Because of cross-breeding there are dozens of different Dachshund varieties. But they fall into just a few broad categories. The AKC recognizes three coat varieties and two sizes.
Standard-size Dachshunds (the type most often seen in ads or commercials) are about 9 inches high at the withers (the top point of the shoulder blades). These are the classic ‘weiner dog’ with long bodies, short legs and stout chests. Weight runs anywhere from 10-30 lbs. Anything larger is either a mixed breed or an obese dog.
Miniature Dachshunds are becoming even more common in an already popular breed. They may be as light as about 8 lbs but are typically around 10 lbs. They are correspondingly shorter than the Standard, about 5 inches high at the withers.
The Smooth-Coat is the original type and the most common in movies. They’re often reddish-brown, but darker colors like chocolate exist in large numbers. Less common are Smooth-Coats that are dappled (spotted) or brindled (striped). That type shows up more often as a Wire-Haired or Long-Haired variety.
Wire-Haired dogs almost resemble a cross between the stereotypical Doxie and a Schnauzer or terrier. They have long muzzle hair and furry chests. The coloring is also more terrier-like, often a blue-gray mixed with tan.
The Long-Haired is especially beautiful, sporting a long, silky coat, similar to a Cocker Spaniel. Colors can vary but reddish and black, sometimes mixed with a little white, is fairly standard. That long hair is also found on the back of the rear legs and the tail, somewhat like Goldens.
An offshoot is the Piebald, a white pattern superimposed on a background color, such as red or brown.
Apart from color, the different types shed at different rates.
Not surprisingly, Smooth-Coats shed less (but less does not mean ‘not at all’). They also have a particular odor that is not found in other breeds. Without regular bathing that odor can become pronounced and some owners find it annoying.
Long-Hairs, as one might expect, shed the most and require the most grooming attention to keep out mats.
Wire-Coats are in between the two extremes, but they do require regular care. Their long muzzle hair can be a particular problem, made more difficult than usual by the dog’s short legs.
While darker eye color dominates, those with modified coats can have amber or green eyes. Double Dapple types (a special genetic variation) often have very light blue eyes. Birth defects are more common in this type, though, and some are born blind or without fully developed eyes.
Thanks to the large geographical dispersion and popularity of the breed, Dachshunds of the basic types have evolved to dozens of sub-types. Smooth-coat dappled gray Doxies are not hard to find, nor are Long-Haired black and white ones. Yet all have the same lively disposition that makes Dachshunds one of the most popular breeds worldwide.