The distance which your dachshund can safely and comfortably walk will depend on their age, health, and whether they are a standard or miniature dog. Healthy, fit, full-size adult dachshunds may be able to cover five miles on foot or even further.
Puppies should take walks of a length appropriate for their age, in order to avoid developmental issues from over-or under-exercising. If your dog is older or has any health conditions, pay attention to their energy and exertion levels when planning the length of their walk. Miniature dachshunds may only cover half the distance of their full-size cousins.
Our clear and simple guide below sets out the relevant factors you will want to consider when working out how far your dachshund can and should walk.
Full-size Adult Dachshunds
Dachshunds reach physical maturity at around one year of age. As an adult, the distance your dachshund can walk depends mainly on their health and fitness. If you exercise your dog regularly and build up stamina and walking distance gradually, they will soon be able to cover five miles or more during a walk.
A full-size adult dachshund will need a minimum of one hour’s exercise every day. Walking on or off the lead is a good way to provide a large chunk of this. Exercise does not all have to be taken at once. You can also walk your dachshund several times a day for shorter distances.
Dachshunds are high-energy dogs, originally bred to hunt badgers, and may enjoy far more walking and other exercise than the minimum requirement. Allow some time during longer walks for mental stimulation through sniffing and unstructured playing. These good exercise practices can prevent boredom and poor behaviors in your dog.
Puppies have soft bones and immature bodies and brains. This will influence how far they can (and should) walk. Owners should pay attention to recommended levels of walking and other exercise for their dachshund puppies in order to promote healthy muscle growth and general fitness.
As a general guide, dachshund puppies should exercise for a minimum of approximately five minutes for each month of life. So, 10 minutes for a two-month-old puppy, 30 minutes for a six-month-old puppy, and so on.
For young dachshund puppies, formal exercise, such as walking on a lead, is unnecessary. Before they receive their inoculations, simply playing in a garden or yard should be sufficient exercise to support their development and keep them fit and healthy. After your puppy is inoculated you can gradually introduce them to walking outside.
Over-exercising your puppy can be dangerous before they are fully grown and the growth plates have closed in their bones. Forcing a puppy to walk overly long distances, could result in damage to the back, front feet, or other body parts.
Under-exercising can result in unhealthy body weight, weakened muscles, and poor general health.
While dachshunds generally remain active for their full lifespan, after around seven years of age, the need for exercise will gradually decrease. Pay attention to how well your dog copes with longer walks or more strenuous play and this will help you to set a sensible walking length to suit the energy levels and stamina of an older dog.
Regular walking in older dachshunds will help your dog maintain a healthy weight and keep their bodies strong and supple. These factors are particularly important for dachshunds, as the breed is vulnerable to back problems.
While the average height of standard dachshunds is 20-27cm, for miniature dachshunds, this is only 13-18cm. Due to their smaller size and shorter legs, miniature dachshunds generally only require half the amount of exercise and walk only half the distance of full-size dogs.
Pace Of Walking With A Dachshund
You should consider your walking pace, especially if you have a miniature dachshund. If you are going to walk at a faster speed, or jog, be aware that while dachshunds have evolved to run in shorter explosive bursts at 15-20 miles per hour, they are unlikely to be able to sustain this pace over longer distances.
Dachshunds can walk comfortably on a range of surfaces, including grass, pavement, and sand. When walking your dachshund for any distance near a road, do remember to keep them on the lead as dachshunds have no road sense and will be at risk from vehicles.
While walking with your dachshund you should also avoid stairs or any stepped surfaces. Ascending or descending these can seriously hurt a dachshund’s long back. If you come across steps unexpectedly, you may need to pick up and carry your dog to the top or bottom if there is no route around the obstacle.
Dachshund Health Issues
With their short legs and long backs, dachshunds are vulnerable to certain health complaints that could affect their ability to walk long distances. Health considerations mean that not all forms of exercise are suitable for dachshunds. You should bear these health risks in mind when planning longer walks with your dog.
As a breed dachshunds have particular susceptibility to back issues including Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), an abnormality of the cushioning discs that sit between vertebrae in the spine. Miniature dachshunds may also be prone to heart disease or the sight condition Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
While walking a suitable distance remains a recommended activity for dachshunds of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels, dogs of this breed should not be allowed to jump while walking. Nor should they walk or run up and downstairs. Either of these activities could cause damage to their backs.
The Final Word…
Dachshunds are energetic dogs who love to walk and generally can happily cover longer distances with their owners. Consider your dachshund’s health, size, and age when planning the length of your walk, and consult your vet if you have particular concerns.
If you’re still asking yourself how far a dachshund can walk, your best answer may come from putting a lead on your dog and taking them outside to find out!