Grooming Your Dachshund (Long, Wire And Smooth): A Full Guide

The dachshund is a low maintenance dog and can be groomed at home with relative ease.

If properly fed and exercised, the breed presents a pleasing picture that is compact, neat, conditioned and athletic. Therefore, you also want your dachshund to be clean and well groomed.

Naturally, the smooth is the simplest variety to maintain on a daily basis. Next would be the correctly coated wirehair, then the longhair and lastly, the soft-coated wire.

Basic Grooming Supplies

There are some general supplies you will need, regardless of the variety you own:

  • bath mat
  • shampoo and conditioner (specially formulated for dogs)
  • soft-bristled toothbrush
  • toothpaste for dogs
  • canine nail clipper
  • flea comb
  • ear cleaning solution
  • grooming table (optional)
  • rubber mat (optional)

Unless your Dachshund comes into contact with some odiferous animal or rolls in something less than pleasant, frequent bathing is not necessary. It removes the natural oils from the skin and causes dander. And since the Dachshund normally does not have a ‘doggy’ odor, they are very pleasant to have around.

So use your discretion on how often you bathe your doxie. Under normal conditions, I would suggest once every few months, but only if necessary.

Of course—in the summer, when we ply them with flea sprays, you may want do it more often. A good brushing session will do more to clean your dog’s coat then soap and water, believe me!

Also, I will mention this often, never bathe your Dachshund before you groom her/him!

Bathing is the last step in the process. And, since you need to groom your dog at least every other day, you certainly don’t need to bathe them after every session.

Grooming Your Smooth Dachshund

So now, let’s get to the smooth variety. Aside from the basic grooming necessities, what you want for your smooth is some type of brush.

I would suggest the following: a rubber brush or a hound glove/mitt or a natural-bristle brush (soft to medium).

A comb is really not necessary for the smooth, nor are the scissors if your dog is not being shown. In the showring, the whiskers are cut to present a cleaner line, but your pet can keep his!

The more you stroke your smooth, the more you stimulate the natural oils of their skin, loosen the dead hair and keep the coat’s shine.

So, while your dachshund is lying next to you on the floor or the sofa, you can kill two birds with one stone: give them extra attention and groom them at the same time!

if you don’t want to use your hand, the hound glove or mitt is a good alternative. It fits your hand like a mitt (hence the name) and has a nubby surface on the down side.

Rubbing this along the smooth coat will banish the loose hair and stimulate the natural oils.

If you prefer the brush, by all means use it. It accomplishes the same thing. So does the rubber one, which is smaller, fits in the palm of your hand and has rows of raised rubber stubs.

If you do this a little each day, your dachshund won’t even realise they are being groomed and will sleep through the whole procedure—especially if you begin when they are a young puppy.

Your dachshund will then accept this as part of their life : )

On the whole, most dogs don’t like grooming sessions and will hide when they see you coming.

The bottom line — start when the puppy is still small enough to sleep on your lap as you work, talking to them in soothing tones and praising them as you go, it will be less of a battle as time goes on.

Grooming Your Longhaired Dachshund

For a longhaired dachshund you will need a bit more equipment:

  • a pin brush
  • a blunt-edged (rounded) scissers
  • tangle remover
  • a fine to medium-toothed comb

The longhaired coat needs more aggressive and frequent grooming than the smooth.

If you don’t work on their coat at least every other day, it will mat and tangle and your task will be unpleasant for your dog and a chore for you!

Using The Pin Brush

The pin brush is an efficient tool for this type of coat. It will go deep into the undercoat as well as the surface and help prevent tangling.

If you don’t have a grooming table, use the floor. Have the dog lie on their side, and before you begin to brush, use your fingers to feel for mats or tangles, especially in the armpit area and in the feathering on the legs.

There are products on the market that, when soaked into the tangles, will soften them so you can work them gently with your fingers.

The longer the solution stays on them, the softer they should become.

Please remember that combing them out before undoing them will cause your dog a great deal of discomfort.

