Do Dachshunds Have More Vertebrae?

Dachshunds do not have extra vertebrae compared to other dogs.

Like other dogs, they have 30 vertebrae, which are divided into 7 cervical, 13 thoracic, 7 lumbar, and 3 sacral vertebral bodies. However, breeders have intentionally ensured that Dachshunds have a spine that isn’t stunted in growth, but legs that have abnormally developed to be very short. This gives Dachshunds their adorable short size and makes their spine relatively more flexible, allowing them to wriggle into tight spaces. However, this conformation also puts them at risk for intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), a common condition in which the disks between the vertebrae in the spine degenerate and can cause pain, weakness, and even paralysis.

How Many Vertebrae Do Dachshunds Typically Have Compared To Other Dog Breeds?

Dachshunds typically have the same number of vertebrae as other dog breeds. Dogs, in general, have 7 cervical (neck), 13 thoracic (chest), 7 lumbar (lower back), and 3 sacral (pelvic) vertebral bodies.

The misconception that Dachshunds have a different number of vertebrae may stem from their increased risk of intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). IVDD is a condition that affects the discs between the vertebrae, and Dachshunds are known to be more prone to this condition compared to other breeds.

However, the number of vertebrae in Dachshunds is the same as in other dog breeds.

Do Dachshunds Have More Vertebrae

Does The Additional Number Of Vertebrae In Dachshunds Affect Their Physical Abilities Or Health In Any Way?

The additional number of vertebrae in Dachshunds, which contribute to their longer backs, can have an impact on their physical abilities and health. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Dachshunds are prone to a condition called intervertebral disc disease, which affects about 25% of Dachshunds. IVDD occurs when the discs between the vertebrae deteriorate and become susceptible to bulging or bursting, especially with hard impacts like jumping or rough play. This can lead to pain, mobility issues, and even paralysis in severe cases.
  2. Abnormal Discs: Dachshunds have abnormal intervertebral discs, which are linked to the breed’s selection for short legs and longer backs. These abnormal discs can contribute to the development of IVDD.
  3. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen the spine-supporting muscles and improve balance in Dachshunds, which can help prevent or minimize the risk of back injuries. These exercises focus on strengthening the core and hindquarters.
  4. Ongoing Research: Due to the high prevalence of IVDD in Dachshunds, ongoing research is being conducted to better understand the condition and improve recovery outcomes. Studies are focused on characterizing gait recovery and understanding muscle function in affected dogs.

Are There Any Unique Features Or Adaptations In Dachshunds’ Spines That Contribute To Their Distinctive Long And Low Body Shape?

Dachshunds have a unique long and low body shape due to their elongated spine, which is a characteristic feature of the breed. This elongation is caused by chondrodysplasia, a genetic condition that interferes with the normal development of cartilage.

The abnormal intervertebral discs that are a feature of Dachshunds are also linked to selection in the breed for short legs. Unfortunately, this elongated spine makes Dachshunds more prone to back problems, including intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

IVDD can cause partial or full paralysis, mobility limitations, and pain related to spinal issues. Several environmental factors may influence whether a Dachshund ruptures a spinal disk or not, including jumping off furniture and other high places.

Exercise can help a Dachshund’s spine-supporting muscles stay strong, which may help prevent back problems. However, it is important to be cautious with exercise and avoid activities that put excessive strain on the spine.

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