaf, blind, or with missing or micro eyes. These issues can drastically reduce the affected dog's quality of life. 

What's the best food for a dapple dachshund and how much do you feed them?

The dapple dachshund (and all dachshunds) can be prone to gaining weight, especially if they are the miniature sized dachshund. As you can imagine an overweight dachshund is at much higher risk for back problems. Not only that, but it isn’t good for a dog to drag their tummy on the ground. So, keeping the dachshund fit and of a healthy weight is of the utmost importance.

When selecting a food for your dapple dachshund be sure to choose a food that is high in protein and low in carbs. Carbs will encourage weight gain in your dog and are an unnecessary nutrient for dogs. High protein will help support your dachshund’s muscles which will help support his spine. 

You can choose kibble, wet, cooked, raw, or home-prepared diets for your dapple dachshund. Whatever the style of food you choose, be sure that it provides your dachshund with plenty of protein.

dapple dachshund diet

Adding in foods with naturally occurring collagen can be very beneficial. Collagen helps keep the joints in your dachshunds back strong and healthy. Foods like bone broth, trachea (raw or dehydrated), chicken feet, and green lipped mussels are all great for your dogs joints. So, be sure to feed them often.

You will want to feed your dog according to the package directions or if feeding raw 2-3% or his body weight daily. If you notice that he is gaining weight feed him a little less. If he is losing weight, and doesn't need to, feed him a little more. 

It is a good idea to change the brand or at least the protein that you feed your dog often. Feeding the same thing everyday can sometimes cause your dog to become allergic to that protein or food. Plus, variety is the spice of life! Adding in some variety to your dog's diet will be life enhancing for him.

Also, make sure to always provide your dapple dachshund with plenty of fresh clean water.

Where can you get a dapple dachshund and how much do they cost?

Dapple dachshunds can cost anywhere from free to $3,500+, it all depends on where you buy them or if you adopt one.

With all the possible health issues of the breed I would recommend getting your dapple dachshund from a reputable breeder. Of course, these pups are going to come with a higher initial price tag, but they are much less likely to suffer expensive health problems later on in life. 

If you choose a show quality pup, then these are the pups that will come with the premium price tags. However, a reputable breeder will also have “pet quality” pups that will cost a bit less. Pet quality simply means that the breeder thinks that the pup would not be good for conformation showing. Perhaps the pup is a little too big or small, too long or short, or has some other “fault” according to the breed standard. 

Reputable breeders are breeding for temperament, conformation (which is extremely important in this breed), and health. All of these things are very important for the health of the puppies they produce. A good breeder will also start socialization before you ever take the pup home. This will start the pup off on the right paw. 

The AKC has a list of registered breeders that you can look at. Note that just because a breeder is registered with the AKC it does not inherently make them an excellent breeder. Ultimately you will want to meet the breeder and the parents of the litter. If you get a creepy feeling or have any doubts, at all, seek a new breeder.

When looking for a puppy be sure to meet both parents if possible and make use that they are not both dapple. This puts the entire litter at risk for an assortment of health problems, defects, and malformation. You do not want one of these puppies!

Speak with your money and don’t buy a double dapple puppy. This will help to discourage breeders from breeding them, which in turn will help to reduce animal cruelty. It is cruel to breed a litter of puppies that you know is at a higher risk of health problems that include things that will reduce the dog’s quality of life.

When examining the parents it is also good to look and see if they have even shorter legs than normal or even longer backs. This would put the puppies at higher risk for back problems.

You can also occasionally find dapple dachshunds at your local shelter or a breed rescue. Most states have their rescue, simply contact them and ask if they have any dapples.

Here are a few of the many Dachshund rescue centres located in the US.

Dachshund Rescue 

Website URL

Dachshund Rescue Northern California

Mile High Dachshund Rescue Colorado

GetALong Dachshund Rescue Florida

Midwest Dachshund Rescue

Kentucky Dachshund Rescue

Furry Angels Dachshund Rescue

Dachshund Rescue of St. Louis

Little Paws Dachshund Rescue

Schultz Senior Dachshund Rescue

All American Dachshund Rescue

Be warned that the dapple dachshunds that you find at the shelter or a rescue were given up for a reason and may not come from a good breeder.

They may just be unwanted pets, or they may have behavioral problems or health problems. Rescuing any dog can sometimes be challenging, and you really need to think it through before committing to a rescue dog. If you've never owned a dog (or dachshund) before, I'd highly recommend fostering one first for a weekend or a week to see if it's really for you.

The dapple dachshund - Summary

The dapple dachshund comes in standard and miniature, as well as, long haired, smooth coated, and wire-haired. If one of the parents of a litter of dachshunds is dapple that can result in dappled puppies. If both parents are dappled this is called a double dapple but these can have serious health problems.

This is not the best breed for a home with children. They do well with an hour or so of activity a day and love to dig. They are not the easiest breed to train but they do excel in canine sports such as earth dog trials. 

It is important to take care of your dapple dachshunds spine as this is one of the most vulnerable parts of his body. Be sure to engage him in exercises that strengthen his back. Feeding him a diet high in protein and collagen will help to support his back health as well. 

Overall, the dapple dachshund makes for a loyal, courageous companion.

About the author

Emer Thomas

Emer Thomas

Emer has been around dogs all of her life. At a young age, she learned all about caring for dogs from her father, a top Irish breeder. She is now a dog breeder, former champion show dog handler and cup secretary of the Cairn Terrier Association of Ireland. She currently has two dogs, Lady Millie the Border Collie and Alfie the Springer Spaniel. Her interests include dog social training, dog nutrition, and dog metacognitive studies.