Dachshund and Younger Children

Updated on August 26, 2008
E.S. asks from Anchorage, AK
25 answers

One of the nurses my husband works with rescues dogs on the side. He took in a 2 yr old female dachshund a few weeks ago and another nurse, Betsy, adopted her. Turns out Betsy her won't be able to keep her (long story--not dogs fault) and so Friday the dog was at work. We've owned dogs, and figured someday when our kids were older we'd get another one. Therefore, my husband brought her home on a weekend trial as Betsy is trying to find a home for her.

Now we're trying to decide if we should keep her. We're currently trying her out to see how she does with the boys. Betsy already paid the rescue fees so the dog would be free (she feels bad she can't keep her) and she's up to date on all shots, and is already fixed. She's a healthy dog, a purebread (not that it matters--we've owned lots of mutts), has short hair, and is small enough that my 4 yr old has been able to walk her on a leash. So far she's been good with the boys--she just darts away if they're being too rough (we'd have to work with them). She seems very well mannered--would need a bit of a training refresher, but that's not a big deal for us.

We have no experience with the dachshund breed--do any of you? How are they with kids? What could we expect if we adopted her? Any tips, throughts, and advice would be appreciated!


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answers from Portland on

Hi E.,
I love doxies and they can be good with children, but mostly if they were raised with them. Doxies are super smart and fun playful dogs. There is a website that you can search about dog breeds and they tell you what temperment they have and all that stuff. I don't know the site, but I typed in types of dog breeds good with kids in the search engine and a lot popped up. I do know they are not the best breed to have with kids around. They can be snippy. I did love the doxies we had growing up... GOOD LUCK



answers from Anchorage on

I grew up with them and never had any problems. I am the oldest of 8 kids and if they could handle all of us with no problems 2 should be a breeze.



answers from Spokane on

Hi We have owned 2 mini's we have found they are great dogs. we have a puppy right now. they will play with the kids as any other dog you cant be to rough. we have had no problems with the 2 we have had. we Love them and think they are great dogs. Enjoy if you take it.

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answers from Seattle on

Hello E.,

Best of luck to you and your potential new dog. There have always been a few deal breakers with me when it comes to kids.

It would be GREAT to know if there is some bite history on this dog (either with people or other dogs) - question is - if and when this doggie bites - does he draw blood - require stitches from the hospital/vet? Knowing a bite level (there are 6 bite levels) would help to determine rehoming a dog with children. Knowing a bite history is both good and bad - good because you can determine the level of the dog's bite and whether or not to keep in a home with children (a level 1 and 2 bite I would keep in a home with children - barring other factors) Bad, because you know the dog has bitten and dog will probably use bite to get distance from "reason for bite" again. Fact is 1 out of 2 kids is bite by a dog - usually the family dog. However, even though the bite ratio is high with dogs, more kids are killed by their parents each year than dogs. I have a level 2 biter in my home - has bitten my daughter 4 times in 5 years (all bites happened when my daughter was under 2 years.) This was a dog that I had prior to children for 8 years - had little to no contact with children until our daughter was born. The really good news is that a dog acquires its "bite" in puppyhood. A good owner will actively work on bite inhibition (which is a soft bite - not a NO bite).

Another thing I like to know from adult dogs (and puppies) is possession. How likely and how much will a dog protect its food, toys, body and sleeping space? Possession comes in lots of 3 - if you have food/toy possession, likely you will have handling (don't touch me there) possession and sleeping possession too. Determining a dog's possession level can be tricky for the average dog owner, as I don't want anyone to get bit. However, I'd rather have the adult of the house get bit, then not ask the question and your children bit in a month or two. Possession comes in degrees of difficulty (the don't take it from me factor). Some items have little value and so the dog will not possess them nearly has aggressively as others that have a high factor - and every dog is different on what he thinks deserves a high rating. Some dogs will bite over a tennis ball, while other will only bite over a very yummy meat bone that they have been chewing for 5 minutes and have become very attached to. Some dogs will bite if their beds are touch by another dog/kid, while other must be sound asleep before they will bite when awoken.

Stop test and call a professional if you have any of the following signs:
Dog stiffens and puts nose into the bowl further/harder, growling, snaps.