Once you have brushed and combed out both sides and the feathering on all four legs, you’ll need to deal with the tail and with the feet.

Using The Blunt Edged Scissors

Taking the blunt-edged scissors, you need to trim around the edges of each foot and also between the toes. Dachshunds don’t especially like having their feet handled, so you may need help grooming them.

When this is done, you’ll need to have someone keep them standing still. Then, holding their tail straight out from the base, you need to trim the underside of the tail so your dachshund won’t soil themselves when they defecate.

Using the blunt-edged scissors, keep the tail extended with one hand and scissor with the other from the base out about an inch or more.

Also, with the same scissors, go around the rectum about an inch or so in a circular manner as close as possible to the skin. Also, trim the fine hairs in the genital area (males) and the fine hairs around the vulva (females). These hairs should never be kept long, since they will mat and tangle and give off an odor if they catch the urine.

If you find these tasks unpleasant or are afraid you will harm your dog, have a professional groomer do them. Obviously, your dachshund must be kept still when you scissor these areas and the female needs to be standing.

When you use the comb or the brush on your longhair, go in the natural direction of the hair. You want the coat flat, not curled or wavy.

Grooming Your Wirehair

And now, last but nt least, the wire coat. You will need:

  • a stripping comb
  • blunt-edged scissors
  • a pin brush
  • a medium-toothed comb
  • a hound glove
  • thinning scissors

Just how tight your dog’s coat is will determine what tools you’ll need to use. A really rough—or tight-coated—wire needs, like the smooth, minimal care.

A stripping comb (never a razor-edged comb) is used gently down the back on a slant, to thin out the guard hairs. Never dig into the coat but skim on the angle. You’re thinning, not cutting.

How often do you need to do this?

You’ll know when you see the hair sticking up a little along your dachshund’s back, looking rather unkempt.

You can run a comb through their beard as often as needed to keep it from tangling, and you can use the thinning shears if the beard or eyebrows are too long or too thick.

When you use the thinning shears, use short, quick motions. When you draw them away from the dog’s beard, do it gently or you will pull hair and cause your dog some discomfort. (The blades on the thinning shears should be in the open position, which will allow you to remove the shears easily.)

Since you are not grooming the dog for show, you can just as easily use the blunt-edged scissors on both the beard and the eyebrows, and you may feel more at ease with them than with the thinning type.

It will also be necessary to trim the hairs around the genital area and around the vulva so they don’t tangle if they become long enough. That will also depend on how tight the coat is.

The rest of the coat can be brushed with the pin brush or the hound mitt.

The soft-coated wire, in my opinion, should be taken down with the clippers by a professional groomer or a dachshund breeder.

The soft coat is fine and often long and will mat and tangle. It will require much daily maintenance and will be quite time consuming.

The best thing in your favour is that wire breeders have worked so long and so hard to eliminate the soft wire coat that they are not as prevalent as they were once.

A coat like this should be clipped several times a year, depending on the dog. Having it clipped during the summer months helps keep fleas and ticks under control.

If the dog came from a breeder, get some advice regarding coat care; perhaps someone will show you how to clip your dog yourself. Don’t attempt to do this yourself if you don’t have any experience. You could frighten your dog or injure them, and then grooming will be a terrifying ordeal for your doxie for the rest of their life.

Dogs do not readily take to the noise of the electric clippers, and if you’re not careful to do it proficiently, the blade will overheat and you may burn the dog’s skin.

This pretty much covers what each coat variety needs in way of maintenance.

Is A Grooming Table Needed?

Should you decide that you would be better working with your dachshund on a table, there are grooming tables that come with a arm attached so you can lease the dog to keep them still. Never leave your dachshund on the grooming table unattended. Should your sausage dog decide to jump down they can hurt themselves.

These tables have a rubber surface for firm footing, and they do save your back. They are sturdy, and they can be easily folded and stored when not in use. They also come in handy when you entertain, buffet style : )

You can also use any table as long as it is steady and you provide a rubber or skidproof surface so your dachshund can have proper footing. However, unless your dachshund has had obedience training and ample time to accept grooming, you may find the lack of a grooming table arm a problem.

