Regular readers are well aware that my preference is for large dogs. That said, though, I do have an appreciation for Dachshunds. They’re such entertaining little dogs, and very playful. They’re also a lot more athletic than their compact build and short legs might lead a person to believe. So what are the best toys for Dachshunds? We’ll get into that in a bit, but first let’s talk a bit about the breed in general.
An Overview of the Dachshund
The Dachshund takes its name from the German word for badger (dachs) and the German word for dog (hund). This gives you an idea of the Dachshund’s original purpose – far from being lap dogs, Dachshunds were originally bred for badger hunting. Their streamlined bodies and strong paws made them ideal for cornering badgers in their burrows.
Today, badger hunting is not common, so the Dachshund has evolved into more of a family pet. The breed comes in three coat varieties – long hair, smooth coat and wire hair. They also come in standard and miniature sizes.
The Dachshund is a highly confident dog. In fact, many owners will tell you that Dachshunds do not realize that they are small dogs. And if you simply hear a Dachshund barking instead of actually seeing him, you would probably assume that you are about to meet a much larger dog.
Dachshunds are very independent, and often prone to stubbornness, so early socialization is vital. They can often be snappish, especially around children. The Dachshund requires an assertive, patient owner, and novice dog owners might find a Dachshund difficult to train.
Dachshunds also tend to be “one person” dogs. This is not to say that your Dachshund will not accept other members of your family, but he will most likely choose one person to bond to above all others. He will be primarily Mom’s dog, or Dad’s dog. Or, who knows, maybe his human brother’s dog? Again, socialization is important in order to ensure that your Dachshund does not perceive other family members as a threat to his “person of choice.”
Exercising Your Dachshund
This is where exercise comes into… well, play. There is no set amount of time that you should devote to playing with and otherwise exercising your Dachshund – these little dogs tend to be very flexible, and will usually accept as much or as little exercise as you are prepared to offer. Don’t think that this means you can just lie around with your dog binge-watching Netflix all day, though – Dachshunds are very prone to weight problems if they don’t get enough activity. Excess weight can put a lot of strain on your dog’s back, and that can cause back problems, or aggravate existing back problems.
Dachshunds appreciate brisk walks, but it is usually best to keep a Dachshund on leash. This is because of their hunting background – they are very likely to chase other animals. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that his short little legs will make him easy to catch, either, if he gets off lead – outrunning a human is no challenge for these little powerhouses.
How Do Dachshunds Play?
Dachshunds like many of the games enjoyed by other breeds, and have a particular fondness for “hide and seek,” whether played with their person, or with an object that their person hides. This also goes back to the original purpose of the dog – hunting and seeking out prey. They are not much for playing fetch, preferring instead to find a ball or a chew toy and then bring it back to you. So, anything that you can conceal and allow your dog to search for could be included among the best toys for Dachshunds. With a bit of training, though, your Dachshund may develop an appreciation for fetching.
Dachshunds also enjoy playing with toys that can be stuffed with treats. This, again, is because of the original purpose of the breed – to find badgers that are hidden away in holes.
One thing to keep in mind about Dachshunds is that they are not well-suited to playing with toys that have squeakers. These are not the best toys for Dachshunds, because they can build aggression in the breed. It is the nature of the dog to interpret the squeaky sound as the cry of prey – prey that must be killed. In addition to the possibility of building aggression, there is also the likelihood that, unless the toys are very sturdy, they will not last very long before being strewn all over your home. Then, if the urge to destroy is not satisfied, your best little buddy might very well begin “disemboweling” your upholstered furniture.
What are the Best Toys for Dachshunds?
The best toys for Dachshunds are ones that permit the dog to channel his natural desire to hunt, while not unduly encouraging aggression. With that in mind, here are 10 of the best toys for Dachshunds.
1. Zanies 6-Pack Latex PrePack
Zanies 6-Pack Latex PrePack is definitely one of the best toys for Dachshunds when it comes to channeling their hunting instincts, and you’ll probably smile at the goofy little faces on the toys. In fact, these little balls would be just about perfect if not for the squeakers, which you might want to remove. They are very solid, so it isn’t likely that you’ll have to deal with fragments of toys all over your house.
It’s great fun hiding all six balls in various places around the house, and allowing your dog to use his sense of smell and his fine brain in order to find them. Once he does, offer him lots of praise, and maybe a treat.
2. Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff With Treat Spot Raspberry
Planet Dog makes a lot of awesome toys that will stand up to even the toughest chewers, and I have to say that the Orbee-Tuff with Treat Spot Raspberry is one of my favorites. It’s a brilliant shade of pink, so it won’t get lost easily, and it has a pocket that you can fill up with peanut butter or yogurt. While not absolutely indestructible, you will find that this toy will last a long time before you need to replace it.
Benebones come in a number of flavors and sizes, and will give your dog hours of chewing pleasure. I especially like the 3-pack Wishbone Mini, which has three Benebones – one in bacon flavor, another in chicken flavor, and a third in peanut butter flavor. Of course these great toys won’t last forever, but you will find that they take a long time for your dog to wear them down.
