Sharing the Song of Their People

Like our readers, we are endlessly curious about our dog breeds,  and that makes us perpetual students. It’s probably why we’re always surprised to be consulted for advice, and more often than not, we field those questions to readers (or the writer’s veterinarian).  A question we got earlier today prompts this post: Why does my Dachshund bark so much?

We weren’t aware that Dachshunds bark inordinately more than other breeds – and we’re pretty sure they don’t bark more than our Pulik.  As herding dogs that use their bark to work, we accepted long ago that a Puli always has an opinion, and he or she isn’t afraid to share it.  But we got curious enough to inquire about Dachshunds, and what we gleaned from a bit of reading makes sense.

Dachshunds are working dogs – hunters, to be precise. Historically, standard size Dachshunds were used to hunt badgers (a prickly critter that takes a courageous dog to hunt it!) while miniature Dachshunds pursued smaller game (think squirrels and rabbits).  Having chased the prey into their sett (the hidey hole a badger digs) or burrow, they bark very loudly to communicate their location to other pack members or their human hunter/owner. Bottom line:  Barking is part of a Dachshund’s genetic job description.

All dogs bark. Barking is how dogs communicate, and some breeds “communicate” more than others. In those breeds, it’s normal. Our sense, however, is that a well-socialized and trained Dachshund doesn’t bark just to hear his own voice, there is typically a reason for their barking. This is a highly intelligent breed that takes its duties seriously, and barking at anything (or anyone) a Dachshund perceives to be a threat is what she or he does.

That said, excessive barking may suggest fear, discomfort, anxiety, pain, or boredom, and it’s up to the owner to determine what is excessive, and what is at the root of it.  It’s also up to potential Dachshund owners to do their homework and realize that this is a breed that loves to “share the song of their people” with anyone who will listen (and some that won’t).

Dachshund owners, what say you?

Image: This marvelous painting was created by Victoria Coleman who depicts many breeds, but really has captured the Dachshund. Visit and support her work here

5 thoughts on “Sharing the Song of Their People”

  1. As standard dachshund owners with both dogs participating in Earthdog and Barn Hunt, we can attest to their hunting vocalization and that vocalization is critical to their sports (it is their “tell” in Barn Hunt and their notification of cornered prey in Earthdog). What is funny is one dachshund participates in flyball. Her prey is then is the ball and she is quite vocal to the other dogs on her team to get their ball!

    • GET THAT BALL! Now THAT we’d like to see, David. A bossy Dachshund into the game!

  2. Dachshunds must communicate with their human partners to let them know exactly where they are in an underground tunnel with the quarry cornered. They must have a good set of lungs and enough space in the ribs to use them. The hunters locate about where underground the prey is trapped and with pick and shovel they dig down to expose the badger and dispatch it. It takes a dog with a lot of courage and determination to stop a badger from bolting away and a lot of lung to let the people know the prey is still in place. Likewise for rabbit dogs, dachshunds keep the hunter informed about where the rabbit went, where it is headed and how close the dog is following. Their voice is not primarily for challenging but as a beacon for its “pack”.
    Having said all that, my dachshunds bark up and down the fence at the neighbor’s dog, bark in the car if there are pedestrians in view, and bark with excitement to go outside and again to come back in for breakfast.

  3. My female standard dachshund has the song of her people down pat and can sing it at the top of her lungs … but she is particular in which version to sing when. She hunts silently, but bursts into full voice (spurlaut) once she’s on a hot live track. Even if I’m well behind her, I can tell instantly when she hits a rabbit track.

    It’s an entirely different sound than barking at people coming to the house or even chasing the resident squirrel up a tree.

    She is generally vocal and communicates well (I can tell the difference between “I need to go potty”, “It’s dinner time” and “Mom! I’m bored! Let’s play!”, but she is not an indiscriminate barker and has a good off-button … unless there’s a rabbit. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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