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Pros and Cons of Owning a Dapple Dachshund

Pros and Cons of Owning a Dapple Dachshund

Dachshunds are the 12th most popular dogs in the United States and they are quickly becoming a favorite for many families across the globe.

From quirky personalities, sassy waddle walking style, sense of humor to Dumbo-looking ears, there are several reasons why you can’t help but fall in love with this breed.

Add this to the fact that people are shifting to owning dogs that don’t take much space and you can easily see why the popularity of these dogs continues to rise.

Despite their popularity, not many people know that there are other color variations besides the standard Dachshund. If you are new to sausage dogs, for instance, you may not know that there is a Dapple Dachshund.

If you are planning to welcome a Dachshund into your home, a dapple dachshund could make a great choice, especially if you are looking for dogs with slightly unique color variations.  

Like any other dog breed, there are a lot of things a prospective owner should understand about this Dachshund with unique color variation before committing to raising one.

To help you make the right choice, we’ll highlight the top pros and cons of owning a Dapple Dachshund but before then, let’s cover a few basics.

What is a Dapple Dachshund?

So, what is a dapple dachshund? or what does dapple mean in dogs?

Well, a dapple Dachshund is just like other Dachshunds but with dapple patterns—which are essentially patches of colors with their base coats showing through.

For example, a Dachshund with a solid black body may have patches of gray dappling over his black fur.

The Merle gene accounts for the dappling pattern. A doxie dog that carry even one copy of the merle gene will exhibit dapple patterns in their coat.

For starters, the merle gene is a gene that creates mottled patches of color in solid or piebald dog coats and affects the skin pigments.

It is the gene that is also responsible for the blue or odd-colored eyes that you see in Australian shepherds, collies, and other cattle breeds.

It is because of this gene that some sausage dogs display dappling patterns while others do not.

The dapple pattern can vary significantly—even with dogs from the same litter—and regardless of the coat patterns of the parent dogs.

But if one parent has the dapple pattern, the puppies are likely to manifest the dappled pattern.

Some dapple patterns are bright, bold and noticeable while others are not easily seen (unless when observed closely).

The most noticeable dapple Dachshunds have black and tan, red or chocolate, and tan base coats.

But it is worth noting that even Dachshunds with barely detectable dapple spots are still dapple Dachshunds.

You may read that again…

In other words, only a single patch or diluted color is required for a dachshund to be classified as dappled.

Dapple dachshund with minimal patches

The main reason why such dachshunds (with a single patch or very minimal patches) are classified as dapples is due to the dominance of the merle gene in dachshunds—when mated with a non-dapple dog, the offspring will inevitably be a dapple dachshund.

The genetics of the merle gene or dappling in dachshunds is somewhat complex, so I won’t bore you by going into details. You can read more about it here. However, here a few facts are worth mentioning:

  • Dappling is not a color but a COAT PATTERN.
  • Dappling occurs randomly in dachshunds. Consequently, NO dapple dachshund will be SIMILAR to one another
  • To produce a dapple dachshund, one parent must be a carrier of the merle or the dapple gene.
  • The gene exclusively affects the dilution of black pigment, known as eumelanin, in dogs. Consequently, dogs with yellow or reddish pigments, referred to as pheomelanin, may not exhibit the dappling effect. This is why light and red dachshunds may not display dappling patterns.

Merle Vs Dapple Dachshund

If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed that I’m using the terms “dapple” and “merle” interchangeably.

Do they mean the same thing? or what is a merle dachshund?

In short, yes, they are the same. They both describe a coat pattern with patches or spots of light or diluted coloring on a darker base color.

However, in most breeds like corgis, French bulldogs, Shetland sheepdogs, Great Danes, and others, you’ll typically hear the term “Merle” used.

The term “Dapple” is specific to Dachshunds. In other words, the merle coat pattern is referred to as “Dapple” in Dachshunds.

Now, if you come across terms like “merle dachshunds,” “merle weiner dog,” or “merle sausage dog,” I’m confident you’ll understand what they refer to.