Continue test if dog continues eating, seems a little stressed, but not stiffening up or growling.

Food test - yummy dry food with warm water - let the dog eat for about 1 minute and then try and pet. If petting goes well, remove bowl slowly. If that goes well, allow dog to eat again, and this time pet his cheek. If that goes well, take some food out of his bowl while he is eating.

Food test - yummy dry food with wet food - same test.

Food test - human food (left overs) that the dog REALLY likes.

Bone test - Bones have degrees of yummy value - the bone is easyiest to take away when first given to the dog and there is little time invested in the bone. Bones becomes more valuable when there is slobber and actual time invested on making it wet and chewable. Bones loses value when dog is near completion of chewing (dog's jaw get tired). Start test when dog has some investment in the bone (maybe a minute or two). It is important for the test to be done with a bone that the dog has an interest in. Some dogs find only certain bones worth biting over.

Stolen food test - stolen food/toys have a higher degree of value because we humans teach dogs that we will run after and "steal" the item away - giving it high level of value. Leave a paper towel soaked in something yummy and then dried low enough for the dog to "steal" - then try and take away. Start with something big like a paper towel and work towards something smaller like a candy wrapper.

If you are uncomforable doing any of these test, ask the rescue person if they have done them, or know someone who can help you.

Last little test is the hug test. Children LOVE to hug their doggies - can your little dog handle a 30 second hug from an adult?

Other little test that will sometimes push a dog to bite is teeth examination and toe nail examination.

Please be careful when doing any of these test as a dog bite can send you to the hospital for stitches and the dog to bite quarantine (required by law when a physician is involved).

If you are at all in doubt, let rescue find another home for him.

M. Hughes
Woodinville, WA

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I worked for a veterinary surgeon for several years and saw an overwhelming number of dachsunds needing back and neck surgery. After that experience I think I might look into doggie health insurance if I were to ever have one in my family. I would also suggest that you teach your kids to never pick her up, as many injuries can happen that way, both to the dog and the kid she might bite when she gets hurt! But the right family dog makes such a great addition to the family. I hope things work out well for you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Yakima on

I, myself, own 2 Dachshund females and we just recently lost our male. My children are 8 and 6 and we have had this particular breed of dog since my children were born. We have had virually no problems with them at all. The only problem we have is that our oldest female doesn't like to be picked up by the kids and will growl and nip as a last resort. Nothing really bad, just a warning to leave her alone. It sounds like the one you have walks away if they get too rough, which is very good. These dogs are also known to be very protective of children. One that we had when our kids were babies wouldn't leave the kids' sides. If they were in the swing or playpen, she was sitting right there. In my experience, they are good dogs to have around kids. Good luck!



answers from Eugene on

We had one when I was a baby - she used to play tog-o-war with me on the floor.
We had another when I was older - along with 2 med. sized mutts. I played hide-n-seek with them.
She slept under my covers - down by my feet.

They're awesome - loveable dogs!!!!

Seems that she likes your family!!!



answers from Seattle on

Our cousins had them growing up, one or two at a time, & I think they're on the 5th generation now. Great great dogs. They dealt with 5+ kids very very easily...but beyond that I'm afraid I don't have a lot of knowledge of them. Horses & wolves I'm familiar with! Our Labrador on the other hand...my goodness.

As a fun anecdote: my cousin Timmy tried to teach their dachshund to swim UNDERWATER in their pool when he (Timmy) was about 8. Needless to say, the dog drowned, but lived another 15 happy years: The babysitter gave the poor thing mouth to nose resuscitation!!! Hurray for quick thinking (terrified) babysitters!

Congratulations on the newest member of your family!




answers from Jacksonville on

My hubby's a vet, and I think I've heard him mention all the health problems they have (I think with their hips or backs?) and those are expensive surgeries! That is definitely something to research and consider.



answers from Seattle on

We have two dachshunds. They are wonderful with our two year old daugther. When she first came home from the hospital they were unsure of her, but quickly formed a bond. Now the three of them play chase and love to give eachother kisses. I have only had two instances where one of the dogs attempted to bite my daughter, but they were unsuccessful. Children are very big compared to the wiener dogs, so they can be intimidating. With the proper training though, they can become best friends. We started preparing our doxies for our child when I was pregnant. We would bother them at their food bowls and rough-house like a child would. They also went to small breed obedience training, which helped them to better listen. They are a stubborn breed, but that is not a problem in our house anymore.

