Are Dachshunds Smart?

Dachshunds are friendly and affectionate dogs with a stubborn and independent streak to them. These spunky dogs make for great pets, but are dachshunds smart?

Dachshunds rank 92nd in the list for the most intelligent dog breed for obedience and working dog intelligence. This puts dachshunds in the average intelligence category.

However, when it comes to their instinctive senses, dachshunds are extremely intelligent. They were bred as hunting dogs for a reason. So, although dachshunds might rank low on the list, they are quite smarter than we think.

Measuring a dachshund’s intelligence

The list for intelligence among dog breeds was developed by Stanley Coren, a researcher, Ph.D., and a renowned canine psychologist.

Coren contacted all the North American obedience trial judges from the Canadian Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club and asked them for help in measuring dog IQ. Nearly 200 obedience judges participated in the study.

Coren asked the judges to assess and rank various dog breeds on the criteria that he had developed. However, his rankings measured just one component of dog intelligence – obedience and working intelligence.

Stanley Coren’s criteria for dog intelligence

We need to understand the criteria used by Stanley Coren to measure the intelligence of dogs so that we can find out why dachshunds ranked so low on the list. This was met with a lot of criticism at first, but it worked on some levels.

The trials were based on the following:

  • How many repetitions did it take for a dog breed to learn a new, unknown command?

The fewer times a dog needed commands to be repeated, the smarter it was.

  • What was the success rate at which a dog breed obeyed a known command on the first attempt?

If a dog breed obeyed known commands right on the first attempt, that meant a higher success rate for the breed. A breed with a higher success rate ranked higher on the intelligence list.

Coren ensured that only those dog breeds that had more than a hundred responses qualified for the dog intelligence ranking list. Only 138 dog breeds qualified for the test. Dachshunds, being highly popular at the time, were easily qualified to participate.

Also, only those breeds that were recognized by the AKC or CKC were allowed to participate.

This eliminated chances for any mixed breeds or any rare international breeds not recognized by either of the two kennel clubs. Dachshunds are recognized by both, so they could participate in the trials.

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How dachshunds performed?

Based on the results of Coren’s trials, dachshunds ranked 92nd on the list of the best performing dogs breeds.

Because there were 138 dog breeds participating in the study, it placed dachshunds in the “average intelligent” category when it came to intelligence.

According to the results, dachshunds were able to learn an unknown command with 25 to 40 repetitions. This meant that it could take a dachshund a whole afternoon to learn one command, depending on the complexity.

On the other hand, a dachshund is able to obey a known command in the first attempt with a 50 percent or better success rate. This is not too bad, but it is still average as compared to the other dogs participating in the trial.

Other dogs that are in the same category of average intelligence along with dachshunds are Australian Shepherd, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Havanese, Boxer, etc., which are all popular dog breeds.

How intelligent are dogs?

Dogs are similar to humans in that their brains are also split into two hemispheres. Dogs can process information faster than humans. There are a lot of different types of intelligence.

Every dog is smart in its own way. Some are good at obedience and work, while some easily understand vocabulary, while some dogs are great at socializing.

Dogs also understand humans very well. They are responsive to humans, making them a great cognitive skill among animals.

Why do dachshunds rank low in intelligence?

Dachshunds are very stubborn dogs. While not all dachshunds may be stubborn, this is a very common dachshund trait.

A stubborn dachshund will not cooperate with you if it doesn’t want to. Dachshunds are very independent, and they do things as they like when they like. This makes dachshunds cooperating in obedience training very difficult.

Because Coren’s trials are heavily based on obedience, it is easy to see why dachshunds might not have performed so well.

Just because a dachshund is not obeying your command doesn’t always mean that it hasn’t understood it.

A dachshund might have understood everything and still chosen to ignore you because it didn’t feel like doing it. It all depends on the individual dog. They might obey, but not because you asked them to, but because they wanted to.

The solution to this is to shower your dachshund with a lot of love and praise so that it opens up to you and starts to cooperate.

It will require a lot of patience and perseverance and positive reinforcement while training.

This was one of the limitations of Coren’s study, which is why it is not the most reliable way to measure a dog’s intelligence.