Double Dapple Dachshund

We also have double dapple dachshunds….

What is a double dapple dachshund?

Well, when you mate two dapple Dachshunds, you get a Double dapple Dachshund.

Double dapple Dachshunds often have large white markings or patches mixed with other colors—like those you see in a collie (a band around the neck, white nose, paws, and tail tip).

(Essentially, the white markings are the result of the dilution of the dapple gene.)

I hope there’s no confusion here: double dapple dachshunds also display the dapple pattern, which consists of patches or mottles against a solid or bi-colored base.

What sets them apart from single or regular dapple dachshunds is the presence of significant white markings or patches on their bodies in addition to the dappling patterns.

Double dapple dachshunds also have blue eyes but some may also have one or both dark eyes.

Sadly, a double dapple dachshund comes with several health issues including vision and hearing loss because of missing ears or micro eyes.

Add this to the common doxie health problems such as obesity, intervertebral dis disease, and cancer and you know breeding two dapple doxies is a recipe for disaster.

This is why reputable breeders discourage the breeding of double dapple dachshunds, making them extremely rare to find.

NOTE: Single dapple dachshunds don’t manifest the mentioned vision and hearing loss issues.

From a genetic perspective, both single and double dapple dachshunds possess the dapple or merle gene.

However, as you may have guessed, single dapples only carry a single copy of the gene, while their double dapple counterparts have two copies.

Dapple Vs Double Dapple Dachshund Summary

DapplesDouble Dapples
Produced by mating a normal dachshund with a dapple dachshundProduced by mating two dapple Dachshunds
Carry a single copy of the merle geneCarries two copies of the merle gene
Have spots and splashes  patternsHave somewhat more complex kaleidoscope patterns
Minimal white markingsHave larger areas of white over the body
Normal eyesOne or both eyes may be icy blue

Pros and Cons of Owning Dapple Dachshunds

Now that you understand a few basics about dapple Dachshunds, it is time to learn more about what it takes to be a parent of this amazing breed.

Hopefully, this will help you to figure out if this is the type of pet you want to own.


1. They are Cute

It is easy to spot dapple Dachshunds miles away because of their adorable coat colors, elongated bodies, and short legs. If anything, the dapple pattern is one of the most sought-after features of these dogs.

Even better, the dapple pattern comes in a wide range of colors, including black and tan, black and cream, silver, chocolate, blue and cream, chocolate and tan, blue and tan piebald, black and tan brindle, wild boar, silver and red (which is the rarest color variation).

Dapple Dachshunds also come in different coat types, namely:

  • Smooth: Have soft and sleek coats
  • Wirehaired: Have rough and coarse outer coats. Their hairs are of medium length.
  • Longhaired: Have sleek and soft coats but they have long hairs that feathers at their legs and ears.

Dapple Dachshunds also have beautiful, floppy ears that frame the face. They have paddle-shaped paws, oval eyes, and straight and long tails.

Lastly, they come in different sizes:

  • Standard Dapple Dachshunds: Weighs 16-32 pounds and measures 8-9 inches
  • Miniature dapple Dachshunds: Weighs below 11 pounds and measures 5-6 inches.

Truly, with dapple Dachshund, there’s something for every taste. Whether it is color, size, or coat type, you can always choose a short-statured sweetie that matches your taste or personality.  

2. Loyal and People-Oriented

One of the most beloved traits about dapple Dachshunds is their incredible devotion to their owners and family members.

These dogs tend to become very bonded to their owners, so expect to see your dachshund curl up on your lap every time you come home.

They often want to be their owners, so they will most likely follow you wherever you go.

Their need for love and attention can sometimes contribute to a few behavior issues though. For instance, they tend to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.

If you don’t want your dapple Dachshunds to engage in destructive behaviors when you are not home, consider hiring a dog walker or taking him to a local dog boarding facility.

