Grooming a Wirehaired Dachshund

Grooming a Wirehaired Dachshund

This type of Dachshund has a short wire-haired coat that requires regular maintenance in order to keep them looking their very best. Learn how to take care of your Dachshund here.

Regular grooming of wirehaired Dachshunds is vital keep this dog's streamlined, dapper appearance. This breed possesses a short, coarse outer coat with a thick undercoat, and the outer hairs exhibit a strong degree of independence. As with most wirehaired breeds, the Dachshund’s coat responds well to brushing, stripping, and occasional plucking out of dry, dead hairs. The coat of a well-groomed wirehaired Dachshund should resemble a close-fitting jacket, lying snugly against the dog’s body with long hairs evident only on certain parts of the face.


To maintain the coat, brush your wirehaired Dachshund several times a week using a good bristle brush. Brush in the direction of the hair growth, lifting the hair as you go. Apply gentle pressure to ensure that the brush reaches the dog’s skin. This removes the dander or dead skin cells on the surface and stimulates the oil-producing glands in the skin, keeping the coat clean and healthy. Take care not to press hard, or you may scratch the dog’s skin, which could lead to infection. Follow the brushing with a thorough combing, using a fine-toothed comb to remove any fleas or other parasites.

Preparing for Stripping

When the dog’s hair begins looking dry and dull, it may be time to strip the coat. Owners of wirehaired Dachshunds commonly strip the coat twice a year, first in spring, just ahead of the warm summer weather, and again in the fall, ahead of the growth of a new winter coat. Brush the hair using a slicker brush with metal pins set in a rubber cushion, first in one direction and then in the other. This will remove as much of the dead hair as possible in readiness for stripping.

Stripping and Plucking

Strip the dog before bathing, because the hair is easier to grasp when it is slightly dirty. Using a stripping knife, grip a section of the dog’s hair as close to the roots as possible. Holding the hair firmly between your thumb and the knife, pull it toward you, using your arm and shoulder. This strips out the undercoat and the remaining loose hairs. Avoid using your wrist, as this can cut the hair instead of pulling it out. Pluck out individual hairs remaining after stripping, using your finger and thumb or a pair of tweezers.


Wirehaired Dachshunds should not be bathed more than three or four times a year. The dog’s skin produces quantities of sebum, which covers the hairs of the undercoat and protects against the cold and heat. Bathing removes most of the sebum, leaving the dog vulnerable to heat and cold, although it makes the coat softer to touch. Use lukewarm water and specially formulated dog shampoo to bathe your wirehaired Dachshund, then rinse very well. Avoid getting water into the dog’s long, floppy ears, which are prone to ear infections because of the covered ear canal.

Tangles and Mats

If the coat of your wirehaired Dachshund develops tangles and mats, break these apart with your fingers while the coat is dry. Once you wet the coat, the tangles can be far more difficult to eliminate. Gradually separate the hairs and comb them out, starting from the bottom end and using a wide-toothed comb. Once the tangle has broken up completely and the comb moves easily through the dog’s hair, switch to a fine-toothed comb. Avoid cutting tangles out unless you are shaving the dog all over, because this may leave you with uneven areas in the coat.

Clipping the Body

Wirehaired Dachshunds need minimal clipping if their coats are stripped regularly. Trimming your Dachshund, however, helps maintain a neat appearance and an even flow of hair. Using a No.10 blade, run the clipper over the dog’s head, underside of the neck and the outer edges of the ears. Switch to a No. 5 or 7 blade for the back of the neck, body and tail, and work in the direction of the hair growth. This prevents a shaving action, and just the loose ends of the coat are clipped.

Trimming the Face

Trimming around the face of the Dachshund should be done by a professional groomer. For the eyebrows and beard, the groomer uses a pair of small scissors to trim the hair from the corner of the lip to the corner of the dog’s eye. The groomer removes any long hairs under the eyes, and leaves the eyebrows long but clips them to taper towards the outside eye corner and blend them into the shorter hair on the cheek.

Eyes and Ears

Clean your wirehaired Dachshund’s eyes by wiping discharge gently away using a damp cloth. Avoid using any drops or other substances in the dog’s eyes unless prescribed by your veterinarian. Wipe the inner surface of the ear flap with a warm, damp cloth or a cotton swab soaked in mineral oil. Check with the veterinarian about whether it is advisable to pluck excess hair out of the ear canal.

Could Your Dachshund Make the Dog Show? 

There are few dogs around as cute as the Dachshund, right? These pups, known affectionately as “hot dog” dogs, are long, low to the ground, and most often quite friendly. Originally bred to hunt badgers, these dogs are often brave and without fear. They make wonderful, loyal family pets.

At the Westminster Dog Show, Dachshunds are well represented and appear year after year. If you are wondering if your Dachshund could make the show, wonder no more!

The Dachshund Look

The Dachshund was bred in Germany about five hundred years ago to dig badgers out of their dens. As a matter of fact, in German Dachshund means “badger dog.” Given this role, the ideal Dachshund will retain many of the physical characteristics that made them so good at their job. The Dachshund should be strong - all over strong - but especially in the front end. After all, these dogs had to do a lot of digging.

