Dachshunds Hunting: Are They Still Used & Are They Good?

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When you think of a hunting dog, a small tiny dog with short legs like a dachshund probably doesn’t come to mind. However, dachshunds were actually specifically bred for hunting!

In fact, during our research we found that most hunters with dachshunds say they’re the best breed they’ve had for hunting. This is probably why dachshunds are one of the top ten dog breeds for hunting.

In this article you’ll discover:

  • 7 reasons why dachshunds are great hunting dogs
  • Details from hunters with dachshunds about their experiences
  • The 5 steps to train your dachshund for hunting
  • And more!

Let’s dive in.

Are Dachshunds Still Used For Hunting?

Dachshunds are still used for hunting by many people around the world. dachshunds are used by hunters to track and hunt.

They are primarily used in European countries but can also be found in the USA.

Back in the day, it was just the standard-sized dachshund that was used for hunting, then came the creation of the miniature dachshunds.

The miniature dachshund was better suited for smaller game like rabbit, squirrel, and prairie dogs.

In today’s world we see both standard and miniature dachshunds being used for badger hunting and even tracking down wounded animals like deer.

Some hunters will even train packs of dachshunds to hunt down prey.

“there is a guy that lives near us in rural Vermont that has a pack of dachshunds and you can hire him to send them out and track down the animal.”

Haydenrose666 from reddit

Having a pack of dachshunds gives hunters the advantage as the dogs can hunt together, then split off to cover multiple entrances to animal dens.

Dachshund hunting pack

Are Dachshunds Good Hunting Dogs?

After surveying hunters with dachshunds on reddit and quora many say they are some of the best hunting dogs they have had!

Specially for hunting down badgers but even for blood tracking. The one key with dachshunds hunting is making sure they are trained at a young age.

There does however seem to be some difference between longhair, shorthaired and wirehaired dachshunds and their hunting strengths.

When it comes to using dachshunds for blood tracking the best for the job is the wirehaired dachshunds.

“ I have two longhairs and a wire and I can absolutely agree that my wire is the tracker of the three. She is constantly nose to ground finding something or looking for something. She also seems to be more willing to please whereas the other two simply want me to feed and pet them.”

YsoSerious88 from reddit

Now, when it comes to hunting small badgers there did not seem to be much debate on which performed the best.

There may seem to be some preference between which dachshund (longhaired, short haired, and wirehair) is best for tracking but the key is how you raise and train them.

For more details here’s 7 reasons why dachshunds are great hunting dogs:

1) Senses Of Smell & Vibration

The dachshunds are part of the “hound dog” family, which means they track prey using their sense of smell and hearing. They can even feel vibrations underground to track animals.

The senses a dachshund uses are called spoor sense and reverberatory sense.

2) Loud Bark

If you own a dachshund you know how piercing their bark can be. They have a special bark that is very loud and helps hunters locate the animals once the dachshund finds them.

3) Claws For Digging

Dachshunds are avide diggers. This sucks for your backyard if you have a dachshund but is great for a hunting companion. 

They can dig deep into an animal’s narrow burrow and if they get stuck, they have a long tail to pull them out.

4) Lung Capacity

Although dachshunds have a small body they have quite a large lung capacity. Their long backs give them the extra room for their lungs.

This gives dachshunds impressive endurance that allows them to hunt for extended periods of time.

5) Strength & Powerful Jaws

Dachshunds have a low center of gravity which gives them unshakable balance, even in sloped terrain.

Their front and back legs are strong and when you combine that with their low center of gravity it gives them speed and power.

Not to mention they have powerful jaws that can be helpful if they need to attack or defend themselves.

6) Natural Instinct Makes Training Easy

When training a dachshund to hunt they are able to pick up on training easier than other breeds. This is because it’s built into them, quite literally.

They were specifically designed for the purpose of chasing down animals, tracking them, digging down into holes to pull out prey for hunters.

The dachshund’s main purpose was for retrieval and tracking.

7) Variety Of Animals They Can Hunt

Dachshunds can hunt a wide variety of animals. A trained dachshund will chase animals out from underground, dig into their hideouts, and can even fight and defend if needed.

What Animals Can Dachshunds Hunt?

Dachshunds can hunt a variety of animals like squirrels, fox, groundhogs, rabbits, prairie dogs, opossum, raccoons, badgers and pheasants.They can also be used to track down wounded large animals like deer.

Back in the day they even used to hunt boar. Goes to show that big things come in small packages!

So are dachshunds good hunting dogs? Yes, they’re in the top ten for hunting dog breeds for a reason. All the hunters that were surveyed gave glowing reviews about their dachshunds hunting skills.