3. Excellent Hunters

Dachshunds were originally bred for hunting. The breed can be traced back to 15th century Germany where the standard Dachshunds were bred for sniffing and flushing out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals while the miniature versions were bred for hunting rabbits.

The dogs were also used to track deer and hunt prairie dogs in the United States.

Their narrow bodies can allow them to crawl into small spaces and their ears can help them track scents better than most dogs. As a result, they can hunt animals both above and below the ground.

Most importantly, different sizes of dapple Dachshunds have been developed over the years—from miniature varieties ideal for hunting foxes and rabbits to larger versions recommended for hunting boars.  

4. Smart And Purposeful Workers

It takes an intelligent dog to do the kind of job that Dachshunds were bred for in 15th century Germany. Dachshunds are clever dogs and can achieve many things.

The only problem is that they are stubborn and may sometimes choose to ignore your command.

However, if you are resilient and patient, you will definitely get the most out of this breed.

5. Excellent Watchdogs

Despite their small sizes and hunting backgrounds, Dachshunds make loyal companions.

They are very devoted to their owners and if you can establish a trusting relationship with them, there is nothing these courageous and protective pooches won’t do for you.

6.  Can Be Your Companion for Long

The average lifespan of a dapple Dachshund is about 12-16 years.

They also mature fairly fast—at the age of 12 months, which implies that if you decide to own one, you’ll have many years to spend with your canine companion while he is still in his prime years.

Like any other dog, however, the lifespan of your dapple Dachshund depends on many other factors, including the environment he lives in, the care you give him, the quality of breeding, and health issues. 

7. They Are Highly Adaptable

Another great trait of dapple Dachshunds is their adaptability. They do well in all kinds of climates and don’t have any problem living in apartment settings. If you can take them out often, they don’t need any yard.

However, you should note that while these dogs love playing outside, they may not do very well living outside (in your backyard, for instance).

Considering that they become so bonded to family members, living outside can be a bit cruel and dangerous for your dapple Dachshund.


Like any other dog breed, raising a dapple Dachshunds is never all fun and games. Along with that loyalty, intelligence, and cuteness, dapple doxies can also be problematic.

Without further ado, here are some downsides you must be ready to endure if you decide to own a dapple Dachshund.

1. They are prone to severe back and eye problems

Because of their weiner dog shapes, dapple Dachshunds have a higher risk of Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) than other dog breeds.

In fact, 19-24% of all Dachshunds are affected by the condition. IVDD is very painful and can even cause paralysis.

Although some dogs do recover from the condition, there is always a substantial risk of permanent damage.

The merle gene is also responsible for risks of blindness, deafness, sensitivity to sunlight, and skin cancer in all dog breeds that carry it, including dapple Dachshunds.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is another genetically linked eye condition that is likely to affect the sweet, beautiful eyes of your dapple Dachshund.

Double dapple Dachshunds are even more prone to these risks. When both parents carry the merle gene, there is always an increased risk of suffering from genetically linked conditions.

Double dapple Dachshund puppies can be born blind, with only one eye, deaf or with missing ears.

2. They Are a Bit Hard To Train

While dapple Dachshunds are incredibly smart, they can also be a bit stubborn and very sensitive. So, you may need to be resilient and work harder to train them.

Most owners suggest that they tend to respond well to reward-based training and positive reinforcement.

To successfully train these dogs, encourage the behavior you would like to see, reward them, and repeat.

Provide an alternative to any behavior you don’t like or simply ignore it.

3. They are Vocal

All Dachshunds love to use their voice. They are very vocal and will always bark loudly despite their small size.

Remember that they were developed as hunting breeds and their loud bark had a purpose: to alert hunters to their underground locations.

4. They like Digging

Besides barking, expect your dapple Dachshund to dig your beautiful lawn, your newly made bed, or freshly planted rose bush.

Their digging behavior can be blamed on their origin. Dachshunds were designed for hunting and digging badgers out of their burrows.

They have very long and flexible spines and crooked, paddle-like paws, which all aid them in digging.

