Dachshunds don’t look like the kind of dog that might be aggressive, and with their small stature and cute little faces, they are probably rarely considered aggressive – but you may have heard that they can be a bit feisty at times. Is that true?
Dachshunds can be feisty, yes. 99% of dachshunds are not aggressive, but they are fierce dogs that can hold their own surprisingly well in most circumstances. Poor training or improper socialization could lead to an aggressive dachshund that is prone to biting or nipping, growling, or other unwanted behavior.
Why Are Dachshunds Feisty?
Dachshunds can be pretty defensive at times, and it’s important to remember that these little dogs were bred for hunting badgers. That means they would often be going into a badger’s set, frequently without the backup of a human.
Given how strong and dangerous badgers can be, and how small dachshunds are, it’s no surprise that these little creatures show their teeth sometimes! They are not quick to attack, but they certainly do have instincts that could lead them to defend themselves or their loved ones if they feel threatened.
A dachshund that is teased or played with roughly by children could lash out. Of course, any dog has the ability to do so, and you shouldn’t leave young children alone with dogs, even little ones like dachshunds. Children rarely have the ability to read warning signals or understand when an animal is getting distressed.
Dachshunds certainly aren’t aggressive by default, but they do have the capacity and the nature to defend themselves or take on a threat if they feel it is necessary.
Are Dachshunds Dangerous?
Dachshunds aren’t very dangerous, no. There have been reports of dachshunds attacking and hurting people, sometimes badly, but they don’t have the strength that many bigger dogs have, so they rarely do serious damage.
However, they certainly can bite, and a dog bite can be dangerous to anyone in the right circumstances. You should treat all dachshunds with respect and if one is behaving aggressively, diffuse the situation by moving away from it (especially if it is not your dog or you don’t know it well).
Few people would think of dachshunds as dangerous animals, but they can be at times, especially in groups. Don’t dismiss them just because they are small!
What Might Provoke Aggression?
There are quite a few things that might encourage your dachshund to lash out at someone, so let’s explore what the top factors are.
The first and most obvious is fear. If your dog feels it is being threatened (or that you or another member of its “pack” is being threatened), it is very likely to try and attack the threat.
Quite a few things could make your dachshund afraid, and if it hasn’t been well-socialized with either people or other dogs, it may struggle, particularly while outside the house.
Larger dogs are a common problem for dachshunds since they are so small themselves. It is important to socialize dachshunds well when they are puppies to teach them good manners and healthy interactions. Don’t put your dog in situations where it is confronted by a large dog if you know it is nervous.
Dachshunds may also show aggression when they are bored or anxious. That might surprise you, but any dog can get aggressive if it is frustrated. A dachshund that is not getting sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation may start to lash out.
They don’t have another way to verbalize their issue, and so the negative energy turns into aggression. It is important to make sure your dachshund gets plenty of exercise and play to avoid this sort of aggression.
Dachshunds may also show aggression toward smaller creatures, and this is very common. They are, after all, hunting dogs, and were bred to chase down prey. Although they are badger dogs specifically, they have a very keen prey drive and they will hunt anything small that moves fast.
You might see your dachshund growl at or attack smaller dogs, cats, rodents, ferrets, etc. However, even something larger can engage the prey drive and provoke an attack. A child running around may prompt a dachshund to chase and bite – so this is something to be very aware of if you own or you are thinking about getting a dachshund.
If your dog has something that it does not want to give up, it may show aggression when this resource is being threatened. Food aggression is common, but you may also notice your dog is possessive of its toys or even a certain space in the home.
Dachshunds can be quite ferocious when guarding something that they view as theirs, so be aware of this potential issue and don’t let your dachshund “boss” you around; aggression over resources needs to be dealt with.
What Does Aggression Look Like?
You are probably already familiar with some of the top signs of aggression, but it is also easy to misread dogs at times. Sometimes, playfulness is mistaken for aggression, and vice versa.
Aggression may occasionally look more like submission. If your dog’s ears are back, it is holding its head down, or it’s trying to back off, it’s probably going to bite if pushed any further. Alternatively, aggression may be shown through snarling, teeth-baring, and fixed staring.
If you notice any of these signs, you need to take prompt action to deescalate the situation and help avert an attack. You should determine what is provoking your dog’s aggressive response and then find an appropriate solution.
Ignoring these signs will often result in the dog lurching out of control and potentially injuring a person or their pet. Do not underestimate your dachshund; while small, it is strong and capable of harming others if it tries.
Dachshunds aren’t the most aggressive breed of dog, but they are not afraid to show their fierce side if they feel the situation calls for it. Learn your dog’s warning cues and pay attention to their needs so you can minimize aggression.