Coat and Body Care for a Working Wire-haired Dachshund

It is important to regularily maintain our working wire-haired dachshund's coat.
Naturally, our dogs have a water resistant coat, short enough not to get tangled and functional to protect the skin from sun, wind and working in thick underbrush.

our dogs come in all kinds of coat lengths. 
we prefer the short wire coat, but we sometimes do have some really hairy and also some very short hair puppies in our litters.

a good working, water resistant wire coat needs to be hand stripped.

This is not about grooming conformation - show dogs.
it's also not about one method versus another one.

The information below was given to me by German and Austrian breeders., as well from my friend and breeder brigitte walkey from Springwood's Kennels, who showed me hands-on, how to groom my wire-haired dachshunds.
In the past, brigitte has bred and shown many canadian Show champions and has many years experience in grooming this breed.

You will find similar information on some websites by European hunting Dachshund breeders.

The below information is a summary of grooming information I found useful. Advice on skin health is partly a result of my experience with different breeds in the past 40 years and partly new third party articles..

Here is the Baseline:

if you just let the wire coat grow without maintenance, without stripping, it will start bothering the dog, might cause skin infections and loose its colour..

cutting a wire coat with scissors will destroy your dog's coat and natural skin protection.
it will not help the dogs skin, as dead hairs will still be close to the skin and the hair will loose its water resistance and will grow soft and will change its colour.
The only hair that can be cut from time to time is around the pads.

Shaving a dog will not only destroy a coat, but will also harm the skin. it will not make any dog feel cooler in the summer, the opposite is the case. Dead hair close to the skin will irritate and cause pores to clog. this is true for most breeds.
no dog was born to be shaved.
If your groomer ever suggests this, turn around a find a better groomer!

unfortunately, most dogs are kept from rubbing on trees, rocks or rolling in soil or dirt, so their natural skin maintenance practically doesn't exist.
if you ever see a dog rolling on a tennis ball or on a bone, this is part of coat maintenance.

our dogs Have a shorter wire coat and are hand stripped twice a year.
we pull dead hair out, thin the coat somewhat, and our dogs find it quite enjoyable.
for longer hair on the legs and feet, or around the face, a pumice stone can be helpful.
Longer hair around the pads can be cut, as it sometimes can't be stripped by hand.

Check your puppy's and adult dog's pads often for burrs, little rocks, scrapes or cuts and make sure the hair is protective, yet short enough not to built knots with mud and snow.
  • very hairy dogs need to be trimmed more often and their first trimming/stripping session is due around 4-6 months of age.
  •  short wire-haired coats might not need to be trimmed/stripped until they are about 1 year old.
  • wire-haired dogs without furnishings don't need trimming/stripping at all.

your dog will enjoy trimming the most, if you trim her/him yourself.
if you don't think, this is something you can accomplish, find a knowledgeable wire-haired dog groomer, and specifically ask for hand trimming. some groomers also use a trimming knife or pumice stones, which works well.

if you can't find a groomer, please bring your dog back to us for a trim. 


our dogs need to be shampooed only in emergency cases, when a scent is so overwhelming, that you can't stand it in the house.
otherwise, a short warm water shower will freshen a muddy coat up quickly. the coat is self-cleansing and does not NEED to be bathed at all otherwise.

ear care

our wire-haired dachshunds sometimes have long hairs in their ears. these can be quickly pulled out to allow air flow. 
ear wax is usually a good thing. if the ear becomes dirty, use a moist, unscented baby wipe to clean the ear flap gently from the inside.
don't drop liquids or oils into your dog's ears. consult your veterinarian, if your dog constantly scratches her ears or if the ear smells different than usual.


in general, our working dog's nails should be kept short. since our dogs work in dens, they naturally tend to have longer, stronger nails then other dogs. if we don't show, we don't have to worry too much, if nails are a littler longer, as long as they are not bothering the dog and as long as they are not curling or grow into the pads., there is not too much to worry about, even if other people tell you otherwise.
our dogs usually have very strong nails that do not split or rip easily.

however, it is more comfortable for your dog to walk with shorter nails.

you can easily trim the nails at home.

some of our dogs are very sensitive around their toes. make sure, you practice touching the toes and even pretend to use the nail clipper a few times with young dogs, so it is not an issue later.
some dogs need help from another person holding them, while you clip the nails.

A good reference is an article in dogsnaturally magazine..

if this seems overwhelming to you, ask your friendly groomer or bring them to us for a quick clip.

in north america, it has become a bit obsessive to treat dogs like children.
we don't agree that brushing your dog's teeth with a toothbrush is necessary. our older dogs still have pearly whites by chewing natural food and bones.
Below a photo of willi's 6.5 years old pearly whites.
Dachshunds, like all working dogs, have a scissor bite.

good genetics do make a difference! so does healthy, natural food.

should you, in any way be concern about your dogs dental health, please talk to your veterinarian.

Canadian winters can be long and harsh.
In general, our dogs don't need to wear weather gear, but when it is colder than Minus 20 Degrees Celsius for a longer period of time, dogs need to be able to run and go on walks.
I know what you think, I also said, "I will never dress up my dog!", but in this case, it is a necessity. 
Senior dogs especially appreciate protection on cold, rainy days.
To get a good winter coat for your dog, measure your dog's back length and choose one that is fleece/wool lined from the inside and waterproof from the outside.
We recommend the All Season Back On Track Dachshund Coat. It Fits Perfectly.

Pads can freeze and get cut on ice and snow. Measure your dogs pad lengths and get her some good dog boots. We have tried many, but The only dog boots that fit our dogs are Muttluks Woof Walkers in Size XS.

Tracking and Hunting

Depending on the dog's work field, we sometimes require protective gear for our dogs.
I used to track with a nice tracking collar, but since have switched my youngest female to a harness, which protects her from underbrush and, since it's neopren, keeps her warm, when tracking through marshland.
Maria's HalsbandWerkstatt takes great care in fitting each harness to the individual dog.
Ours fits like a glove and our dog loves it.

please remember to take good care of your dog,
so you will enjoy your healthy working dog for a long life together.

Koko, with trimmed winter coat