Grooming Regardless Of Dachshund Coat Type

Now to the grooming, which must be done regardless of the coat variety of your dachshund.

How To Clean Your Dachshund’s Ears?

Routinely, you need to check your dog’s earsI would say at least once a week. You should use an ear solution (there are many on the market) to loosen the wax buildup. Put a few drops into the inner ear and then gently rub the base of the outer ear between your thumb and index finger.

This will help to loosen any wax; then you can take some cotton or a tissue, wrap it around your finger and gently remove the loosened wax.

How To Clip Your Dachshund’s Nails?

You must clip your dog’s nails regularly. Dachshunds are sensitive about their feet, and cutting nails can be a real challenge.

The best way to handle the problem is to begin cutting your puppy’s nails early on.

Hold your doxie on your lap and play with their feet. Handle them, stroke them, get them accustomed to having them touched. You can do this also while playing with them. Make sure to praise your dachshund often, also rub the nail clippers across their paws. Let your dachshund smell them and feel them, all the while telling them they won’t hurt them.

Speak to your dachshund in a soothing voice and gently take hold of their paw and barely tip the nail. Praise lavishly and try not to let them pull away from you. Go slowly and stop before your dachshund starts to object. If they begin to pull away, correct them gently and do one more nail before you stop. At the end of each session, give them a treat.

When your doxie grows, it may be easier for you if someone else holds them and you do the cutting. You need only cut the tips of the nails off. It is difficult to see the quick on the dachshund’s nail. But if you misjudge and the nail bleeds, use a styptic powder to stop it. Place the powder on the nail and gently apply pressure.

If you can’t manage the nails yourself, have your veterinarian clip them. Nails that are too long throw the dog off balance and may cause back problems. Also, if the nail is too long, it will eventually turn inward, which makes it difficult to cut because of the proximity to the pad. If that is the case, let your veterinarian do it.

How To Bathe Your Dachshund?

As far as bathing goes, when you do it, make sure that the dog has proper footing. And when you’re finished, make sure your dachshund can’t get outside since when freed, they will roll over and scratch their backs!

You can place cotton in their ears to prevent them from getting waterlogged. With warm, never hot, water, using a hose attachment, soak their coat. Then lather them with whatever doggie shampoo you want to use, starting from the base of the tail up toward the head.

On the head, switch to a tear-free shampoo, if you are not already using one, to protect their eyes. When you have rubbed the soap gently through the coat, rinse them well!

With the longhairs and the smooth haired you may want to use a conditioner or creme rinse, but do not do so with the tight-coated wire. You do not want a soft coat here.

When you are sure the soap is well rinsed out, towel dry your smooth briskly; your wire, with strokes going flat so as not to ruffle; your long, with the towel draped to keep the coat flat. You may use the blow-dryer on all coats if your dachshund is not afraid. If you choose to do so with the longhair, brush the coat by pulling it away and then letting it fall flat against their side. You don’t want the longhair to be fuzzy or curly. Their fur should stay flat on the body, like that of an Irish Setter.

If you begin early, your dog will accept the blow-dryer. Be sure to dry the feet and between the toes of the smooth, particularly.

Should You Use A Groomer For Your Dachshund?

As with all things, use common sense when grooming, and if you feel you want it done professionally, don’t think you are a failure. I often mix it up by using a groomer and doing it ourselves and I must confess, I hate doing my dachshund Patrick’s nails and usually resort to breeder friends or my veterinarian, despite the teasing I get from being such a coward!

Ask your local veterinarian to recommend a reliable groomer in your area, or ask a friend who has a dog groomed where he or she has it done.

The bottom line — You want your dachshund to look the way they were bred to look, even though they might not be show dogs. The dachshund is a smart looking animal and deserves to be kept well groomed. It will make them feel like they own the world, and they do—at least in their world and yours!

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