Best of luck to you. Rescueing animals is such a great way to find your new best friend and family member. You just need to have lots of patience for the adjustment period.



answers from Portland on

I had a dachshund as a child and he did great with my brother and I. We now have a year old dachshund and he is really the best dog ever. He is so great with the kids and is the best little companion that I could have imagined for our family. This breed truly is great with children, especially if raised from puppyhood from what I understand. The only caution that I would have is the young age of your boys - you would have to really watch them around the dog because they could accidentally hurt him.


answers from Richland on

My family had a dachshund while I was growing up and my mom had an at-home daycare. Only one child ever got nipped, and it was only a warning nip because the child would not let go of his tail. He is still alive at 16 1/2 years and the only problems we had with him were eating things he wasn't supposed to (and he was a master at getting into the garbage) and piddling for his first few years when he got excited. He had no fear of any other animals, so he HAD to be on a leash, just in case another dog came by. All in all, I would gladly get another dachshund. It was a great experience. One thing to watch with the child is that he doesn't try to pick up the dachshund. Their backs can get hurt easily by being picked up wrong or jumping from too high. I hope that helps!



answers from Portland on

Hi! I'm a veterinary technician and first off congrats! Dachsunds are interesting, you either get a super companion or a total nasty one! I'm glad yours is a super one!

One thing you need to watch for is their backs and hips, Since they have a longer torso, as theky get older they can develop back problems, so if you notice your little doggie yelp when you touch her, hesitate to jump from somewhere she used to just jump all the time, or if she appears stoic, you should get her checked out. One other thing is have your kids practice brushing her teeth with a baby toothbrush. All small dogs are prone to dental disease and starting a dental regimen early is great in preventing severe dental disease. Don't use toothpaste though, its toxic. Get doggie toothpaste from the vet or pet store. One last thing is that they are prone to obesity, so try to avoid table scraps and cheap dog food if you can!
Besides yearly vaccines and preventatives, you'll have a great friend!



answers from Seattle on

We have 3 mini dachshunds and have always had one even when I was growing up. The females seem to be the sweetest. If she isn't snipping at the kids right away when they scare her, she will only be more patient with them later. We love our little weiners and treat them as our kids. They play well and love to cuddle. It is wise to teach your kids how to be gentle with her as she is a little thing and can be hurt just like them. I think it is a great addition to your family. Have fun with her, you will love it!



answers from Seattle on

Hi E.,

Generally dachshounds are stubborn and territorial. we had one growing up and Bruno was very sweet with us. Was a great watchdog, believe it or not. My friend has a female and the dogs intellegence astounds me! Good luck!



answers from Portland on

Our dog is a dachshund/chuahua sp? mix with something else thrown in. He has a dachshund body. He's old now and does have some pain when climbing and jumping. Vet prescribed a chrondroitin formula which helps. Vet said that it's not unusual for a dog with a long back to eventually have some back problems.

Sammy has been good with my grandchildren. Probably because of his age he doesn't want to play with them but he does let them pet him and tolerates some rough behavior. When he gets tired of it he escapes. He doesn't growl even tho I can tell he's not enjoying it because his ears are laid back and his tail is not wagging.

I looked up the dachshund breed on the Internet and that site said that they are good with children, have a low to med energy level, require walking once in awhile. Sounds like an ideal dog for a family with small children.



answers from Eugene on

It sounds like you have a very sweet dog. We had our doxie 3 years before our son was born (now 2 years old) and our doxie has always been super sweet and patient with him even from birth. Our doxie and our cat are best friends (got the kitten when our doxie was 6 months), and one of my son's favorite activities is walking our dog to the park. Doxies are very smart. Ours will also run away if our son is getting too rough (what better response could your ask for?). I think if it's in a loving home and shows no obvious predisposition toward nastiness, it should be fine with the kids.

