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 Dachshundโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 dogโ€™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 Dachshundโ€™s eyes by wiping discharge gently away using a damp cloth. Avoid using any drops or other substances in the dogโ€™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 โ€œhot dogโ€ 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 โ€œbadger dog.โ€ 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 Daschundโ€™s legs will be short but they shouldnโ€™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 petโ€™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 judgedโ€ฆ.

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 dogโ€™s front endโ€”their legs, chest, shoulders, and the supporting bones and musculatureโ€”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!

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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