As such, if your Dachshund is going to impress the Westminster judges they will have to demonstrate well developed musculature in the chest, the shoulders, the neck, and the back. The chest should be broad and deep, and the back should be straight and level. Of course, the Daschund’s legs will be short but they shouldn’t be spindly. No weaklings here please!

At the same time, the skin of your Dachshund must be smooth and elastic. Too many wrinkles will mean points taken off. Also, your pet’s Westminster chances depend on the dog not seeming cramped or awkward in their movements despite his or her low, compact stature.

In other words, your funny looking dog should be a kind of elegant funny.

The Dachshund Temperament

To do battle with badgers, Dachshunds needed to be quick thinkers, persistent diggers, and fierce foes. As such, the ideal attitude for a show Dachshund will be one of lively, spirited disposition with a bit of noble bearing thrown in. The dog should not be shy though neither should they be overly playful. At least not while being judged….

Dachshunds should also be confident dogs who hold their heads high and move with a sense of purpose. One telling and interesting detail about this breed is that, according to the American Kennel Club, scars received while in the line of duty (that is, while hunting) will not be considered a fault during judging.

After all, these dogs are meant to be tough!

Disqualifying Factor

When it comes to Westminster and the Dachshund, there is only one trait that will outright disqualify this dog from competition. That characteristic is known as knuckling over.

In this condition, the dog’s front end—their legs, chest, shoulders, and the supporting bones and musculature—are unable to support their weight. In other words, the dog appears to have trouble keeping himself or herself upright, falling forward as they stand or walk.

Unfortunately, this orthopedic condition will not only keep your Dachshund out of Westminster, it  could be a challenge for any family pet. Learn more about Dachshund health and care.

So did your dog make the cut? We bet they deserve a belly rub just for trying!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you groom a Wire Haired Dachshund?

Wire-haired Dachshunds require regular grooming to maintain their characteristic wire-like coat. How often you groom your Dachshund will depend on the length of their coat and their individual grooming needs. As a general rule, wire-haired Dachshunds should be groomed every six to eight weeks. However, some individuals may require more frequent grooming to keep their coats in good condition. During the grooming process, it is important to brush your Dachshund's coat thoroughly to remove tangles and mats. You should also trim any long hair, particularly around the ears, paws, and tail. In addition to regular grooming, it is a good idea to brush your Dachshund's coat at least once a week to keep it looking clean and healthy. If you are not sure how often to groom your Dachshund, it is a good idea to consult with a professional groomer or your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you on the best grooming schedule for your dog based on their specific needs.

Do Wire Haired Dachshunds shed a lot?

Wire-haired Dachshunds do shed, but they do not shed as much as some other breeds. They are considered to be a low-shedding breed, which means that they do not lose a large amount of hair on a regular basis. Wire-haired Dachshunds have a thick, wiry coat that is designed to protect them from the elements. This coat requires regular grooming to maintain its characteristic wire-like texture. During the grooming process, any loose or dead hair is removed, which can help to reduce shedding.

How often do dachshunds need their nails cut?

It is generally recommended to trim your Dachshund's nails every two to three weeks. However, the exact frequency will depend on how quickly your dog's nails grow and how much wear they receive. If your Dachshund's nails are clicking on the floor when they walk, it is a good indication that they are too long and need to be trimmed. If you are not sure if your Dachshund's nails need to be trimmed, you can check the length by gently pressing on the top of the nail. If you can see a pink band, called the quick, inside the nail, the nails are too long and need to be trimmed.

Do Wire Haired dogs need haircuts?

Wire-haired dogs, such as Wire-haired Dachshunds, do need regular haircuts to maintain their characteristic wire-like coat. Without proper grooming, the coat can become matted and unkempt. Wire-haired breeds require more maintenance than smooth-coated breeds because their coats do not shed as much. As a result, the hair that grows out does not fall out naturally and must be trimmed to keep the coat looking clean and healthy.

What happens if you shave a Wire Haired dog?

Shaving a wire-haired dog, such as a Wire-haired Dachshund, is generally not recommended. Wire-haired breeds have a specific coat type that is designed to protect them from the elements and provide insulation. Shaving their coat can remove this protective layer and leave them vulnerable to the sun and other environmental factors. Shaving a wire-haired dog can also cause the coat to grow back differently. The hair may grow back thicker and wirier, which can make it more difficult to groom. In some cases, the coat may not grow back at all, or it may grow back in patchy or uneven areas. If you need to groom your wire-haired dog, it is generally better to use thinning shears or regular scissors to trim the coat rather than shaving it. This will help to maintain the natural protective layer of the coat and prevent damage to the skin.
More on Dog Grooming

A Dog Brush Buying Guide
Should You DIY Your Dog's Haircut?
How To Use A Do It Yourself Dog Wash

References & Resources

Dachshunds: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, and Behavior; Chris C. Pinney
The Dachshund Handbook; D. Caroline Coile, et. al
American Kennel Club: Grooming
The Everything Dachshund Book: A Complete Guide to Raising, Training, and Caring for Your Dachshund; Joan Hustace Walker

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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