Think your Dachshund could handle a T-Rex? I’ve met a few Dachshunds in my time, and I wouldn’t put it past them. Nylabone is another company that makes a plethora of chew toys that will last for a long time, and I have to say that I can’t imagine a dog not enjoying the Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew Toys. They make perfect stocking stuffers at Christmastime, because they come in holiday colors and flavors – the green T-Rex is peppermint flavored, and the red is turkey and cranberry flavored.
Of course you can give your dog these treats year-round, too. Something this good shouldn’t just be a once-a-year thing! Not only are they fun and tasty, the bristles will help to do a better job of keeping your Dachshund’s teeth clean. These dinosaur chew toys are definitely one of my top pics for the best toys for Dachshunds.
5. Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop
The Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop is another interactive toy that dispenses treats. It has a deep crevice where you can hide the goodies, and your Dachshund will have hours of fun and intellectual stimulation getting them out. This is one of the best toys for Dachshunds because it’s super-tough, and very resistant to sharp little teeth.
6. West Paw Design Zogoflex Bumi Guaranteed Tough Tug-o-War Dog Play Toy
I know that for many people, the jury is out on tug of war for dogs. Some theorize that the game in and of itself builds aggression. I take a somewhat different view – my opinion is that tug of war actually channels and dissipates aggression in a positive way. So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that even given the Dachshund’s propensity toward aggression, this is still one of the best toys for Dachshunds.
I truly can’t think of a thing to criticize about this toy. The Zogoflex Bumi is a brilliant lime green, floatable toy so you can use it on land or in the water. It’s S-shaped, but stretches out to its full length as your dog tugs. Then when the game is over, it will resume its original shape. It’s easy to clean, too – all you need to do is toss it in the dishwasher. It’s also 100% guaranteed by the manufacturer. So if your little guy loves tug of war games, this is the ultimate toy.
7. Chase ‘n Chomp Durable TPR LED Light Up Fetch Dumbbell Dog Toy
I really like this Chase n’ Chomp Dumbbell toy because it’s very durable, and also because it lights up, making it great for nighttime play with your dog. There used to be a “squeaky” version of the toy, but this one has no squeaker, so it won’t provoke the prey drive in your Dachshund.
The only problem I have with the Chase n’ Chomp Dumbbell is that many reviewers say that the light-up feature doesn’t last all that long. Dogs often disable it with rough play. The upside, though, is that even if your dog does get into the lighting mechanism, there is nothing that will harm him, and even if the toy will no longer light up, the brilliant green color makes it easy to find. And the toy is still plenty of fun even without the light-up feature!
8. Antler Chews
Elk antler chews from Deluxe Naturals are some of the best things you can give your dog to remove tartar and plaque from his teeth, and that in and of itself is enough to earn them a place on the list of best toys for Dachshunds. Now, I know that Dachshunds are small dogs, but I’d still recommend the 6-pack of elk antler chews for medium size dogs. They’ll give your little guy a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident he’ll be equal to it.
Antler chews are exactly what they sound like – genuine antlers. But don’t worry, no animals are ever harmed. Elk shed their antlers naturally, and once they’re shed, they make the best toys for Dachshunds and other breeds as well. I often give antlers to Janice and Leroy, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that your dog will have hours of fun with antlers, and his teeth will absolutely sparkle.
9. Starmark Pickle Pocket
Can you tell by now that I just love treat dispenser toys? This one is bright green, shaped like a pickle, and has (you guessed it!) a pocket for tucking treats into. Your Dachshund will have so much fun sticking his pointy little nose into the Starmark Pickle Pocket in order to get the treats! It floats, too, so it’s great for water play, and to clean it up, just run it through the dishwasher.
This toy is tough, too, so if you have a larger dog as well as a Dachshund, you won’t have to worry – it will stand the “chomp test.”
10. KONG Classic
I couldn’t possibly do a “Best Toys for Dachshunds” post without mentioning the toy that I consider to be best for any dog, regardless of breed or size – it’s the KONG Classic. In the small size for Dachshunds and similar breeds, you’ll find that the oblong shape is just right for being held between little paws, and the toy is more than durable enough to stand up to fierce chewing. The hole in the bottom of the toy is big enough that you’ll have no trouble inserting yogurt, peanut butter or other treats, but not so big that it won’t provide your Dachshund with a bit of a challenge.
With the KONG Classic, everything just works together perfectly, so if you have to leave your buddy alone for a while, you can rest assured that he will be entertained and not likely to wreak havoc on your furniture and upholstery. If he did, though, I’m sure you’d just look at those sweet brown eyes and forgive him in heartbeat!
The Final Word
These are the toys that I consider to be the best dog toys for Dachshunds. If you simply follow the links in the descriptions above, you will find all of them at Amazon, and all at very reasonable prices.
I think the most important thing, though, is not so much what your Dachshund is playing with as who he is playing with. Even something like a stick, an old sock, a crumpled-up paper bag or an empty soda bottle can make a wonderful toy, and will cost you nothing at all. Your Dachshund wants to play with you. So take some time out of your day and enjoy quality time with your best friend. Experience the pure joy of having a dog that loves you and wants to play with you. Great toys are always nice, but not absolutely necessary. What really matters is the time that you and your Dachshund spend together.