Tracking Animals With Dachshunds 

dachshunds hunting

In Europe and a few parts of the US dachshunds are actually the most preferred dog for tracking animals while hunting.

Dachshunds are able to pick up on scents easily and follow the trail. However, it takes time and patience to train this skill.

However, once trained they will track down almost any wounded animal.

The preferred dachshund amongst hunters is the wirehaired dachshund for tracking.

Hunting Prey With Dachshunds 

Dachshunds were initially created in Germany for the purpose of hunting badgers and small animals. That’s why the name “dachshund”  means “badger dog”.

When hunting badgers hunters usually have a few dachshunds they let loose to deal with them.

Badgers are known to be aggressive and are larger than dachshunds.

So having a few dachshunds in a pack is the route most hunters take.

When it comes to smaller animals like squirrels, fox, groundhogs, rabbits, prairie dogs, opossum, raccoons, and pheasants, standard dachshunds are able to hunt these solo.

Due to the size of badgers, foxes, and raccoons, miniature dachshunds may not be the best choice. They are too small to handle bigger animals like badgers and could be more easily harmed.

For smaller prey like squirrels, groundhogs, rabbits, and prairie dogs, miniature dachshunds are great.

5 Steps To Train A Dachshund To Hunt

Although dachshunds are one of the best dog breeds for hunting, they still need proper training. 

Without proper training no dog would be a good hunting dog.

The best thing you can do if you want a great hunting dachshund is to train them to be obedient.

Before we get into the steps it is important to know just how hard this style of training is. It requires patience, discipline and consistency.

Starting young is one of the most important parts of developing a great hunting dog.

Step #1 – Obedience Training

The first step in building a dachshund’s hunting skills is to get them listening to you.

This is where obedience training comes into play. If your dog is not obedient to your every command your dog will have a hard time learning how to properly hunt.

They may learn how to chase around animals but not properly hunt with you.

If you are looking for some more in-depth help with obedience training you should check out Spiritdog’s online obedience training course.

The course covers all things obedience and can be a great start before moving into specific training when hunting.

Another option is to go to in person group classes. This can help socialize your dachshund and allow them to better differentiate friend vs foe.

Step #2 – Familiarize Your Dachshunds With Hunting

Now that you have an obedient dog that listens to your command you’ll want to familiarize your dog to the prey and sounds they will experience hunting.

Since dachshunds typically chase small prey, start with some small animals like rabbits or squirrels to familiarize them.

This is simply to get them familiar. You want to really test their obedience here. 

If an animal runs by you don’t want your dachshund running off chasing them unless you have given a command.

Then you are going to want to get them used to the sights and sounds they will experience when hunting.

This could be gunshots, shouting, decoys, the scent of the animal you are hunting, etc.

They need to be used to these things if they are to hunt with you.

Take them hunting even when they are not doing anything.

Step #3 – Work On Their Sniffer

Next step in training your dachshund to hunt is to start teaching them to use their nose.

You can take scraps of food and hide them in strategic places.

Then you want to take your dog and allow them to use their nose to try and find the food you’ve hidden.

You can start this training inside using commands like “hunt”. At first you can help guide them to the food.

Overtime, you want to reduce how much you help them until they can do it on their own by simply saying “hunt”.

Anytime they succeed, praise them and reward them!

Step #4 – Take It Outside

Once your dachshund is able to find hidden food inside you want to start getting smarter with your placement.

Head outside and strategically place the pieces of food. Place them on top of the ground, place some underground, etc

Then take them out and see how well they can find them. You may have to help guide them a bit here.

Remember to praise and reward anytime they are successful (even when you help them).

Step #5 – Start Teaching “Hunt” With Animals

At this stage your dachshund should be obedient in all circumstances, and is used to hunting sounds and sights.

Now you need to trial them with animals.

Take them out during a time you know the animal you are trying to hunt is most active. Stick to the smaller animal at this point like rabbits.

Until they get some practice as bigger animals like badgers could harm them.

When you get your dachshunds in front of a fleeing animal you want to point their head in the direction of the animal then say your release command like “hunt”.

Some dachshunds will bark or whine when they pick up the scent of an animal. This is a good indication they are ready to go.

This will need to be done several times before your pup starts responding proper.

Tip: it’s not always easy to find an animal fleeing in the open. You may need to get an experienced dog to go out on a training session with your dachshund. This can help train them how to flush out prey among other things.

Once the experienced dog has flushed out the prey you can call it back to allow your dachshund to finish the job.

At this point its just a game of repetition and practice!

The more experience and training the better they will become. 

Hunters will often use transmitter collars to help keep track of their dachshunds while hunting. 

Early on in training it can be fearful to see your pup run off so having a tracking device can help.

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