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Dachshunds’ smartness compared to humans

According to canine behavioral experts, the brainpower of dachshunds can be compared to a 2 to 2.5-year-old human child.

The average dachshund can be taught up to 165 words. Dachshunds are very good with vocabulary and understand words and commands.

You can also involve actions and signals while teaching them new words. They can also count up to 5. Dachshunds are also smart enough to manipulate other dogs or humans to get what they want.

Why are dachshunds believed to be smart?

Any dachshund owner will tell you that while their pet is incredibly stubborn, they are very smart dogs. Dachshunds communicate with humans extremely well.

Just obedience and working intelligence are not enough to measure a dog’s intelligence. Adaptive intelligence and instinctive intelligence are also major factors that can affect a dog’s intelligence.

However, these factors are difficult to measure objectively.

Hunters’ intelligence

Dachshunds were bred to be hunting dogs. They were used to hunt badgers and other small animals. Therefore, dachshunds are born with a natural ability to track and hunt.

They have the instinctive intelligence to track down stimuli. They have very sharp noses that easily smell any prey. Dachshunds have a very high instinctive intelligence and all the qualities required in a hunting animal.

Adaptive intelligence

Adaptive intelligence refers to the dog’s ability to learn by itself. Does it adapt to situations by learning from past mistakes and experiences? Can it solve problems?

It turns out that dachshunds rank very high in adaptive intelligence. They are known to be great communicators.

Dachshunds can communicate exactly what they want to their humans. They also understand a huge vocabulary.


When it comes to bonding with their owners, dachshunds are quite smart. They are very loyal and great communicators, which makes them excellent pets.

They can do anything for the ones they love. With their adorable behavior and good communication skills, dachshunds can form great bonds with their family.

However, you need to be careful not to be affectionate to the point of spoiling them. That’s because these dogs are so smart that they can easily manipulate you into getting whatever they want.

Attention seekers

Dachshunds require a lot of attention, and they cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Dachshunds know how to communicate.

This is why, if they do not get the attention that they require, they will try different ways to make you pay attention to them. Dachshunds are smart when it comes to figuring out solutions to problems.

They might ask for attention through destructive behaviors, such as chewing on shoes or furniture or creating a mess all around the house.

Good conversationalists

Dachshunds can learn a huge vocabulary. They understand a lot of words, which means that they can easily understand what you are trying to tell them.

Similarly, dachshunds are also good at telling you what they want. They have different barks for different situations, and they will try to deduce ways to let you know exactly what they need.

It is a different matter that dachshunds might not always obey what you tell them, but they surely understand it.

Physical games and mind games

Dachshunds love to play with their families. If there is something in it for them, dachshund can easily pick up commands and instructions.

When you introduce new games to your dachshund, it will love playing with you. The more games you introduce, the more fun it is for your dog. They also get to learn new things this way while having fun.

Dachshunds will not forget the games that you teach them. So if there is one particular game that they like more, they will keep trying to play that with you.

Dachshunds also need a lot of mental stimulation. As hunter dogs, dachshunds get distracted by any new stimulus very easily. They are very curious dogs who always want to learn new things.

Dachshunds love solving puzzles and getting through a series of tasks to reach the end goal. They are very good at solving problems, which makes them very smart dogs.

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How to make your dachshund smarter?

  • Use positive reinforcement to train your dachshund. Give it a lot of praise or rewards when it shows smart behavior.
  • Socialize your dachshund from an early age. The sooner they take in different stimuli from their environment, the better adjusted they will be in life. They will also learn more about their surroundings which will help build their intelligence.
  • Start training your dachshund as soon as possible. When you get a dachshund home, start its training as soon as it is settled into its new home. This will also make them trainable, as dachshunds tend to grow more stubborn as they grow older.
  • Keep teaching it new tricks and commands. Don’t ever stop. Dachshunds love to learn, and they will learn more if they never run out of things to look forward to. Keep looking for new things to teach your dachshund, as they have it in them to master new skills.
  • Constantly offer new problems and obstacles. Dachshunds love figuring things out and solving puzzles. Try to incorporate puzzles into everyday life. Try getting food bowls that need them to use their intelligence in order to consume food. You can make them go through a series of tasks in order to get one reward that they really want.