We got our wonderful doxie when he was 12 weeks. The breeder (AKC, who owned several and breeded doxies for many generations) said as she handed the dog over to us "he can be quiet at times, but sometimes he can bark really loud". This turned out to be true -- our doxie has the loudest bark of any doxie I've ever met. I've met many, many calm and quiet doxies. I think what you observe from the beginning is a pretty good indicator of their personality. Also, my husband exacerbated the situation by playing soccer with our dog and letting him bark as much as he wanted to (dh thought it was cute). DH also thought the puppy needed to "express himself" when he was barking at squirrels, passersby, leaves, whatever -- so he actually convinced me (stupidly) to NOT tell the puppy not to bark. Now we have a barker, but I think the origins are pretty clear. I think it would have been super easy to train this dog not to bark from the beginning. In other words, I believe that what you see is what you get. I think problems with dogs often have more to do with upbringing than the nature of the breed.



answers from Anchorage on

Hi, E. -
My name is M. and I just wanted to tell you about my experience with doxies - they are WONDERFUL for kids.

My husband's (his name is Jay) family has always had doxies throughout his growing up years and they have been really awesome pets and companions. They had two - a male and female - when he was little and were always very gentle. When Jay and I began to date, his younger brother was only two (a second marriage on his mom's part) and they had a red short-haired male that was soooo adorable and lovable - he would actually snuggle with you for as long as you wanted him to! Ryan (Jay's little brother) would pull on his ears and mess with him a bit as little kids do and he would just sit there and take it. When that doxie passed away, they got another one a year later - this one was even better than the last - he was the runt of the litter and was a brindle, long-haired male. He only weighed about eight pounds when he was full-grown and also loved to snuggle and play. They never nipped or snapped no matter what Ryan did to them! Great little dogs!

When my husband and I got married, we got a female, long-haired red doxie - she was sooo adorable - but she was a handful. The males seem to be more mellow and calm whereas the females are more yippy and a bit more jumpy. But she was a good dog for us and a good companion to me since Jay worked long hours as a pilot. She was great to have around and was our "baby".

When we got pregnant, we knew things might change - we weren't sure how Sadie Mae would handle the baby being around her. But she was just as affectionate with her - and EXTREMELY careful around her - she never jumped up on her or anything - she almost tiptoed around her! Eventually, we found we had to move since Jay was changing jobs and so we, luckily, had a friend "take her in" - he had another dog for her to play with and had a HUGE backyard. We visit her often and she always seems to be "smiling" - our friend says that she never went through anything that appeared to be stressful with the change in her "homelife". She adjusted perfectly and fits in with their family like she belonged from day one.

All of the dogs I have mentioned were puppies when they came to us. So that might have something to do with their mannerisms with us. Just to let you know - I have a friend that "saved" an older doxie from the pound and he was very attached to her - unfortunately, he had been abused in some way by his previous owner and, once he was attached to our friend, he wouldn't let anyone get near her - he would bar his teeth and start to growl immediately. He never snapped at us but he would let you know that he thought he was in control and not you.

So...I guess it depends on the situation, how old the dog is, if the dog has any previous ailments or injuries, or if they have a "history". They also have books available to help figure out what is best for them - a good one for us was "Doxies for Dummies" - helped to answer a lot of our questions about why Sadie Mae was doing what she was doing and how to fix it without making the situation worse...

Well...Good luck with your little doxie! I hope she works out for you and your family! They sure are fun!
Take care,
P.S. These little guys LOVE to beg for table scraps - trust me on this one...DO NOT GIVE IN! Once you do...it's all over - and so is their little figure! We over-indulged Sadie Mae and we shouldn't have - once they start to gain weight it's really difficult for them to get it off - and it can really affect their joints in their legs once they become older... ;)



answers from Portland on

We have 2 small boys and a baby girl and used to have a 5 year old male daschund. He used to me my baby before the kids came and was very sweet....however we ended up having to get rid of him(luckily my sister took him) because he had shown signs of aggression toward my boys. I've heard dachsunds arent particular great around children, mine wasnt very tolerant and growled and nipped at my son if he felt threatened or backed into a corner. I just didnt want to wait until he bit him...so sadly we said goodbye. Also when the dog was upset or jealous he would poop or pee in the house! Of course there is always exceptions and I hope your little dachsund will be different, I just thought I would share my experience.
best of wishes



