Dachshunds were bred in Germany as far back as the 16th century to hunt badgers to ground and to go into badgers' tunnels after them. The breed's name comes from this activity, as Dachshund translates to "badger dog." With their elongated bodies and short legs distinguishing them and earning them the nickname, "wiener dog," these friendly, playful dogs gained popularity in the United States in the 1940s, and have been popular ever since. Dachshunds today still hunt, but they most often are family companions, able to make their place in city, suburban, or rural settings.
Dachshunds are affectionate, craving frequent interaction with their human families and often bonding closely to one family member. They're so loyal that they may even follow their chosen human companion everywhere. They are also playful, and enjoy chasing a ball, as well as other games. Dachshunds can have difficulty interacting with other dogs, although they enjoy the company of their fellow Dachshunds. They usually do well with children who are gentle and respectful of them, but may nip or bite a child whom they perceive as aggressive.
As high-energy dogs that were bred to hunt a fierce prey, Dachshunds require plenty of walks, games, and other exercise. Because they will take off and leave their human companions to chase an interesting scent, Dachshunds should be leashed or fenced if not trained to always return when called.
Dachshunds were bred to hunt alone, creating an independent streak that persists even after decades as a house pet. This independence makes them more difficult to train than some other dogs, but with patience on the part of their human trainers, Dachshunds can learn the same commands as other breeds.