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How to hold a dachshund

How to
How to hold a dachshund

When most people think about dachshunds, they probably think about their unique (and preternaturally adorable) bodies. For most, this charming hot dog-shape is just one of a hundred reasons we love dachshunds, but do you know why they are so adorably shaped? It’s due to something called chondrodystrophy: a specific gene mutation on one of their chromosomes that leads to their short legs and longer spine. And unfortunately, this shape does make dachshunds more prone to spine and back issues, similar to the way a human may suffer from a “slipped disc” or like injury.

The good news is that with a bit of extra attention, most dachshunds can avoid back issues. That means ensuring your pup gets regular veterinary check ups and proper medical care, but also making sure that when you pick them up, you do so the right way. Just remember: it’s all about avoiding extra strain on those long backs!

It’s All About Technique

When it comes to picking up and holding a dachshund, there’s one key thing to remember: always keep them as horizontal as possible. The easiest way to do this is to put one hand under their chest and the other under their lower abdomen or back legs, then carefully lift straight up. Keeping your hands spread wide ensures the most complete support and even hold.

Once your dachshund is secure in your arms, some opt to (carefully!) transition them to a well-supported “cradle” position with their stomach facing upwards (think holding a baby). However, many find this position can encourage the dachshund to start squirming in your arms, which can lead the dachshund to strain something or hurt themselves accidentally. That’s why for most, the safest, least “squirmy” position is a simple, back facing upwards hold.

Never lift a dachshund just from their chest, hold a dachshund vertically, or let a dachshund’s rear legs dangle below their chest. Aim to keep their back as flat and straight as possible. And when putting them down, make sure all four feet are on the floor before letting go.

It’s also important to make sure young children understand how to safely handle dachshunds. To prevent unintentional back injury, many owners opt not to let very young children hold their dachshund, and encourage playtime only while the dachshund is on the floor.

Similarly, it’s important to be clear with visitors and friends on the proper way to handle your dachshund. It may be helpful to instruct guests to hold your pup the way they might “cradle a football” to ensure proper back alignment! Not a sports fan? Just think about carrying a just-out-of-the-oven apple pie - you’d definitely want to keep that horizontal in your arms!

By following these recommendations, you’ll help protect your dachshund’s most delicate asset—their long spine!–and set them up for a lifetime of good health.

See below for some best in show examples: 

Churro

Cookie

Phoebe

Harlow

Bishop

Ziggy

Arthur

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