If you live in an apartment setting or if you don’t want your dapple Dachshund to damage your lawn, consider getting him the right supplies for dogs that like to burrow such as the iDog toy.

5. They are not good with children and other animals

Dapple Dachshunds don’t do well with children. Their long backs are easily injured. Accordingly, they can be susceptible to biting or nipping whenever they sense any form of pain.

To avoid problems, don’t leave small children unsupervised with your dapple Dachshund.

And if possible, consider working with your children on appropriate ways to interact with your Dachshund to ensure that playtimes are always fun and safe for everyone.

Although dapple Dachshunds get along well with other dogs, they don’t do well with other smaller animals like birds, rodents, and reptiles.

These dogs have a history as hunting hounds and tend to have a high prey drive.

With that said, if you want your dapple Dachshund to get along with other pets, you need to properly socialize and train him from an early age.

6. Intensive grooming for the Wirehaired and long-haired

Wirehaired and long-haired dapple Dachshunds may need intensive grooming to ensure that their hairs don’t become matted.

You will need to brush them at least 2-3 times a week and bath them regularly on a tub or sink.

Remember to use gentle dog shampoos because their skins can be a bit sensitive.  

If you live in areas that are prone to Lyme disease, consider applying an appropriate tick preventive solution or shampoo to your dog’s fur after bathing.

A Dachshund will also need his nails to be clipped regularly, so strive to introduce this as early as you can so that the process is less stressful for you and your pup.

7. Delicate exercise routines

Despite being small in size, a dapple Dachshund is an incredibly active dog.

So, he is going to require more exercise and a little more time and attention from you.

You should be ready to engage him in brisk walks through the neighborhood and play games of fetch or chase in the yard to keep his intelligent mind active.

However, because of their fragile, long backs, you need to be cautious with the type of exercise you expose your dog to.

For instance, always train him to stay at ground level and don’t encourage him to jump on things like furniture as these cause disc rupture and a host of other back problems.

Because of their high prey drive, dapple Dachshunds are likely to chase.

So, unless your recall is infallible, you should always be prepared to wait for them to return when playing fetch or chase games.  

Other Types of Dapple Dachshund

Apart from double dapple dachshund, there are types of dapple that you should know if you really want to own this amazing breed, including:

1. Harlequin dapple dachshunds 

Harlequin dapple dachshunds are simply dachshunds that exhibit multiple shades of either the same or different colors.

The term “harlequin” essentially means “variegated” or “in various colors.”

It shouldn’t be too confusing. In fact, many people use this term to refer to dapple dachshunds in general.

Now, back to variegated dachshunds.

 If a dapple dachshund displays a variety of colors but lacks white markings, it’s called a “Tweed.”

However, if it has a white base coat, it’s referred to as a Harlequin dapple.

Be cautious though: an abundance of white markings could indicate that the dog is a double dapple.

2. Reverse Dapple Dachshund

A typical dapple dachshund usually shows a balanced mix of light and dark patches across its body.

However, there are dapples that may only have one tiny spot, while others might have so much dappling that the base coat is hardly noticeable.

It’s these two latter groups that are typically referred to as Reverse dapple dachshunds.

3. Dapple Piebald Dachshund

First, let’s answer this: what is a piebald dachshund?

Much like dappling, piebaldism is simply a coat pattern, which refers to white markings on the body.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, they are caused by different genes. The merle gene is responsible for dappling, while the S Locus gene causes piebaldism.

The latter gene is the one responsible for the white spotting you see on a larger percentage of white dogs.

Genetically speaking, the dappling gene is dominant, while the piebald gene is recessive.

This means you need two piebald dachshunds to produce another piebald dachshund.

However, you only need a single copy of the dapple gene to produce a dapple doxie.

Now, let’s focus on the visual differences.

How can you differentiate between a dapple piebald dachshund and a double dapple dachshund, given that both display white markings on the body?

Well, there are two main distinguishing features: Piebalds tend to have more symmetrical markings, while double dapples do not.