answers from Portland on

Hi E.,

I've had a few dachshunds in the past and each one of them was a truly wonderful and loving dog. We've had two females and one female and didn't have any complaints about any of them. They were really good with my children and my grandchildren (there was a long period of time in between owning the different doxies). Doxies do make nice family dogs, at least from my experience anyway. I've known other people who have owned Doxies also, and the children and grandchildren were raised around the dogs without any problems at all, in those families as well.
You may choose to research the breed on the internet too, to make yourself feel more comfortable. If the dog has been trained, you shouldn't have any problems. I'm sure that you'll have to work with both the children and the dog, somewhat anyway.

Good luck.



answers from Bellingham on

We had a dachshund for three years before our oldest son was born. When he was about 18 months, we decided that we couldn't keep her any longer. She was the most loveable dog, but she really did not like children (she had never really been around them before), and it was just a matter of time before she bit him.

However, when I was a child we had a dachshund (kids were there first), and she was great. My aunt has had the same experience (kids first, dachshund second), and the dog worked out great. In my limited experience, it seems that you need to have the dog grow up around kids, and you'll have much better success.



answers from Bellingham on

As a Dog Whisperer & pet lover/advocate, one of my biggest pet peeves, is the false belief that not all dogs are good or can live with children. I believe all dogs have the potential to live happy dogs life, with children & children are the richer & safe, because of such. However & most importantly, All Owners, including children, NEED training & education about living with canines. Dogs ARE NOT little people with fur coats & therefore, using Human psychology is not going to work on a canine! You wouldn't treat a 5yr. old like a 30 yr. old would you, so why treat a dog like a human? So your educating yourself on the breed is a step in the right direction but here are a few notes on what you can expect from the Dachshund breed...

Right Dog for you?
Dachshunds are loveable, playful & make great companions, including homes with children with appropriate supervision. They need moderate exercise & can adapt to most living environments & depending on their coat type, may need regular grooming.

The Dachshund is clever, affectionate, comical, lively & with all senses well developed. Any disply of shyness is a serious concern &/or fault. Very clever, many owners find themselves, as with all dogs, the one being trained, if you don't assume the Calm Assertive Pack Leader position. Devoted to their family most find the long hair the calmer of the 3 types of Duchsunds and are therefore the choice by those with children as they are a devoted & protective of thier pack/family. However all types of Dacshunds are willful & difficult to train. They like to bark & at times don't like to be handled/touched & are great diggers who are prone to quick weight gain. They are active dogs & like ALL dogs, need to be walked daily & enjoy play time in open spaces. However, they should be refrained from jumping up as they are prone to spinal damage.

I hope these few tips & information helps in making your choice to add a new member to your family :)

Happy trails :)




answers from Eugene on

My dad gave my mom a dachshund when she was pregnant with my older sister. I was born seven years later and I remember playing with him all the time! He was the BEST dog. So smart and loyal and great with us kids who did everything to him, including dressing him in doll clothes and "marrying" him to our neighbor's cat! : D He lived for seventeen years and he was amazing. I still miss him very much. So, I guess to answer your question, dachshunds are great with kids, if you treat them kindly and teach your kids to do the same! But I think that goes for any dog, really. Hope this was helpful!

Love, J.



answers from Portland on

Hi E. -

We have a doxie and three kids. "Ben" is amazingly good with them. He loves them, is patient, plays nice with their friends - is an all around great dog.

Dachshunds have a reputaion for not being great with kids, but we have had them and not had that experience. Ours have always been great with kids.

Doxies are hounds, so they are not the easiest to train (slow at potty training, leashes, "nonos", but they eventually get it. They are funny and sweet and really affectionate. They are comfort loving and will sleep in your bed if allowed, on pillows and soft chairs and blankies. They are prone to spinal problems and arthritis as they age.

In general they are not fond of strangers, are good watchdogs, love their family, like other dogs and are not good with chickens, rabbits and cats. Enjoy - I think they are great dogs.



answers from Seattle on

we had two as a kid and i loved them a lot. i am not an animal person but i really like theose dogs. they were always nice.

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