Additionally, instead of colored spots, piebalds also have tickings, which are spots based on white markings.

Picture 1: Double Dapple: unsymmetrical markings; no ticking

Picture 2: Piebald: a lot of white and ticking all over the body

Picture 3: Dapple Piebald: dapples through its darker colors + ticking on the paw

4. Hidden Dapple Dachshund

As the name suggests, this is a dapple dachshund with merle or dappling patterns that are hard to spot.

They can easily be mistaken for normal or ordinary dachshunds.

Although these dapples have subtle markings on their coats, they carry the gene in their DNA—and can pass it on to their offspring.

Dapple Dachshund Price

All dachshunds, in general, are reputable and thus fetch a good price in the market. Thanks to their cute coat colors and textures, members of the breed are always in demand.

Ultimately, this pushes the price over the roof. On average, one dachshund puppy goes for anything between$450 and $1500 with dapples being on the expensive side of the spectrum.

Dapple doxies are expensive than other dachshunds because they are rare to find. You have to work so hard to come across one. It also takes special care and attention to raise one, which further affects the price.

The actual price depends on many factors including the physical characteristics of the dog, quality of parents, pedigree, and the breeder.

If both mum and dad have good pedigree papers, the puppy will understandably be more expensive than their counterparts.

Essentially, dapple dachshunds with blue eyes (either partially or completely) or those with one brown and blue eye are not desired in many kennel clubs. As such, they go for less money than those with desired qualities.

If you buy a dog from a reputable breeder who takes their time to test the parents of the dog for genetic issues, is up-to-date with vaccinations, and has recognized pedigree papers for the puppy, expect to cough more cash. It gets even pricier if you work with a breeder who is registered with the American Kennel Club.

As usual, adopting a rescue dapple dachshund is the cheaper option. For about $250, you will get yourself one puppy from your local shelter or rescue group.

Important Tips to Help You Take Care of a Dapple Dachshund

  •  Ensure that you feed your dapple Dachshund suitable, balanced diet to maintain a healthy diet. Overfeeding may lead to obesity, which can be detrimental to your dog’s back. You should also remember that dachsies do well with foods that come in kibbles or small chunks given that they are relatively small dogs.
  • Because of their long backs and stubby legs, a dapple Dachshund is likely to suffer a wide range of mobility issues as they age. Consider putting ramps throughout your home to make it easy for your dog to access his favorite places like beds and couches, especially in his senior years.
  • Dapple Dachshunds are very sensitive and can easily have hurt feelings. So, to get the most out of your dog, avoid harsh training or corrections. Instead, stick to positive reinforcement methods like giving rewards and praises.
  • Ensure that your dapple Dachshund’s vaccinations and annual check-ups are up to date. Take your Dachshund to a vet every time you suspect that he may be suffering from a health problem so that he can be monitored and medicated. While maintaining these routines can be a bit costly, skimping them can even be more costly in the long run, unfair, and cruel.
  • Dachshunds can resort to destructive behaviors when they are bored, so strive to keep your dapple Dachshund mentally stimulated to reduce unwanted behaviors.
  • Be careful when buying a new dapple Dachshund from a breeder to avoid potential health issues. For instance, avoid buying puppies whose parents have exaggerated body features as these can increase risks of IVDD. In addition, always request pedigree documentation to confirm that the puppies you plan to purchase meet breed-regulated standards.  Double dapple Dachshunds are also prone to serious genetic defects, so if it is your first time to own a Dachshund, just avoid them.

Is Dapple Dachshund Right For You?

If you are after a placid dog breed that will bless your home with angelic behaviors, you should consider other dog breeds.

However, if you want a loyal buddy that will give you plenty of laughs (and occasionally break a few rules), a dapple Dachshund may be your perfect match.

These short-legged bundles of joy are great for people who can manage a bit of character and who like to spend some time outdoors.

You should also be ready to handle a few health concerns like IVDD if you decide to welcome these spotted dogs into your home.

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